Sony Xperia XZs review: Slow (e)motion

Slow (e)motion

GSMArena team, 7 April 2017.

Display

Unmoved by the QHD screen hype, Sony is skipping straight to 4K on the Premium models. However, the XZs gets a familiar 1080p IPS display. Not that we need anything higher on a 5.2-inch screen.

Sony Xperia XZs review

The screen of the Xperia XZs offers a more than reasonable 424ppi, and comes with X-Reality color and contrast enhancements in the Album and Video apps.

The display posted very good scores across the board, the only exception being color accuracy. The maximum brightness of 564 nits achieved in manual mode is consistent across the auto modes too. The blacks are nicely dark, but not as impressive as on the XZ.

At the lowest setting, brightness is easy on the eyes at 4.9 nits.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia XZs 0.461 564 1223
Sony Xperia XZ 0.37 502 1349
Sony Xperia Z5 0.59 583 986
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 0.59 566 966
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.00 392
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge max auto 0.00 610
OnePlus 3T 0 447
HTC U Ultra 0.539 428 794
HTC U Ultra (max auto) 0.564 507 899
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
Huawei P10 Plus 0.335 547 1633
Huawei Mate 9 0.41 665 1622

Color reproduction is not particularly good, though. The average DeltaE of 6.2 is decent, but there is a pronounced blue cast to whites and grays. Sony provides sliders that help you get rid of the blue cast at least. There is an sRGB mode in the Developer's Options, but it did not do anything on our unit. Maybe this will change with a future update.

Sunlight legibility on this screen is superb. High quality LCD displays have been getting near AMOLEDs in this regard, even if they can't quite match the best of them. The Xperia XZs is on par with the Xperia XZ and the iPhone 6s, and a little short of the iPhone 7’s contrast under direct light.

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
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • 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
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    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
  • 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
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • 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
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • 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
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • 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 Z5
    2.876
  • 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
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • 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
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Sony Xperia XZs battery life

The Xperia XZs relies on a 2,900mAh battery to keep it powered, the same unit we met in the Xperia XZ. That's also the same capacity as the Xperia Z5 before it, while the Xperia X Performance has a 2,700mAh power pack.

In our tests the Xperia XZs proved to be excellent at voice calls and an otherwise balanced performer in the other disciplines. Web browsing over Wi-Fi depletes the Xperia XZs battery in just over 8 hours - not spectacular, but not far from what the XZ and Z5 offered. In looping our test video until the battery is down to 10%, the Xperia XZ lasts for north of 9 hours, which is a very good endurance.

Coupled with frugal standby power consumption, the above numbers add up to a combined endurance rating of 73 hours. We got 72 hours with the Xperia XZ, so that's a pretty consistent result.

Sony Xperia XZs review

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Xperia XZs 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.

Much like the Xperia XZ, the Xperia XZs 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 further increases the battery lifespan. It may not be available in every market, so you should explore that possibility before buying an Xperia XZs.

Battery Care - Sony Xperia XZs 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. It charges 40% of the battery in 30 mins with a QC3.0 charger, which is not that fast considering the charging standard and the relatively average battery capacity.

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 XZs review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZs review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZs review Stamina mode - Sony Xperia XZs 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 XZs review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZs review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZs review Ultra Stamina - Sony Xperia XZs review
Ultra Stamina

Connectivity

The Xperia XZs is well-stocked with connectivity options. Our review unit is the single-SIM version (G8231 model name), but there's also a dual-SIM option (G8232) available. 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 both.

LTE is Cat. 9 (450Mbps down, 50Mbps up) and 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 XZs can even double as a portable console, streaming your Playstation 4 games via PS4 Remote Play. It can also connect to your car's stereo system via MirrorLink.

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

The Xperia XZs has no FM radio though.

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.

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.

Reader comments

  • RMR

Maybe?

  • AnonD-689038

How many of you have successfully enabled the sRGB mode. Its there in the developer menu but i cant enable it. Even x- reality and super vivid mode also doesnt work.. I think by default they have enabled super vivid mode and forgot to write ...

  • AnonD-16165

Have you actually tested the Mirrorlink? From the info I could find online, there's no support. I've tested a few phones in the stores near my place and the last sony where I've found the mirrorlink setting was the xperia x. The xz, xz premium and th...