To get this straight, the Xperia XZs is an interim flagship of sorts, definitely not 2017's top pick. The XZs is taking over from the last one in charge, but the real greats are supposed to start hitting in six months or so. And we've had a taste of what's to come thanks to the Xperia XZ Premium, less than a month away itself.
Sony has been very consistent in its flagship upgrades throughout the Z-series lifetime. Incremental is definitely the keyword there. While some manufacturers are keen to surprise everybody every time, Sony's been reliably predictable. Predictably reliable. You are your word order.
All in all, the Xperia XZs is, as we already established, a Xperia XZ with a new Motion Eye camera. Simple as that. If you own the XZ already, there is little point upgrading to the XZs unless you absolutely need that 960fps slow-mo footage 'yesterday'.
On the other hand, the Xperia XZs is a lovely piece of a phone, not to be too lightly dismissed as a mere test case for an imminent camera upgrade that will sweep across Sony's upper ranks. The XZs is still one extra solid package - one that looks great and has the computing power to spare. The screen is more than reasonable too. Resolution may fall short of flagship standards, but the flip side is consistently good speed and performance for an overall great Android experience. And it's plenty sharp even as it is.
The Sony Xperia XZs is a smartphone package that can do well. If it weren't for the US fingerprint debacle, it would have been a global darling - at the right price of course. Still very relevant regarding equipment and performance, it throws in a unique feature to get the right amount of extra attention to itself.
If you are after a Sony smartphone, but not sold yet on the 960fps video experience, there is still the good old Xperia XZ for you. It's the same phone, even in terms of still camera quality, at €200 less.
Or, you can wait for the Xperia XZ Premium, which not only brings some design novelties and the same new camera but the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset and a 4K display. Just brace yourself for a hefty price tag north of €750.
The OnePlus 3T has an AMOLED screen, a great aluminum unibody, and similar productivity. Its camera isn't anywhere near quality and novelty-wise, and it omits the water-proofing, but the much lower price is a serious draw.
The new LG G6 offers a different kind of camera experience, and quite unique too. It's water-proof, has a bigger and higher-res screen, and is as good looking. The G6 is powered by the same generation Snapdragon chip, and its price is in the same ballpark. You may want to give it a thought.
Speaking of imaging experience, there is the Huawei P10 with a dual-Leica camera setup. It's a looker too, though clearly in a different, more outgoing way. Its monochrome images and depth of field effects are as unique as Sony's Motion Eye videos. Performance is pretty much on par, but the lack of water-proofing may be a deal-breaker.
Last but not least, the iPhone 7 will get you into a completely different ecosystem and way of doing things. A beautiful and compact premium smartphone, water-proof, good at imaging and all that. One that will continue to put pressure on most Android flagships for a good few months to come.
Pressured or not, Sony looks like it's done chasing its tail with the Z-series updates. We may be starting to witness a turn, even though the Xperia XZs is still one foot in last season. Okay, Sony is on to something with the new Motion Eye camera, but we don't know yet where it's all going.
It looks though like the next Sony flagship will be doing the Sony Xperia XZs a favor. The burden of responsibility will be shared and what's a pretty hefty price tag at present will get trimmed to a more reasonable level. No need to guess how the chips will fall - we'll just sit back and watch them fall. In cool slow motion.