Have you heard about how well Sony’s flagship Xperia XZ is doing? Believe it or not, it’s outperforming the likes of the Google Pixel, Moto Z, and LG V20. We can learn something from this.
After the ho-hum reception to the Xperia X Performance earlier this year, the surge in Xperia XZ users in the past three months proves just how badly needed a true Sony flagship is. But how did such an expensive smartphone with little hype and average reviews succeed?
It’s no fluke, and we have seven reasons why.
High-end specs don’t matter that much anymore
We call the Xperia XZ a premium flagship, but looking at the specs sheet, you wouldn’t think so at first glance. Having only a Snapdragon 820 processor (there’s a newer Snapdragon 821 now), 3GB of RAM (you can find as much as 6GB these days), and a Full HD display (lots go up to Quad HD already), this isn’t exactly top of the line.
And yet, all those numbers don’t really matter; this Sony phone does so well with so little. In my time with the Xperia XZ, I’d say it’s as fast as any other Android flagship you could name. It goes to show how important hardware-software optimization truly is.
There must be one signature color
If there’s one thing we learned from Apple’s persistent promotion of rose gold, having one trademark color helps sell phones. Many brands already do this, but they fail to make an impact or actually look good beyond marketing materials.
The Xperia XZ’s forest blue is an exception. Let’s just skip the ALKALEIDO metal mumbo jumbo and say this color looks stunning in all types of lighting. I can’t get enough of the way it reflects light at different angles. My parents normally don’t care about new phones (my dad still uses a Nokia 3310), but even they’re wholly impressed by the XZ’s use of color.
Side-mounted fingerprint scanners are the best
Fingerprint sensors are normally found in front or at the back; Sony has its own method, and for a good reason. Front scanners are tough to reach while holding the phone, and although rear-mounted ones are much more accessible when picked up, they’re covered when laid on a table.
I must say, Sony’s implementation is the absolute best. It can be touched no matter where the phone is placed, and by covering a single side, the back and front of the Xperia XZ are way more pleasant to look at. This also leaves space for more important features, bringing us to our next point.
People care about legacy features
Useful features we’ve taken for granted are now disappearing in favor of all the new fluff smartphone manufacturers are coming up with. The Xperia XZ manages to keep two of them: a physical two-step camera shutter button and front-facing stereo speakers.
These are highly underrated features which consumers don’t realize are missing until they’re needed. The camera shutter is a must for any waterproof phone to take pictures while its screen is soaked, and a pair of speakers are always, always better than a single piece on the rear or bottom that can easily get covered up.
Price differences don’t matter as much in the premium segment
Somehow, despite costing more than the base Google Pixel or Apple iPhone 7, people still choose the Xperia XZ over its competition. It’s even more expensive in certain regions, so how does it still manage to sell so well?
Apparently, when you get to this price point, adding a few extra dollars doesn’t seem to matter to loyal fans, as long as the experience is worth the expense. The Xperia XZ also came at the right time, just when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 collapsed and there aren’t many clear alternatives.
Trademark aesthetics evolve
Something several manufacturers got wrong this year was either retaining too much of their old smartphone designs (e.g., iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, HTC 10) or going too far in radicalizing them (e.g., LG G5, ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra, Moto Z). This led to same old, same old looks or a complete loss of brand identity.
The Xperia XZ, I believe, strikes the right balance. It’s evolved enough from the Xperia X Performance and Xperia Z5 to call it a fresh design; at the same time, it still has distinct Xperia aesthetics you can recognize a mile away. And in the process, holding the handset feels as good as ever.
[irp posts=”7442″ name=”Sony Xperia XZ review”]
PLDT Fast Hub: A taste of (near) 10,000mbps
With the PLDT Fast Hub
Fast and consistently reliable Internet speed has always felt like a pipe dream in the Philippines. But PLDT is doing its best to make it a reality. The latest expansion sees the company bringing up to 10,000mbps to select areas in the county.
