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Sony Xperia XZ1 review: Is this mid-range smartphone a one-trick pony?

Sony Xperia XZ1 review – Given the smartphone saturation in the current market, making a phone stand out is something of a tall order, and can culminate in some questionable design decisions. Take the HTC U11’s squeezable properties, designed to facilitate a quick app launch, which experienced something of an ironic failure to launch.

Following the HTC U11 on this ill-judged path, it seems, is the Sony Xperia XZ1, a mid-high end smartphone which boasts the capacity for 3D image scanning, a feat which ensures it sticks out from the crowd. But does this incongruously premium feature add any real value, or is it just an ill-conceived gimmick. Read on to find out our take on the matter…

Sony Xperia XZ1 review: UK release date, price and specifications

  • Screen: 5.2in, 1,920 x 1,080
  • CPU: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 23-megapixel f/2.0
  • Price: TBC
  • Release date: September 2017

Sony Xperia XZ1 review: Design, key features and first impressions

First thing’s first: it’s not an eyesore. In fact, it’s pretty aesthetically pleasing for a smartphone, comprising a commonplace angular metal body with similarly commonplace chamfered edges. The sides are rounded off, in a vintage Sony move. Not revolutionary, but not ugly by a long shot. Quite sleek, even.

The 1,902 x 1,080 display is similarly commendable, coming in at 5.2in with a pixel density of 369 pixels per inch. This makes for a lucid, clear display – nothing fancy, but it does the job, and it does it well.

Specs-wise, the phone runs the octa-core Snapdragon 835 chip from Qualcomm, a decent processor that runs in premium competitors such as the Galaxy Note 8. There’s 64GB inbuilt storage, 4GB of RAM, and – excitingly – the device runs Android 8 Oreo. Great stuff all round in this respect.

When it comes to the camera, the Xperia XZ1 is robust, holding up well in different lighting conditions, and offering a 23-megapixel resolution with a f/1.7 aperture. 3D image scanning is, of course, what we’re here for, and the technology is simple and impressive if a tad gimmicky.

Simply direct the rear camera towards an object of your choice (faces, food, they’re all viable), follow the dotted lines, and tap to confirm. The 32-imaging post-processing is, impressively, performed on-site on the device itself. Without any practical uses just yet, we can’t help but feel that it’s a little stunted, but it could prove useful in the future. With a potential future partnership with PlayStation not off the cards, the feature could unleash a world of excitement.

Sony Xperia XZ1 review: Early verdict

As handsets go, the Sony Xperia XZ1 is a fine specimen. Internally, the specs are great, serving to rival premium smartphones on the market right now. The display is big, bold, and bright, which is an obvious plus, and the handset itself is a swish-looking device.

We’re slightly more dubious when it comes to the 3D image scanning technology, which doesn’t exactly blow our socks off due to limited practicability. In fact, the price point is amped up because of it, it could prove a financial millstone around the neck of an otherwise solid mid-range smartphone. Judgement day will come when more information about price becomes available.

We will be releasing an in-depth review of the Sony Xperia XZ1 in the near future.

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