Sony Xperia XZ review: X to the Z

X to the Z

GSMArena team, 28 September 2016.

Phone

The Sony Xperia XZ we have for review is the single-SIM version (F8331). A dual-SIM version will also be available on some markets with a model designation F8332. That one uses a hybrid slot for the second SIM card, shared with the microSD card.

The call log is separated from the contacts, but there's a shortcut to those in the upper right corner. It can be filtered by missed, incoming and outgoing calls. Smart dial is supported too.

Dialer with smart dial - Sony Xperia XZ review Call log - Sony Xperia XZ review Phonebook - Sony Xperia XZ review Favorites - Sony Xperia XZ review
Dialer with smart dial • Call log • Phonebook • Favorites

Loudspeaker

The Sony Xperia XZ has front-firing stereo speakers, just like every Sony flagship since the Xperia Z2 (and some recent midrangers too). In principle, we'll take this setup over any other in a heartbeat, but Sony's speakers are fairly modest in terms of loudness, falling in the Below average category in our test. None of the major competitors truly excels here, yet they are all ahead of the Xperia.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC 10 (Theater mode) 61.9 66.0 62.1 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z5 65.1 62.3 66.3 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ 61.6 65.5 67.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia X Performance 63.4 65.8 67.8 Below Average
HTC 10 (Music mode) 63.1 66.7 74.3 Average
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 70.0 69.1 71.8 Good
LG G5 68.7 70.9 73.5 Good
Huawei P9 72.1 66.6 75.6 Good
Apple iPhone 7 67.6 73.2 75.7 Good
Huawei nova 69.2 71.9 80.6 Very Good

Messaging

The Sony Xperia XZ has a customized messaging app with all the possible bells and whistles to satisfy all your texting needs. If you haven't transferred all of it to other platforms, of course.

The messaging app on our unit came with panda stickers pre-installed, but you can download more (free and paid sticker packs are available). You can also send your own creations drawn in the Sketch (obviously, this changes the message type to MMS).

Messaging app - Sony Xperia XZ review Messaging app - Sony Xperia XZ review Stickers are available, just like in chat apps - Sony Xperia XZ review Stickers are available, just like in chat apps - Sony Xperia XZ review
Messaging app • Stickers are available, just like in chat apps

For text entry, Sony picked the SwiftKey keyboard. It's touted as having one of the best prediction algorithms, which is fine for those who use it, but it means you can't remove the suggestions bar at all. Other than that limitation, the keyboard offers multiple layouts and themes, 5 different sizes, undocking, secondary symbols upon long press, swipe input - pretty much everything.

Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XZ review Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XZ review Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XZ review Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XZ review Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard - Sony Xperia XZ review
Customizeable SwiftKey keyboard

Other apps

Lifelog tracks a host of daily activities, including walking, running and sleeping, but also the music you listen and the photos you take or the apps you use. It then presents the info in a split-screen view with a timeline on top and detailed numbers on the bottom.

Lifelog tracks more than just steps and calories - Sony Xperia XZ review Lifelog tracks more than just steps and calories - Sony Xperia XZ review Lifelog tracks more than just steps and calories - Sony Xperia XZ review
Lifelog tracks more than just steps and calories

The News app is a news aggregator, pulling stories from sources on topics of your choice. It can also issue two daily bulletins for you at a time you specify, so you don't miss out on current events.

News - Sony Xperia XZ review News - Sony Xperia XZ review News - Sony Xperia XZ review
News

Xperia lounge is Sony's own entertainment app, feeding you exclusive content and competitions related to music, movies and games.

Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XZ review Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XZ review Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XZ review Xperia Lounge - Sony Xperia XZ review
Xperia Lounge

Oddly, there is no file manager pre-installed, you'll need to provide your own. All you get is a shortcut to a downloads folder.

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.