Running an Android 8.0 Oreo-based user interface out of the box and carrying most of the specifications that make the Xperia XZ Premium a smartphone to be reckoned with in 2017 (its P40,990 or about $799 price notwithstanding, of course), the Sony Xperia XZ1 has mainstream appeal in a handy form factor — and at more mainstream pricing of P39,990 ($781).
SEE ALSO: Complete specs of the Sony Xperia XZ1
Compromises had to be made for that humbler price, but we genuinely feel this could be the company’s best shot yet at appealing to the Apple iPhone crowd, an elusive target for years.
If nothing else, it will surely appeal to early adopters who have been waiting for an excuse — any excuse — to blow the dust off their 3D printer. For the rest of us, it’s a pretty good reason to blow some serious cash on a new device.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 has a 5.2-inch screen, although you might not be able to tell that from the size of the phone. It’s taller than your usual 5-incher, with noticeable bezels on the side and thick bezels below and above the display.
The LCD screen outputs at 1080p, which isn’t the sharpest out there (the Xperia XZ Premium is, in case you’re curious), though it produces vibrant and lifelike picture, and is a superb choice for kicking back and fully immersing yourself in content.
And to Sony’s defense, there are stereo speakers housed at the top and bottom of the front that produce loud and clear audio with some thumping bass. But we do think it could have done a better job at cutting the disagreeable fat around the display. Sony was stringent enough with the Xperia XA1 Plus, and the Xperia XA1 before it, so why be lenient with the model that is supposed to look nicer than the rest?
The good news is that the width of the phone feels just right for one-handed use. And the matte finish of the metal on the rear end is nice to grip and won’t cause the unit to slide while resting on an even surface.
The back and the sides are joined together to form one piece, offering a cleaner, more sophisticated design approach and bringing a natural feel to the body. This is the best-feeling Sony phone we’ve picked up in a while.
You’ll also be pleased to know that it doesn’t mind getting wet or dirty even though the ports for the USB-C connection and wired headphones (ahem, Apple) are exposed, so it’s perfectly fine to be caught in the rain with it.
In other matters, the Xperia XZ1 loses the curious ability to stand on its own, as the top and bottom edges are now slightly convex in the center instead of flat, like many other Sony phones.
A Snapdragon 835 system-on-a-chip — the greatest Qualcomm has to offer — is the brains behind the XZ1. Joining it is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is an acceptable configuration in the category. To wit: Sony’s higher-end Xperia XZ Premium offers the same amount of memory. Keeping the XZ1 ticking is a 2,700mAh cell, and that doesn’t sound encouraging. We’d love to be proven wrong.
We didn’t get to use the phone for a long time, but our initial impression is that Sony has built its most responsive device to date. Quick as it is, this unit runs like a dream, probably because it leans on Android Oreo, the latest release from Google. Yep. Unlike all non-Google devices available on the local market today, the Sony Xperia XZ1 will land with Oreo in tow, as opposed to Nougat.
Our initial impressions is that Sony has built its most responsive device to date. The Xperia XZ1 runs like a dream, probably because it leans on Android Oreo, the latest release from Google.
Last but certainly not the least is Sony’s Motion Eye camera on the back. It’s 19 megapixels, and it makes all sorts of interesting things possible with the XZ1, not the least of which is the ability to scan and render an object or person’s likeness in 3D for printing or sharing digitally.
This author’s likeness super-imposed onto a tiny dinosaur using Sony’s AR [augmented reality] app
A Sony Philippines representative as a Sith Lord courtesy of a third-party app
As with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the Xperia XZ1 shoots slo-mo at 960fps.
Resized sample photos taken with the Sony Xperia XZ1
Having tried it out at the Philippine launch event, we found the trademark feature to be promising, small quirks and all. Hobbyists who have a 3D printer in their home are likely to go gaga over it. As with any new technology, Sony says the feature will improve over time as more developers opt in to support it. For now, you get a choice of first-party applications, some using the main camera, and a couple of third-party software.
Preorders for the Sony Xperia XZ1 begin today and will run through October 1st. It will be available for purchase in stores in the Philippines from October 13.
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