Sony Xperia XZ1 review: XZibit one

XZibit one

GSMArena team, 11 September 2017.

Display

The Sony Xperia XZ1's 5.2-inch 1080p display sounds identical to the XZs unit on paper, but it's actually a new panel and one that comes with HDR10 support. Just like its XZ Premium sibling, the new XZ1 is compatible with high dynamic range content from both Netflix and Amazon video. If you plan on using your next phone for multimedia consumption from these sources it will make a difference.

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

The FullHD resolution looks nicely sharp to our eyes and has certain potential battery endurance benefits. Of course, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether the lack of a QHD panel is something to hold against the XZ1 or not.

As far as display technology goes, Sony is also sticking with what it knows - IPS LCD. The panel of choice for the XZ1 also boasts Sony's Triluminos and X-Reality engine technologies. It is reasonably bright at 575 nits, but its blacks have have almost half a nit of backlight bleed at full brightness. That damages contrast quite a lot, but the overall result is still solid.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Max auto 0 647
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
LG V30 (Max Auto) 0.032 616 19250
Sony Xperia XZ (max auto) 0.46 608 1336
Xiaomi Mi 6 0.462 603 1305
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
HTC U11 (Max Auto) 0.373 583 1563
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB) 0.48 576 1200
Sony Xperia XZ1 0.409 575 1406
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 0.463 573 1238
Sony Xperia XZs 0.461 564 1223
LG G6 max auto 0.277 564 2036
Motorola Moto Z2 Force (Max Auto) 0 559
Huawei P10 Plus 0.335 547 1633
Sony Xperia XZ 0.37 502 1349
HTC U11 0.308 483 1568
LG G6 0.228 468 2053
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 0 442
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
OnePlus 5 0 435
Google Pixel XL 0 432
LG V30 0.002 414 207000
Motorola Moto Z2 Force 0 376

Sunlight legibility is great too - in fact we measured a contrast of 3.765 in our standardized test, which is among the best achievements by an LCD panel.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • 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
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    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
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • 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
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • 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
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    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
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • 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
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • 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
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

In terms of color accuracy, the Xperia XZ1 handles itself pretty well. Under the default color mode we managed a respectable average deltaE of 4.5, with a max deviation of 7.3. Pro mode is your friend, if you want to come as close as possible to the sRGB spectrum. Also, bringing the brightness down to our standard 200 nit level for battery test helped lower the average deltaE to 3.8 and the max to 6.

Custom white balance - Sony Xperia XZ1 review
Custom white balance

If you really want to go all out, Sony also offers custom white balance controls. After some fiddling, we managed an average deltaE of only 2 and a max of 3.7 in Pro mode at 200 nits, using the settings above.

On the other end of the scale, there is Vivid mode. It pushes colors hard, especially blues, in an effort to give the images on it extra punch.

Connectivity

The Sony Xperia XZ1 is pretty decked-out in this department. Some variants come with two Nano-SIM slots, for extra flexibility. Sadly, Sony's solution in this case is a hybrid one, so its either the microSD card or the second line.

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

Cat.16 LTE is capable of download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s, provided your carrier can step up to the challenge. Wi-Fi also has most goodies on board - dual-band, a/c. The same goes for the fast USB 3.1, Type-C data interface and the shiny new Bluetooth 5.0 radio, with support for aptX HD and LE.

If these details are particularly significant for you, these are all areas where the XZ1 clearly has the XZs beat. Of course, there is satellite positioning as well, which should work most everywhere in the world, thanks to A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS support.

Battery life

Now, there's really no point beating about the bush, 2,700 mAh sounds like little juice for a modern flagship. Even the Xperia XZs had a larger battery. However, the Snapdragon 835 is also based on a more efficient 10-nm process, compared the the 14nm Snapdragon 820. There is also the matter of Oreo software optimization.

Apparently these made quite a difference, as the Xperia XZ1 managed a surprisingly good 82 hour Endurance rating in our test. This is actually better than both the XZ Premium and XZs, which scored 72 and 73 hours with their 3,230 mAh and 2,900 mAh batteries.

We think we can piece together an explanation as to why that is. We should probably consider the fact that the XZ Premium uses a 4K panel. Even if it does not run at its native resolution most of the time, it is still likely more power-hungry. As for the XZs, it has a similar 5.2-inch, 1080p panel as the XZ1, but it does use a less efficient 14nm Snapdragon 820 chipset.

Android Oreo seems to have helped out the most, particularly through its improved background battery saving features. This is likely how it managed 377 hours on standby, compared to the XZ Premium's 322.

Sony Xperia XZ1 review

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xperia XZ1 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. 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.

One positive aspect of having a small battery is a speedy recharge cycle. The XZ1 supports QuickCharge 3.0, so you can get over 60% charge in 30 minutes if you have a QC3 charger. Qnovo adaptive charging and Battery Care are worth mentioning here as well.

The Qnovo Adaptive Charging tech built inside recent Sony Xperia phones allows the smartphone to monitor the cell's electrochemical processes in real time and adjust charging parameters dynamically 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 potentially means a year or so of extra longevity, as the battery performance deteriorates more slowly and should be able to hold more charge when it gets older.

Then there is Battery Care. 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, so the battery doesn't stay at full charge for prolonged time periods. This should further extend the battery's lifespan.

Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 review Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 review Battery saving modes - Sony Xperia XZ1 review
Battery saving modes

On the software side of things, you get a pair of battery saving modes. One is the regular STAMINA mode, which caps performance and disables a few non-vital background tasks. Then there is Ultra STAMINA mode for when you are far away from a wall socket. It disables Wi-Fi and data entirely and pretty much leaves you with the bare essentials of your phone.

Reader comments

Please guys , what can i do with my Xperia XZ1 ,I bought it 4 months ago and the phone fell off from a table one meter high but it just blacked off . Have tried all the mechanics but they do not see the problem with the phone. When u power it on ...

  • Ban

Restart with a long press on (power button+volume up)

  • Mike

May I know why or how ? Coz I'm planning to buy XZ1. XZ2 Fp sensor is too low and near the camera. Thank you.