In the next couple of days two lucky Mobile Insiders will be receiving their new handsets and the review will begin.
Watch this space for imminent un-boxing and excitement.
Please post below if you'd like the reviewers to keep anything particular in mind when they're writing about their first impressions of the phones - you're go to people for questions on this handset are @sunny1994 and @Jupiter
You can find out more and purchase the Sony Xperia XZ here.
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Hi ya Sam.......op's Samantha.......sorry. LOL
I will be very interested to read what the testers have to about this device.
Firstly, I would like to thank Telstra for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Mobile Insider Program !!!
NOTE: This is my first ever moblie review. So if I missed anything in the review or any features you want to know more about. Feel free to leave me a message at the bottom of this review.
The device that Telstra sent me to review is the latest SONY XPERIA XZ - BLACK.
Lets start with unboxing.
When you open the box, you will see the devive wrapped with the protective wrapping - just like with any other phone you get.
Below the device is the essential acessories : Sony's famous earphone, USB-C cable, power adpater. Also a quick start manual (which I forgot to include it in the photo) - pretty standard accessories.
One interesting finding:
Although it said it is black, but actually is not really that black. The back of the phone is like a dark brown colour.
The photo above may not quite show the brown colour. But when you look at the device in person, you can see the brown colour.
As I mentioned before, the back of the phone is not fully black , it look dark brown.
The power button is at the right side of the phone- The power button is also a fingerprint sensor (which is used to unlock your phone). Below it is the volume control button, then below it , is the camera shutter button.
I like how there is a camera shutter button at the side of the phone. It is very handy when you take a photo with the phone horiztonally. It feels like you are holding a digital camera.
On the other side of the phone, there is a a SIM card /Micro SD card slot. The micro SD card slot is for people who want to expand their phone storage, if the 32GB internal storage is not enough. The phone can support up to 256GB micro SD.
After the unboxing is time to start up the phone to experience the amazing features. The very first screen you will see after the you power up the phone is a Welcome Page, where you can select different languages.
Then, followed by agree to some nitty gritty.
Afterward, you will be asked if you want to transfer everything (all apps, wallpapers etc) from your exisiting Android phone to the new Xperia XZ.
(Sorry, this doen't work with iOS - next time)
If you select yes, you will be ask to login into you google account. If you select no, then you will be take to the next page- setting up fingerprint unlock or pin for your phone.
If you want to try fingerprint unlock - you will be ask to placed you finger onto the power button.
After that, you will be ready to go.
The phone is running Android 6.0.1 Masmallow. (Sony have announced that Android 7.0 Nougat will be released at the end of the year, but depend on the countries or region it may have delay)
After using the Sony Xperia XZ for a few days, this what I think of the phone:
- Lightweight and Slim
- Can control it with one hand (as the thickness of the phone is only 8.1mm)
- Very bright display (The 1080p display on Xperia XZ is very good. The colour of the display is very natural. Very good for web browsing and gaming)
- Running very smooth and fast (I think it will be faster when Android 7.0 release)
- Battery last quite long ( During the day, I have used Facebook, Facbook messaging, Camera, Spotify,Play SimCity Built it. It still last me a day with 30% charge left.)
-Not much fingerprint is left on the back cover and the screen
- Fast fingerprint sensor (Basically,just pressed the power button using your finger. It unlocks instantly(
- The ringtone sounds is little quite (I have turn the ringtone volume to max, but it still little quite when in noise environment. When you select your ringtone in setting, the ringtone comes out quite lound. But when someone calls you, the ringtone volume turn down little bit.)
- The device warm up quite quick during the setup (when google play trying to download all my apps at the same time )
However, it cool down quite quick too.
Overall, I think this a good Android phone. Very easy to use and quite good design. The device run very smoothly. However, I think Sony should improve on the ringtone volume. It turns out little quite when you in a noise environment.
Lastly, I think Telstra should introduce more colour variety, instead of just the black colour. Sony have release more colour variety in other countries (Frost Blue, Platinum (bright gray) and Deep Pink).
Once again , Thank You Telstra for sending me the device to review. I hope I can review more devices in the future.
If anyone have any question about the device, feel free to comment below!!
Great review @sunny1994,
I won't bother posting my unboxing pics, but I will say this. The first thing that happened when I opened the box was that the phone slid out on me, so be careful when unpacking people, this phone wants to be out in the wild.
My first impression when picking up the phone was "this is solid". I am quite a big man (6'9"), and the phone sits very nicely in my hand. I would have to say that it is the most comfortable handset I have ever held. After using it for a few days, I can be sitting there with it in my hand and I forget that it is there. It is a far cry from the sharp edges that the Z2 had.
I did give it to one of the women at work and she found it a bit cumbersome, so for someone with smaller hands, you may find yourself fumbling around with this handset.
