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Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review

Sony just launched its new ultra-sized flagship phone, the Xperia XZ Premium, which packs a mighty 4K HDR screen - the world’s first mobile to do so. Here’s everything you need to know about the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, including specs, a closer look at Sony’s new camera tech and the UK price and release date.

Sony has had a busy MWC, launching four new phones in all. The new Xperia XA1 and Xperia XA1 Ultra offer a solid experience for an affordable price, while the Xperia XZs boosts the performance and camera tech of the rather bloody good Xperia XZ flagship phone launched in 2016.

However, it's the 4K screen-toting Xperia XZ Premium that's really stoked our geek fires. Boasting Ultra HD visuals with support for HDR content, the XZ Premium is an enticing prospect with anyone who loves movies and has cash to burn. We went hands on at MWC 2017 for this first look XZ Premium review.

Read next: Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZs vs Xperia XZ, what's the difference?

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Specs

Phone Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 4K Ultra HD
Water resistant? Yes
Fingerprint sensor? Yes
OS Android Nougat
Processor Snapdragon 835
Memory 4GB
Storage TBC
MicroSD? Yes
Rear camera 19MP

Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review: Design

Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium looks like a hybrid of the Xperia XZ flagship phone from last year and the Xperia Z5 Premium from 2015. For a start, it’s the same size as the old Premium handset, at 5.5-inches. Definitely a handful, although given the number of 5.5-inch phones hitting the UK these days, it doesn’t feel crazy big.

Those metal edges are rounded at the sides for a comfortable grip too, cutting off top and bottom for a flat finish just like on the flagship XZ. At 7.9mm thick the Premium is surprisingly slender too, despite all of the smart tech packed inside.

Around the back of the XZ Premium, you get a mirrored surface just like on the Z5 Premium. This certainly smudges up all too easily, as we discovered when we went hands-on, but the Deepsea Black model masks this more easily than the Luminous Chrome version.

Sony’s Unified Design language makes a welcome return from the other X-series handsets, so you can expect the box and Sony’s UI to match the colour and design of the phone. And like the Xperia XZ flagship phone, the Xperia XZ Premium is fully water resistant (IP68).

Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review: Screen

The Xperia XZ Premium has a couple of killer features, but the most obvious one is that spacious, super-advanced screen.

Sony’s ultra-flagship boasts the world’s first 4K HDR display found on a smartphone. We’ve already had a 4K mobile display before, also courtesy of Sony and its Xperia Z5 Premium handset. But this is the first time we’ve seen HDR tech in a shrunken panel.

Check out our what is HDR feature for more info on what helps HDR movies and shows to stand out. But in a nutshell, you can expect a greater colour range, stronger contrast levels and of course serious detail packed into every frame. Great news if you’re going to be watching a lot of video on the move.

But of course a 4K HDR screen is pretty much useless without some solid content to enjoy on it. This was one of the biggest issues with the Z5 Premium - the phone boasted a gorgeous display, but there was nothing to watch on it.

Thankfully Amazon Prime Video will offer 4K HDR movies and shows which can be streamed on the XZ Premium. So as long as you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll find a decent-sized HDR video catalogue which is ever-expanding. You can expect other services to follow suit.

Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review: Camera

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium boasts Sony’s new Motion Eye camera tech, which offers a step up from the tri-sensor tech found on the Xperia XZ. You get a larger sensor, improved predictive focus, fantastic image quality and Sony’s fresh new Super Slow Motion video mode which has to be seen to be believed.

Check out our hands-on Sony Xperia XZ Premium camera review for our full thoughts and an in-depth look at the Super Slow Motion feature.

Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review: Performance and the rest

Running the show is Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor, which offers silky smooth performance as well as super-nippy download speeds of up to 1Gbps. Meanwhile the battery tech is once again in collaboration with Qnovo, so you shouldn’t see any degradation in performance over time.

You get a choice of 32 or 64GB of storage space, which once again can be boosted with a microSD memory card.

Hands-on Xperia XZ Premium Review: Verdict

So far Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium looks like one of the most innovative smartphones of MWC 2017, although the undoubtedly premium UK price will help to make it a niche device.

If you’re sold on the idea of a portable 4K HDR screen that slips into your pocket, then the XZ Premium is going to thrill - and at least this time around we’ll have content to enjoy on it. Likewise, Sony’s new camera tech looks to be truly competitive, even if the Super Slow Motion mode isn’t as flexible as the iPhone 7’s.

Check out our hands-on Xperia XZ Premium video review below.

Check back soon for our full Xperia XZ Premium review. In the meantime, head over to our MWC 2017 hub for more on all of Sony's new X-series handsets, including the Xperia XZs, and new devices from Samsung, LG, Huawei and more.

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