When Sony announced the Xperia XZs in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress, we were a bit confused as to the incremental update to the XZ series. The Xperia XZs practically has the same design as the XZ so it’s really no way to differentiate the two physically. Well, except for the new color variants, that is.
The Xperia XZ has been around for 6 months prior to the update so perhaps Sony just wanted a refresh of that flagship series. On top of the to-dos is more RAM, 4GB to be exact. The 3GB on the XZ was enough but it wasn’t on par with other flagships which already had 4GB or 6GB memory.
Xperia XZs in warm silver and Xperia XZ in forest blue.
So, for the purpose of this review, we refer you to our previous full review of the Xperia XZ (see here) and just cover the new features included in the Xperia XZs. That way, we won’t be repeating everything that we’ve already covered there.
Table of Contents
Performance and Benchmarks
A significant update to the Xperia XZs is the additional memory. It now has 4GB of RAM or 33% more than the 3GB of the Xperia XZ. This made it at par with all other flagship smartphones in the market today, like the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6.
The additional RAM will definitely affect multi-tasking as more apps can be cached in the memory running in the background. Or, this can handle more browser windows/tabs that don’t reload when you switch, if you’ve encountered that before.
Aside from that, we don’t see any more significant difference in raw power since the Xperia XZs still runs on a Snapdragon 820 chip. If ever there will be some improvement, we think that’s contributed by the updated Android 7.1.1 Nougat.
Here are the benchmark scores we got:
Antutu Benchmark: 144,169
Quadrant Standard: 35,727
PCMark: 5,846 (Work 2.0), 6,937 (Work 1.0)
PCMark Storage: 3,506
GeekBench 4.0: 1,759 (Single Core Score), 3,719 (Multi-core Score)
Compared to the Xperia XZ, the Xperia XZs got almost the same benchmark scores for most of the tests we ran. The most significant difference we observed was a 7% increase in the PCMark Work 1.0 score.
Sony promises better camera performance with the new 19-megapixel Exmor RS sensor and Motion Eye technology. The Motion Eye feature snaps multiple frames in one shot and gives you the option to select one so you’ll always get the best shot out of ever scene.
Sony definitely delivers in this department. Photos are nice and vibrant. Just take a look at the sample photos we got here:
One of the more impressive features of the XZs is the ability to shoot very fast frame rates. The slow motion feature can capture split-second video of up to 960fps. That’s completely unheard of before and even other existing smartphones can only do a maximum of 240fps.
However, the slow motion capture only happens very quickly and lasts about 0.13 second (shooting 125 successive frames). Capturing that exact moment can be really hard especially if it’s not rehearsed or the action is spontaneous.
Here are some sample slow motion shots we were lucky to get:
Also, note that the video quality is not the same since the resolution is just 720p. Still, it’s a very impressive feat and with practice could deliver pretty dramatic effects.
The full HD videos are also produced balanced colors, clean and crisp images, as well very nice photos overall.
There is very little reason to upgrade to the XZs if you already have the XZ. We’re not even sure why Sony had to refresh it and not really made significant changes. It’s not bad for a mid-cycle release and we understand the incremental upgrade (otherwise, they would call it something else and not just XZs).
But then again, this is not really the flagship we’ve been waiting for this year. That title belongs to the Xperia XZ Premium. Having owned a Xperia Z5 Premium (twice!), I think I can wait a bit longer.
Our only concern is that some folks might be put off by the dated Snapdragon 820 CPU. Even LG got some flak for using the SD821 instead of the newer SD835.
Don’t get us wrong though — the Xperia XZs is a really nice phone. Great design, good performance, impressive camera, water resistance and that slow motion capability is really something.
If you’re currently using a Xperia XZ, it’s not worth spending Php39,990 on the Xperia XZs just to get these incremental upgrades. However, if you’re using the older Xperia, like the Xperia Z5, then the upgrade might be warranted.
Otherwise, we’d recommend just wait for next quarter and watch out for the Xperia XZ Premium.
Note: We got our review unit from Widget City for Php31,500 (see listing here).
Sony Xperia XZs (G8232) specs:
5.2-inch Full HD Triluminos display
X-Reality, Dynamic Contrast Enhancement
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU
Adreno 530 GPU
4GB LPDDR4 RAM
19MP 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS rear camera, Motion Eye, Hybrid AF, SteadyShot
13MP 1/3.06-inch Exmor RS front camera
GPS with aGPS support
2,900mAH battery w/ Qnovo Adaptive Charging
Android 7.0 Nougat
146 x 72 x 8.1mm (dimensions)
161 grams (weight)
What we liked about it:
- Impressive camera
- Super slow motion shot
- Nice design
- Water resistance
- Fast charging
What we did not like:
- Outdated CPU
- Quite expensive
- Average battery life