Sony Xperia XZ1 release date, news and features

The Sony Xperia XZ1 has been officially launched at IFA 2017 in Berlin, and it is Sony’s latest flagship smartphone targeted at a more mainstream audience than the pricier, 4K-toting XZ Premium.

It arrived alongside the smaller Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact which packs the same power, camera, OS and battery into a one-handed-use friendly form factor.

We’ve got everything you need to know about Sony’s new flagship duo below, but make sure you check out our hands on reviews of both phones for the full rundown of what they’re like to use and how they perform.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony’s new flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? Pre order: August 31, On sale: September
  • What will it cost? A lot, similar to Galaxy S8/LG G6/HTC U11

Check out our hands on Sony Xperia XZ1 video below to see the new flagship phone in action

Sony Xperia XZ1 release date and price

  • Announced: August 31, 2017
  • Pre order: August 31 (UK) 
  • On sale: September 2017
  • Price: TBC

Sony took the covers off the Xperia XZ1 (and the smaller Xperia XZ1 Compact) on August 31 at the IFA 2017 show in Berlin.

It's been confirmed that the Sony Xperia XZ1 release date will be sometime in September, but we're still waiting for a specific date.

We also don’t have a XZ1 price yet, but you can expect it to set you back a similar amount as the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 and HTC U11.

We do know that it will be available in both the US and UK, with pre-orders going live in Britain from August 31 at Carphone Warehouse.

The Xperia XZ1 is Sony's new flagship smartphone

Sony Xperia XZ1 design

  • Xperia XZ1: premium metal unibody, 7.4mm thick
  • XZ1 Compact: glass fiber woven plastic

The Sony Xperia XZ1 is crafted from a single piece of aluminum for a premium metal unibody design.

Each side of the phone is rounded, with three antenna breakouts on the side allowing for better network connection no matter how you hold the phone.

Meanwhile the boxier, chunkier Xperia XZ1 Compact boasts a glass fiber woven plastic construction which is both strong and lightweight.

You’ll find a centralized power/lock key below a volume rocker and above a dedicated camera shutter button on the right side of each handset, and the former key also houses a fingerprint scanner (unless you’re in the US, where the biometric function has been removed).

Both handsets are IP65/68 rated, meaning they’re fully dust and water resistant as well as being able to survive a dunk into water for up to 30 minutes.

The Xperia XZ1 Compact has flagship power in a smaller package

Sony Xperia XZ1 display

  • Xperia XZ1: 5.2-inch full HD, HDR display
  • XZ1 Compact: 4.6-inch 720p display

The Sony Xperia XZ1 comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display which makes it smaller and lower resolution than its main flagship rivals - however it does have a trick up its sleeve.

There’s HDR support also built into the screen, allowing you to enjoy the selection of HDR programming on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. 

The display isn’t quite as dazzling on the XZ1 Compact, as its 4.6-inch panel has a 720p, HD resolution and no HDR support. However, for a handset that you can use easily with one hand, the screen is still bright and clear.

Sony Xperia XZ1 camera

  • Both: 19MP rear camera with 960fps super slow mo
  • Xperia XZ1: 13MP front camera
  • XZ1 Compact: 8MP super wide-angle front camera

Both the Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact have the same 19MP rear-facing camera which brings with it all the features seen on the Xperia XZ Premium.

That means you'll be able to shoot in super slow motion at 960fps and take advantage of the raft of modes and features Sony's packed into the camera.

However, there are a couple of new features - or, more accurately, two improved features.

First up, burst mode can now stay focused on a moving subject thanks to Sony’s predictive phase detection, allowing you to take up to 100 snaps in just 10 seconds with every shot in focus. 

The second camera improvement sees Predictive Capture given a boost. Smile detection will see the phone snap three shots before you hit the shutter key, so even if you miss a person’s smile the XZ1 will have captured it anyway.

On the front the two handsets differ. The Xperia XZ1 boasts a straightforward 13MP lens, while the Xperia XZ Compact comes with a super wide-angle 8MP snapper with a 120 degree field of view - allowing you to cram more people into your selfies.

Both new XZ1 handsets have the same 19MP rear camera

Sony Xperia XZ1 battery

  • Both phones have a 2,700mAh battery

You’ll find the same 2,700mAh battery in both the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact. While that’s good news as far as the smaller handset goes, it’s a little more concerning for the larger device.

It means the Xperia XZ1 has a 200mAh smaller battery than its predecessor (the Xperia XZ), which raises questions about its potential battery life. Keep an eye out for our full review in the coming weeks to see how it performs.

Sony Xperia XZ1 power and OS

  • Both: Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, Android Oreo, microSD
  • Xperia XZ1: 64GB of internal storage
  • XZ1 Compact: 32GB of internal storage

There’s no doubting the flagship credentials of the Sony Xperia XZ1 when you take a look at the power it’s packing under the hood.

You get the top of the range Snapdragon 835 chipset - the same one found in the HTC U11 and OnePlus 5 - along with 4GB of RAM, which should give you plenty of grunt. 

There’s also 64GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot, giving you loads of space for your games, videos, apps and photos.

Not to be outdone, the XZ1 Compact has the same Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM, with only the internal storage taking a hit. You get 32GB here, plus a microSD slot.

Both phones also run the very latest version of Google's mobile software out the box, with Android Oreo installed on both, albeit with Sony's interface on top.

Sony Xperia XZ1 audio

  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • S-Force Surround gives 50% more sound pressure

Sony's Hi-Res audio support continues on the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact, with both handsets able to handle higher bitrate audio files as well as upscaling MP3 files for improved quality.

It's not just improvements via the 3.5mm headphone jack though, as Sony has also done some work on the front-facing dual speakers of each phone, applying its S-Force Surround technology, which has improved sound pressure by 50% from that of their predecessors. That means louder, cleaner music from the speakers.

The dual front-facing speakers have been given a boost

Sony Xperia XZ1 colors

  • Xperia XZ1: Black, Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue and Venus Pink
  • XZ1 Compact: Black, White Silver, Horizon Blue and Twilight Pink

There are four color options for the Sony Xperia XZ1, and Sony’s calling them Black, Warm Silver, Moonlit Blue and Venus Pink.

The XZ1 Compact is also available in four shades, which are very similar to its bigger brother, but with slightly different names and hues; Black, White Silver, Horizon Blue and Twilight Pink.

IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.