Sony Xperia XZ review

A flagship for Sony, but maybe not everyone

Sony Xperia XZ

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Battery life

  • Same size battery as Xperia Z5
  • Performs just as well as the Sony Xperia Z5 too

Battery life on the Xperia XZ isn't going to blow your mind, but it's going to last you through the average day – as long as any other flagship phone in 2016 – and most users will be happy with that.

The Xperia Z5 series phones weren't the best in terms battery life, but they weren't the worst either – and it's a similar story here.

How good is the battery on the Xperia XZ? This video will show you:

By the end of the day it generally had between 10% and 30% of its charge left – one night it was bedtime before we got the 30% battery notification, although you won't have that much juice left at such a late hour if you're going to be intensively using your phone.

Sony Xperia XZ

For when you're away from the charger, there's Sony's Stamina power-saving mode. This disables background data and GPS when the screen is off, as well as image enhancement and vibrations.

If you're waiting on an important phone call you can always use the Ultra Stamina mode – this only allows access to the phone and basic apps such as contacts, messages and camera.

Sony has included its own fast-charging tech in the Xperia XZ, so it won't take too long to charge up when you need it to either.

The Xperia XZ can also learn when and for how long you charge your phone – the aim here is to ensure your phone isn't being pummeled with lots of charge when it's not needed.

For example, if you charge your phone overnight and you wake up at 7AM, your XZ will charge up to 90%, then cut off charging until around 6:50AM, then finish off the charge in the last few minutes before you wake up.

Sony wants to help you optimize battery performance over the lifetime of the phone, and this will help – it's a welcome feature if you're planning on hanging on to your XZ for a few years.

Sony Xperia XZ

We put the Xperia XZ through the TechRadar battery test – running a 90-minute clip with the screen at maximum brightness and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background – and it had 74% left at the end. That makes sense, as the Xperia Z5, which has the same 2900mAh cell, completed the test with 75% remaining.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, with its 3600mAh battery, that's quite poor – the S7 Edge only dropped 14% of its battery in the same test. And it's especially poor when you consider that the Xperia XZ only has a Full HD screen, and not a 2K display.

The Xperia XZ won't stun you with its battery life, then, but it will see you through a day of moderate use, and will hopefully last longer over time than the Xperia Z5 and many other Android phones.


  • Huge 23MP sensor, but same as many recent Sony phones
  • Seriously impressive laser autofocus for moving shots
  • Improved 13MP selfie shooter

Sony is pushing the camera as the headline feature of the Xperia XZ – but you wouldn't be blamed for wondering what's new here when looking at the spec list.

The Xperia XZ comes with a 23MP rear camera, which is the same size sensor we've seen before, and has a maximum aperture of f/2.0 and an LED flash – again, specs we've seen before.

Sony Xperia XZ

The only real highlight comes in the form of laser autofocus, which works in tandem with the predictive hybrid autofocus of previous Sony phones.

Sony is positioning this as the phone to go for if you like to take action shots and other snaps of moving subjects. The marketing for the Xperia XZ features images of dogs jumping in the air, so we tried to recreate those shots with TechRadar's Home Ents writer Jon Porter…

Sony Xperia XZ

Click to see the full-resolution image

And the Xperia XZ delivers. All the shots like this that we took showed minimum blur. If you examine the photo above, you can make out every element of the shot clearly apart from the right foot.

Sony Xperia XZ

Click to see the full-resolution image

We've never used a phone with autofocus this fast and accurate.

Sony Xperia XZ

Click to see the full-resolution image

In terms of regular photography, you're going to get some great-looking shots out of the Xperia XZ using the auto mode.

It won't give you as vibrant an image as the iPhone 7, or as sharp a shot as the Galaxy S7. Some shots we took appeared a little washed-out in the background, but the autofocus knew what object we wanted to focus on.

According to Sony, white balance accuracy has been improved on the Xperia XZ. While it wasn't particularly noticeable when taking photos on the phone, comparing images to ones shot on the Xperia Z5 on a computer screen revealed that color fidelity on the Xperia XZ has improved by quite some way.

Then there are the manual mode options on the Xperia XZ. If you're willing to delve into these settings and experiment, you can enjoy some of the best mobile photography possible on the Xperia XZ.

Sony's camera also features optical image stabilization, and records video in 4K. We found video quality to be impressive, but 4K is of limited use considering the screen on this device is only Full HD.

You could move the video files across to your 4K TV for viewing at full resolution, but remember these files are going to be huge, and will take up a lot of room on your phone.

Xperia XZ

Selfie shooting is improved on the Xperia XZ too. There's a 13MP front-facing camera here, which rivals some of the more impressive Chinese handsets designed to let you indulge your narcissistic tendencies.

The sensor delivered fantastic images in our testing, with sharp detail and bright colors. There's also a new 'wave to capture' mode, which enables you to balance your phone on a wall or other surface, then step and take a photo without having to touch a button.

Sony Xperia XZ

You can capture Full HD video on the front-facing camera too, meaning that video calls will look as good as you'll ever need them to.

This is certainly one of the best phones you can buy for selfies right now – the level of detail impressed us, and it'll impress your social media acquaintances too.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.