Xperia XZ1 vs. Xperia XZ2: Sony’s new phone looks great, but can it compete?

Sony has turned a new page in its smartphone history. The company has finally taken the wraps off its latest and greatest smartphone, the Xperia XZ2. The phone features an all-new Sony design, top-of-the-line hardware under the hood, and some awesome camera features that we’ve come to expect from a flagship Sony smartphone.

But just because there’s a new Sony flagship, that doesn’t mean we should forget entirely about the previous Xperia XZ1. How do the two phones compare? We put them head to head to find out.

Specs

Sony Xperia XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ2

Size 148 x 73.4 x 7.4 mm (5.83 x 2.89 x 0.29 inches) 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm (6.02 x 2.83 x 0.44 inches)
Weight 5.47 ounces (155 grams) 6.98 ounces (198 grams)
Screen 5.2-inch IPS LCD 5.7-inch Triluminous LCD
Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels (424ppi) 2,160 x 1,080 pixels
OS Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage 64GB 64GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 4GB
Connectivity GSM/HSPA/LTE GSM/HSPA/LTE
Camera Front 13MP, rear 19MP Front 5MP, rear 19MP
Video 4K @ 30 fps, 1,080p @ 60 fps, 720p @ 960 fps 4K @ 30 fps, 1,080p @ up to 960 fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 5.0 Yes, version 5.0
Fingerprint sensor Yes (Not in U.S.) Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, barometer, compass Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, barometer, compass
Water resistant Yes, IP68 Yes, IP68
Battery 2,700mAh 3,180mAh
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick charging Yes Yes
Wireless charging No Yes
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, Warm Silver, Venus Pink, Moonlit Blue Liquid Black, Liquid Silver, Deep Green, Ash Pink
Availability Amazon Best Buy
Pricing $500 $800
DT review 3 out of 5 Hands-on

Both of these phones feature some pretty top-tier specs, though the Xperia XZ1’s specs are slightly dated compared to the new new Xperia XZ2. For example, while the XZ1 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the XZ2 boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Both phones offer 4GB of RAM, along with 64GB of storage — and they both offer a MicroSD card slot to expand upon that storage.

It’s pretty clear who the winner is, but that may not matter to everyone. The Snapdragon 835 is still an excellent chipset — it’s just not quite as good as the Snapdragon 845.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ2

Design and display

Sony has long been criticized for its angular phones with sharper corners, but it looks like the company is finally changing that with the Xperia XZ2. The phone does look somewhat similar to previous Sony phones, but it features more rounded corners and an overall much more modern look. The device is covered largely in Gorilla Glass 5, which is partly why it offers wireless charging. On the back, you’ll find a fingerprint sensor and large camera sensor.

The Xperia XZ1 features Sony’s older design style, with sharper corners. We’re not huge fans of the look of the phone — though obviously how it looks doesn’t necessarily impact how it performs. On the back of the phone you’ll find a camera sensor, which is found in the top left-hand corner, and that’s about it.

Both phones offer some durability features too. They both boast IP68 water-resistance, but the XZ1 is largely built from metal, while the XZ2 features glass. In other words, the XZ1 may be a little more durable than the newer device.

When it comes to the display, the Xperia XZ1 features a 5.2-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Xperia XZ2 changes things a bit with an aspect ratio of 18:9, but the resolution hasn’t changed all that much. Because of the changed aspect ratio, the resolution sits in at 2160 x 1080 pixels, and, since the display is larger, the pixel density is a little lower on the XZ2.

Still, the Xperia XZ2 simply looks better, and we like the 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s the clear winner here.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ2

Camera

Sony Xperia XZ1 review
Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

Sony always tries to put top-tier cameras in its phones, though often it ends up developing cameras with lots of bells and whistles — but that lack a little in image quality.

Let’s start with raw specs. On the Xperia XZ1, you can expect a 19-megapixel rear-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0, electronic image stabilization, predictive phase detection, and laser autofocus. The Xperia XZ2 also features a very similar sounding 19-megapixel sensor. One difference, however, is that the newer device can capture 1,080p video at 960 frames per second — while the older device can only capture 720p footage at 960 frames. The trade-off is that the newer phone can only record at such a high framerate for three seconds, compared to the XZ1’s six seconds in 720p.

On the front, the new camera has a 5-megapixel sensor, while the XZ1 has a 13-megapixel sensor on the front.

Until we get some time to test the XZ2 out in the wild and compare, we’ll call this a tie.

Winner: Tie

Battery life and charging

Sony Xperia XZ1 review
Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

The battery in the XZ1 comes in at 2,700mAh, while the newer XZ2 offers a 3,180mAh battery. Because of the larger display, it’s possible that the larger battery won’t necessarily equate to a longer battery life. Still, it is nice to see — and means that it should at least last a similar amount of time.

Both phones feature a USB-C port, and they both offer Quick Charge, so you’ll be able to juice your phones up nice and quickly. There’s one feature that the Xperia XZ2 offers that the Xperia XZ1 does not: Wireless charging.

Between the wireless charging and the extra battery capacity, we’re awarding this one to the Xperia XZ2.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ2

Software

Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact hands on review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both the Xperia XZ2 and the Xperia XZ1 feature Android, and the XZ1 has been updated to Android 8.0 — so for now, they should offer a very similar experience. Still, that doesn’t mean that they always will — the XZ2 will likely be supported by Sony for longer, so it’ll be updated to a later version of Android than the XZ1 will. We don’t know that for sure — Sony hasn’t announced how long it intends to support either phone, but we think it’s a pretty safe assumption to make.

Sony has been working to improve the software it offers on its phones, while distinguishing it from other Android devices. The software is generally smooth, though there are some tweaks that die-hard Android fans may not appreciate.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Sony Xperia XZ1 has been available for some time now, and as such it’s not too hard to get for yourself. The device is available, for example, straight from Amazon for a little under $500, which isn’t bad at all.

The Xperia XZ2, on the other hand, isn’t available just yet. Sony says it’ll be releasing the phone to the public in “late spring,” but it hasn’t disclosed the price of the phone.

Still, we can assume that it’ll be more expensive than the Xperia XZ1. Because of that, and the fact that the Xperia XZ1 is currently far more available, it’s the winner.

Winner: Sony Xperia XZ1

Overall winner: Sony Xperia XZ2

Did you think old would beat new? The Sony Xperia XZ2 not only offers improved specs and new features like wireless charging, but it also boasts a seriously improved design style, which we hope Sony continues to refine and tweak. The Sony Xperia XZ2 is clearly the way to go if you’re torn between these two phones.

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