Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium review

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium review

When you think of a $1,000 smartphone, Apple’s iPhone X is the first that comes to mind. It’s forward-thinking, with a nearly bezel-less design, and it packs a class-leading and secure facial-recognition system. Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 Premium also costs $1,000, but it hardly feels like it’s worth as much. It’s one of the most cumbersome phones we’ve held this year, thanks to its ridiculously thick body and dated 16:9 aspect ratio, and it also has thick bezels that make it look like it came straight out of 2015.

That being said, the spotlight feature on the XZ2 Premium is something we haven’t seen in any other phone to date: the ability to capture good-looking videos in “extreme low-light conditions.” This dual-camera system is a first for Sony, and it is capable of capturing video up to ISO 12800, which is the highest we’ve seen to date in a smartphone. It’s impressive — especially when compared to phones like the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone X — but it wasn’t enough to make us want to use the phone after our review period. Let’s take a closer look.

Thick and heavy design, fantastic display

Sony finally introduced a new design motif earlier this year called Ambient Flow, which is meant to accentuate the curves on its phones, making them more ergonomic to hold. It’s an improved look, but we have some problems, some of which we’ve already highlighted in our Xperia XZ2 review, as it looks similar. Ironically, the XZ2 Premium feels less “premium” than the XZ2.

The first features you’ll notice about the XZ2 Premium are its size and weight. This is a thick phone that’s also incredibly wide and tall. It will fill every hand — large or small — and it will be difficult to reach certain parts of the 5.8-inch screen without using both hands (or using the one-hand software mode). Its exact dimensions are 157.48 x 78.74 x 12.7mm, and it weighs 232 grams. The Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4-inch screen, its dimensions are 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm, and it weighs 201 grams. The Sony phone is wider, thicker, and heavier, despite offering a smaller screen and a smaller battery.

The edges around the phone are curvy, it has rounded corners, and the edges on the back slope into the front. That makes it feel natural to hold, but it still remains a cumbersome phone to carry and use. We don’t like how thick it is, and how unnecessarily large it feels in the hand. That being said, we recommend stopping by a store to experience how the XZ2 Premium feels for yourself, as you may prefer a bigger phone. Alternatively, check out the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact if you want a phone on the opposite end of the spectrum.

It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back with an aluminum frame around. The glass body and curvy design is a recipe for disaster. When placed on a flat, smooth surface, the Xperia XZ2 Premium has a mind of its own and starts moving around. It’s constantly trying to fall, and much to our dismay, it experienced two drops during our review period. The first is when it slid off a table onto the pavement (at an outdoor restaurant), and the second time it slid out of our pocket at a press conference. Thankfully, it only suffered a few scratches to the glass on the back.

The XZ2 Premium sliding out of pockets is more common than you think. It slid out of our pocket on the subway, on a plane, at the theater, and when sitting at the office, though, fortunately, we stopped it right on time, preventing any serious injury. The point is, this phone will try to hit the floor any chance it gets, so you definitely need a case — which will only add more bulk and weight to the phone — and you need to constantly think about where you place it and how.

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