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Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: What’s the difference?

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: We compare the new 4K HDR Sony smartphone, dubbed the Xperia XZ Premium, with Sony’s existing flagship phone the Xperia XZ. What’s the difference in terms of specs, media performance, camera tech and other essential features? Here’s all you need to know.

The Sony Xperia XZ is only six months old but Sony just launched a souped-up version of this flagship phone at MWC 2017. The Xperia XZ Premium is a bigger, more powerful version of the Xperia XZ, boasting the world’s first 4K HDR smartphone screen as well as some fresh and innovative camera tech.

So how do the Xperia XZ and Xperia XZ Premium compare, and should XZ owners consider an upgrade already? Here’s our full Xperia XZ vs Xperia XZ Performance comparison review to show you how these Sony blowers stack up.

Read next: How does the new Xperia XZs compare with the original Xperia XZ?

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: Specs

Phone Xperia XZ Xperia XZ Premium
Screen size 5.2-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD 4K Ultra HD
Water resistant? Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
OS Android Nougat Android Nougat
Processor Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 835
Memory 3GB 4GB
Storage 32GB TBC
MicroSD? Yes Yes
Rear camera 23-megapixel 19-megapixel

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: Design

Although these mobiles share the ‘XZ’ moniker, they couldn’t look much more different.

The Xperia XZ is a 5.2-inch handset sporting pleasingly curved edging that makes for a comfortable grip. It’s not the most compact handset around, mostly thanks to those thick bezels above and below the screen, but you can just about get away with one-handed use.

In comparison, the Xperia XZ Premium is a 5.5-inch beast that demands two-handed use. The Premium is surprisingly slender given its size at just 7.9mm, but its bulk means it’s likely only to appeal to media fans. However, you do get the same gorgeous rounded edges and flat top and bottom surfaces.

Sony’s alkeleido design makes for an attractive matt finish on the original Xperia XZ, but this metallic surfacing sadly picks up scratches and scuffs all too easily. After just a couple of weeks of play, our review model was already covered in nicks.

Meanwhile, the Xperia XZ Premium sports a reflective metal finish just like the old Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. It’s a total fingerprint magnet and the Chrome model in particular shows up greasy prints the moment you touch it. We’d recommend going for the Deepsea Black version instead.

Both phones are water resistant and both pack an edge-mounted fingerprint sensor, for swiftly unlocking to your desktops.

Read next: Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra vs Xperia XA Ultra hands-on comparison review

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: Screen and media

The Xperia XZ packed a really good 5.2-inch Full HD screen which is a great way to take in movies and shows on the go. You can tweak the colour reproduction, switching from realistic hues to more punchy, vibrant visuals with the flick of a virtual switch. Images are perfectly crisp too, with plenty of detail packed in and boosted if desired with Sony’s X-Reality software engine.

However, the XZ Premium seriously upgrades the XZ’s media chops with the world’s first 4K HDR screen. We’ve already had the first 4K smartphone screen courtesy of Sony again, in the form of the Z5 Premium. However, the XZ Premium adds HDR visuals, which means stronger contrast, a greater range of colours and pin-sharp visuals.

Of course, there isn’t much 4K HDR content out there to stream right now, but Amazon Prime Video will offers some movies and shows at the launch of the XZ Premium. And you can expect other services such as Netflix to follow suit.

Both phones support Hi-Res audio, so you can bop along to crisp, detail-packed music. And you can expand the on-board storage with a microSD memory card, to carry a massive media collection around.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: Performance and battery life

The Xperia XZ Premium also sports a performance upgrade compared with the original XZ.

We have no issues with the performance of the Xperia XZ, whose Snapdragon 820 processor provides a smooth everyday experience. The latest games play with a perfect frame rate, apps load quickly and our benchmarking tests threw out some strong figures.

However, for the XZ Premium Sony has updated the chipset to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor. This isn’t just nippier in general, but also offers greater peak download and upload speeds - good news if you want to be streaming 4K HDR video.

Read next: Snapdragon 835 vs 820, what’s the difference?

As for battery life, the Xperia XZ is respectable enough, offering a full day of use between charges. That’s with pretty heavy use too, although too much video streaming or Skyping will see the XZ dead before you’re tucked up with teddy.

The XZ Premium boasts a bigger battery but that 4K HDR screen will likely sap its power quite quick. Sony reckons you’ll still get a full day of use per charge, but we’ll be sure to test that for our full Xperia XZ Premium review.

Both phones sport Qnovo battery tech, which monitors your everyday usage and charging habits and ensures that the cell isn’t damaged by overcharging over time. So far the Xperia XZ’s battery is keeping full charge and we’re hopeful of the same results from the XZ Premium.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia XZ: Cameras

We’re still big fans of the Xperia XZ’s 23-megapixel camera, as you’ll know from our in-depth XZ camera review. This smart mobile snapper can capture sharp, detail-packed photos in strong and low light, as well as shooting up to 4K video footage with crisp and pleasing results.

However, the Xperia XZ Premium boasts Sony’s fresh new Motion Eye camera which is a step beyond in terms of technical innovation.

Although the megapixel count drops to 19, the XZ Premium’s shooter is even better at capturing moving subjects, automatically taking multiple shots so you can choose the best result. You also get a bigger sensor than before, which hopefully translates to better low light photo capture.

Once again you can shoot 4K video, but the XZ Premium also sports Sony’s new Super Slow Motion feature. This allows you to shoot a standard video, but occasionally tap an on-screen button to capture a quick burst of 960fps footage. When played back, these Super slow-mo sections are incredibly smooth and even more impressive than footage shot on the iPhone 7.

Check out our hands-on Motion Eye camera review for more info and our thoughts on the Sony Super Slow Motion feature.

Check back soon for our full in-depth Sony Xperia XZ Premium review, and for now check out our Xperia XZ review and hands-on Xperia XZ Premium review for more info on these brilliant Sony phones. For these features and more, head to our MWC 2017 hub.

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