Sony Xperia XZ1 full review

Sony has released its newest smartphone from the Xperia series: the Xperia XZ1. Coming just a year after the Xperia XZ (released last September), the XZ1 is set to be a better and stronger version of the previous model. We’ve already reviewed the Xperia XZ in depth, but we’ll now take a good look at the main differences between Sony’s two models.

You’ll be quick to notice that both phones look incredibly similar, but then again that’s true of most Xperia phones, no matter which line they're coming from. The XZ1 has kept the XZ’s large bezels, but is a little rounder and curvier than the older model.

If you’ve been using the XZ, you’ll know that its ‘alkaleido’ metal finish is quite slippery. The XZ1 fixes this issue, as it’s made of a unibody metal that improves your grip on the phone.

Both phones are designed with what Sony refers to as a ‘loop surface’, a seamless surface that ‘loops’ around your phone and gives it a smoother feel. As far as colour options are concerned, the names have evolved but the colours remain the same: the Xperia XZ1 will be available in Black, Silver, Pink and Blue.

We’ve noticed minor changes to the camera layout on the back of the phone (it is now horizontal instead of vertical) and due to its curvier design, the XZ1 is no longer able to stand on its own, though we doubt this will be considered a major setback for anyone.

In terms of price, the Xperia XZ1 is set to start at £599 in the UK, making it pricier than the XZ’s debut price which was £449. You can buy your Xperia XZ1 from Sony, Carphone Warehouse or other UK operator.

Sony still sells Xperia XZ at their original prices. This XZ is also available at Carphone Warehouse or Amazon for a similar price.

Xperia XZ vs Xperia XZ1 Features and Design

The XZ1 will be both a little larger and lighter than the XZ but the margins are too small for it to have a real impact on your user experience. Both phones are equipped with a 5.2in screen, but the XZ1’s screen to body ratio is a little lower (70.9% for the XZ to 68% now). The resolution and pixel density remain the same on both models (1080 x 1920p for 424ppi).

In terms of video quality, the XZ1 will now be HDR compliant, promising a better display and content support for Netflix and Prime Video. Not many changes were made to the camera, except that the XZ1 now benefits from the XZ Premium’s improvements, such as the Super Slow Motion tool ([email protected]) and a few novelties like the ‘Smile Capture’ mode.

The XZ1’s camera is 19Mp while the XZ’s was 23Mp, but the difference won’t have enough of an impact to be a problem. The front camera is a 13Mp on both phones.

The Xperia XZ1 also comes with a new interesting feature: a 3D scanning option. Its camera lets you scan real-life objects to be used as stickers in conversations with your friends, or as background photos. If you have access to a 3D printer, you will even be able to print them.

But the area in which the XZ1 truly outpowers the XZ is in performance. The XZ launched with Android 6.0, though it quickly became eligible for a Nougat update. The XZ1 will launch with Android’s newest version, Oreo (read all about the update here). It is powered by the best processor available, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, backed by 4GB of RAM, while the XZ had to make do with a Snapdragon 820, and only 3GB of RAM. The CPU upgrades from quad-core to octa-core and the GPU from Adreno 530 to Adreno 540.

The battery will be a little less powerful on the XZ1 (2700mAh compared to 2900mAh on the XZ), but both phones enable fast-charging. Both are also dust and water resistant. The XZ is available with 32GB or 64GB of storage, while the XZ1 will only come in 64GB, but both models allow for storage to be expanded up to 256GB thanks to the MicroSD Slot.

Specs Sony Xperia XZ Sony Xperia XZ1
Operating system Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 8.0 Oreo
Display 5.2in full HD triluminous display 5.2in full-HD (1920x1080) HDR display
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Memory 3GB RAM 4GB RAM
Storage 32GB plus microSD support 64GB plus microSD support
Connectivity USB-C 2.0, LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS  USB-C 3.1, X16 LTE, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
Audio 24-bit/192kHz audio, active noise cancellation with dedicated mic High-resolution audio, stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio jack
Cameras 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, EIS (gyro), phase detection and laser autofocus, LED flash 19Mp Exmor RS primary, 960fps slo-mo video, 13Mp selfie,  predictive phase detection and laser autofocus, LED flash

Fingerprint scanner  Yes Yes, integrated to power button
Weight 161g 156g
Waterproofing IP68 IP65/68
Battery  2,900 mAh 2,700mAh


Sony Xperia XZ1: Specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5.2in Full HD HDR display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, expandable via Micro-SD
  • USB-C
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers
  • 19Mp rear-facing camera
  • 13Mp front-facing camera
  • 2700mAh battery
  • 7.4mm
  • 156g
  • IP65/68