Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: The showstopper

The showstopper

GSMArena team, 12 May 2017.

Android Nougat with Xperia twist, in 1080p

The Xperia XZ Premium is running Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS out of the box. Sony tends to keep the stock Android look, except for a few gentle touches here and there. The big things, like the proprietary Stamina battery saving modes and the home-baked multimedia apps, are here to stay.

Android OS on XZ Premium runs on 1080p resolution. The native high-res mode is available only when 4K content is available and kicks in automatically. It can be images from the gallery, 4K videos in any video player, YouTube clips, videos from the Amazon Prime Video app or other streaming apps, and we'd also imagine - compatible 4K games.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

The fingerprint reader introduced on the Z5 series of Xperias is integrated into the Power button on the right side. It provided an excellent user experience on the Xperia XZ Premium - it's fast and accurate. There's an animation that slides the lockscreen away from your thumb (as if you pushed it out of the way). If you have simple Swipe unlock enabled (without any PIN or password) you can tap on the Power button to unlock instead, provided you've woken up the device first.

Smart Lock gives you conditional security - trusted nearby devices, locations, faces, or voices can allow you to skip the security unlock protocol that you may have set up on the phone.

Lockscreen - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart lock - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart lock - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart lock - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
Lockscreen • Smart lock

The homescreen appears unchanged from the rest of the X series. This includes the swipe down gesture, which shows a screen of the apps you use most along with recommendations for new apps to install. The search field is highlighted so you can start typing the app's name immediately.

Homescreen - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Homescreen - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review App search and suggestions - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Folder view - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Homescreen settings - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
Homescreen • Homescreen • App search and suggestions• Folder view • Homescreen settings

The traditional app drawer is present, and you'll find a number of proprietary apps pre-installed. Sony takes great pride in the A/V prowess of their devices, and the multimedia apps are all custom and feature-rich, but more on them in their dedicated chapter.

The app drawer is quite functional as well, letting you sort the apps by frequency of use, name, date installed or a custom arrangement. The app search works here too, and you can go into a management state, allowing you to uninstall multiple apps instead of having to drag each one to a virtual waste bin.

App drawer - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Sorting options - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review App management - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
App drawer • Sorting options • App management

Themes are available (both free and paid) that can customize the look and sound of the Xperia XZ Premium. Some themes are even interactive, with their wallpapers reacting to your touches.

Xperia themes - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Mass Effect Andromeda theme - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Mass Effect Andromeda theme - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Mass Effect Andromeda theme - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
Xperia themes • Mass Effect Andromeda theme

The notification area is plain Android. You can re-arrange the quick toggle tiles and adjust the screen brightness. What's missing is a toggle for Auto brightness (you need to go into the settings for that). It's the way stock Android is set up, but we miss that option there.

The app switcher is, similarly, a vanilla Android affair, with the 3D rolodex look and a End All Apps button. The small apps are gone and are replaced by a Split Screen feature. If a running app supports split screen, you will be able to snap it at the top or bottom of the screen right from the rolodex. It's easy to use the split screen mode, but there is no way of knowing which app supports it - you have to start it first and then try to snap it.

No-nonsense task switcher - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Split screen apps - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Notification area is vanilla Android - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Notification area is vanilla Android - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
No-nonsense task switcher • Split screen apps • Notification area is vanilla Android

The Smart cleaner feature will periodically empty the cache of apps you haven't used in a while. You can switch this off, or just manually tell it not to bother with certain apps.

Smart cleaner frees up memory of both kinds - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart cleaner frees up memory of both kinds - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart cleaner frees up memory of both kinds - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Smart cleaner frees up memory of both kinds - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
Smart cleaner frees up memory of both kinds

Sony has a proprietary backup solution built-in on its latest Xperias. It can backup applications, contacts, messages, phone settings. The backup info itself can be stored in the cloud under your Sony online account, or locally on the microSD card or an external USB device.

Backups can be scheduled, including conditions like "Connected to Wi-Fi" and "Charging device", depending on your preferences.

Scheduled backups are the best way to prevent data loss - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Scheduled backups are the best way to prevent data loss - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Scheduled backups are the best way to prevent data loss - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review Scheduled backups are the best way to prevent data loss - Sony Xperia XZ Premium review
Scheduled backups are the best way to prevent data loss

Reader comments

  • Vee Jay

Charge it for a while

  • Anonymous

My phone(expira premium xz) was switch off and kept for about 6 month and refused to come up again even, not showing charging when charging it. What could be the problem? What should I do pls.

  • Anonymous

The Sony xz premium Is a very good phone the camera is so sweet the selfi camera is so clear the best part the phone 4k is super good Sony did a great job