Sony Switches Back to OLEDs for its Flagship Smartphone
September 10, 2018
Sony traditionally loves to put on a show at the IFA expo in Berlin, and IFA 2018is no different – the company just unveiled the Sony Xperia XZ3 flagship phone to challenge the top-end handsets from Apple, Google, and Samsung, and New Atlas has been getting some hands-on time with the device.
Figure 1: Sony Xperia Smartphone
The Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compactshowed up at Mobile World Congress in February, phones which were then almost immediately bettered by the Xperia XZ2 Premiumthat arrived in May. The Xperia XZ1was launched at exactly this point last year, at IFA 2017. It's just that Sony has managed to cram in two sets of flagship phones in 12 months, whereas most manufacturers are happy to stick to the one big launch.
The Xperia XZ3 arrives with all the specs you would expect from a premium Android phone in 2018: the same Snapdragon 845 we've seen in numerous flagshipsthis year (including the XZ2 phones), plus 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage (that's not much, but it can be expanded via microSD card by up to 512 GB).
It's the screen that is the biggest talking point. Sony has switched from its traditional LCD panels to a 6-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio, and OLED display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 pixels. The phone has very noticeable bezels at the top and bottom of the screen, almost as if Sony wants to follow the lead set by Apple, Samsung and the rest, but can't fully commit to an ultra-thin bezel future but has a single-sensor 19 MP rear camera –the same as the one on the XZ2 phones, which were capable of very decent shots. The AI behind the camera has been improved, apparently, to better predict the type of shots to take and the best settings for taking them. Elsewhere, Sony says the phone is IP65/68 rated for water and dust protection, but Sony says not to immerse the phone underwater. Wireless charging is included, as on previous Xperia's, but this phone will come with Android 9 Pieon board.
Despite the glass front and back and the aluminum frame, it doesn't feel quite as premium as, say, and a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone. That said, the screen is a definite highlight – it seems clear that it's here that Sony has put most of the work in. The use of the same camera lens and the same processor means this isn't a huge upgrade over the XZ2 phones, though that larger OLED screen and Android 9 Pie might tempt some people into making a purchase. This being Sony, there will no doubt be another incremental upgrade along in the not-too-distant future. The phone goes on sale in September, with pre-orders open from tomorrow in some markets. Black, silver, green, and red are your color choices, and the phone will set you back US$899.99 in the US and £699 in the UK – that's almost, but not quite, as much as the very top handsets on the market right now.