I found the initial setup of this phone to be quite straightforward. Getting the phone up and running was very quick (it is your typical Android setup). Coming from a Samsung environment (my wife got caught up in the Note 7 saga, I have an S6 and my daughter has an S7), one thing I found annoying was the transferring of data and settings from my S6. With the new Samsung phones, you get cable adapters and the transfer software already installed. With the Sony XZ, you need to install the software and if you don't already have a compatible cable, you need to do a wireless transfer.
I opted for the wireless transfer option, and transferred all 8800 of my call records and 500 SMS in about 7 minutes. I din't transfer my photo and videos via this method as it would have taken almost 9 hours. I transferred these wirelessly to my home network in about 30 mintues instead.
Apps was a totally different matter. The Sony software didn't appear to have the ability to trigger an automatic install of the apps that were installed on my Galaxy S6 (unlike the Samsung Software which does this automatically.
Lock Screen & Security
This is where I have fallen in love with this phone, and from my experience leaves the Samsung offering for dead. On the Galaxy S6 I have been using a combination of fingerprint lock and PIN. I tried Eye recognition on the Note 7 in the brief time that we had it. On the Sony XZ, the fingerprint sensor is in the power button on the right hand side of the handset. If you set it up to recognise the fingerprints based on how you hold the phone in each hand, then you will be in to your phone at a moments notice. No mucking around, and it is already in your natural holding postion.
Where it get even better is the facial recognition. I set it up and tapped the power button with a finger that hasn't had its prints recorded and the phone unlocks instantly based on my face. Works over 90% of the time (and that's without training it with more than one lighting setting). Tried to trick it with getting other people to try and open it and so far haven't had a single false unlock.
One thing that you will notice is the lack of physical buttons. The Home menu are now virtual keys, which is still taking a bit of getting used to. I am still finding myself trying to tap on the lower part of the phone where the bottom speaker is located. Once I tell myself off, the virtual keys are very responsive and work 100% of the time.
The rest of the screen layout is fundamentally Android. You won't notice many changes if you have used other Android phones.
I like this screen. It is very clear, even in bright light. It is not a high a resolution as its Samsung competitors, but you know what? It doesn't matter. You aren't going to notice that it is only and HD screen. It is clear, bright (the adaptive brightness works well), and you can't see any evidence of pixellation in normal use.
Battery Life and Charging
This is a mixed bag. The battery life is good. Compared to my S6 or my wife's S7 Edge, the battery life is better on similar usage. This is mainly due in thanks to the lower resolution of the screen (increased screen resolution really sucks the life out of a battery). Where on my 2.5hr trip to work listening to music and playing Clash of Kings, I would be down to around 45% on my S6, I still had around 60% battery on the XZ.
Charging is a different issue. The XZ does not charge nearly as quick. The charger supplied is a 5V 1.5A charger. This compares to the "fast" charger supplied with the Samsung's of 5V 2A or 9V 1.67A. You will need to allow some extra time to fully charge your XZ.
This is where I was a bit disappointed. The Sony XZ does not appear to have as good reception as the Samsung S6 or S7. Getting my lunch in a Food Court in Central Melbourne which is half a floor below Ground Level, the XZ dropped back to 2 bars of 3G, where the Galaxy S6 was still getting 1 bar of LTE. On my way home from Melbourne to Morwell, the Sony XZ also dropped out in more places than the Galaxy S6. So if you live in a marginal reception area, this phone may notbe your best choice.
I can't complain about the call quality. It is what you expect these days in a phone. Clear and easily heard. Not much more to say there.
Audio (Music) Quality
While the phone has stereo speakers (one at each end of the phone), they are not particularly loud. My wife's S7 Edge drowned out the Sony XZ at full volume. The sound quality itself was very good. No distortion and quite pleasing to te ear.
Using the supplied earphones, the sound quality is excellent. they block out ambient noise and I couldn't detet any distortion at maximum volume.
The bluetooth streaming works much better than on my S6. Thee S6 would drop out a couples of times every song in my car, but the XZ doesn't appear to suffer from the same problem.
That's all from Part 1 from me. Tomorrow I will post Part 2 of my review which will cover gaming and camera functions.
My apologies for the delay to part 2, but I didn't have access to my computer that has my image editing software. My work computer won't even let me crop a photo!
I have taken a few photos with both the Sony XZ and my Samsung Galaxy S6 for comparison. To be perfectly honest, I was rather disappointed with the performance of the Sony XZ. The photos to my eye were lacking in detail and seemed pixellated compared to the Samsung Galxy S6, which does not bode well because I have compared the S6 to the S7 and the Galaxy S7 is even better than the S6.
Anyway, here are some shots I took on an overcast day in my backyard. Cameras both set to Auto with No Flash.
