If you start to make a conditional rating of the "good guys" in the technology industry, the Japanese Sony will take one of the highest places in it. Many people do not like Google for annoying services and ubiquitous contextual advertising, Apple - for its draconian pricing policy and a halo of "exclusivity". Samsung can be annoying with aggressive marketing, Chinese companies with a passion for copying, and Microsoft with an annoying desire to know what you ate today and who you slept with yesterday. And for what not to love Sony, you just can't imagine.
The Japanese, like stubborn samurai, always went their own way, even when this road could lead them to a dead end - and this is perhaps worthy of respect. Sony has always had its own vision for everything - another thing is that sometimes this vision could be outdated.
In this regard, the company's new flagship smartphone, the Xperia XZ1, is the most Sony smartphone. And this is precisely where its main advantages and main disadvantages lie.
Look at the design - by the standards of 2017, the XZ1 looks very archaic. Huge, giant bezels around the display, the size of which has not changed, it seems, since the first generations of Xperia flagships. But at the same time - the body, literally carved from a solid bar of metal, without joints, monolithic, "sexy", if this word is generally applicable to a mobile phone. A perfectly polished, very pleasant to the touch back surface, a neat XPERIA logo on it, almost invisible antenna dividers on the side faces, a power button slightly recessed into the body - behind all this you can see the caring hand of a talented designer. Yes, in the era of bezel-less displays, Sony's flagship looks like an Iron Maiden fan at Kendrick Lamar's concert - but you'll never mistake it for any other smartphone. If only becausethat nobody else makes perfectly rectangular cases. The XZ1 has its own face - but not everyone can call it cute when you already have the Galaxy S8 and LG V30.
Sony calls its smartphones the point of intersection of all technologies developed by the company. The display, for example, went to a smartphone from Bravia, a line of Sony branded TVs. The XZ1 has an excellent screen, one of the best on the market among IPS, although it is inferior to Super AMOLED-panels of the same Samsung. On the other hand, this is the first "mainstream" smartphone in my memory with HDR support - and if you find content in this format, the XZ1 will leave the competition behind in image quality. In day-to-day life, however, the delights of HDR are unlikely to be noticed. One can only complain about the strangely working automatic brightness adjustment - the smartphone can lower it to zero even when there are no prerequisites for this. The resolution here, by the way, is Full HD - pampering with useless 4K resolution on such a diagonal remained in the XZ Premium. We will not get bored.
From the photo and video divisions XZ1 got the camera module - a unique IMX 400, which has no analogues in the world, created exclusively for the company's own flagships. Such a description should inspire optimism: Sony make unconditionally the best sensors for mobile cameras in principle, it is their developments that are in the main camera phones of the planet, including, for example, the iPhone. Unfortunately, the XZ1 itself will not be able to claim the title of "best of the best" in this regard at the end of the year. Yes, there is a unique functionality here - a memory module is installed in the sensor, so you can shoot video in slow motion at a frequency of 960 frames per second. However, the resolution is only HD - but the videos still look impressive. In addition, the smartphone is able to discreetly take and save pictures even before you press the shutter button (here it is on the body),Therefore, shooting fast-moving objects on the XZ1 is terribly convenient - after shooting, the smartphone will prompt you to choose one of four shots, and all of them, in most cases, turn out to be decent. That is why the XZ1 is the best smartphone for shooting from the window of a driving car. Some people think this functionality is pampering - and I disagree.
But the quality of the images itself, unfortunately, does not reach the flagship level. Here and there sharpness jumps across the field of the frame, post-processing strangely picks up the contrast in the picture, in the evening the noise reduction works too aggressively, and at night the image acquires an unnatural yellow tint. The XZ1 camera is not bad - in most cases it copes well with its tasks. The only pity is that, having the world's best camera sensor, Sony programmers could not squeeze anything more out of it.
But they were able to squeeze everything out of Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 - the most powerful mobile chip on the other side of Apple. The Xperia XZ1 is one of the fastest smartphones I've ever tested. The Galaxy S8 seems to be slow on its background, the iPhone 7 Plus - lazy (here, however, it is most likely the speed of iOS animations). Performance is one of the greatest strengths of the Sony flagship: it never freezes, slows down or gets warm. Apps always launch quickly, and the touchscreen always behaves appropriately. Even scrolling pages in the browser - Android's famous Achilles heel - is smooth here. For optimizing the code, Sony programmers should be given a prize - because with an obscenely small battery of 2700 mAh, the XZ1 easily survives without recharging until late in the evening.
The thrill of daily use is amplified by Android 8.0, and the XZ1 is the first smartphone on the market with a new version of this operating system on board. Sony did not unnecessarily change the look of the system, and therefore the interface looks almost the same as in the "stock", native version of Android. And this is good, because the eighth Android has become even more convenient, it is even more economical in battery consumption, and the management of notifications in general seems to have reached the ideal. So the XZ1 can be safely recommended for purchase to those who have always wanted to know why people generally love Android.
And the XZ1 is packed full of all sorts of technologies. There is support for two SIM cards, and gigabit networks, and water resistance, and the LDAC codec, which will soon become the new audio standard in Android smartphones. In place and branded "chips" Sony, such as the ability to connect a gamepad from the PlayStation 4 to a smartphone and remotely play some Destiny 2 (if only the speed of the Internet is enough). A separate line - about the 3D scanning function. The smartphone camera can create realistic three-dimensional models of objects - they can then be used to create images, Internet memes, or simply send to a 3D printer. In the era of the formation of augmented reality, the function has considerable potential.
But you will have to pay a lot for such amenities. The official price of the Xperia XZ1 in Russia is 49,990 rubles, so it directly competes with the same Galaxy S8, which both visually and in terms of the camera - let's be honest - leaves the Sony flagship far behind. But despite all the flaws, after two weeks I don't feel like pulling out the SIM card from the new Xperia. This is not the best smartphone in the world and not the main flagship of 2017, but paradoxically one of the few smartphones that you want to use every day.
It stands out, and in the era of endless iPhone clones, that's kind of an achievement too.>