Sony has officially unveiled the higher-end variant of its flagship with the Xperia XZ2 Premium. The naming scheme says plenty, but the difference between the Xperia XZ2 Premium and the standard Xperia XZ2 is akin to the difference between a Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus: bigger screen, better camera, and higher price.
After 2017’s Xperia XZ Premium, we were left wanting a lot of things from the next model. Among them, a larger screen, a dual lens camera, a refreshed design, and more powerful hardware. Sony seemed to hear that, as the new Xperia XZ2 Premium is checking off all those boxes.
The announcement of this phone comes close behind the standard Xperia XZ2, and while it is an upgrade, it’s definitely going to cost more. Expect it to be comparable to other high-tier smartphones when it releases later this year.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next 4K flagship from Sony
- When is it out? This summer
- What will it cost? More than that standard Xperia XZ2’s $799, (£699, around AU$1,000)
Release date, price, availability
Sony hasn’t confirmed the exact details for when the Xperia XZ2 Premium will launch, where it will be available, and how much it’ll cost to get, but we’ve got some details that can help us guess.
Sony has said the Xperia XZ2 Premium will be available worldwide this summer, which suggests most countries should get it. However it’s expected not to come to the UK or Ireland. The lack of CDMA support also suggests the phone won’t run on mobile carriers such as Sprint and Verizon.
Given that last years Xperia XZ Premium released in June after debuting at MWC 2017, the later debut of the Xperia XZ2 Premium may see its release pushed back some. A June release would also see it come close to the non-Premium model, while the original XZ and XZ Premium were spaced out by many months.
For pricing, this one won’t come cheap. It has a load of high-end features, and will slot in above the standard Xperia XZ2. Considering the new XZ2 will have the same starting price as the old XZ Premium, it’ll be no surprise if the Xperia XZ2 Premium comes in at around $899 (about £628, $AU 1,157) or higher since this is Sony’s first dual-lens camera phone.
Design and display
Sony recently revealed everything about the phone itself, including all we need to know about the Xperia XZ2 Premium design and display.
It features a 5.8-inch 4K HDR display. In other words, it should have a dazzling high quality picture with dazzling, sharp images and stunning colors, although it won’t be bezel-reduced like many other premium handsets. While the inclusion of HDR is great, this isn’t an OLED panel, so the contrast ratios offered are still likely to fall short of what we’re seeing from other flagships like the Galaxy S9.
Fortunately, the screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, so lots of video content will occupy the whole screen. That means there shouldn’t be black letterboxes to let the backlight bleed through.
The design of the Xperia XZ2 Premium changes things up from the blocky previous generations, and is consistent with the XZ2, but a bit bigger. The frame is 158 x 80 x 11.9mm, with Corning Gorilla Glass on the front and back, and an aluminum frame. The rear of the Xperia XZ2 Premium is curved for a more ergonomic grip. All that makes it a bit chunky in terms of weight, with 236 grams putting it well above the iPhone X or Galaxy S9.
Though glass on the front and back is concerning for those who don’t want to equip a case, the Xperia XZ2 Premium does offer protection from water with an IP65/68 rating. It should come away unharmed from splashes and spills.
The rear houses a dual-lens camera aligned with the center of the phone, and below that is a fingerprint scanner. Previous generations of Xperia phones curiously sold in the US without fingerprint scanners. This year, however, the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact come with working fingerprint sensors in the US, and we expect the Xperia XZ2 Premium to follow suit.
Camera and battery
The Xperia XZ2 Premium has a decently large 3,540mAh battery, but that will have to work hard to power its big, high-resolution display. The glass back enables wireless charging, with Sony supporting the Qi standard.
Where the Xperia XZ2 Premium is really expecting to shine is with its new dual-lens camera. A first for Sony, this phone combines a 12MP f/1.6 black-and-white sensor and a 19MP f/1.8 color sensor to create super detailed images. Sony expects the Xperia XZ2 Premium to really impress in low light, as it has an insanely high 51200 ISO for photos, and what it says is the “world’s highest ISO sensitivity for video recording in a smartphone” at ISO 12800. The front camera won’t be a slouch either, with a 13MP f/2.0 sensor. All of the cameras have 5-axis stabilization as well.
The ability to record 4K HDR video is a first for a smartphone. Flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, and others have been able to record in 4K but without HDR, and they haven’t announced upcoming support for it. The ability to record that 4K HDR footage and then play it back right on the phone’s display is another first.
Despite earlier rumors that the Xperia XZ2 Premium would come with an outdated Snapdragon processor, it is in fact powered by the latest from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845. And, it comes loaded with 6GB of RAM. Expect this one to be a performance powerhouse for the Android team. It comes with Android 8.0 Oreo installed.
With a starting capacity of 64GB, it’s not the most impressive offering storage-wise. But, that can be increased by 400GB via microSD. It’s unclear whether Sony will offer a model with a higher starting capacity, but a microSD is usually satisfactory for storing anything other than apps on a smartphone.
Sony has a number of extra features on the Xperia XZ2 Premium to improve the multimedia experience. Sony wants to ensure you can get the most out of its HDR display, and its X-Reality feature can upscale non-HDR content for playback.
The Xperia XZ2 Premium also has Sony’s Dynamic Vibration System, which isn’t amazing for videos, but adds a bit of haptic feedback to gameplay experiences. The stereo speakers should do an especially good job for both videos and gaming, as they are the loudest yet for Xperia handsets.
Lastly, Sony may have dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack on this one, but it offers high-quality audio options with LDAC and aptX HD for improved wireless audio. DSEE HX also offers a way to upscale compressed audio files like MP3.