The number seems staggering. To show exactly what it can do, we spent an afternoon at the PLDT Fast Hub. Here’s what the experience was like.
Close to 10,000mbps
We conducted several OOKLA speed tests and never quite got to exactly 10,000mbps. However, the speeds were consistently around 8,000mbps. That’s still more than any other plan in the Philippines at the moment.
Specific hardware required
Naturally, something this fast has to come with its own set of specific hardware. Every household is different, so you’ll need to fill-up this form from PLDT to find out exactly what’s required for your setup. Consequently, your setup will determine the full pricing.
How many devices can it handle? Covering up to around 6,000 square maters thanks to the ASUS ZenWifi and a mesh system, the service can accommodate up to 100 bandwidth-hungry devices at once without struggling. With this, you still have room to connect a few more passive smart devices.
And that’s exactly what was on display on the Fast Hub.
This was the primary computer connected to the service. We loaded a bunch of sites, which, to be honest, didn’t really put too much strain on the service. Imagine 10 more of these in the household and the connection can still handle it smoothly.
Is there a gamer in the family? Having consistent and fast bandwidth is key, especially if you play competitive multiplayer games like Valorant. We tried our hand on a few games and while we ultimately ate dust in the game, the internet connection more than held up.
To set the mood while taking these photos, we fired up TWICE’s Hello (Performed by Nayeon, Momo, and Chaeyoung). Music streaming typically doesn’t really eat up too much bandwidth, so you can vibe to whatever your jam is to your heart’s content.
Some Playstation 5/console games require you to be online. Inside the fast hub, we ran a few races on Gran Turismo 7. Again, the overall experience was seamless. Would’ve loved to be able to test this on NBA 2K’s Park since that’s the mode we consistently have trouble connecting to. Perhaps another time.
Connected Smart Home
Other than the aforementioned devices, the PLDT Fast Hub also featured a bunch of smart lights. We can’t recall the exact number but there were probably over 15 lights setup. All of which responded swiftly after being issued voice commands via Google Assistant.
There was also a smart vacuum in the room which also responded to voice commands. It didn’t quite do exactly what you told it to, but perhaps that’s more the device than the Internet connection.
They even had this smart mirror in the room. With it you can pull up any workouts on YouTube and follow-along the exercise while the video is playing.
The PLDT Fast Hub delivered a taste of a dream. In fact, the whole setup likely didn’t even push the connection to the limit. But to know that this is now a possibility in certain locations is encouraging. Hoping it becomes more widely available and accessible soon.
To know if it covers your area, again, you may sign up on this form.
vivo X80 Pro with ZEISS: Capturing the city life
Noteworthy smartphone cameras
City life. It takes its toll on you. But it also has its charms. And one way to really enjoy its hustle and bustle is to have a companion to capture everything it has to offer.
Thankfully, there’s the vivo X80 Pro. It’s the company’s latest and greatest for many reasons.
Chief of which is its outstanding cameras sprinkled with ZEISS Natural Color goodness.
vivo and ZEISS
vivo’s camera-performance has been flying under the radar over the years. But with this ZEISS partnership, they’re now ready to soar.
All the lenses on the X80 Pro have ZEISS patented T Star coating. It helps reduce reflections when taking photos of lights at night.
Photos are already sharp as is but the ZEISS Super Night Camera takes things even further. You also get ZEISS Portraits for stylized shots.
And it’s not just photos. Zeiss makes its mark on videos too. With the ZEISS Cinematic Video Bokeh feature, you can shoot in a cinematic aspect ratio… While also applying depth of field.
Working in tandem to produce these still and moving images are the ZEISS 50MP Ultra-Sensing GNV Sensor as well as the V1+ Chip. The sensor keeps things steady even if your hands are shaky. And the V1 Plus Chip is vivo’s own creation — a product of years of research and development to achieve the absolute best in mobile imaging technology.
Capturing city life
Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s pullback for a bit and show you all the cameras equipped on the vivo X80 Pro.
