There was quite a bit of interest surrounding Sony’s Xperia XZ2 when it was unveiled at Mobile World Congress, but most reviewers put it in the ‘good not great’ category. With the Xperia XZ2 Premium, however, the company could have an unexpected hit on its hands.
Like its predecessor, the Xperia XZ2 Premium is a flagship phone that boasts 4K visuals and HDR video support. The new device is slightly larger—5.8 inches, up from 5.7 inches—and is 30 percent brighter, but it’s the handset’s photography features that could set it apart from the pack.
The Xperia XZ2 Premium is the first phone from Sony to feature two cameras on the rear. One uses a 12MP monochrome sensor while the other uses a 19MP color sensor. By combining data from both cameras, the system can capture photos at ISO 51,200 sensitivity and video at ISO 12,800, which should make it excellent for shooting in low-light environments. Sony said its “AUBE fusion image signal processor” will ensure these images are “clean” and “noiseless,” adding that the XZ2 Premium allows “ultra-low-light capture previously only seen in interchangeable lens cameras.”
The cameras also have a portrait feature (called Bokeh mode), and an option to use only the monochrome sensor for shooting in black and white, though both of these will arrive in a Q3 software update, rather than being available at launch. There’s also an improved 13MP, 1/3.06-inch front snapper for taking selfies in low-light conditions, and the XZ2 Premium can record 960 fps slow-mo video, much like the Galaxy S9—though Sony’s handset can capture this at 1080p, whereas the S9 is limited to 720p.
Other non-photo-related features of the Xperia XZ2 Premium include 6GB of RAM, a vibration system that matches the music or video currently being played, front-facing speakers, and an upgraded (3,540mAh) battery to power that 4K display. It also comes with a Snapdragon 845 SoC and Android 8.0 Oreo.
No word yet on a US launch date or price, but Sony said the Xperia XZ2 Premium in Chrome Black and Chrome Silver would ship “globally” this summer. Considering that the Xperia XZ Premium costs $800, don’t be surprised to see its successor going for $900 or more.