Sony Xperia XZ review: X to the Z

X to the Z

GSMArena team, 28 September 2016.

5.2-inch FullHD IPS display

Sony is confident it nailed the flagship display size and resolution with the Xperia Z2 and has been sticking with it ever since, now including the Xperia XZ. A 5.2-inch FullHD display means a density of 424ppi, which is plenty sharp. However, the likes of LG and Samsung have moved to QHD for similarly sized displays, and Sony is trailing in the specs race.

Bold lines, pointy corners, looping sides - Sony Xperia XZ review

The display posted very good scores across the board with the only exception of color accuracy. The maximum brightness of 502nits in manual mode goes as high as 608 nits in auto mode, with bright light shining into the XZ.

Blacks are nicely dark and contrast ratio is excellent - higher than the X Compact, but not as high as the X Performance.

At the lowest setting, brightness is easy on the eyes at 5.2 nits.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia XZ 0.37 502 1349
Sony Xperia XZ (max auto) 0.46 608 1336
Sony Xperia X Performance (max auto) 0.39 595 1526
Sony Xperia X Performance 0.33 482 1461
Sony Xperia Z5 0.59 583 986
Sony Xperia X Compact 0.44 534 1225
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.00 392
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge max auto 0.00 610
HTC 10 0.29 428 1543
LG G5 0.17 306 1855
LG G5 max auto 0.20 378 1881
Huawei P9 0.46 500 1094
Apple iPhone 7 0.35 561 1225
Apple iPhone 7 (max auto) 0.40 656 1225

Color reproduction is not great, though. The average DeltaE of 5.8 is decent, but there is a pronounced blue cast to white and gray. Other than that, out of the primaries, green is off the most (DeltaE around 10), and cyan is far from the truth as well.

Sunlight legibility, on the other hand is superb. High quality LCD displays have been getting near AMOLEDs in this respect, even if they can't quite match the best of them. The Xperia XZ is on par with the iPhone 6s, and a little short of the iPhone 7 in contrast under direct light, but the LG G5 and especially the HTC 10 are far behind.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Connectivity

The Xperia XZ is well stocked on connectivity options. Our review unit is the single-SIM version (F8331 model name), but there's also a dual-SIM one (F8332). The slot in that case is of the hybrid variety though - it's either a second SIM or a microSD card - you can't have all three.

LTE Cat. 9 (450Mbps down, 50Mbps up) is supported. The phone also comes equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac with 2x2 MIMO antennas for speeds up to 433Mbps (if you have an 802.11ac capable router). Local connectivity goes on with Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX and Low Energy, and NFC.

The Wi-Fi connection can be used for screen casting - be it Miracast, Google Cast, or DLNA. If you connect a DualShock controller, the Xperia XZ can even double as a portable console streaming your Playstation 4 games vis PS4 Remote Play. It can also connect to your car's stereo system via MirrorLink.

GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellite positioning is supported, unless you're in the US, where it's just GPS and GLONASS.

The Xperia XZ has no FM radio though. Funnily, to get that you'll need to look lower in the lineup - the Xperia X has it.

The USB port is Type-C, but it only conforms to USB 2.0 spec and not 3.0 or 3.1. It lets you hook up USB storage and accessories and charge other devices. Every time you connect it to a PC, you'll need to select the data transfer mode, as it defaults to charge only. That makes sense when you have a form of screen lock enabled to protect the contents of the device. However, on the XZ defaulting to charging is also the case when no security is set up, which is somewhat annoying. Also, on other phones, unlocking the handset immediately identifies it as a media device without the extra intermediate step required.

Sony has dropped MHL support, so you have no wired way to output an image to a TV. You do get 3.5mm analog output to your choice of headphones.

Sony Xperia XZ battery life

The Xperia XZ relies on a 2,900mAh battery to keep it powered. That's the same capacity as the Xperia Z5 before it, while the Xperia X Performance has a 2,700mAh power pack. The majority of current Android flagships are around that number too, with the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 having a smidgen more juice to work with (3,000mAh), and the LG G5 - slightly less (2,800mAh). The iPhone 7, on the other hand, makes do with a substantially smaller capacity - 1,960mAh.

