I like Sony. Over the years, they’ve made some fantastic phones, earning a place as a heavyweight contender in the crowded smartphone industry. But lately, their punches have lacked any sting to them in that market. It’s not that Sony phones are bad, quite the opposite in fact. It’s just that they don’t have a killer left hook, an identity to really build a smartphone around.
The Sony Xperia X is proof of this. A solid device, but overpriced and overpowered in a territory dominated by Huawei, Samsung and Apple right now. Sony has apparently gone back to the drawing board, with a new flagship device on the way that goes by the name of Xperia XZ. And this time, they want to be a smartphone camera king.
To do just that, Sony says that the Xperia XZ will blend the design of the X and Z phones into one device, with the imaging sensor from those phones being coupled with a laser autofocus and an RGBC sensor. According to The Verge, this allows the camera to “accurately adjust the white balance based on the light source in the environment.”
In other words, better photos quicker and more accurately in any just about any environment or lighting situation. Thing is, the phone itself is boasting hardware internals that don’t inspire too much confidence. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, a 5.2 inch-sized 1080p screen, 3GB of RAM and 32gb of storage that can be upgraded. And a fingerprint sensor at long bloody last again to go with Qnovo adaptive charging and a water-resistant shell.
And those specs already make the Xperia XZ look a bit underpowered when compared to the rest of the devices on the way from the competition. I’m not entirely convinced that Sony is headed in the right direction here though. Like I said with my last review, Sony has the potential to be a leader in smartphone video, as the Xperia X actually had some phenomenal video power that was underutilised by that phone.
A beefier video sensor and some proper software that comes bundled with the Xperia XZ, could give it the identity that it needs and deserves in a very hostile market. I’m also not convinced that the Xperia XZ can topple the Huawei P9 from its lofty smartphone camera perch. The reason why the Huawei P9 is so good at taking photos, is that it happens to have a partnership with Leica that is built around ideas and software that leverages the best out of the twin-lenses attached to it.
Software that Sony will need to seriously consider and improve on with their new flagship. At the very least, the Predictive Hybrid AF needs to be retuned, but the phone does have an apparently better 5-axis video stabilisation to go with the 23 megapixel camera at the rear and the 13 megapixel camera in the front. But right now, Sony needs to stop playing catch-up and focus on being a trendsetter again for their phone division to really succeed when this device arrives in October.
At least it looks sexy.
Last Updated: September 2, 2016