BARCELONA: Sony took the wraps off the Xperia XZ Premium at Mobile World Congress on Monday.
The smartphone follows on from the Xperia XZ but is better described as the true successor to the Xperia Z5 Premium thanks to some world-first features.
Sony claims the Xperia XZ Premium boasts the first ever HDR 4K screen to be seen in a smartphone, as well as a brand new 19MP camera sensor that's capable of capturing 960fps slow-motion videos.
We got some hands-on time with the device at the conference in Barcelona.
In terms of overall design, the Xperia XZ Premium is very similar to its predecessor, which is no bad thing as we're fans of its sleek, boxy look. But with this release, Sony has managed to beat the Xperia XZ's 5.2in display by squeezing with an even bigger 5.5in screen inside the bezel.
The firm hasn't yet confirmed weight or thickness of the XZ Premium yet but in hand it feels slimmer compared to the Xperia XZ. Picking up the phone for the first time, we were surprised at how comfortable it felt, even with such a large display size.
Another great feature of the Xperia XZ Premium's design is that, like the Xperia XZ and Xperia Z5 before that, it can be dunked in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5m, Sony claims, due to its dust-resistant and waterproof IP65 and IP68 certification, the highest possible waterproof rating. However, we didn't have a chance to test that in our brief testing time.
The display on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is its most impressive feature. Sony claims it is the first phone to feature an HDR 4K display, offering much richer colours than seen on previous handsets.
With a staggering 800ppi resolution, the Xperia XZ Premium's 5.5in display is double the pixel count of the iPhone 7, which is not hard to believe when you see it in the flesh. The screen blew us away.
Images are crystal clear and it is truly stunning to use, with both text and images looking sharp and touch operations being smooth between pages and apps.
Performance and software
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, paired 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, making it quite a powerhouse. The chip is just as impressive in the real world as it is on paper, and we found the device very nippy, with no lag whatsoever, even when playing and recording 4K video.
It's also capable Cat 16 LTE download speeds of 1GB per second, meaning you could fill up the 64GB onboard storage in little over a minute of downloading.
As for software, the Xperia XZ Premium runs Google's Android mobile operating system right out of the box although Sony is yet to confirm what version this will be. Naturally, Sony has skinned Android with its own custom user interface (UI). While we've never been huge fans of Sony's custom UI, finding it overbearing compared to a vanilla Android user interface, some of the firm's apps are a bonus.
The Xperia XZ Premium arrives loaded with Sony's Walkman and PlayStation companion apps as seen on the Xperia XZ, as well as many new augmented reality camera features and built-in noise cancellation technology to help block out background sounds while listening to music.
The Xperia XZ Premium's rear-facing camera features a new 19MP sensor with stacked memory for even snappier high-quality snaps as well as 4K video recording capabilities. Still images taken with the new and improved rear-facing camera were much more impressive than on the Xperia XZ, appearing crisp, clear and full of natural colour.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium also features a 13MP camera on its front that's capable of shooting HD 1080p video for all your selfie needs.
Though we were very impressed with our first hands-on with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the handset's success likely will depend partly on its price, which Sony has yet to reveal. The Japanese tech giant will launch the Xperia XZ Premium globally sometime in May, in silver and blue colour options.
Check back with V3 soon for our full Sony Xperia XZ Premium review.