Sony announces Xperia XZ2 Premium with 5.8-inch 4K HDR display, dual cameras, spec bumps

By | 16th April 2018

The new high-end model forms a triumvirate trying to save Sony's smartphone business in 2018.

We're over a month removed from the announcement of the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, which have just gone on sale in the U.S., but Sony has a third member of the lineup to launch now: the Xperia XZ2 Premium. The XZ2 Premium is mostly the same as the standard XZ2, aside from a handful of notable internal changes: the display is 4K resolution, HDR capable and moderately larger at 5.8 inches; and it has dual cameras on the back with a new sensor that has the highest ISO sensitivity of any mobile camera.

Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact specs

Sony's latest 4K HDR smartphone display tech is 30% brighter than the last version, which is a welcomed addition, though the situation of finding native 4K HDR content to play on your phone hasn't really improved. Of course you can shoot your own with the XZ2 Premium, and the software can up-scale other content, but how much better it looks and how great it is to warrant the battery hit of playing it back is still questionable.

Sony keeps improving its camera setup, but still won't add OIS.

The pair of cameras consists of a standard color sensor and a separate black-and-white sensor, which Sony says are both used to collect data and process into a single image. You can of course shoot with just the black-and-white sensor for striking greyscale shots, or use both cameras at once for an enhanced bokeh depth-of-field effect like so many other cameras offer today. Sony is also touting some pretty crazy ISO ratings for this camera pair, with up to ISO12800 for video and a bonkers ISO51200 for photos.

Now from Sony's announcement it isn't clear how it's deriving this number ... because it references using both cameras for real-time processing to achieve them, I'm skeptical as to whether each sensor is capable of that high ISO rating or it's the combination of the pair that do it. In either case, mobile camera sensors typically struggle at any sort of high ISO rating, and being that sensitive should improve low-light performance — and it better, because per Sony's release this phone still doesn't have OIS.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact review: The new standard for small

A nice set of spec bumps, but that also comes with a jump in price.

Sony's continuing the camera story with a different front-facing camera, a new 13MP (1/3.06" in size) sensor that promises better low-light shots than the 5MP unit on the other models. The slightly larger device also has a bump in battery capacity to 3540mAh, up over the XZ2's 3180mAh — we don't yet know what, if any, increased thickness is involved with that. It also has 6GB of RAM, which is expected on this expensive of a phone but not present on the regular XZ2.

The XZ2 Premium will come in just two colors, Chrome Black and Chrome Silver, which are both exclusive to the top-end model.

You may be asking why Sony chose to wait this long to announce the third member of the XZ2 lineup, and it seems the answer is that it's not ready to ship. Sony is giving a loose launch time frame of "summer 2018," and isn't providing a price. The phone's predecessor, the XZ Premium, launched in late June last year for $799 ... though this year that's the price of the regular XZ2. We can expect the XZ2 Premium to reach or exceed $899, which is a whole lot to ask for relatively minimal upgrades over the standard XZ2.

Press release:

Sony's New Xperia XZ2 Premium takes a bold step forward with ultra-high sensitivity dual camera, 4K HDR display and movie recording

  • World's highest ISO sensitivity video recording in a smartphone, 12800 for video and 51200 for photos with bright live view-finder
  • 4K HDR display and the world's first 4K HDR movie recording so you can capture stunning 4K HDR movies and play them back directly in the palm of your hand

San Mateo, California, April 16, 2018 – Sony Mobile continues to push the boundaries of innovation with the new Xperia XZ2 Premium, featuring one of the most remarkable cameras ever made in a smartphone. Xperia XZ2 Premium boasts the world's highest ISO 12800 sensitivity for video recording in a smartphone, as well as ultra-high sensitivity 51200 for photos, enabling ultra- low-light capture previously only seen in interchangeable lens cameras. The advanced camera technology on Xperia XZ2 Premium is thanks to the new dual sensor system in the Motion Eye Dual camera and AUBE fusion image signal processor that captures more than the human eye can see. With XZ2 Premium, you can also film like a pro using 4K HDR Movie recording and play it back in the palm of your hand on the 4K HDR display, showcasing your favorite moments in crystal-clear detail and eye-popping color and contrast. It's the only smartphone to bring you true professional camera quality plus a premium entertainment experience, all powered by the ultimate in processing power with the Qualcomm® Snapdragon 845.

