Sony’s newest flagship Android phone, the Xperia XZ1 (Rs46,990), takes over from the Xperia XZ Premium. It retains the familiar slab-like design, but the shiny mirror-like glass has been replaced by a subdued matt finish. This design means there are thick bezels above and below the screen, at a time when minimal bezels are in vogue.

Is the Xperia XZ1 a climbdown from the stand Sony took with the display on the Xperia XZ Premium? The latter had a 5.5-inch display with 4K resolution (3,840x2,160 pixels). As it turns out, the Xperia XZ1’s 5.2-inch display is Full HD—this is better for battery life too, since fewer pixels consume less power. This is the first Full HD phone with high dynamic range (HDR).

You’ll see vibrant colours without over-saturation, pure whites, and great viewing angles. Contrast isn’t the best, but that is not a deal-breaker.

The 19-megapixel camera is genuinely good, and most of the photographs captured in good light retain impressive detailing. Sony has enabled Predictive Capture by default (it was a manual setting in previous phones), which means you get a series of captures for every photograph—choose whichever one looks best. However, the image-processing algorithms, still aggressive, tend to make photographs look too soft if the lighting isn’t perfect.

The Xperia XZ1 runs the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and is one of the very few phones with the latest Android 8.0 (Oreo). But Sony has gone ahead and hidden it under its rather long-in-the-tooth interface. The 2,700 mAh battery will get you through a day without stress, but no more. Turn on the Stamina mode, and stutters become apparent.

On the Xperia XZ1, you will find an app called 3D Creator. The idea is to convert objects into 3D images. The process involves a face scan, then a head scan and the scan of a plate of food before you can scan any object. It is not easy to get the lighting perfect, and the speed at which you pan the camera will have a bearing on image quality.

The Xperia XZ1’s performance is incrementally better with the newer hardware, and so is the camera. Sony loyalists would find this a genuine upgrade from any phone older than the XZ Premium. However, it faces tough competition from the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Rs53,900), which is more appealing with its 18.5:9 aspect ratio Infinity Display.

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