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IFA 2017: Hands on with the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact

By John Law - 3 Sep 2017

IFA 2017: Hands on with the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact

Overview

We’ll be frank: we had initially wanted to do the hands-on with Sony’s two new Xperia XZ1 flagships a little earlier, but given the frequency of media members that were at the floor that day, we decided it would be best to wait it out for a while, just so that we could get a better look at both the phones.

Once the crowd dispersed, we made our move into the counters and had our time with Sony’s newest additions to its Xperia family.

 

Design

 

Sony Xperia XZ1 & XZ1 Compact Specs Sheet
 

Xperia XZ1

Xperia XZ1 Compact

Network 4G LTE
Operating System

Android 8.0 Oreo with Xperia UI

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 64-bit 

Built-in Memory 4GB LPDDR4
Display 5.2-inch Full HD HDR TRILUMINOS Display for mobile (with X-Reality for mobile) 4.6-inch HD Display TRILUMINOS Display for mobile (with X-Reality for mobile)
Camera
  • Rear: 19MP Motion Eye, f/2.3, Exmor RS, BIONZ, G Lens (with Pixel Pitch 1.22μm)
  • Front: 13MP, f/2.0, Exmor RS (with Wide Angle f/2.0 22mm)
  • Rear: 19MP Motion Eye, f/2.3, Exmor RS, BIONZ, G Lens (with Pixel Pitch 1.22μm)
  • Front: 8MP, f/1.4, Exmor RS, 18mm super wide-angle with 120 degrees field of view
Audio Support
  • Hi-Res Audio (LPCM, FLAC,ALAC, DSD)
  • DSEE HX
  • LDAC
  • Digital Noise Cancellation
  • Clear Audio+
  • S-force Front Surround
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual band
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS)
  • Wi-Fi Miracast
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • DLNA
  • Google Cast
  • NFC
  • USB Type-C
Storage Type
  • 64GB UFS internal storage (expandable up to 256GB via microSDXC)
  • 32GB UFS internal storage (expandable up to 256GB via microSDXC)
Battery 2,700mAh
Dimensions 148 x 73 x 7.4 mm 65 x 129 x 9.3mm
Weight 156g 143g

 

If you were expecting Sony to have adopted and showcased a new design with the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact, we’re sorry to tell you that that isn’t the case here.

The Sony Xperia XZ1 (left) and the original Xperia XZ (right). By comparison, the XZ1 is thinner and longer than its predecessor.

If anything, the XZ1 sports a slightly longer body and slimmer all-aluminum form factor from the original XZ and XZs, while the XZ1 Compact’s body seems to have reverted back to that polycarbonate and matte texture that was first introduced on Sony’s Xperia Z5 Compact, a phone that was announced more than two years ago.

It's hard to see, but the Xperia XZ1 (right) is slightly slimmer than the Xperia XZ.

More specifically, both the design and looks of the XZ1 Compact actually hits a little closer to home with the Xperia X Compact, which actually released last year.

But moving forward: if you were to put the XZ1 right next to the original XZ, the difference in its design can be seen, and quite inherently, if we might add. As we mentioned in the second paragraph, the XZ1’s body is slightly more elongated. On top of that, it’s also got a slimmer body (7.4mm) than the first XZ (8.1mm).

These minute changes don’t end there either. In order to make the XZ1, Sony had its engineers designed and machine-cut the phone’s body out a single block of aluminum: a manufacturing process that may sound familiar to many of our readers, and a process that has long been used by few other Android smartphone makers in the industry.

Every point and side of the Xperia XZ1 have been rounded, giving it a very polished aesthetic.

Sony has even marked out the locations of the phone’s four antennas, which are located at the middle of the phone’s top, the left side (Two antennas), and the right side (one antenna), just above the phone’s volume rocker.

Even the top, bottom, and the sides of the XZ1 has been rounded out, which actually allows the phone to dig into our hands, thus giving us a better grip of it.

Unfortunately, all these little improvements and the XZ1’s slim form factor has meant that Sony needed to make sacrifice, and the victim this time around was the phone’s battery.

Both the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact are fitted with the same 2,700mAh battery.

Just like the XZ1 Compact, the XZ1 houses a 2,700mAh battery, which is actually smaller than the battery installed into the Xperia XZ (the phone launched with a 2,900mAh). We know what you’re thinking: why on earth would Sony do something silly like putting a smaller battery inside a flagship phone?

Well, the answer lies in the processor that lies within the new XZ1 and XZ1 Compact. Both the phones use the new Snapdragon 835 SoC, a processor that both Qualcomm and Sony has said to be far more efficient than the now aging Snapdragon 820 SoC. This power efficiency supposedly lets the XZ1 and XZ1 Compact actually draw on less energy in order to power themselves through a usual period of use.

While this may sound impressive, we won’t be able to rectify these claims are true until we actually get our hands on them.

On a slightly brighter note, we thought it a nice touch that both phones would launch with Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo pre-installed on them.

 

Display

The Xperia XZ1's 5.2-inch is a Full HD HDR Ultra display.

Just like its predecessor, the Xperia XZ1 sports a 5.2-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) TRILUMINOS display, but with an extra bonus. With the XZ1, its Full HD display is flanked by Sony's new HDR Ultra technology, meaning that the colors and details in all images and media content look more dynamic and lively, with deeper blacks and brighter colors.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact still retains a 4.6-inch HD display, but it actually looks less washed out and more natural.

Sadly, the XZ1 Compact still retains the same 4.6-inch HD (1,280 x 720) display, just like the X Compact. That being said, we’re glad to say that its display actually looked less washed out, with its overall color reproduction looking (and feeling) more natural than its predecessor.

 

Camera

Both the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact are fitted with the same 19MP Motion Eye main camera.

Because both phones are using the same 19MP Motion Eye sensor as its main camera, we won’t be doing an in-depth coverage here. Instead, you can check out the pictures that we took during the day and night in our review of the Xperia XZ Premium.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact's front-facing camera has a new super wide angle feature.

In fact, the only camera here worth talking about is surprisingly on the XZ1 Compact’s front-facing camera. Despite its meager 8MP sensor (the XZ1 still retains a 13MP sensor), Sony has given the XZ1 Compact’s front-facing camera a super wide-angle feature with a 120 degrees field of view, which you can easily alternate on the phone’s front-facing camera interface. As you would expect, once activated, the feature automatically widens up the camera view, allowing for users to take a better selfie of themselves and their surrounding environment, or even allow them to take a wefie with more than two people in the shot.

As we wrote in our earlier coverage, the Xperia XZ1 will be made available in Europe in beginning next week, while the XZ1 Compact would only be available later in September this year. Sony Malaysia has yet to announce when they will be bringing in the phones, but we sure as rain can’t wait to get our hands on them in order to perform a more in-depth review with them.