Sony Xperia XZ1 first impressions: Great camera, not so great design

Sony launched the Xperia XZ1 in India today, and here’s what we gathered from our brief hands-on experience.


After unveiling the device at IFA 2017, Sony officially launched the Xperia XZ1 in India today. Priced at Rs 44,990, the smartphone is up for sale starting today, and will be available for purchase at both online and offline stores. At the launch event, I got to spend a little while with the device, and here’s what I drew from my brief experience.

To begin with, the looks and design of the Xperia XZ1 are reminiscent of Xperia XZ Premium’s. It has the same rectangular design, with the similar placement of speakers on top and bottom of the display. The volume rocker, power button, and the dedicated button for camera sits on the right, whereas the SIM tray is placed on the left. The 3.5mm audio jack sits on the top, and the USB Type-C port down below.

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It’s not too easy to handle

While I was using the device today at the event, I honestly had a tough time using the device with one hand. With phone in both hands, yes, it’s comfortable to hold on, easy to type on; but single-hand usability, especially for someone with small hands like mine, it’s a complete task. I couldn’t flip the phone from front to back, without flinching at least ten times. It wasn’t very easy to swipe on the screen either. And I blame the bricky design.

Having said that, the build seems pretty solid. The phone didn’t feel flimsy, and the fact that it features a Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the display, also makes it sturdier. So, even though it felt like it would slip out of my hands any moment, it didn’t really feel like it would break.

Supports HDR content

Moving to the display, the Xperia XZ1 features a 5.2-inch full HD HDR display, which Sony says descends the BRAVIA’s technology. Which means, you can watch 4K HDR content on this device, including HDR content on Netflix, 4K content on YouTube and others.

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Does more than two dimensional things

While Sony mostly keeps displays a highlight of its devices, it also pays special attentions to its camera. Although the Xperia XZ1 doesn’t feature the hot trends of dual-camera assembly, but it features a 19-megapixel camera at the rear, and a 13-megapixel camera at the front. But how Sony is touting this phone is not with the sensor, but its capability for 3D scanning. I used the app at the event, which basically allows you to make a 3D caricature of your face, you can add animation to it, augment it against a real-time background or use it for 3D printing. This is something very similar to what Honor 8 Pro has, though that one makes a 3D caricature of your face, this used your actual image, and gives it a 3D graphic. ALSO READ: Asus Zenfone Zoom S Review: Delightful dual-camera setup and battery backup

Since there was so much noise around the feature at the event, I did try it out. In my first few attempts, where I got the scanning done on me, and I scanned other people’s face, the result wasn’t all that great. Most of the outcomes were smudgy. However, I tried the last one on an object instead of a person, which turned pretty decent. You can see the image of it below.

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It comes with Autofocus bursts

Although, a camera feature on the device, which I really liked was its Autofocus burst tech, that Sony says makes the Xperia XZ1 the first smartphone in the world to feature it, though professional cameras have this feature. Basically, autofocus burst tracks and captures sequence of moving objects in sharp focus, so that your action shots are no more blurred. You can either pick one image out of the burst reel, or stitch it in a video. The Autofocus Burst clicks at 10fps. ALSO READ: Vivo V7+ Review: Fighting the wide-screen fight


Initial thoughts

Although the time I spent with the smartphone was too brief to comment on the performance of the device, but with the device running on Android Oreo, it was neat, and free of too much bloatware. I found the touch quite responsive, it was smooth to switch between apps. I switched multiple times between the 3D scanning app and the camera, I found no lags either.

That was mostly what came to my attention in the brief time I spent with the device. We can’t pitch in recommendations at this moment, which can be fairly said only after a detailed review. However, we can sure tell that the Sony Xperia XZ1 with its given specifications and price tag, will not only compete against the likes of the premium OnePlus 5, Honor 8 Pro, HTC U11, and the Galaxy S8 duo, but it also stands in competition with the budget Xiaomi Mi A1 smartphone. Expect the review and a comparison soon. Keep following this space! ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: The beast unleashed!

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Sony Xperia XZ1


Android 8.0 Oreo with Sony’s custom UI
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor
19 MP
  • Published Date: September 25, 2017 6:26 PM IST