Sony XZ - Original 5984x3366 pixels (Scaled down due to filesize limitations)
f/2 1/320sec ISO-40
Samsung Galaxy S6 - Original 5312x2988 pixels
f/1.9 1/538sec ISO-40
The pink Rose cropped from the centre of the above shots. At full Resolution and 100% zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S6
A white rose in my garden. (actual photo - full size)
f/2 1/64 sec ISO-50
Same white rose (Actual Photo - full size)
Samsung Galaxy S6
f/1.9 1/50 sec ISO-100
Sorry for the delay for 2nd review on the Sony Xperia XZ. So now I am going to proivde you guys my feedbacks on the device.
After using it for almost 2 week, the overall feeling of the phone is very good . The operating system run very smooth, no lagging. The fingerprint sensor works very good (THE BEST I HAVE EVER USER), the sensitivity and accuracy is perfect. It bascially pressed on the fingerprint sensor , it unlocks straight away. (NOTE: If you have a big/fat thumb, migh need to preseed little harder on the fingerprint sensor)
The 5.2 inch screen : the best size for both readability and handling (not too big or too small). My finger can reach both side of the phone when holding it with one hand. Althogh the screen resoulition is 1080p, but the picture quality is quite good.
The dual speaker system: The output sound from both speakers are balanced, whereas for the other phones, the voulme is different between the two speakers. The balanced speakers proved more 3 dimensional sound effect. But the downside of the Sony XZ speaker is that the volume of the speaker is not as loud as other flagship phones. The volume of the XZ speaker is quite low for outdoor use. The ringtone volume and call volume the on the XZ is not loud enough.
Video recording: The biggest selling point for the Xperia XZ is the 5-axis stabilisation. It is a very good feature - MY FAVOURITE. However, the XZ only have limited maunal settings for video mode (Only have colour tone and brightness setting). Apart from that, Xperia XZ support recording in H.265, which is a more advanced codec. It compress the video file size by half while keeping the same video quality. This will save alot of storage space in your phone
Photos: There are auto mode and manual mode when taking still photos. Most of the settings are available ( White Balance , Exposure, Shutter Speed , ISO). However, the ISO settings, are hidden under the setting menu, instead of displayed as soon as you switch to manual mode.
Photos quality : The photos taken in 23MP are excellent in bright sunlight, but not so good in low light environment or indoor. When you in low light situation, switch to 8MP instead, it provide much better pixel quality. One thing I need to mention is the IR RGB snesor, it is very useful in bright daylight environment. It provide an accurate WB and colour tone. However, the colour in not accurate in night time, especially under street light. The whole picture become yellowish. Overall, the best thing about the Xperia XZ camera is it handle very well in bright daylight environment.
Sometimes the camera app will crashed when the phone is getting hot (when I use the camera app for a long period, updating a number of apps at the same time, doing long video recording). The reason it is little easy to get hot is because of its small size, which is little poor on thermal management. It is not Sony's fault, any high performance small size phones have the same problem.
In terms of the desgin, Sony Xperia XZ is the one of the best Android phone available. It's simple style and fine details. The top and bottom speakers are identical. In landscape mode, it looks balanced and better than other Android phones. The output sound from both speakers are balanced, which leads to the voulume of the speaker in not high enough when compare to other flagship phone. The ringtone volume and call volume is little quite, which makes it little difficult when in noise environment. But the sound quality on the XZ is very good when using Bluetooth or wire headphone, there are number of settings to choose from to get the best sound quality.
The camera is one of the best mobile phone camera when using it under bright sunlight, but little dissapointed in low light and indoor. In low light and indoor, you have to change from 23MP to 8 MP to get a better quality photos but it still cannot improve the colour inaccuracy under street light at night.
Another interesting feature on the Xperia XZ is the "Adaptive Charging mode", which prevent the phone from over-charging.
The waterproof feature and easy to open SIM tray (not SIM tray pin require to open the SIM tray) have add alot of score to the phone.
Overall, the Sony Xperia XZ is a fast and stable smartphone. I think is a pretty good device.
Once again, I need to thank Telstra for providing me an opportunity to review the Sony Xperia XZ. I hope I could review more devices in the future.
Just to put a final highlight on the camera's abilities (or lack thereof). Here are a couple of shots from Thursday night.
I had to scale them down in order to get under the filesize limit but otherwise zero edits.
Sony Xperia XZ
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (borrowed from my wife)
My final conclusion with the Sony Xperia XZ is that Sony, while making a fundamentally good phone, falls short in a number of areas and I would have to stick with recommending the Samsung Galaxy S7 line for most people.
Sony need to look at the following areas:
Signal Strength - it just isn't top notch in this model. In building (CBD) and regional reception is not the best.
Camera - I have had Sony Xperia phones before and the camera in this model was really disappointing. The low light capabilities are practically non-existent.
Otherwise, the rest of the functionality is very good and on par with what I would expect of a falgship model in this day and age.