REVIEWED: The XZ, featuring Sony's best mobile camera yet

2017-01-18 15:44 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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Sony Xperia XZ

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Johannesburg - Sony Mobile’s flagship offering to the South African market encompasses a beautiful design, user friendly experience and great camera in the form of the Xperia XZ.

Outshone by devices from manufacturers such as Huawei, Samsung and Apple; the underrated XZ has much to offer its users as an overall well-designed product. 

Officially unveiled in September 2016, the XZ boasts impressive specifications even among its top-tier competitors - the most outstanding of which its powerful 23-megapixel camera.

READ: Sony Xperia X goes on sale in SA

The entire design of the device feels rigid with a slate form similar to that of older Nokia Lumia devices. 

Why go dual?

The trend of smartphone releases today hinge on dual-camera functionality where one camera is usually a monochrome for black and white, and the other colour. This in turn helps to enhance the depth of field in a photograph. Sony, though, chose to opt for its renowned single lens camera.

While dual-cameras often produce a somewhat digital effect when making use of the wide-angle feature, similar to an after-edit on an image, the XZ manages to maintain a more natural effect in keeping the subject of an image in focus and the background blur.  

In addition the camera features a sharp, crisp and vivid end-result. 

The cameras phase-detection feature offers sharper images for objects in motion. 

The 13-megapixel selfie camera performs just as well its primary camera capturing some of the best and vibrant images from a facing camera. 

User-friendliness 

Unlocking a device through its fingerprint scanner is a standard feature in a premium smartphone today, but position of the scanner plays a role in how rapidly a user is able to unlock and use a device. 

Surprisingly, top-selling smartphones from Samsung and Apple have terrible 'Home Affairs-style' thumb-pressing methods to unlocking devices with the scanner placed at below the screen. 

READ: Sony’s Xperia X certainly captures your imagination

Then there is the Huawei/LG approach of situating the scanner at the back of the device, which offers a more natural way of unlocking a device with an index finger behind the device. But unfortunately the scanner is concealed when the device lies on its back.

But Sony comes out tops with its scanner on the right hand side of the device. 

With numerous fingerprint IDs allowed on the device while holding it face-up, the thumb can be registered to unlock the device. 

Scrolling through the device is an easy navigation with instant access to most-used apps within easy reach of the thumb after unlocking.

Sony Mobile’s layering on top of the Android operating system is more subtle than in previous models with a more vanilla version of the OS on the device – a win for Android fans resulting in a less buggy device that operates more effieciently, even with numerous apps installed.

Pitfalls

While fighting in the priciest bracket of smartphones available in the country, the XZ notably features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 - one of the most powerful chipsets in a smartphone.

But the device only features a 2900 mAh battery and features a 5.2 inch display. 

It is evident that Sony has optimised the battery to power consumed by the unit, but a larger battery always offers more peace of mind. 

To buy or not to buy 

With phablet-sized smartphones and larger displays featuring in most devices, the XZ is a phone for those looking for a smaller device. 

For those that demand a powerful camera from their device, the XZ is a win. 

Most importantly the devices ease of use in its design and navigation make it a worthwhile product. 

@KyleVenktess on Twitter.

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