Sony Xperia XZ review

A flagship for Sony, but maybe not everyone

Sony Xperia XZ

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The Xperia XZ doesn't represent a revolutionary step from Sony. Rather it's a repackaging of the highlights we've seen in previous Xperia handsets, with a refined design and a few more tweaks to keep up with the competition.

It would have been nice to see a 2K display on the Xperia XZ, but Sony knows best what its batteries are capable of, and has stuck to Full HD.

The design tweaks give the XZ a more premium feel phone than previous high-end Xperias, and it seems that Sony may have finally nailed what a flagship phone should look and feel like.

Xperia XZ

Who's this for?

If you currently have an Xperia Z5, there isn't much reason to upgrade here. It's fairly similar to last year's Sony flagship, and there's no compelling headline feature to turn your head.

If, however, you currently own an Xperia Z3+ or an older Sony phone, and like the way it looks and works, this is the phone to go for as an upgrade. The Xperia X and Xperia X Compact offer up premium spec, but the Xperia XZ is by far the best of the bunch.

Xperia XZ

And if you're using an older Android phone from another brand, the Xperia XZ could be a great choice as well. The Android competition right now is tough – as you'll see in the Competition section below – but the Xperia XZ holds its own against some of the best phones you can buy right now.

The real highlights of the Xperia XZ come in the form of the new and improved design - with waterproofing, yet again - as well as little tweaks to the camera.

New autofocus technology on the Xperia XZ allows you to get some phenomenal moving shots with the rear shooter on the back of the phone and it's incredible what Sony has been able to achieve with its 23MP sensor.

With a top of the range speedy processor, 3GB of RAM and improved software the Xperia XZ will allow you to do whatever you want on your phone with ease.

Should you buy it?

You should buy the Xperia XZ if you're upgrading from an older Sony phone and want the best package the brand currently offers. It doesn't have the high-end screen spec you'd get on the Samsung Galaxy S7.

If you live in the US, the Xperia XZ won't come with a fingerprint sensor either and that's something you'd expect to get on an expensive flagship phone.

The Xperia XZ is a great phone, just be warned – there isn't that much that's new in the Xperia XZ and it is pricey. If you were to go out and buy a Xperia Z5 you would get most of what's here, but just not in such a full package.

That said, the Xperia XZ is a complete-package flagship phone that we've wanted from Sony for quite some time.

  • If you're considering the Sony Xperia XZ, here are the other phones you might want to consider, both from Sony and rival brands…

iPhone 7

iPhone 7

Apple's iPhone 7 looks similar to the iPhone 6S, but it's still a decent upgrade. You won't have a headphone jack, but you will have iOS – and if you're already invested in Apple's brand you may not want to look much further for your next flagship phone.

Sony Xperia Z5

Sony Xperia Z5

If you like the look of the Sony Xperia XZ, be sure to check out the Xperia Z5 as well. Apart from tweaks to the design, the differences between the XZ and Z5 are quite minimal, and the older phone is cheaper.

You won't get the improvements to the camera, but if that's not your must-have feature then the Xperia Z5 is a fantastic smartphone.

Sony Xperia XZs

One of the latest phones from Sony, the Xperia XZs may be the alternative to the Xperia XZ you've been looking for. It has only been released in the US, but it features an incredible slow-mo mode as well as a more refined design than the Xperia XZ.

It has much the same features as the Xperia XZ but in a slightly different package, so this may be a little better suited to what you want from your phone.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

We gave the Samsung Galaxy S7 five stars when it was originally reviewed in March this year; it's a fantastic smartphone, and the one to beat in the Android space. The Xperia XZ doesn't come with the S7's 2K display, or as strong battery life, so if those features are important to you then Samsung's flagship is worth a closer look.

HTC 10

HTC 10

Want something a little different to the Sony design? The HTC 10 may be your bag. The latest flagship from HTC comes with amazing audio, and better battery life than the Xperia XZ. The camera isn't as good – there's no laser autofocus here – but it's still a great smartphone that compares well to Sony's best.

This review was written with a final sample of the Xperia XZ, but there may be some minor software changes before the phone is released. We'll be sure to note any differences once we use the new version of the phone.

First reviewed September 2016

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.