Sony’s newest is right on iPhone’s heels

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

The Xperia XZ Premium is a winner for the display alone, but there’s much more

THE SONY Xperia XZ Premium boasts a stunning design, gorgeous 4K display, fast processor and very fast data connection. And that’s in addition to an impressive camera.

The smooth, diamond-cut metal frame at top, bottom, front and back has a loop surface of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that’s like a mirror reflecting its surroundings.

For now, there are only two shades to choose between – Luminous Chrome and Deepsea Black. I tested the former and loved the mirror effect and the way the body colour complemented the theme and wallpaper tones. The 5.5-inch 4K UHD display with 2,160×3,840-pixel resolution adds to the phone’s allure.

Sony says this is the world first phone with a 4K HDR display with the high definition, colours and contrast of an HDR screen. Strategy Analytics’ SpecTRAX Service verified the claim after scouring specifications for 9,800 smartphones.

The display is powered by X-Reality, which makes it look better by filling in the missing pixels, reducing noise and enhancing texture.

The Triluminos Display reproduces about 138 per cent more colours than a standard display.

It selectively maps colours from a wilder palette to show them all accurately and vividly. So you can imagine how great 4K video clips look when streamed from YouTube and Netflix, not to mention the hi-res photos you’ve taken with the on-board camera. Sony is actually calling the XZ Premium a “video smartphone”.

In my test, the display was bright with great depth and realism thanks to the Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, which uses adaptive tone mapping to correct the contrast automatically.

Not even bright sunlight can spoil your viewing. The XZ Premium is amazingly fast due to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor running at 2.46GHz (20 per cent faster than its predecessors, Sony says). You can count on stunning graphics, superior performance and better battery efficiency.

CPU performance gets a boost from four gigabytes of working memory and 64GB of Universal Flash Storage (UFS). The CPU can access data at 1.5GB per second – three times faster than what you’re used to.

SONY Xperia XZ Premium

So I was playing graphics-intensive games and watching HD video clips with no lags or downtime.

The AnTuTu Benchmark (Version 6.2.7) gives the phone nearly 172,000 points, just one level below an iPhone 7 Plus, which is No 1 in the online database.

Internet connections are speedy because the Snapdragon 835 with its integrated X16 LTE modem has |Gigabit Class LTE capacity with |download speeds of up to 1Gbps.

I used TrueMove H’s 4G LTE network and was impressed how fast I connected and could download applications and store photos in my cloud.

The Ookla Speedtest app measured downloads at 139.49Mbps – the fastest I’ve ever seen on a phone – and uploads at 28.77Mbps.

Wi-Fi connection using 802.11ac protocol with 4×4 MIMO function is rapid, too. The phone connected to my Linksys EA8500 router, streamed video and shared photos with other devices very fast.

Supporting WiFi Miracast and Google Cast, it can also stream video to a 4K TV set. With 4×4 MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output), it doesn’t have to wait for data from the router. With a Samsung QLED TV, it can stream Netflix 4K movies at the same time.

File transfers are also super-charged thanks to the USB 3.1 connection, which is 10 times quicker than USB 2.0 and boasts a transfer speed of up to 5Gbps.

The sound quality is top notch on High-Resolution Audio files of various formats, including FLAC 24bit/192kHz tracks and advanced DSD Hi-Res Audio files, with sampling frequencies and bit-rates three to six times higher than CD audio.

I put on my Sony MDR-1ABT Hi-Res headphones and heard music that was clear, sharp and full of details and terrific bass.

The phone can also stream Hi-Res Audio sound via LDAC Bluetooth protocol to LDAC devices, such as MDR-1ABT or some Sony speakers.

The phone’s own speakers are good enough for playing music for friends. S-Force Front Surround creates virtual surround-sound from the two front speakers.

A fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button blends perfectly into the design. I had no problem unlocking the phone in an instant.

The XZ Premium is certified IP65/68 against water spills and dust, so you can take calls in the rain without worrying.

Now, for the cameras: You can put your compact digital camera away, because the phone’s main camera uses a memory-stacked ExmorRS sensor with technologies usually only found on premium compact cameras.

Since the image sensor has memory built-into it and uses triple-image-sensing technology, the camera offers several advanced functions.

Motion Eye derives from Sony’s Cybershot cameras, capturing movement that the human eye can’t normally see.

Predictive Capture senses movement and starts taking buffer images while you’re still preparing to shoot. If you click too late, choose the shot you want from up to four photos taken before you pressed the shutter. This makes the XZ Premium great for fast-action shooting, such as at sports events.

Object Tracking assist with fast-action shooting, keeping pace with whatever subject you touch in the viewfinder.

Super-slow-motion mode makes use of the memory-stacked sensor to record 960 frames per second. Played at normal speed, you can review moments that happen in the blink of an eye.

SteadyShot with five-axis image stabilisation ensures shake-free videos. Armed with Intelligent Active Mode, it compensates for movement in five directions, resulting in smoother footage.

I used the main camera to capture beautiful photos with sharp details in most lighting conditions. The Quick Launch button starts the camera in half a second and doubles as a shutter button.

The battery life is good. Smart Stamina “learns” how you use up power through the day and lets you know if you’re running low. Charging is optimised to make sure you don’t run out too soon.

Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium has a suggested retail price of Bt25,990.

Xperia XZ Premium Key Specs

Operating system: Android 7.1

Networks: GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G), UMTS HSPA+ (3G), LTE (4G) Cat16 with Gigabit-class speeds

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

Memory: 4GB RAM

Storage: 64GB UFS, expandable with microSD up to 256GB

SIM: Dual nano

Durability: Water-resistant (IP65/68), Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Display: 5.5-inch 4K HDR Triluminos for mobile

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

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

Connectivity: A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS), WiFi Miracast, Bluetooth 4.2, DLNA Certified, Google Cast, NFC, USB 3.1 Gen 1/USB Type-C

Battery: 3230mAh Smart Stamnia, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

Dimensions: 156x77x7.9mm

Weight: 191 grams

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