Sony Xperia XZ Premium with test: 960-FPS-Zeitlupe for spectacular 184 ms

Sony Xperia XZ Premium with test: 960-FPS-Zeitlupe for spectacular 184 ms

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium comes as a top model with Snapdragon 835, UHD display and unique 960-FPS-time loupe therefore. In the test, performance, processing as well as surface can convince and also photos succeed better than from Sony so far. The Superzeitlupe however is spectacular, but only 184 ms available.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium tested

The Xperia XZ Premium has been a new top model from Sony for a week. It was already shown on the MWC 2017 at the end of February, rumors, however, only Samsung competitors the SoC Snapdragon 835 (test) in large quantities – previously had Galaxy S8 and S8 + (test) precedence.

The first smartphone with 960-FPS slow-motion

Not only the SoC is new and modern, but also the camera brings some changes to the previous models. The new Motion Eye camera with 19 megapixels is the first smartphone camera to record slow motion images at 960 frames per second thanks to a three-layer CMOS sensor with its own 125 MB DRAM.

Although the predecessor in the form of the Xperia Z5 Premium (test) despite a promising data sheet set no standards, the new Xperia XZ Premium can score especially with processing, operating system and performance. The camera also makes a big leap forward, its super-time magnifying glass is, at the current time, but still a very complicated game.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Samsung Galaxy S8 + LG G6
(upon publication)
Android 7.1 Android 5.1 Android 7.0
display: 5.50 inch
2.160 x 3.840, 801 ppi
TFT, HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
5.50 inches,
2.160 x 3.840, 801 ppi
6.20 inches
1.440 x 2.960, 531 ppi
WQHD + Super AMOLED, HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
5.70 inches
1.440 x 2.880, 565 ppi
IPS, HDR, Gorilla Glass 3
Service: Touch
fingerprint sensor, status LED
fingerprint sensor, iris scanner, status LED
fingerprint sensor, status LED
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
4 × Kryo 280, 2.45 GHz
4 × Kryo 280, 1.90 GHz
10 nm, 64-bit
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
4 × Cortex-A57, 2.00 GHz
4 × Cortex-A53, 1.55 GHz
20 nm, 64-bit
Samsung Exynos 8895
4 × Exynos M2, 2.31 GHz
4 × Cortex-A53, 1.69 GHz
10 nm, 64-bit
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2 x cryo, 2.34 GHz
2 x cryo, 2.19 GHz
14 nm, 64-bit
GPU: Adreno 540 Adreno 430
650 MHz
Mali-G71 MP20
546 MHz
Adreno 530
653 MHz
R.A.M: 4,096 MB
3,072 MB
4,096 MB
Storage: 64 GB (+ microSD) 32 GB (+ microSD) 64 GB (+ microSD) 32 GB (+ microSD)
Camera: 19.0 MP, 2160p
23.0 MP, 2160p
LED, f / 2.0, AF
12.0 MP, 2160p
LED, f / 1.7, AF, OIS
13.0 MP, 2160p
Dual-LED, f / 1.8, AF, OIS
Secondary camera: No 13.0 MP, f / 2.4, AF
Front camera: 13.0 MP, 1080p
5.0 MP, 1080p
8.0 MP, 1440p
display flash, f / 1.7, AF
5.0 MP, 1080p
f / 2.2
↓ 42.2 ↑ 5.76 Mbps
LTE: Advanced Pro
↓ 1,000 ↑ 150 Mbps
↓ 300 ↑ 50 Mbps
Advanced Pro
↓ 1,000 ↑ 150 Mbps
↓ 600 ↑ 150 Mbps
WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Wi-Fi Direct
802.11a / b / g / n / ac
Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast
Bluetooth: 4.2 4.1 5.0 LE 4.2 LE
tracking Systems: A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo A-GPS, GLONASS A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Other Standards: USB 3.1 Type C, NFC Micro USB 2.0, MHL, NFC USB 3.1 Type C, NFC USB 3.0 Type C, NFC
SIM card: Nano SIM
Battery pack: 3230 mAh
permanently installed
3430 mAh
permanently installed
3,500 mAh (13,48 Wh)
firmly installed, cordless charging
3.300 mAh (12.50 Wh)
fixedly installed
Size (W × H × D): 77.0 × 156.0 × 7.90 mm 76.0 × 154.4 × 7.80 mm 73.4 × 159.5 × 8.10 mm 71.9 × 148.9 × 7.90 mm
protection: IP68
Mass: 195 g 180 g 173 g 163 g
Price: 749 € From 424 € From 732 € From 509 €

Big edges and lots of reflection

In the Xperia XZ Premium design, Sony remains on its familiar line, which has been used since the very first Xperia Z from the year 2011. In contrast to the other models of the Xperia-X range, the manufacturer once again uses a backside of glass, including a strong mirror, in the top model. The look clearly remembers the predecessor, the Xperia Z5 Premium.

