The Xperia XZ2 Premium is thick and heavy - there's really no other first impression you can draw from handling the phone for the first time. And it's not just purely subjective, the numbers don't lie - the latest Premium is 11.9mm thick and weighs in at 236g.
The phone measures 158x80x11.9mm so it's not only chubby, but also has a quite a footprint. No small part of that is due to the 5.8-inch inch display that's in a classic 16:9 aspect ratio - an 18:9 5.8-inch display is a lot more slender, and you only need to look at the Galaxy S9 and its 147.7x68.7x8.5mm frame for proof.
It's not just the display proportions, though. The Premium has more than its fair share of bezels, at least by current industry trends, even if they're reasonably okay by Sony standards.
The forehead houses the usual stuff you'd expect to find above a display. The earpiece is in the middle and it also nicely doubles as a second loudspeaker. To its right is the selfie camera, and symmetrically on the other side is the cutout for the ambient light and proximity sensors. Sony also found room for a status/notification LED in the top left corner, and it's RGB too - we like.
The sizeable chin doesn't have much to justify its dimensions though it does make for a spot to put a Sony logo. Okay, maybe we're not being entirely fair - there's the primary loudspeaker behind a slit where the front glass meets the frame.
The frame itself is made of aluminum and is thick and sturdy and has a shiny polished finish. The couple of Premiums we have in the office remained remarkably ding-free despite the daily abuse. Abuse, what abuse?
All of the physical controls on the Premium are on the right, with the Power button around the middle - it's a bit too low for our liking, plus the button is on the small side. The volume rocker is pretty high up and a 2cm higher position of the power button wouldn't have hurt. There's still a two-stage shutter button down below - if not for actually taking pictures, at least for quick launching the camera.
Down on the bottom, you'll find the USB-C port and the primary mic - the loudspeakers are front firing, remember? There's no headphone jack, by the way.
Up top, there's an extra mic and the card slot - the tray will take a nano SIM and a microSD on the single SIM version of the phone, while the dual SIM version forces you to choose between the microSD and a second nano SIM.
All of this was to delay the inevitable - sooner or later we had to talk about that back. It's kinda pretty, in a way, maybe, the way the almost fluid glass panel reflects light. But that's before it gets covered in fingerprints, which takes but a single touch. That said, while prints are readily visible on the Chrome black unit, they're a lot less obtrusive on the Chrome silver.
Only it's not the fingerprints that are the Xperia XZ2 Premium's main problem on the back, the fingerprint sensor and the overall arrangement of components is. Being the first Sony smartphone with a dual camera, perhaps they haven't quite figured out what should go where and the extra imaging module has pushed the fingerprint sensor down, just above the midpoint.
The end result is that your index finger falls on the bottom camera (the RGB one), and smudging it is one side of the issue. Unlocking the phone takes an extra effort to either flex your finger or adjust your grip so you find the sensor with your finger fully extended. Neither comes naturally, and we did spend quite a lot of time with the Premium without developing the muscle memory for that otherwise most basic of actions.
The thing is, with the way that stuff is arranged on the back, you'd be tapping the camera and wondering why the phone doesn't unlock. Both the fingerprint sensor and the camera assembly have a tiny tangible lip around the border and it's hard to tell what exactly it is you're touching. Sure, one is recessed, the other is slightly raised, but it's not an immediate distinction.
There's just an Xperia logo on the bottom, no other text - Sony keeps the regulatory labels in a slide-out tray within the card slot and we can't give them enough praise for keeping the back clean. Perhaps the others will learn too. Or not.