The Sony XZ1

Big on sound, clear on camera, flat on style

When it’s time to shop for a new phone, we are often blinded by the “shiny lights” of the newest, latest and greatest premium devices on offer – a sales consultant will, with pride, explain the benefits of; the new form factor, upgraded camera, connection speeds or the new super duper quadro giga thingamajiggy that makes THIS the best phone on the market.

Increasingly however, there is a growing market of phones which hover just under the premium level radar, offering most of the premium specs but at a much friendlier price. By combining tried and tested features with a mix of the latest adaptions, manufacturers can blend production and development costs – while still fulfilling customers main gadget desires.

The Sony XZ1 is just such a model. Does it do enough to attract customers to buy up or for people to sacrifice paying the price premiums of the flagship XZ Premium?

Despite the considerable innovative hardware improvements, you would be hard pressed to spot the design difference from a current Sony range to a device from say two years ago. Unlike many models in this range, Sony have still not adopted the edge to edge display featured by most of the competition. This is quite frankly very disappointing and with handsets being especially aspirational, this I found especially uninspiring.

I have been told however, that next year the shackles have been taken off the R&D budget and we can expect some new design ethos from Sony Mobile.

Size-wise the Sony XZ1 is spot on – it’s much easier to manage single handedly than its bigger siblings but the Full HD 5.2″ display is more than big enough to warrant serious consideration! Made from solid metal it has a premium feel and the Sony XZ is also IP68 rated for dust and water resistance.

The camera on the XZ1 is really where this phone really comes alive. The rear camera clocks in at 19MP whilst the selfie camera is a very impressive 13MP. Featuring cool new applications the camera alone is worth the price:

  • Superior Auto Mode: Set as default, this allows the novice to capture insane quality photos with minimal effort.
  • Smile Detection: Very much like “live photos” on the iPhone, the Sony XZ1 camera will detect movement and capture a few seconds before you snap allowing you to capture the best moment in time.
  • Autoburst Mode: This was the best! Simply pop your finger on the shutter button and this mode will take up to 100 snaps all at 19MP capacity-allowing you to capture the perfect shot or cool storyboard.
  • Super Slo-Mo: One of the most talked about features on the Sony XZ1. Filming this can be tricky as it only records 3 seconds at a time but when you get it right the effect is amazing!
  • 3D creator app: One of the most talked about features by far. Using the 3D technology you can scan in your face with the phone camera to create a 3D avatar of yourself (thinking PlayStation Avatar here).


When it comes to Sound, Sony have been in the game for a long time and it shows. The Sony XZ1 features front facing speakers, making listening clearer and louder as well as producing 50% more sound output than previous models. Featuring Sony High Definition sound, the Active Noise Cancelling Technology reduces up to 98% of exterior noise. – a must for anyone demanding good sound. Or, why not pair it with one of our Sony Original HD Headsets and disappear in audio heaven for a while?

When I review a phone I always like to look at the reality of day to day use. The Sony XZ1 comes standard with the latest Android Oreo OS, 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard memory. It has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor coupled with an Octa-Core processor and Adreno 540 graphics processor. You will not experience any phone lag, it supports the latest LTE fast connection (up to 1024GB download speeds) and sports a fair 2700mAh battery.

The Sony XZ1 is a fair all-rounder with a great camera. It is going to excite Sony fans for sure. For the rest of the market, while definitely in the race, I am not sure this phone does enough to win over new fans – It certainly does have some competition.

The XZ1 is available online for R10499 including a free Vodacom SIM card with 500MB x 06 months.

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