Sony Xperia XZ1 Review: Late to the Flagship Party? Guess Not

Sony Xperia XZ1 review. This is the phone Sony should have launched long back.

5 min read
The XZ1 runs on a Snapdragon 835 processor

I was still recovering from the XZ Premium hangover when Sony popped out another XZ phone.

The only reason why I feel that the XZ1 will be people’s favourite is not only because of its impressive specification sheet, but also because of its price tag. Yeah, I rarely get to say something like that about a Sony phone.

FYI I’m not really going to dive into the specifications of the phone. Want to go down that road? Read my first impression of the phone here.



  • Water & dust resistant
  • Compact & sturdy
  • Good audio quality
  • Android Oreo
  • 3D creator application


  • Average camera
  • Low battery juice
  • Same old design

What’s Good

The XZ1 comes with IP68 water and dust resistance rating
The XZ1 comes with IP68 water and dust resistance rating
(Photo: The Quint)

Sony has finally launched a smartphone with Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box, which makes it a hit amongst any smartphone buyer. I don’t want to wait for a software upgrade, and I am sure even you don’t. Sony checks this box right.

Performance is very snappy, and playing any kind of high definition games on this device is a cakewalk. No lags, and the phone doesn’t heat up that much, despite being a full metal device. The XZ series receives the Snapdragon 835 chipset with the XZ1 with 4GB RAM. Standard flagship features.

Like most Sony phones, the XZ1 also receives IP68 rated water and dust resistance. Though I wasn’t compelled to drop the phone in a jar of water, I trust Sony’s water-resistance prowess (as I have already tried it with the XZ Premium).

Also Read: Xperia XZ Premium Review: A ‘Blingy’ Pixel-Packed Powerhouse

Android Oreo in the box with the XZ1
Android Oreo in the box with the XZ1
(Photo: The Quint)

I am not a big fan of Sony’s smartphone design, and here too, I am getting a boring design of a rectangular block.

BUT..!! Sony’s is sending a very subtle message with the design. The XZ1 feels like it’s Sony’s way of saying ‘we’ll keep it simple’, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The full metal body design does look elegant, and thank God the back is not reflective. I couldn’t take the smudges and fingerprints anymore.

The 3.5mm headphone jack is still there. Good news for all those who are still using old-fashioned headphones.

This one gets a matte finish at the back
This one gets a matte finish at the back
(Photo: The Quint)

Sony is also giving high definition audio with the XZ1, thanks to their DSEE HX technology. What’s DSEE HX? Have a read here.

Although, I’m not a big fan of the camera, I did like the predictive auto-focus technology in the 19-megapixel rear camera. It definitely makes the pictures sharper.

The gimmicky addition to the camera is the 3D creator application. You can create 3D scans of faces, objects, and pretty much anything that has a 3D profile. You need stable hands to map the objects, and it takes a lot of time and precision to get an accurate render.
Motion Eye technology just makes the deal sweeter
Motion Eye technology just makes the deal sweeter
(Photo: The Quint)

You can have a lot of fun with this application. Although, it gave me a sore wrist, and a headache to people who I was mapping (as they had to stay still for me to map them).

What’s Bad?

The display gets a downgrade from a 4K screen that the XZ Premium had to a full HD display on the XZ1. I am a bit disappointed because I had fallen in love with the 4K screen. Media experience on the phone takes a big blow.

Though Sony is conforming to the industry standard and not going bezel-less, they should do something about the extra space used by the head and chin.

Split window is a must these days on smartphones. Don’t you think?
Split window is a must these days on smartphones. Don’t you think?
(Photo: The Quint)

The phone comes with a 2700mAh battery inside. Sony, a little more juice could have been a good idea. The phone lasted me the entire day on AVERAGE USE.

I say ‘average’ because I really wasn’t pushing the phone to extreme limits, and just running basic applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, email, and other essential apps (Tinder too). It’s good it comes with Quick Charge 3.0.

Also, if you need more juice from the phone, DO NOT use the live wallpaper feature otherwise your battery will drain twice as fast.

The XZ1 gets just an IPS display. Downgrade from the 4K on the XZ Premium
The XZ1 gets just an IPS display. Downgrade from the 4K on the XZ Premium
(Photo: The Quint)

Camera performance is average. Low light shots had a lot of noise and clicks, and daylight lack dynamic range. Surprises me that the pioneer of smartphone lenses are struggling with cameras on their own phones. Oh, and no OIS!

Check out some camera sample:

  • Captured under artificial light
  • Captured in normal mode
  • Not that much dynamic range
  • Clicked in low light
  • Shot in daylight

Should You Buy It?

So what’s so special about this smartphone. Simple answer: It’s a Sony!

Pricing this phone at Rs 44,990, Sony is hinting to the customers that it lost out earlier due to exorbitant price of their earlier line-up.

It’s got top specs, the latest software, and a decent camera set-up (that also shoots super slo-mo videos). I can’t really say whether the 3D creator is a compelling enough for me to buy the phone, but yes, it’s a fun feature to play around with.

I’d say go with the Sony Xperia XZ1 if you looking for a premium flagship experience and don’t want to go beyond the 50k figure. Else you have the OnePlus 5 and the Nokia 8.

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