In our tests the Xperia XZ proved to be excellent at voice calls and an otherwise balanced performer in the other disciplines. In 3G calls the smartphone not only delivered on Sony's promised endurance - but actually even exceeded it. The 23:39h voice call endurance is an hour behind the Galaxy S7 edge, but no match for any of the other competitors, with the iPhone 7 not capable of lasting even half that. The XZ's result is also 3 hours longer than the X Performance's.

Web browsing over Wi-Fi depletes the Xperia XZ's battery in just over 9 hours - not spectacular, but a tangible improvement over the Z5's 7:40h. The XZ matches the HTC 10 in this test (9:08h) and outlasts the LG G5 (7:38h). The Galaxy S7 edge, however, will let you wander the web for 5 and a half hours after the XZ has called it quits.

In looping our test video until the battery is down to 10%, the Xperia XZ lasts for 8 and a half hours, pretty much the same as the X Performance. Compare that to the 4 hours the Z5 barely squeezes out of its same capacity battery. Outside the Sony realm, the HTC 10 is in the same ballpark (8:42h), the iPhone 7 lasts a little longer (9:15h) and the LG G5 beats them all (10:21h). Well, except for the Galaxy S7 edge and its crazy 20 hours of video playback.

Coupled with frugal standby power consumption, the above numbers add up to a combined endurance rating of 72 hours. Of the above competitors only the Galaxy S7 edge manages to top that (98h), the HTC 10 stands at 66h, while the iPhone 7 and LG G5 score 61h and 60h, respectively. The Xperia X Performance's overall results is 61h, while the Z5's 48h look pretty bad in this company.

Bold lines, pointy corners, looping sides - Sony Xperia XZ review

Much like the previous X-series phones, the Xperia XZ has the Qnovo adaptive charging technology built-in. The technology allows the phone to monitor the cell's electrochemical processes in real time and adjust charging parameters accordingly to minimize cell damage and extend the battery unit's lifespan.

Qnovo claims the battery should last hundreds of charge cycles more than a conventionally charged battery. This means a year or so of extra longevity as in theory if the battery ages better, it should hopefully be able to hold charge better in time (an important aspect for a phone that has its battery sealed-in).

Battery Care is another proprietary Sony feature, which however is introduced with the Xperia XZ. It won't be available on all markets though, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in, check back with your local Sony rep.

Battery Care - Sony Xperia XZ review Battery Care - Sony Xperia XZ review
Battery Care

So what does Battery Care do? Say you charge your phone overnight, and you regularly plug it in at midnight and unplug it at 8 in the morning. In time, the phone will recognize the pattern, charge the battery to 90% and then stop charging. And then at, say, 7:30 in the morning it will pick up where it left off and top it all up to 100% at a slower pace. If it hasn't picked up your routine, it'll do a standard charge.

The handset also supports the Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 (and, of course, 2.0), but we're not sure if it will come bundled with a charger to match. It will most probably be a regional thing.

On the software side of things, there's Sony's Stamina battery saving feature. It has two modes: regular Stamina, and Ultra Stamina. The first disables non-essential features like GPS and vibration, and takes performance down a notch.

Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZ review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZ review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZ review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZ review
Stamina mode

Ultra Stamina is for absolutely dire occasions when you don't expect to be able to find a power outlet for a long period of time. Enable that and it's back to basics where you get a single homescreen with access to the dialer and contacts, text messages, camera, clock - just the basics. Going out of Ultra Stamina requires a restart.

Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZ review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZ review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZ review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZ review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZ review
Ultra Stamina

The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Reader comments

  • hellPIG

It's a really exciting phone to have especially when you're outdoorsy. It can easily perform under heavy rain, waterfall, underwater and even inside an aquarium tank. Sadly, the XZ has some over heating issues especially during the fi...

I've been using this phone for the last two months (bought as new old stock), working alongside an Xperia Z5 Compact. Compared to the z5c, the xz feels better in every way (though to be expected), but the Wi-Fi is a bit weaker, the Z5C have a st...

  • Anonymous

The best Xperia model I have used so far. Been using it for the last 3 years. No problem what so ever. Have no plans to change it.