Sony is today announcing the new Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact smartphones, which replace the XZ and X Compact released a year ago. The main updates to the new phones are Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and refined designs, which, in the case of the XZ1, include a full metal frame. In addition, the XZ1 pair will be among the first phones to launch with Android 8.0 Oreo already installed.
In addition, both phones have Sony’s Motion Eye camera system that first debuted in the XZ Premium earlier this year. It has a 19-megapixel sensor with Predictive Capture that will take an image a few seconds before you actually hit the shutter button to cut down on missed moments. In addition, the camera can record super slow motion 720p video at 960fps in addition to 4K video at standard speeds. But while it offers Sony’s SteadyShot electronic stabilization for video, it lacks optical image stabilization for stills. The XZ1 has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, while the XZ1 Compact has a super-wide-angle 8-megapixel front camera.
One new feature offered on the XZ1 is a 3D scanning mode. The camera can scan an object and save the file as a 3D image, which it can then send to a 3D printer or share to a social network. Sony plans to integrate the feature with games, so it will be possible to scan your head and use it as an avatar, but those partnerships are not yet finalized.
The XZ1 has a 5.2-inch, 1080p HDR display, while the smaller Compact model has a 4.6-inch 720p screen. Both feature Gorilla Glass 5 for durability and both are rated IP68 for water resistance.
The two phones also share the same processor (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835), RAM (4GB), and battery capacity (2,700mAh). The XZ1 has 64GB of storage, while the Compact has 32GB. Both phones support microSD card storage expansion, though the XZ1 can use two SIMs at the same time if you don’t put in a microSD card.
Sony says that these specs make the XZ1 Compact the only premium compact phone on the market, as all of the other phones with the Snapdragon 835 have larger screens.
Design-wise, Sony has updated and refined the boxy design its been using for the past half-decade, but it still looks woefully dated. Neither phone offers an edge-to-edge display or longer aspect ratio (both are the standard 16:9 shape), and both have humongous bezels above and below the screen that look positively comical next to a Samsung or LG phone from this year. And while the XZ1 has a slim, metal chassis that’s nicely refined, the Compact’s glass fiber and plastic construction feels thick and clumsy. Neither phone will have a functional fingerprint scanner in the US, though international models will offer one.
On the upside, Sony will be launching these phones with Android 8.0 Oreo, making them the first phones outside of Google’s own Pixel and Nexus lines running the software. You’ll be able to get either phone in black, blue, silver, or pink colors.
The XZ1 will be available unlocked starting September 19th for $699.99 through Amazon or Best Buy, while the XZ1 Compact arrives on October 4th for $599.99. Neither will be offered by any US carriers, though the XZ1 Compact will have support for T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE features.
Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge