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Review: Sony Xperia XZs

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-04-2017 Vishal Mathur

The Xperia XZs is the logical successor to last year’s Xperia XZ flagship phone, with the same rectangular design. The flat spines and very slightly rounded edges make this compact phone handy. It is water-resistant too. At 146x 72x8.1mm, it has the same dimensions as last year’s phone. In fact, at 161g, it is the exact weight too. Still searching for differences? Well, flip the phone over, and you may find the camera lens size is perhaps the only change.

The 5.2-inch (1,920x1,080 resolution) screen makes the Xperia XZs one of the rare compact smartphones in the flagship Android space. This screen does well on most aspects, such as brightness, colour richness and ease of reading text.

The Xperia XZs is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. That is a bit of a surprise, given that the likes of Google Pixel have moved on to the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip. Nevertheless, paired with 4 GB RAM, this still manages flagship-level performance—games and multitasking are a breeze. The 2,900 mAh battery isn’t the ideal capacity for power users, but because of the compact display, it’ll last a day and a bit more with ease.

Instead of the 23-megapixel camera in the Xperia XZ, the Xperia XZs gets a 19-megapixel camera. The change is aimed at accommodating increased pixel size, which has an immediate positive impact on low-light performance.

Sony has also toned down the previously aggressive image-processing algorithms, so the photographs are sharper, with comparatively richer colours. The focus lock time is faster than it was, and tracking for a moving object has improved further. The new Motion Eye feature uses predictive capture to save the moments before and after you click a photograph—just in case you missed a moment worth capturing.

The Sony Xperia XZs runs the new Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)—one of the very few phones to do so, apart from the Google Pixel and OnePlus 3T. The only quibble would be that the interface wrapped around Android still looks exactly as it has in Xperia phones over the years. A genuine refresh, towards something slicker and more intuitive, is long overdue.

What the Xperia XZs brings to the table is a fantastic camera and an aesthetically pleasing design. There is no doubt that the Xperia XZs would be ideal for photography enthusiasts, and the ability to add a memory card helps increase storage space. However, it is coming in direct competition with the Google Pixel (Rs57,000 onwards), which is definitely still a better all-round phone.

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