The best smartphone camera in the world?

Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium has the chops to take on all challengers

Sony Xperia XZ Premium, £649 SIM-free
Sony Xperia XZ Premium, £649 SIM-free | Image: Hugh Threlfall

In January, I suggested that Sony’s super-stylish Xperia XZ Android phone was the best-looking on the market, and also capable of DSLR-quality photos from its 23-megapixel camera. Since then, the even-more-striking Samsung Galaxy S8 has come along; and I have been taken to task by Mr D Healey, photography tutor at King Edward VI Aston School in Birmingham, who pointed out that I was stretching it a bit – OK, was actually totally wrong – re the DSLR comparison due, among other factors, to the tiny size of any phone’s sensor. 

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Fair enough. I stand corrected. But camera phones are still capable of photos that to the non-expert eye are of big-camera standard, and the Xperia is at the very top of this genre. Now, I rarely review special editions of any product, but Sony’s new Xperia XZ Premium offers genuine tech enhancements: an improved camera with, it is claimed, the slowest slow-motion on any smartphone; and the first 4K HDR screen on a phone. The claims have merit. The screen offers a pixel density of 807ppi; the beautiful Galaxy S8 manages 570ppi. The slo-mo clocks in at 960fps, while that on the S8 (and the iPhone 7) records at 240fps. Sony’s TV and camera heritage speaks loud in this phone. It’s fun and awesome, if not quite (just for the record) DSLR-awesome. 

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