Sony’s phones have looked the same for the better part of a decade at this point, but the company announced a revamped design at Mobile World Congress with the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Now, a third member joins the XZ2 family — the Xperia XZ2 Premium. This phone has a dual camera system, a bigger battery, and a 4K display. That’s a lot of pixels on a smartphone.
From the front, the XZ2 Premium looks like its non-premium sibling. There are somewhat chunky top and bottom bezels, but there are at least front-facing stereo speakers in there. This part of the design hasn’t changed much from Sony’s older phones. The back is a single piece of curved glass like the regular XZ2. This is quite a departure for Sony, which has used textured aluminum on most of its phones in recent years.
Inside, this phone has a Snapdragon 845, just like the Samsung Galaxy S9. There’s also 6GB of RAM, an upgrade from the 4GB in the XZ2, and a larger 3.540mAh battery. It will run the same build of Android 8.0 Oreo as Sony’s other new phones.
There’s one easy way to tell the XZ2 premium from the regular XZ2 at a glance. The Premium has two cameras on the back — the first time Sony has done that. They’re a bit farther down than most phones, which also pushes the rear-facing fingerprint sensor lower than I’d like. The most common implementation of dual cameras right now is to have a regular sensor and a telephoto one for “optical zoom” shots — that’s not really optical zoom, but it’s close enough. Sony opted for a 19MP RGB sensor and a 12MP monochrome. The phone combines the two images for sharper photos.
Sony says it designed the cameras to excel in low light. When capturing stills, the XZ2 Premium is capable of ISP settings as high as 51,200. For video, you can get a maximum of 12,800. ISO settings that high tend to get extremely noisy, but Sony claims its new image signal processor can combine data from both sensors to eliminate the noise.
The XZ2 Premium has a 5.7-inch 4K LCD (2160 x 3840), but this is not the first 4K display ever to grace a smartphone — Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium also had a 4K display in 2015. The new XZ2 Premium adds HDR support, allowing you to watch the HDR video you capture with the aforementioned cameras.
This is an LCD rather than OLED, which is impractical to manufacture at smartphone sizes. LCDs are slower to refresh than OLED, so you can’t use them for VR. That’s one of the few instances where a super-high resolution would make sense. Otherwise, it’s kind of a novelty. Odds are the UI won’t even render at 4K natively.
Sony didn’t mention a price for this phone, but the regular XZ2 is already $800 unlocked. The XZ2 Premium could easily break the $1,000 barrier.
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