Sony XZ Premium brings 4K HDR to the mobile: everything you need to know

More pixels and brighter colors than ever before

Sony’s back with a new high-end phone… and we really mean high end.

In fact, bar the fact the Sony Xperia XZ Premium ‘only’ got 4GB of RAM, it’s hard to see what could really be improved on the spec sheet of this powerful phablet.

Let’s start with the main event: Sony’s brought out another 4K phone, but this time there’s a purpose: 4K streaming is coming to smartphones, and it’s going to be HDR-enabled too.

Both Netflix and Amazon are offering the picture quality, and the Xperia XZ Premium has both the pixels and the HDR compatibility to show it off perfectly, plus 4K video streaming to mobile has been confirmed by Amazon for its Prime Video service.

(For those that care, the XZ Premium is only HDR10 though, no Dolby Vision as in the LG G6 - but it’s way to early in the technology’s evolution to care about such things.)

There’s a 5.5-inch size screen on offer with the aforementioned resolution, combined with the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset to drive all those pixels too.

Camera

The camera is the other big chance, with the resolution actually dropping from 23MP in recent flagship phones down to 19MP - which is good news.

It means faster processing, larger pixels for better low light photography, and the new Motion Eye technology can take a picture whenever it spots motion.

So if you’re looking to take a pic of your mate jumping over a cat in the snow with a bear about to attack him but it’s OK as he’s wearing a thick jacket but you miss the moment… you actually won’t have.

The Motion Eye technology takes pictures before and after the shutter automatically, using a ‘Predicted’ mode to work out what the photo SHOULD have been and then presents the options for the best pic after the shutter has closed.

On top of that, the Xperia XZ Premium is capable of shooting at a dizzying 960 frames per second, which offers really slow motion shots. However, this is only possible at 720p resolution, and doesn’t have the low light capabilities of the still photo sensor.

Battery


The battery on the Xperia XZ Premium is a mite small at 3230mAh, as given the size of the handset (which is only 7.9mm thick) we’d have expected more.

However, there’s USB Type-C on board, a headphone jack and an expandable memory card slot to play with as well - so it’s again ticking the boxes there.

There’s another first in the mix for selected territories - using the new LTE Cat 16 speeds means this phone can download files at 1 Gbps - we’re talking seconds to absorb a whole 4K movie.

In real terms, it’ll probably only be half as fast as that - the 1Gbps is in lab conditions - but you’re still going to be getting 500Mbps on the go if your network supports it - EE has confirmed to TechRadar that it will be rolling out the technology this year for its customers that take it’s huge, unlimited speed package.

There’s no word on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium price as yet, although we know the release date will be ‘late spring’ - presumably after the Samsung Galaxy S8 as, word is, that’s got the first wave of Snapdragon 835 chipset already locked down. 


Update: We've corrected the possible download speeds outside lab conditions as EE has told us 500Mbps, not 150Mbps, should be possible. 



Update: We've corrected the possible download speeds outside lab conditions as EE has told us 500Mbps, not 150Mbps, should be possible. Update: We've corrected the possible download speeds outside lab conditions as EE has told us 500Mbps, not 150Mbps, should be possible. 

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