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March 19, 2017

Xperia XZ Premium vs. Xperia XZs: Which slow-mo Sony phone is superior?

by John_A

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony unveiled not one, not two, but four new additions to their Xperia smartphone line. In addition to cheaper models like the XA1 and XA1 Ultra, the much-anticipated XZ Premium was revealed, boasting the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

More: Sony Xperia XZ Premium, XZs, XA1 Ultra, XA1: Our first take

The chip’s not the only difference, though; several new features are sure to catch your eye. Keep reading to find out how the Xperia XZ Premium stacks up against its little brother, the Xperia XZs.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony Xperia XZs

6.1 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches (154.9 x 76.2 x 7.62 millimeters)
5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches (146 x 72 x 8.1 millimeters)
6.8 ounces (192.8 grams)
5.7 ounces (161 grams)
5.5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
5.2-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
2,160 x 3,840 pixels (807 ppi)
1,080 x 1,920 pixels (424 ppi)
Android 7 Nougat
Android 7 Nougat
MicroSD card slot
NFC support
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Miracast, A-GNSS, CDMA, DLNA, HPSA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Miracast, A-GNSS, CDMA, DLNA, HPSA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
19MP Motion-Eye rear + 13MP wide angle front
19MP Motion-Eye rear + 13MP front
4K video recording
4k at 30fps, 720p at 960fps, HDR
Yes, version 5.0
Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor
Other sensors
Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, barometer, compass, color spectrum
Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, barometer, compass, color spectrum
Water resistant
USB-C, headphone
USB-C, headphone
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Color offerings
Luminous chrome, deepsea black
Ice blue, black, warm silver
Spring 2017
April 5
DT review
Coming Soon
Coming Soon

Power and productivity

It’s almost unfair to compare these two phones. The XZ Premium, equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (not in any currently available smartphone), is miles faster than the XZs, which is stuck with a that’s-so-last-year Snapdragon 820.

The Premium comes with 64GB of onboard storage, while the XZs includes 32GB or 64GB, depending upon whether you’re rocking a single or dual-SIM setup. Both phones’ capacities can be upgraded via SD cards, and both come with a relatively standard 4GB of RAM.

Neither phone boasts a notable advantage in connectivity, though the Premium uses Bluetooth 5.0, while the XZs uses 4.2. The XZ Premium’s 3,230mAh battery is also superior to the 2,900mAh battery in its sibling, though it does have a bigger, higher resolution screen to power.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Design and display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There can be no debate about this: The XZ Premium is bigger, badder, and better looking than the XZs. Wrapped in durable Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and diamond-cut at the edges, the Premium — especially its chrome variant — is a joy to behold. Both phones feature curved edges, though this is more pronounced on the sides of the XZ Premium (which almost feels like one of those old iPod Nanos… you remember those).

Even though large bezels may be out of style, Sony managed to make it work with the XZ Premium — it’s a handsome piece of tech, despite its fatal attraction to fingerprints. When placed side-by-side, the XZs definitely isn’t as eye-catching, but it’s not too shabby. The ice blue model, in particular, is a nice departure from the traditional smartphone hues.

The XZ Premium’s 4K HDR display is absolutely stunning, though it’s likely that the device only runs at 4K when displaying 4K video content, while usually running at a standard 1080-pixel resolution. The “HDR” tag means colors will be more vibrant and blacks will be, well, blacker. The XZs’ 5.2-inch Full HD screen simply can’t compare.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ Premium


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both phones are part of the same Xperia family, and there are literally zero differences between the XZ Premium and XZs in terms of software.

Both phones run Android 7 Nougat, and both come equipped with Sony’s Xperia Actions adaptive software, which learns your behavior over time and makes suggestions (turning down your brightness after dark, for example) to help make your life easier. Technically, all the software on the XZ Premium probably runs a bit faster (because of the processor), but the features are all the same.

Winner: Tie


This is where the Xperia XZ-series truly shines. Both phones boast 19-megapixel cameras in the rear, with Sony’s Motion-Eye predictive capture technology, which automatically buffers images before they’re taken, so if you time an action shot wrong, you can simply go back and choose from one of four pre-selected frames.

Motion-Eye also allows the XZ Premium and XZs to capture slow-motion footage at 960 frames-per-second. The cameras feature intelligent exposure control, improving image quality in low-light settings, and anti-distortion technology to smooth out photos of moving subjects.

Both phones also boast 13-megapixel front selfie cameras, though the XZ Premium’s has a 22mm wide-angle lens. The only other difference between the models’ cameras is the Premium’s predictive hybrid autofocus, which works with Motion-Eye to improve action shot clarity.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Price and availability

Right now, only the XZs has a set release date: April 5. It’ll cost $700 retail, which means that the Premium — slated for a Spring release, though that’s all we know — is certain to be even pricier.

Unless you’re big into photography (especially of moving subjects), neither of these phones seem like incredible value. If you’re looking to acquire one of the Xperia phones ASAP, you’ll have to go with the XZs, but a little patience will pay off, as the XZ Premium is simply better.

Winner: Tie

Overall winner: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

There are literally zero categories where the Sony Xperia XZs outshines its bigger sibling. Though impatient customers might decide to snag a XZs when it hits shelves on April 5, there’s little other reason to make that choice.

Both phones look to be rather expensive considering their capabilities, but if you’re looking for a big-brand phone that takes amazing photos and 4K video, the XZ Premium is a solid choice.

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