Sony Xperia XZs review: XZs pictures are something to behold

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng

The cameras on Sony’s smartphones seem to be getting a lot smarter too

Sony’s Xperia smartphones get better looking all the time, and the next-to-latest XZs also packs a terrific camera with superslow motion and “Predictive Capture”.

This was Sony’s marquee model until the Xperia XZ Premium showed up. But don’t be so quickly distracted.

The XZs has a lot of power coming out of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quadcore processor running at 2.15GHz. You have four gigabytes of working memory (RAM) and 64GB of expandable eMMC storage.

Please note that a micro SD card needed for more storage uses the phone’s second nano SIM slot, so you won’t be able to plus anything else in at the same time.

Graphics-intensive games like Lineage II Revolution and multiplayer online games work great on the XZPs, as do high-definition video clips and High-Resolution Audio files. I was playing FLAC 24bit/192kHz tracks and the quality was pretty nice. Heard through Sony’s MDR1ABT Hi-Res headphones, music really takes off.

The XZs can also play DSD hires files and has a function to upscale normal audio files to boost sound quality. It’ll also share your music through loud and dynamic builtin stereo speakers. SForce Front Surround technology mimics that 3D sound field for added authenticity.

The dual nano SIM arrangement is easily set up to establish which card is used for 4G data connections, which one for phone calls and which one for sending SMS. Or you can just let the phone ask each time which SIM to use when you make a call.

Sony XZs

LTE 4G connection is very speedy on Line Mobile’s network (currently in beta testing) and applications are quickly downloaded and installed and photos backed up to the cloud storage in no time.

My Ookla Speedtest app gauged download speed of 87.98Mbps and uploads at 34.95Mbps.

Design-wise, the XZs is a headturner with its loop surface and shiny, colourful Alkaleido metal back. It’s rated IP65/68 for construction, meaning it’s resistant to dust and rainwater.

Up front is a beautiful 5.2-inch Triluminos Display with Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels), powered by Sony’s XReality engine, which enhances contrast and colours. Corning Gorilla Glass is the shield.

With this vivid a display, HD clips and high-resolution photos look absolutely great, especially the photos that the phone’s own camera captures. Dynamic contrast capability that automatically adjusts the contrast according to your surroundings, so viewing content isn’t hampered by bright sunlight.

The main camera has 19-megapixel resolution in Sony’s award-winning G lens with a 25-mm-equivalent focal point. That’s wide angle, so you’re really holding an outstanding digital compact camera. The f/2.0 aperture makes the camera good in low light as well – sensitivity of up to ISO12800. The Bionz mobile image-processor obviously does a nice job.

The main camera relies on a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS mobile-memory stacked sensor, the same size as is found in most compact digital cameras. A large pixel pitch of 1.22 micron allows the sensor to grab more light and details, resulting in better image quality and more vivid colours.

Sony XZs

Since the image sensor has memory built in and uses triple image-sensing technology, the main camera allows for several advanced functions.

Motion Eye technology, which Sony developed from its Cybershot cameras, precisely captures movement that the human eye might miss.

Predictive Capture, found in Superior auto mode, senses movement and starts taking buffer images while you prepare to shoot. If you missed your shot, you just go “back in time” and choose the right one from the up to four snaps taken before you pressed the shutter. This makes the XZs a great tool to have at sports and other action events.

Fast-action shooting is further assisted by Object Tracking, which is activated by touching the desired subject in the viewfinder.

Superslow motion mode makes use of the memory stacked sensor to record 960 frames per second, which, played at normal speed, can be reviewed to spot those magic moments you might have missed.

Sony XZs

SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode guarantees shake-free video. Its five-axis image stabilisation compensates for movement in five directions, so no more bouncing around when you’re the one doing the moving.

A Quick Launch button starts the camera in just 0.5 of a second while doubling as a shutter release.

Superior Auto mode matches the one on Sony’s Cybershot cameras. I found it enough for capturing good-quality shots since correct scene modes are properly applied for optimal results, such as backlighting.

Experienced photographers will stick to Manual mode, which offers control over ISO, metering, shutter speed, focus, exposure compensation and white balance. ISO sensitivity can be set anywhere from 50 to 3,200.

The metering options are Face, Multi, Centre, Spot and Touch. Touch is useful in adjusting exposure in the desired areas of the subject, done at a tap of the screen.

Meanwhile the front camera has 13-megapixel resolution and a 22-mm-equivalien lens with an f/2.0 aperture. Yes, this is selfie territory.

The fingerprint reader for unlocking the phone is built into the power button on the right side and certainly worked efficiently for me.

The battery life is good thanks to Smart Stamina technology that “learns” how you use up the power throughout the day. It lets you know when you’re running low. Recharging is also optimised to make sure your 2,900mAh battery doesn’t die before the end of the day.

The Sony Xperia XZs has a suggested retail price of Bt21,990.

Sony Xperia XZs Key Specs

– Operating system: Android 7.1

– Networks: GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G), UMTS HSPA+ (3G), LTE (4G) Cat11

– Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

– Memory: 4GB RAM

– Storage: 64GB eMMC, expandable with microSD by up to 256GB

– SIM: Dual nano SIM

– Durability: Water-resistant (IP65/68), Corning Gorilla Glass

– Display: 5.2-inch Full HD Triluminos for mobile

– Main camera: 19MP Motion Eye camera, 1/ 2.3-inch Exmor RS for mobile memory-stacked sensor with 25mm f/2.0 lens

– Front camera: 13MP 1/ 3.06-inch Exmor RS for mobile image sensor with 22mm wide-angle f/2.0 lens

– Connectivity: AGNSS (GPS + GLONASS), WiFi Miracast, Bluetooth 4.2, DLNA Certified, Google Cast, NFC, USB Type

– Battery: 2,900mAh Smart Stamnia, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

– Dimensions: 146x72x8.1mm

– Weight: 161 grams

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