- 50MP Zeiss Ultra-Sensing GNV sensor
- 48MP Ultra wide angle lens
- 8MP Periscope lens, 5x optical zoom
- 12MP Gimbal Portrait camera
They say the best camera is the one you can always carry with you. And this combination from vivo is about as good and as extensive as it can get.
Combined with the Camera Panning feature working in the background we can get stunning running shots.
It’s a great way to document the start to your day. After that quick run, it’s time to freshen up and grab a bite. Sharing your breakfast on socials is still a thing, right? Flex all you want. You deserve it.
And while you’re at it. Might as well flex yourself too using the 32MP selfie shooter.
Videos are all the rage these days and if you want to take social sharing to another level, do it in motion.
SEE ALSO: GadgetSnaps: vivo X80 Pro in The Fort
Now, capturing isn’t all the vivo x80 Pro is good for. It is, after all, a flagship smartphone. The specs speak for themselves:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- 12+4GB RAM
- 256GB Storage
It’s one thing to see it on paper, but the overall performance checks out too. Your usual social browsing, chatting, and jumping between apps is an absolute breeze.
And watching your favorite shows and videos is just flat-out great. The vivo X80 Pro has dual speakers making for a fantastic entertainment experience.
The 6.78-inch AMOLED display is a treat to the eyes. And it has a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, meaning it goes from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on what you’re doing.
This helps conserve the 4,700mAh battery which should last you quite a bit in a day. And if not, you can quickly top up as it supports wired 80W Flash Charge as well as 50W wireless Flash Charge.
As far as its looks are concerned it has a glass back with matte coating and some hints of glitter. Fittingly called Cosmic Black, the look is a straight up classic.
Superb shooter, all around partner
vivo has for itself quite a banger of a smartphone with the X80 Pro. It is literally everything you can ask for from a smartphone camera/ Delivering photos and videos that are vivid, sharp, and captivating while performing like every bit the flagship that it is.
The vivo X80 Pro retails for PhP 59,999. And the vivo X80 series is now available:
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.
Apple M2 MacBook Pro Unboxing and Review
More Important Than You Think!
But for others, the M2 MacBook Pro is what they’re aiming for.
It might still be the same with its classic aluminum unibody design, 13.3″ Retina Display, and a Touch Bar from 2016 — but inside it’s even more powerful.
Also equipped with the new generation of Apple’s Silicon Chip dubbed ‘M2’, it surely knows how to make professionals drool.
But is it worth the money? Or should you just get the M2 MacBook Air instead?
Or what about getting the more expensive 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip?
Watch our unboxing and full review on the M2 MacBook Pro now to find out more!
realme GT 2 Pro review: GT Master Edition mastered
A bold step for realme
RedmiBook 15 review: Focused on Performance
Is it worth your while?
Apple M2 MacBook Pro review: Affordable, powerful
Looks the same outside, more powerful inside!
Qualcomm leaks when the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will launch
Arm has unveiled its first GPU to have ray tracing
Pokémon Go creator is launching an NBA game
PLDT Fast Hub: A taste of (near) 10,000mbps
vivo Y76 5G to be more affordable by July
Lenovo Yoga 9i: Luxe entertainment notebook
These iPhone models will not get iOS 16
Samsung The Premiere: Turn any space into a private cinema
Apple Studio Display Unboxing and Review
GadgetSnaps: vivo X80 Pro in The Fort
Hands-On2 weeks ago
Lenovo Yoga 9i: Luxe entertainment notebook
Apps2 weeks ago
Facebook is going to become more like TikTok
Reviews2 weeks ago
realme narzo 50A Prime review: A basic and stylish phone
Philippines2 weeks ago
Samsung M53 5G now in the Philippines
Reviews2 weeks ago
OPPO A96 review: Just another power performer
Computers2 weeks ago
macOS Ventura: Favorite New Features
News6 days ago
Samsung has a lot of unsold smartphones
Apps2 weeks ago
What I’ve been waiting for: An integrated Starbucks digital experience