The "1-Minute" Review
- Chunky design
- Slippery and prone to falling off surfaces
- Odd fingerprint scanner placement
As smartphone prices creep ever upward, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium becomes the latest release to push boundaries into or near the four-figure mark. But when you’re talking those kinds of prices, you need an experience that justifies the expense. While Apple and Samsung both rule the top of the charts consistently, Sony isn’t quite as well known. Does their latest luxury release have what it takes?
Looking at the phone, it’s easy to see why the reviews are so conflicted. On one hand, the sleek curved lines and chrome finishes provide a modern look that stands out from everything else on the market. Unfortunately, so does the size. The Xperia XZ2 Premium is one of the thickest, heaviest releases of the year.
Reviewers noted that while I was comfortable to hold in the hand, it was too large to use with one hand in most cases. It also had a habit of sliding off of surfaces and out of pockets. So if you’re worried about keeping your phone looking new, a case is a must.
Around front, you’re greeted by a 5.8-inch 4k IPS display with HDR support. It’s in the older 16:9 format -- so you’re looking a short, wide screen instead of a long, trim one. This also means you’ll find a substantial chin and top bezel. On the quality front, reviewers raved about the screen -- especially when watching 4K HDR video on Netflix or YouTube.
However, to help save battery life, Sony displays most apps and games in 1080p unless they specifically request 4K. So don’t expect it convert standard apps and games to 4K.
Sony chose an octa core 2.8Ghz Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM to power the phone. While this is a similar arrangement to many flagships, reviewers noted that the Xperia XZ2 Premium felt snappier than most. From the latest games to heavy multitasking, the phone took everything thrown at it without breaking a sweat.
The phone includes 64GB of internal storage. Should you need more room for apps, games, or media, microSD support for cards up to 400GB makes expansion easy.
The phone ships with Android 8.0 Oreo. Sony made subtle tweaks to the interface and reviewers found them mostly satisfactory -- apart from an issue with icons shifting on the notification bar. Unfortunately, they also loaded the phone down with bloatware you can’t uninstall.
The cameras are the real star of the phone. To the point that some called it a better camera than phone. The rear camera setup consists of two lenses -- a 19MP color lens and a 12MP monochrome lens. When pictures are taken, the phone can combine the images for improved contrast and more accurate color.
Reviewers found the camera good, but not great considering the price.
The standout feature here was low-light video. Reviewers noted that no other phone can record low-light video like the XZ2 Premium. Unfortunately, they also found that it lacks the image stabilization of much of the competition. So while you capture details other phones can’t, you also capture every bump and breath along the way.
On the audio front, reviewers raved about the clarity and volume of the stereo speakers. But for private listening, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone includes a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter if you don’t mind carrying it around.
Some reviews also mention the inclusion of a pair of bone induction Xperia Ear Duos headphones. While other mention that the slots in their boxes were empty. We’re unsure if this was an issue with review units or if it’s a regional deal. While the headphones help to shift the value of the phone’s hefty price tag, we’d recommend checking with your vendor before purchasing if it’s an important consideration for you.
Finally, the phone’s battery life impressed most. The 3540mAh battery with USB Type-C and Quick Charge support was more than enough to last a day and helped many reviewers stretch into the second day with ease.
In the end, the biggest problem was the price. Most reviewers felt the phone didn’t offer the same experience as the Apple iPhone X or Samsung’s Note 9. Digital Trends says, “... its spotlight features cater to a niche audience, and they’re not good enough to make this phone exciting to use.” Android Headlines says, “It’s the price and the size of this device that brings down its other desirable traits the most, and while it’s far from being a bad device by any measure, it’s not going to be easy to justify this high cost for many folks.”
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