Sony Xperia XZ's camera performs well

The colour balance of the pictures taken with the phone's camera is true to life.
The colour balance of the pictures taken with the phone's camera is true to life.PHOTO: SONY

The Sony Xperia XZ is Sony's crack at making a high-end flagship phone, but it does not quite hit the mark.

While it has a feature-packed rear camera and some snazzy features like waterproofing and a camera quick launch button, it also falls short in some key areas, such as battery life and screen resolution.

The Xperia XZ is firmly rooted in Sony's distinctive design tradition, with clean, angular lines and an overall boxy profile. However, Sony has made the edges of the phone a little less harsh this time round, so it sits gently in the hand.

The 5.2-inch phone comes in three colours here, including the gorgeous Forest blue - a dark, midnight blue so deep that it looks near-black under certain lights.

While the phone is comfortable to hold, its button positioning may take some getting used to. About halfway through the right edge of the phone lies the power button-cum-fingerprint sensor, and the volume rocker is below that, towards the bottom of the phone.

This makes one-handed operation nearly impossible, and it is also difficult to activate the fingerprint sensor without picking the phone up from a table.

While the specs of the Xperia XZ are passable for a high-end phone, they are not top-notch. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, not the newer and faster 821 that phones such as the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 and Google Pixel are using.

It also has 3GB of RAM, instead of the 4GB which is standard on many flagship devices now, and its display is full HD instead of the quad HD that many top-tier phones tout.

On the plus side, this lower resolution ekes more life out of the 2,900 mAh battery, which as it is was barely enough to get me through a day.

The camera, the centrepiece of the phone, performs well. Even under harsh fluorescent lights, the reds pop and the blacks are deep. The colour balance of the pictures is also true to life.

What sets the camera apart is its predictive hybrid autofocus, which can track a moving object and focus on it automatically. To activate this, tap on the object you want to track, and a yellow rectangle will appear around it.

When I tested the tracking on my dog, I found it a little hit- and-miss. It tracked him even when he disappeared around a corner and came back, but the rectangle also sometimes snapped from his white fur to a white cushion nearby.

Lisabel Ting


TECH SPECS

PRICE: $998

PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

DISPLAY: 5.2-inch full HD display

OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0.1

CAMERA: 23-megapixel, f/2.0, 24mm, electronic image stabilisation with phase detection and laser autofocus (rear); 13-megapixel (front)

MEMORY: 3GB RAM with 6GB internal storage

BATTERY: 2,900 mAh

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

OVERALL: 4/5

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Sony Xperia XZ's camera performs well'. Print Edition | Subscribe