The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictThe Sony Xperia XZ1 is a good phone, but it lacks any eye-popping features and, for the price, only offers a Full HD display and a fairly dated design.
- Snappy, smooth performance
- Colorful, Bright Display
- Decent battery life
- IP68 water resistant
- Low contrast 1080p LCD panel
- Poor low-light photos
- Huge bezels
Sony has struggled to maintain a foothold in the smartphone market. But the Xperia XZ1 proves they haven’t given up.
While the XZ1 has a dated look, some might like the boxy design and larger bezels. It’s a matter of personal preference. Still, when compared to similar flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or iPhone X, it looks a bit behind in terms of styling.
Similar in design to the original, Sony has made some subtle changes for the XZ1. It’s thinner measuring in at 0.3 inches. It also sports an aluminum unibody. This brings more durability and an IP68 water-resistance rating.
Sony has called this new styling the infinite loop design. Despite rounds out the sides a bit compared to earlier models, reviewers noticed a slight jab from its edges when carrying it in their pants pocket.
If you’re looking for the sharpest screen, look elsewhere. The 5.2inch, 1080p LCD panel falls short when compared to phones like the Pixel 2 or Galaxy Note 8. It doesn’t provide the dark blacks or contrast ratio of OLEDs.
Still, the screen is good enough for most people. It has excellent color accuracy, good legibility in bright lighting, and great viewing angles. Still, as Tom’s Guide notes, “... the XZ1’s screen still feels like the best of old technology, rather than where the industry is headed.”
While the screen and design might seem so 2016, performance is top-notch. It comes equipped with an octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM. Real-life testing shows it’s very fast. Critics were pleased with how quickly apps launched and had no issues with lag or stutters even when multitasking or playing graphically demanding games.
A 2,700mAh battery might not seem like a lot, but reviewers could get a full day’s worth of use out of a single charge -- even with heavy usage. For more moderate use, they could get a day and a half.
Despite their innovation in the mirrorless camera world, the camera on the XZ1 didn’t particularly impress experts. Sony skipped out on the dual lens craze in favor of having a 19MP rear sensor with 5-axis image stabilization.
On paper, this sounds amazing. In practice, it produced solid results but didn’t wow reviewers. In good lighting situations, the camera captured detailed pictures with accurate colors. However, in low light, they could not produce many usable photos despite the image stabilization.
Some also had issues the finicky standard focus shifting focus between various objects. To combat this, Sony included a feature called “predictive phase detection autofocus”, which keeps focus on a moving object and takes bursts of pictures.
Overall, reviewers enjoyed the XZ1, but have a hard time recommending it. Android Authority states, “Sony hasn’t done enough to make the Xperia XZ1 stand out from the pack… there’s simply better options that offer better values at an equal or lesser cost.” TechRadar adds, “The Sony Xperia XZ1 has a good camera, display, power and software… but apart from the odd flash here and there it doesn’t do anything to really stand out…”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Dan Carter, Coolsmartphone
If you want a smartphone from a big-name brand but want something different from all the Samsung Galaxy devices out there, Sony do make a good alternative, especially with their camera technology bringing some great features at a cheaper price.
- Anirudh Regidi, Firstpost
With the Sony Xperia XZ1, Sony has done the impossible: They’ve gone backwards in time. What you get is a phone with massive bezels, a great screen, a disappointing camera, sub-par battery life, great build quality, boring design and a premium price tag.
- Kunal Dua, NDTV
There’s a lot to like about the Sony Xperia XZ1 - it has a good display with HDR support, excellent performance, decent battery life, a camera that’s good enough for many people, and Android Oreo backed by what has so far been a decent record of regular updates.
- Cortney Moore & Adam Ismail, Tom's Guide
The Xperia XZ1 packs plenty of power and the latest version of Android, but this phone's bulky design, small battery and lack of a fingerprint sensor make it feel decidedly dated.
- Alexandru Stănescu, GSM Dome
Aside from the battery, this flagship is basically perfect. On an objective note, nobody can contest the excellent performance, pictures and compact format. And seeing what Apple and Samsung had to offer this year, it’s nice to see Sony mattering more than in the previous years.
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia XZ1 user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia XZ1 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia XZ1 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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Manuals / User Guides
- Sony Xperia XZ1 Manual (PDF)
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