March 5, 2017
Xperia XZ Premium: Will 4K HDR Display Phablet Finally Put Sony On The Map?

Though most eyes in the mobile market are eyeing the upcoming release of Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone 8, a number of notable smartphone manufacturers are also bringing some very compelling devices to the table this year. Among these is Japanese tech giant Sony, which is set to release its latest flagship device, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, sometime this spring.

Sony Xperia phones have always been among the best handsets in the market, but just like HTC's devices, each of the company's flagships has so far failed to capture the interest of the majority of mobile consumers. Things changed a little with last year's Xperia XZ, which boasted an attractive finish and snappy performance.

During the MCW 2017 in Barcelona, Sony unveiled the half-step successor to the excellent Xperia XZ, the Xperia XZ Premium, a device that might just have what it takes to put the Japanese tech giant in its rightful place at the top of the mobile market. With a couple of notable tricks up its sleeve, the Xperia XZ Premium is easily one of the most memorable devices in the recently-held mobile conference.

Just like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium would be equipped with the latest processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 835 SoC, according to a PC Advisor report. While this means that Sony's flagship device would be entering the market after the Galaxy S8's rumored release this April, the Japanese tech giant was quick to state that the Xperia XZ Premium would be available for consumers sometime during spring 2017.

Just from looking at the device's SoC, it is evident that Sony is sparing no expense with the Xperia XZ Premium. While the device's RAM and internal storage are a bit underwhelming at 4GB and 32GB, the device's display and its camera's capabilities are more than enough to warrant serious consideration from smartphone aficionados.

Immediately noticeable from the Xperia X Premium is the device's 5.5-inch display, which features a full 4K HDR panel, the first of its kind in a smartphone. While Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium back in 2015 also featured a 4K display, the screen of the Xperia XZ Premium is a step up from its predecessor. Just like the recently released LG G6 and the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium's display is fully HDR-capable.

While the concept of ultra-high resolution smartphones has captured the imagination of mobile fans, Sony's previous 4K device, the Xperia Z5 Premium, ultimately failed due to the lack of compatible content. Thus, while the Z5 Premium's display was a stunner, it was largely useless since users could not utilize its display to its utmost potential. This, however, would not be the case with the Xperia XZ Premium.

Unlike the Xperia Z5 Premium, Sony has managed to seal a deal with Amazon for the Xperia XZ Premium, giving the handset a good amount of 4K content to stream, according to a TrustedReviews report. Thus, Xperia XZ premium users would be able to access a special Amazon Video app that gives users access to the e-commerce giant's wide library of 4K content. This, of course, could be the determining factor if the device succeeds or fizzles out like its predecessor.

Of course, the main draw of a 4K panel in a smartphone is VR compatibility, but unfortunately, Sony has not confirmed if the Xperia XZ Premium would be able to support Google's Daydream platform. After all, while the use of a 4K panel in a smartphone is marginal for regular use, the ultra-high resolution display would be invaluable for users who consume mobile VR content.

Imaging-wise, the Xperia XZ Premium also shines with its revamped 19-megapixel main sensor. While the megapixel count has been reduced from its predecessor's 23MP camera, Sony stated that the pixels in the Xperia XZ Premium are 19 percent larger, which would, at least in theory, allow the device to capture an insane amount of detail, even in low-light environments. A 960fps slow-motion mode also gives the device's camera a unique feature that is yet to be rivaled by the mobile market's biggest players.

The Sony Xperia XZ premium does not have an official release date. Considering that the device would be equipped with the Snapdragon 835 and Sony's statement that it would be released this spring, however, there is a good chance that the 4K flagship would be available sometime this May or June 2017. Pricing for the device has not been revealed as of yet.

[Featured Image by David Ramos/Getty Images]