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Sony Xperia XZ review – Sony’s flagship phone with a 23mp rear camera!

Sony Xperia XZ is Sony’s flagship phone currently available to purchase. It is available for around £530 and on various contract deals. My thanks go to Vodafone for the loan of the Sony Xperia XZ.

The Key Specifications / Features

– Android 6.0 OS – Update to Nougat soon
– 23 MP 1/2.3″ rear camera, laser autofocus, RGB-IR sensor, 4K Video, 5 x Clear Image Zoom, ISO 12800 Photo/3200 Video, video stabilisation, LED Flash
– 5.2” HD 1080p resolution IPS LCD Screen – With Triluminos and X-reality for vivid colours, 423 PPI
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Adreno 530 GPU & 3GB RAM
– Bluetooth 4.2 with apt-X, A2DP, LDAC, LE
– WiFi – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 / 5 GHz)
– 32 GB storage & micro SD support up to 256 GB
– In the box – Sony MH750 earphones & buds, 3 pin UK Sony fast charger
USB Type C Data Cable

Phone Basics

The Sony Xperia XZ has a good 1080p screen. When you watch my video review you will see how vivid it looks. Viewing angles are reasonable. Call quality is good. The loudspeaker is of average quality but doesn’t go to a high volume. This is demonstrated in the video review. Plugging in wired headphones and its a gold star for Sony. It produces a high quality output, not the loudest, but decent quality. Bluetooth audio is fantastic and the phone includes Sony’s Hi-Res bluetooth LDAC codec. The special audio features are again shown in my video review.

From a hardware design point of view, I really like the look and style of the phone. It is easy to hold one handed too.

The camera hardware on paper is awesome. Unfortunately Sony has a record of not having the best software processing on its phone cameras. The better news is that this is the first Sony phone where I got some exceptional photos, the best from all Sony smartphones I have tested and reviewed. In fact, on the day I tested the Sony Xperia ZX, it took better outdoor shots than my iPhone 7 Plus. However, indoor and low light shots don’t fair as well. Also, the camera seems to take some dud shots amongst the great ones. In other words the auto mode is not as good as other competing flagship phones. I have shown the camera app interface in more depth in my video below. The front camera is just average.

Camera Samples

Sun & Stormy Weather - sub zero, bitter winds & heavy rain all at once

The above shot in one of my favourite. Dynamic colours picking up the sun, rain and hail storm.

In a line - Fury, George & Tiggy sprinting up to Great Mis Tor

The above photo shows my 3 dogs running which the Sony Xperia XZ captured fairly decently.

Little Mis Tor  & Great Mis Tor - High up on Dartmoor in stormy conditions

The above shot is of Little & Great Mis Tor on Dartmoor. A good shot again from the Xperia XZ.

Video Review

For the next part of my review, watch my video review which details even more information and thoughts.

Conclusion

The Sony Xperia XZ has a lot of positive aspects. Great headphone audio using wired or wireless headphones. A design which I personally like. Easy to use one handed. The weakness is the camera which despite its huge hardware specification is let down by software processing, meaning its not up with current flagship standards.

Useful Links

Latest pricing & more info on Amazon UK
Vodafone Shop
More reviews from gavinsgadgets

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Xiaomi Mi Max – Review – A Giant of a Phone

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Welcome to my review of the Xiaomi Mi Max.

Key Features

Yesterday my Xiaomi Mi Max arrived. It is a monster.

– Dimensions – 173.1 x 88.3 x 7.5 mm
– Weight – 203g
– SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by / or combo with micro SD)
– Screen 6.44 inch , 342 ppi , 1080p IPS
– Gorilla Glass 4
– 3/4gb ram 32/64/128gb storage
– IR Blaster
– Gorilla Glass 4
– 16 MP, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, 5mp front
– FM Radio
– 4,850 mAh battery

Phone Basics

I have the 3gb 32 storage, Snapdragon 650 Mi Max. There are larger storage options along with 4gb ram and also a Snapdragon 652. In day to day use the Mi Max has been fluid with no hickups. Screen viewing angles are excellent and sunlight visibilty reasonable too. I have no bluetooth, wifi or other issues either.

The Mi Max comes a Chinese rom. Hopefully, it won’t be long for a Global rom. With the Chinese firmware, despite selecting English in the language menu, Chinese text does appear in certain apps and menus. This hasn’t stop me setting up the FM Radio channels, the Mi Remote (infra red blaster) for my TV and a lot more. The loudspeaker is mono, goes fairly loud and sounds quite good. Headphone audio is excellent. My Sennheiser HD598se were powered with relative ease.

To make this work with Google services, you will need to install Google Play Services APK. This is available from the Xiaomi forums within the Mi5 section. After installing this, you will need to go to the Download app and change WiFi limit size to unlimited, go to the security app and allow all permissions for all the Google apps and services, and allow all the Google apps and services to auto start. Then reboot. Obviously, once a global rom arrives, Google Play services will come preinstalled and minus a lot of the Chinese bloat.

MIUI v7.3 is installed and this will be upgraded to the new MIUI v8.

Battery life is wonderful. Full brightness. Everything on. And still loads of juice left at the end of the day. Every phone should have a 4,850mAh battery! Viewing media on the 6.44 inch screen is fantastic too.

Camera

Both the front and rear cameras take good photos. The front has several selfie options and I was pleased with the results. The rear camera took great photos in good light. The quality dropped in lower light. In its manual mode it only has a maximum shutter of 0.25 seconds. The camera has lots of different shooting modes shown in my video review further down. It is worth noting that optical image stabilisation is not present.

Camera Samples

Views around Princetown, Dartmoor #Xiaomi #MiMax

Lovely colours with this shot above.

Views around Princetown, Dartmoor #Xiaomi #MiMax

My local church above with HDR off.

Views around Princetown, Dartmoor #Xiaomi #MiMax

Now with HDR on.

Views around Princetown, Dartmoor #Xiaomi #MiMax

The camera is able to focus on specific areas with relative ease.

Video Review

 

 

Conclusion

At around £250 this is an amazing piece of hardware and once the global rom arrives will be even better. It also is a giant of a phone yet still manageable.