Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2: what we want to see

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is one of the most impressive Sony flagships of recent years, thanks largely to its 4K screen and capable camera. Thing is, it’s been out a while now, so talk is inevitably turning to what's next; the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2.

Will it go above 4K? Will it launch soon? And will it have a new design? We don’t have definitive answers to any of those questions yet, but we are starting to hear rumors, which we’ve detailed below.

We’ve also come up with a list of things we hope for from the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2. You’ll find that at the bottom of this article.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next 4K flagship from Sony
  • When is it out? Possibly early 2018
  • What will it cost? A lot

Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 release date and price

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium was announced at MWC 2017, so there’s a fair chance we’ll see the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 at MWC 2018, which takes place from February 26 to March 1 2018.

However, the XZ Premium didn’t actually go on sale until June 2017, so even if the XZ Premium 2 is announced in February or March you might not be able to buy it until later in 2018.

Further confusing matters is the fact that there was well over a year between the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, so it’s possible that we won’t see the XZ Premium 2 for a while yet.

Whenever it does launch it’s sure to cost a lot. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium started at $ 799/£649 (about AU$ 1,100) SIM-free, and with flagship prices rising the Xperia XZ Premium 2 is likely to cost more if anything.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 news and rumors

There’s only been one Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 leak so far, but it’s revealed a lot. A screenshot of a specs list for a Sony phone with the model number H8541 was posted to Reddit and includes a 5.7-inch 4K display with support for HDR.

If accurate that would make it slightly bigger than the 5.46-inch screen of the Xperia XZ Premium, but that’s in line with the rising size of flagships.

Interestingly though the list also mentions dimensions of 149 x 74 x 7.5mm, which would actually make it smaller than the 156 x 77 x 7.9mm Xperia XZ Premium. 

To have achieved a smaller size with a bigger screen suggests major changes to the design and likely much smaller bezels.

A possible specs list for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2. Credit: Reddit

But that’s not too much of a surprise, as a Sony executive had previously said that the company was working on a range of phones with a completely new design.

Another highlight of the specs list is mention of a 3,420mAh battery, as that’s bigger than the 3,230mAh battery in the original XZ Premium (a phone which already has reasonable life).

However, the rest of the specs are less promising, with a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, Android Oreo and IP68-certified dust and water resistance all mentioned, which are the same assortment of specs as its predecessor.

They’re high-end specs, but by 2018 they won’t be top-end anymore. Of course, it’s entirely possible that this spec list is fake or wrong.

What we want to see

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium got 4.5 stars in our review, but the Xperia XZ Premium 2 will have to build on it in significant ways if it wants to impress us. Here are seven things that would help.

1. A new design

Sony’s phones have mostly looked like this for years, so it’s time for a change

Calling the design of Sony’s Xperia range tired would seem almost generous at this point. Although the materials vary, Sony hasn’t significantly changed the look of its handsets in years, and those big screen bezels are seriously dated in the face of all-screen phones like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

So we really want to see a new design for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2, and fortunately it looks likely that we will, since not only has a Sony executive claimed some upcoming phones will have a new design, but a spec sheet lists dimensions which suggest one.

2. A bigger screen

At 5.46 inches the screen on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium isn’t exactly small, but to truly make the most of that 4K resolution it really needs to be bigger, and with rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S8 pushing screen sizes ever higher it would also help the XZ Premium 2 to compete.

It doesn’t need to be enormous, but a move to around 5.8 inches could make all the difference, especially if Sony also shrinks the bezels to keep the overall handset size roughly the same.

3. Fingerprint scanning in the US

The power button of many Sony phones houses a fingerprint scanner, but not in the US

In most of the world Sony flagships have fingerprint scanners, as you’d expect, since that’s a standard feature of high-end phones, but in the US they don’t.

It’s a major omission, and while there’s presumably a reason for it the lack of a scanner could make Sony phones less appealing than biometrically secured rivals.

So we hope the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 will have a fingerprint scanner in all regions, or if that’s not an option then how about a high-tech face scanner like the one on the iPhone X?

4. Less bloat

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is weighed down with a lot of pre-installed apps, many of which duplicate the functions of Google’s suite of apps (which is also present) or just aren’t very useful.

For the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 we want less bloat, with a clean version of Android. Given that a whole store of apps is only a tap away it’s easy enough to fill in any gaps, so just give us the basics, with no duplicates.

5. A dual-lens camera

The XZ Premium has a good camera, but an extra lens could make it even better

Sony’s flagship phones tend to have quite good cameras and the Xperia XZ Premium is no exception. In our review we praised its impressive slow-motion camera and its ability to capture a lot of detail, but it’s just a single lens snapper and with many rivals moving to dual-lens ones we want to see Sony follow suit.

Dual-lens is more than just a marketing gimmick, as it can unlock new features such as lossless optical zoom, so it could benefit the Xperia XZ Premium 2.

6. More power

The Xperia XZ Premium has a decent amount of power, but early rumors suggest the new model won’t get a chipset or RAM boost, which would be disappointing, not just because it’s reasonable to expect more power from a new model, but because by the time it lands those specs will be looking slightly dated for a high-end phone.

So hopefully that rumor is wrong and the Xperia XZ Premium 2 actually will get a performance upgrade. We’d like to see it pack the upcoming Snapdragon 845 chipset. RAM can stay at 4GB, but we wouldn’t say no to more.

7. A slicker SIM slot

It’s a minor point but in our review of the Xperia XZ Premium we found its SIM card slot to be both fiddly and flimsy, so we’d like to see it reworked for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2. 

It’s not something most people should have to interact with often, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be decent quality.

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