There are so many phones launching this quarter, it's difficult to keep up.
In the U.S., Sony's s7
edge battery replacement generally get announced and go on sale with little
fanfare, largely because they lack carrier backing. This is true of the Xperia
XZ1, which is available on Amazon right now for $650, and its smaller Xperia XZ1
Here in Canada, things are a little different: for the XZ1, Sony has the
support of the country's second-largest carrier, Bell as well as upstart Freedom
Mobile. The result is a wider net of potential customers and, mercifully, a
lower price on subsidy to offset Sony's traditionally high prices. Oh, and it
also has a fingerprint sensor.
The Xperia XZ1 is the company's best phone in years, and finds the company
performing at its peak, with few real compromises compared to other flagships on
the market, for the first time since 2014 or so. Though the company has
frequently brought out great products — everything from the Xperia Z line was,
while flawed, pretty reliable — it faltered slightly with the Xperia X series,
and only slightly recovered with 2016's XZ.
In truth, the Xperia XZ1 does little to further Sony's industrial design, and
it doesn't completely resolve its most endemic problem — a camera experience
that pales in comparison to leaders like Google, Samsung, Apple, and HTC.
Instead, it gets the Japanese company closer than ever to those lofty heights,
while providing Sony's famously good battery life, exceptional build quality,
and stable software.
Sony often gets criticized for the glacial pace of its design evolution, but
I am content with the subtle ways Sony continues to improve its phones. The
Xperia XZ1, for instance, is the perfect size for one-handed use; its 5.2-inch
LCD display is quite good, even at its comparatively low 1080p resolution; its
audio capabilities are impressive, and work seamlessly; and as Andrew remarked
in his review, the phone's camera is demonstrably better than any Sony phone to
date — even using the same hardware as its larger XZ Premium counterpart.
Then there's something else — a thing I can't quite put my finger on, but
it's there nonetheless. It's a kinship with a piece of technology that rarely
happens as quickly as it did here. Perhaps it's the perfectly-placed, 100%
reliable fingerprint sensor (sorry, Americans) or the two-stage shutter button
that, now, actually produces great photos. Or perhaps it's the fact that it
ships with Android 8.0 Oreo, the first on a non-Google phone.
Here's my issue with the narrative about flagships today — their first
impression is given more weight than their long-term usability. The Xperia XZ1
has just come out, but I have only had good experiences with Sony phones in the
months and years since their release and have no reason to think differently
about this one.
That's because Sony doesn't encumber its software with useless apps, nor does
it generally feel weighed down by the stagnating Android skin it's so often
criticized for not updating. Yes, Sony's app drawer scrolls horizontally and
requires some awkward finger maneuvering to put an app on the home screen, but
if that's the biggest criticism one can levy at it, I think it's in pretty good
Such an affordance to consistency between generations also affords Sony the
ability to iterate on its platform updates more quickly than other companies;
who cares if the launcher feels old-fashioned when it's the first phone running
the latest Android version? Seriously, the latter is far more important to me —
especially when it forgoes much of the instability and bugginess that I
experienced on the Pixels. It's not perfect, mind you, but I've only been forced
to close an app or restart the samsung
galaxy s7 battery replacement a couple of times.
This is a phone that, were I forced to settle down with a single device for a
year, I could happily keep in my pocket. Its size, weight, build quality, water
resistance, dual front-facing speakers, audio prowess, camera shutter button,
performance, and up-to-date software are points in its favor. And its "boring"
design, its utilitarianism, happens to be one, too: phones are meant to be used,
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