Our Xperia XZ Premium review unit arrived in a plain white cardboard box typical of the Xperia Xs. Inside, we found just a charger (a plain 5V/1.5A one, at that), and a USB-A to USB-C cable. Sony's retail bundles do vary by market and even between carriers in the same country, so ask what you're getting before you buy.
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium measures 156 x 77 x 7.9mm, which is 10mm taller and 5mm wider than the Xperia XZs. The phone has a slightly bigger screen at 5.46" vs. 5.2" to show for that, but there's also more bezel for an overall lower screen-to-body ratio.
The Xperia XZ Premium weighs the hefty 195g, 35g heavier than the Xperia XZs. But honestly, the first impression people always get is not 'heavy' but 'solid'.
Back to them bezels... Are they the space around one of the best screens in business or the worst eyesore for a flagship? Everyone's entitled to an opinion but we do think the Xperia XZ Premium's one of the best-looking phones around. We spent plenty of time with the phone and the experience has been a pleasure - both handling it and simply looking at it. The Loop Surface design has been polished to perfection this year and the sharp (literally!) contrast of the smooth surface and the metal edges on the top and bottom makes for a great feeling in the hand.
Don't let the Loop Surface name fool you, though. The front and rear are made of flat pieces of Gorilla Glass 5, one of the sturdiest solutions in the market, but they don't wrap around the phone. They almost seamlessly transition into the curved polycarbonate sides but it's by no means glass all around.
Sony successfully matched the sides to the front and rear and it's near impossible to spot a gap on the Deepsea Black model.
Made of plastic, the sides are also better at absorbing shock, which is more practical than premium but we don't mind at all.
The top and bottom sides of the chassis are made entirely of metal. They are flat and diamond-cut along the edge to form a reflecting facet. The surface of the facets is double anodized, which makes the finish more durable, and contributes to some light-bending effects.Sony Xperia XZ Premium (left) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (right)
With the XZ Premium, Sony once again delivered on the Xperia flagship legacy. The phone is dust-and waterproof (IP68), and has stereo speakers - signature features of the Xperia flagships. There are no caps on any of the ports but the SIM slot.
Overall, what the LG G6 and Galaxy S8 shed in bezels, the Sony gained. Its top and bottom bezels are of iPhone Plus proportions, the sides - similarly ample. Even the old Z5 Premium was smaller in all directions, lighter and yet with a bigger battery.Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (left) vs. Xperia XZ Premium (right)
Even more questionable is Sony's choice to gloss the front bezels of the Luminous Chrome model - the Z5 Premium had the decency to keep the front all-black. The mirrored front in the XZ Premium reflects all your surroundings, which can be quite distracting when you use the phone as it pulls attention away from the screen. These distractions are not as prominent on the Pink and Black paintjobs, it is only the Chrome one that's like that.
While the Xperia XZ Premium has gained some weight, we don't mind the extra 30g. The phone feels so sturdy as if it's cut out from a single block of aluminum and it feels great in hand. Sure, the all-glossy surface is a fingerprint nightmare, but for what it lacks in practicality, the Xperia XZ Premium more than makes up for in looks.Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (left) vs. Xperia XZ Premium (right)
What we would have appreciated though is a slightly bigger battery. The 3,230mAh cell is less than what the Z5 Premium had, but we have our fingers crossed for the new Snapdragon 835 to make up for that.
Now that we are done with all "Mirror, Mirror" questions, we can approach the Xperia XZ Premium from a more practical angle. Above the impressive 4K display is the first speaker/earpiece, flanked by the selfie camera and a couple of sensors. At the far left you can also spot the tiny status LED.
The second speaker of the stereo speaker setup is below the screen. Sony claims the new speakers are 41% louder than the Xperia XZ's and well balanced unlike the hybrid solutions found on the iPhone 7, Huawei P10 Plus and the likes. We did enjoy the way music sounds on these speakers but they are not as loud as we would have liked.
There is only one removable bit on the Xperia XZ Premium and that's the nano-SIM and microSD compartment. It's a single tray that would eject both the SIM and the memory card, and the phone will restart immediately. Even worse, once you put a new SIM card and return the tray, the Xperia XZ Premium will restart a second time. Really, what year is it? 90% of all phones we get for review around here never need to restart when we hot swap a SIM card.
The right side has the volume rocker, the power/lock key, and the two-step camera shutter. Everywhere but the US, the power key's surface also doubles as fingerprint scanner and its sensor is very fast and accurate, though not always-on so it won't wake the phone up.
The audio jack is on top of the Xperia XZ Premium alongside the secondary microphone. The primary mic is at the bottom nearby the USB Type-C port.
The Motion Eye camera lens is at the back of the Xperia XZ Premium and it sits flush with the Gorilla glass surface. The single LED flash and a couple of sensors are the only things of interest around.