Mirror, dirty mirror in hand

More mirrors than the test model in the color chrome does not go. This is not only due to the rear panel, but also to the front, which can even interfere with the sun when the wrong angle blurs the user. The frame is made of polycarbonate and, with its rounding and coloring, appropriately connects the front and the back. The upper and lower ends are made of metal.

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 + or LG G6 (test), however, Sony uses the old-fashioned design again to create a design with large edges that measure 3.1 cm above and below. The entire housing of the XZ Premium is just over 15 centimeters long. The design looks coherent in itself, but viewed in the competition but now stale.

Waterproof and very well processed

The XZ Premium is also protected against dust and water according to IP65 / 68. The manufacturer places the buttons on the right side. They have a crisp pressure point and can also be clearly distinguished from each other blindly, since the on-board switch with integral fingerprint sensor is let into the frame. The dedicated camera button is a further plus, even if it is comparatively small and thus somewhat hackly to use. All connections are precisely machined, and the gap dimensions are minimal and uniform.

UHD display with HDR

One of the key features of the Xperia XZ Premium is the same as its predecessor: the 5.5-inch panel dissolves with 3,840 × 2,180 pixels in Ultra HD. But this is not always used. Because while the smartphone renders the operating system and the apps only in Full HD, the higher resolution is only used with appropriate images in the form of apps and videos automatically. Thus, Sony is already at the Z5 premium process, the background is a lower power consumption and a more fluid representation of the UI.

HDR and UHD with little use

In addition to the high resolution, which in everyday life is often used only secondary, the display also dominates HDR. However, this is not always switched in, but requires appropriate content. For streaming portals, this is still not widely used on mobile devices; Netflix currently supports only the LG G6, for example. Also in the YouTube app there is no support for HDR, but for UHD, the Sony somewhat incorrectly referred to as 4K, although the XZ Premium measures 3.840 instead of 4,096 pixels in height.

Unspectacular measurements

In the measurements, the first hanger sign of the smartphone can not be very enthusiastic: the brightness is 484 cd / m² high, but lower than on other Sony models. The contrast is significantly weaker, however, which is 968: 1, which is well below the level of other flagships. The color representation is cool with a white point of around 7,100 Kelvin as Sony is cool, but can be adjusted in the settings. The viewing angles are stable, the contents remain recognizable from the side as well.

Snapdragon 835 and Android 7.1.1

Although the Sony Xperia XZ Premium will launch in the middle of the year despite the early introduction on the MWC 2017, but the Snapdragon 835 has the current top model from Qualcomm on board missing some early starters like the LG G6. The system on a chip has eight cryogenic cores each in two quadruplets. The performance cluster clocks up to 2.6 GHz, the power cluster for energy savings at up to 1.9 GHz. In addition, 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of internal memory. The latter is expandable with a microSD card.

Always liquid and fast

In everyday life, the Xperia XZ Premium runs smoothly at any time, apps open in a very short time, and there are no jerks or longer waiting times. The smartphone is always responsive and reliable. The RAM management is synonymous Sony well, content such as browser tabs can often be reused even after long time without reloading. Influence on the high performance also takes the fast memory according to UFS standard.

Power does not keep constant

Thanks to the new Snapdragon 835, the heat development is lower than the predecessor with the Snapdragon 810. To check the performance level after prolonged exercise, ComputerBase has performed 20 passes of the GFXBench Manhattan.

It shows that the Xperia XZ Premium already loses a few FPS at the beginning, but can hold the level first. After about one-third of the repetitions, the FPS then declines more and more until the performance equilibrates at about 70 percent of the initial value. The current Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8 +, however, shows an even clearer performance loss and is somewhat slower than the Xperia XZ Premium after the 20th run, although it renders faster in the beginning.

News Android with outdated patch

On the model provided by Sony, Android is used in version 7.1.1. The version is more up-to-date than the Android 7.0 on the Galaxy S8, but comes only with the security patch from April 2017. That was also on the 8th of June and thus after the sales start of the case.

The surface of Sony shows itself in the usual way, there are no big changes compared to the X-series. This is basically also pleasant, since the surface of Sony is very reserved and slender, Android leaves in many areas untouched and partly decorated with sensible additions. This is, for example, the Stamina mode or a theme that can be customized via themes.

Wizard without Google

Instead of the Google Assistant, Sony uses its own wizard, which provides tips and tricks on the smartphone and also has its own actions. With the help of so-called “Xperia Actions” certain actions can be carried out automatically at specific times and / or locations. This includes activating the non-interfering or flight mode or disabling the notification light. The battery management integrated in Sony’s assistant is intended to protect the battery by using the charging habits of the user. The smartphone remembers the times when it is connected to the power for an extended period, and when it is plugged again. This should be charged to the smartphone just before the estimated peeling 100 percent.