Unprecedented camera capabilities

Xperia XZ2 Premium is the first-ever smartphone to feature the new Motion Eye Dual camera, consisting of a black-and-white sensor for capturing clear contrast and the color image sensor for accurate color. Details from both sensors are then processed by the AUBE fusion image signal processor in real time, enabling video recording with the highest ISO12800 sensitivity ever in a smartphone (as well as an ultra sensitive ISO51200 for photos). The camera's ultra sensitivity with clean, noiseless images was previously only possible with interchangeable lens cameras. With this new addition to the flagship family, Xperia brings this highly advanced technology to the palm of your hand. With the Motion Eye Dual camera you can also express your artistic side. Select Bokeh and see your subject stand out from a defocused background, and take timeless photos in monochrome with a smooth gradation between black and white. The camera's low-light capability – as well as its artistic effects – are available for viewing with the live view-finder for an accurate representation of your subject. The Motion Eye Dual camera also features more professional features, such as 4K HDR Movie recording, so you can capture reality in incredible detail and true- to-life color. Plus, you can record 960fps Super slow motion in HD or Full HD to make highly dramatic videos. Xperia XZ2 Premium also offers one of the best front-facing cameras on a smartphone with its 13MP, 1/3.06" low-light sensor and display flash – for outstanding selfies in any light.

Immersive viewing

Xperia XZ2 Premium has the ultimate display with a huge 5.8" 4K HDR (that's 11% larger and 30% brighter than our previous 4K HDR display), so you can immerse yourself in your favorite movies and content in crystal-clear detail and eye-popping color. Thanks to this display you can enjoy your own 4K HDR content (since this is the only smartphone capable of both creating and viewing 4K HDR). Plus, whether you're watching a blockbuster or a video on YouTube, Xperia XZ2 Premium uses Sony's BRAVIA® TV technology, X-Reality for mobile, to up- convert content to near High Dynamic Range (HDR) for more cinematic contrast, color, and clarity.

Not only can you see your movies with powerful realism, but you can even feel them thanks to Sony's brand new Dynamic Vibration System that analyzes audio data and lets you feel the action in your hands, bringing your movies, games, and videos to life. Xperia XZ2 Premium creates a cinema-like audio quality when you're sharing your favorite videos with your friends thanks to its powerful front-facing stereo speakers. Featuring S-Force Front Surround, they're our loudest Xperia speakers ever. Sony's audio expertise also enables sound enhancing technologies for Xperia, such Hi-res Audio, DSHEE HX, and LDAC.

Sophisticated design

Xperia XZ2 Premium's cutting-edge technology is packed into a fluid and elegant design. It has a 3D glass surface that surrounds the exterior to create a seamless finish that's comfortable to hold and easy to carry. With an exclusive glass and metal finish, this smartphone not only looks beautiful with a premium feel but is also designed to be durable thanks to Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 on both sides. Xperia XZ2 Premium is IP65/IP68 certified to withstand splashes and spills. It will be available in two contemporary colors: Chrome Black and Chrome Silver.

Ultimate Performance to the Extreme

Enjoy industry-leading performance with the cutting-edge Qualcomm® Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE. You will get immersive user experiences at lightning-fast connection speeds (up to 1.2Gbps) with the second generation Gigabit LTE solution. XZ2 Premium has 6GB RAM for additional speed and efficiency.

Xperia XZ2 Premium is built to keep you going all day with its high-capacity 3540mAh battery and Xperia's useful battery features, including Smart Stamina and STAMINA mode. Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging technology help the battery stay healthy to give you a longer battery lifespan. Qi charging is enabled to power up effortlessly and works with the new wireless charging dock (WCH20) and other compatible Qi chargers.

Availability

Xperia XZ2 Premium is available globally from Summer 2018 and will ship with Android 8.0 Oreo.