Sony partners with JB Hi-Fi, Telstra for Xperia XZ release

Sony released its latest flagship the Xperia XZ late last week, and if it’s difficult to keep track of Sony’s flagships, you’re not alone.

Xperia XZ is the latest in Sony’s new Xperia X line that was unveiled and launched earlier this year and follows the Xperia X Performance, which was in essence a follow up to the Xperia Z5 of last year, but which was never truly realised as a complete successor to the Z series flagship. Here’s where Xperia XZ comes in and where its name can be associated with Sony’s former crown jewel of smartphones.

In many ways, the Xperia XZ is the Xperia X Performance in a refined shell of the Xperia Z5. It maintains the 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display which has graced the Xperia Z handsets for years, instead of the smaller 5-inch IPS panel in the X Perfomance. Xperia XZ’s measurements are also almost identical to the Xperia Z5, coming in at 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm and weighing a little more at 161g versus 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm and 154g on the Xperia Z5. So why the extra heft and thickness? It’s all about that design, wherein the Xperia XZ incorporates a dazzling blend of tapered glass and metal, for a more sculpted handset in-hand.

The camera adds laser autofocus and RGBC-IR — that’s Red, Green, Blue, Clear and Infra-Red — sensors to the existing predictive hyrbrid autofocus which appeared in the Z5 series and Xperia X Performance before it. The image sensor remains the 23MP f/2.0 type we first saw in the Xperia Z5, but the front cam has been upgraded from the 5.1MP in the Z5 series, to the 13MP f/2.0 found in the Xperia X Performance.

A major shift with the Xperia XZ is in the adoption of USB Type-C, the first for a Sony smartphone. Other than that, the Xperia XZ is an improved Xperia X Performance, featuring the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with Adreno 530 graphics, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage — at least the Australian variant — with microSD expansion up to 256GB. There’s Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box with a guaranteed update to Android Nougat 7.0, and it’s battery is the same 2900mAh as the Xperia XZ, though this should work well to the XZ’s favour, thanks to the considerably more efficient Snapdragon 820 chip. Lastly it wouldn’t be a top-tier Sony handset without an IP68 rating making it dust tight and water resistant up to 1.5 metres in freshwater for 30 minutes — though Sony won’t so much advertise the latter these days.

Sony Xperia XZ will be available through JB-Hi-Fi in its Mineral Black option for $999, both in-store and online.

Telstra will be the go-to carrier for the Xperia XZ on contract, with plans for the Mineral Black-only model starting from $80 per month on the telco’s ‘S’ plan offering $550 worth of calls to standard Australian numbers, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. Better value is gained from their ‘L’ plan for $15 more at $95 per month, with 10GB data, unlimited calls and texts, as well as unlimited calls and texts to China, India, UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, USA and Canada. Other inclusions on Telstra’s L plan is Telstra’s New Phone Trade-Up option, as well as a 3-month subscription  offer to Netflix, Stan and Presto — valid until the 25th of December 2016.

Sony’s own online store, Sony Centres and Sony Kiosks around the country will be the only official outlet to stock the Xperia XZ in Forest Blue, along with Mineral Black for $999.