As used by Sony, the manufacturer also installs some add-on apps from the factory that can not be uninstalled at XZ Premium – only deactivation is possible. This is annoying, but at 64 GB internal memory less serious than on other devices. In the XZ Premium’s power switch, a fingerprint sensor has been installed since the Z5 series. This works reliably and comfortably and unlocks the smartphone almost immediately by pressing the button; But it is not active in standby mode. The sensor has problems, as with most manufacturers, especially with wet fingers. Optionally, the camera with the last selected settings can be called after two-fold printing. The quick start via the camera key automatically starts the “superior automatic” mode.

19 Megapixels and extreme slow-motion with 960 FPS

In addition to the display, Sony puts the focus on the camera, which the manufacturer calls for the first time Motion Eye . The resolution of the new three-layer camera sensor is 19 megapixels. The open aperture has a light intensity of f / 2.0 and is thus somewhat lighter than the competition of Samsung or LG. The camera offers a hybrid autofocus, which is based on a mixture of phase detection, contrast measurement and laser. Beside the LED of the smartphone flash sits a separate RGB sensor, which is responsible for the white balance.

Does technology mean better results?

But with technology, cameras from Sony smartphones have always been packed. At the same time, however, they were always accompanied by losses. In particular, blurring at the edge of the picture as well as a comparatively high noise were criticisms for a long time; Smartphones from other manufacturers with Sony purchased technology often yielded better results. In the Xperia XZ Premium, Sony improves both points, even if only one is crucial: the screen is spread evenly over the entire picture, which ensures sharp shots even in the corners of the picture. The problem with the high basic noise persists also with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and is particularly in the 100 percent view very clearly recognizable.

In the day, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium can convince with a vivid color, but the contrast is effective in some photos but a bit too strong. In order to avoid over-exposure to bright image areas, photos are automatically measured by the automatic exposure metering. However, this often leads to the dark image parts being underexposed on motifs with a strong dynamic range. However, these are lightened to dark areas by software, which theoretically leads to an increase in the dynamics capture, but the Xperia XZ Premium does not convincingly succeed.

RGB sensor ensures correct white balance

The RGB sensor proves to be very good when it comes to automatic white balance, even in artificial light, and different light situations are no problem for the new smartphone. Although one or the other detail is lost in the artificial light due to the increased sensor sensitivity, the images remain relatively low in noise.

During the night, higher sensitivities, on the other hand, result in increased and visible sensor noise. But even this noise pattern, despite the small pixel size is only moderately pronounced. The dynamics capture now suffers visibly under the high ISO values. Here, Sony still lags behind the competition.

960-FPS slow-down with large restrictions

The real highlight of the camera is the extreme slow-motion with 960 FPS. At least in theory, because in practice the currently still existing restrictions weigh heavily. One is more or less physical in nature: shooting with 1/960 second exposure time takes a lot of light to capture it at low sensitivity of the sensor (ISO). The Xperia XZ clearly indicates this at the first start. Recordings with sunshine are not a problem (example in the video: water bomb), picture noise is barely perceptible. If the sky is cloudy or artificial light is used, the camera must however the sensitivity to the maximum drive – strongly rushing and often still too dark videos are the result (example in the video: balloon).

The second restriction is of a technical nature and always comes into play when a continuous event is not caught in a slow-motion, but rather a point-like balloon. And so properly communicated Sony has not this limitation synonymous. So the camera man is surprised that the time when the balloon bursts is repeatedly not held in the video.

960 FPS only for a fraction of a second

The reason: The 125 MB DRAM cache directly in the sensor holds with an effective 960 FPS only for a fraction of a second. As Sony reveals in the “disclaimer” to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, this is already the case after 184 milliseconds – thus after less than two tenths of a second or 176 frames. This recording is then played with 30 FPS, which corresponds to a duration of 5.9 seconds and a slow-motion factor of 1:32.

In a Super Slow Motion sequence, this camera captures 0.184 seconds at 960 bps each time for 5.9 seconds.

Sony to the Superzeitlupe

Video recordings of the stopwatch confirm approximately 200 ms recording time approximately, even if the 60 Hz display denied the exact analysis.

The challenge: The time window in which the right moment has to be captured is extremely short at 184 milliseconds. And it can not be set manually afterwards as with the less demanding 120-FPS slow-downs based on a longer video. This makes it difficult to record occasional events of extremely short duration, such as a bursting balloon or longer sequences such as jumping into the water from the dashboard. For the subsequent exemplary recordings, therefore, several attempts were required in order to be able to hold the desired result. Sony’s own examples for the presentation of the sensor are better suited, even if it would also need several attempts, until the tee-off of the baseball player is hit perfectly.

Another limitation is only a marginal note: Although the sensor 960 FPS with Full HD can, Sony uses Xperia XZ Premium only HD. If the light conditions match, but it is enough.



Always on the move... Love to blog, write about smartphones, technology and telecoms. I also like to snowboard, when I have the time :p I'll be around for a while so, be prepared.

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