Sony Xperia XZ1: What is 3D scanning and how does it work?



Sony released their latest flagship in IFA a few months back and the device has built-in 3D scanning capabilities. Obviously, this was a feature that I got particularly excited over, and finally, I got to test it out.

This is the Sony Xperia XZ1

In true Sony fashion, the handset is sleek, boxy, and to me, very reminiscent of a chocolate bar.

Sony Xperia XZ1

It has flagship functionalities like powerful cameras (which take great photos and have super slow-mo video capabilities), a Full HD display, and a top-of-the-line Snapdragon processor.

But, most importantly, it has 3D scanning capabilities!

Now, I know that 3D scanning isn’t particularly new — you could download apps to be able to get this function on most devices — but Sony’s implementation allows you to do more fun things with your scan. You’ll see later on.

Let the 3D scanning begin!

All scanning is done via the 3D Creator app that’s built in. Though originally available on the Xperia XZ1, the app has been made available to other Sony devices, as well.

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

Said app allows for four different types of scanning modes: 360 degrees of your head, face, free form, and food. Now, I know what you’re thinking: What ever would I need to scan? Well, I’d imagine a lot. Food photography, for one, will never be the same. Imagine having 3D scans of your meals instead!

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning food

Or, scan your friends to remember them by, always! Below is a scan or Marvin, our Managing Editor, which is an effective reminder to always double-check the grammar in my articles.

Besides, at this point, it’s not a matter of what you need to do, but what you can do with the 3D scanning — and you can do a lot.

How to 3D scan

Sony, in theory, makes it easier for people with no prior 3D scanning experience (i.e., me) to create scans.

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning process

Figure 1

I enlisted the help of Chay, GadgetMatch’s Creative Director (perfect because I’d imagine this to be a creative activity), to put the 3D scanning app to the test.

This is how it goes: You open 3D Creator and start off by picking which type of scan you’d want to do. I chose the “head scan” for this tutorial. This means we scan 360 degrees of Chay’s likeness. The first step (as shown in Figure 1) entails fitting the subject’s face into an outline. You are then instructed, by big directional arrows, to move around the subject for the actual scanning (see Figure 2).

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning a girl

Figure 2

Seems easy enough, yes? I’ve seen people do it during the launch in IFA, and I’ve even witnessed it being done to me at the Xperia XZ1’s local launch. So, I tried…

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

Figure 2.1

… and tried…

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

Figure 2.2

… and tried harder.

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

Figure 2.3: Chay getting really bored

Guess what? It wasn’t as easy as it looked. Who knew following a line could be so hard?

You also need perfect lighting and very accurate spacial-navigation skills for the perfect scans. But, let’s be honest — no one’s perfect, especially at first try. And then, there were times when the app just froze. It’s a learning process with the end of each scan telling you what went wrong, or what you could fix to better the scan (Figure 3).

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

Figure 3

When we finally finished, we ended up with less than perfect scans. Still, workable 3D scans are very impressive feats in themselves.

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning results

Figure 4

In theory, we could make really detailed mini versions of Chay’s head — if we were patient enough to perfect how to do it.

Final product!

So, okay, I scanned Chay. Now what?

Well, you can 3D print all the mini-Chays you want! In some countries, Sony has even partnered with 3D printing services to make this process quick and seamless.

But, if you’re not the figurine-lover type like me, fret not: 3D Creator also has AR integration. You can dress up your mini-Chays in funky dino suits (just one among the many options) and make it dance around the real Chay like I did! Think Snapchat’s Bitmoji AR features, only better.

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning AR

There are pre-set poses and actions you can make the 3D-scanned avatar do. Take photos, shoot videos, you name it. You can even use your 3D scan as a live smartphone wallpaper because, why not? The app also has social media integration so you can share said scans away. Also, a crowd favorite: GIF stickers are a possibility! See below:

Sony Xperia XZ1 3D scanning

So, is Sony’s 3D scanning worth it?

There’s still much to be improved. Don’t get me wrong — this is some great tech, but user experience can be made better, easier. I have no doubt, however, that the developments would come sooner or later.

Bottomline is: Sony has found an enjoyable way to integrate 3D scanning tech in our 2017 lives because let’s be real, who 3D prints stuff for fun? On the other hand, I send fun GIFs to people on a daily basis and this level of personalization is a dream.

Some may argue this is another useless smartphone feature, but in the age of animated emojis, I would argue otherwise.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact Hands-On

[irp posts=”19367" name=”Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact stick to Sony’s proven formula”]


Joker, Jowable, Jojo Rabbit: Now Playing

Live, love, laugh!



The GadgetMatch team just went through a rigorous back-to-back coverage starting from IFA 2019, iPhone 11, Vivo NEX 3, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, and many more. Like us, people are overwhelmed with smartphone launches one after another.

What kept us sane was these forms of entertainment we watch and play in passing. Here’s what’s Now Playing in GadgetMatch:

Movies to see

Steven Universe: The Movie
Leez: If you’re a fan of Steven Universe and the last episode left you feeling unsettled by how it neatly tucked the whole series, then you’re in luck. The movie doesn’t fall short in tackling the heart-wrenching significance of struggles and obstacles to be better and be who you are. It’s a movie that dives deep into lost friends and lost memories. You definitely need to check this out.

MJ: No other film in this century has captured how I’ve been feeling for years now, except Jowable. This film tackles the joys, pains, and misadventures of singlehood in a comical approach. But don’t think it’s all just for laughs, Jowable is totally unpredictable — full of plot twists to keep you entertained while preaching you some deep life lessons that Buddha can’t even.

Jojo Rabbit
Luigi: Provocative and funny. How else can you describe Taiki Waititi’s upcoming comedy? This World War II satire features a German boy trying to hide a Jewish girl while being aided by his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself).

Kevin:  Not your usual origin story of a villain. Joker tackles mental health, human nature, and the society that we’re living in now. Partner those with Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar acting and what you get is a cinematic piece that moves you and makes you think about what “being normal” really is.  It’s best to see it on the big screen so be sure to catch it while it’s still showing.

Shows to binge-watch

Player reacts to his Highlights | House of Highlights
Rodneil: I haven’t been able to commit to watching a series of late so for my dwindling downtime, I’ve resorted to watching these one-off series on YouTube. Plus I also miss NBA basketball, so this is a great way to scratch that itch.

Luigi: People have proclaimed Marianne as the most frightening series of 2019. As a horror enthusiast, I don’t think it is. However, this French horror series is still an excellent addition to the Netflix playhouse of monsters. Plus, that French accent is oh-so-sexy.

Rodneil: Gotta admit, I only considered watching because it stars Suzy Bae. But the story is gripping and the cinematography is pretty darn good. It’s about a stuntman who loses his nephew in a plane crash that was made to look like an accident but there’s more to it than just that.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

데자 부 (Deja Vu) by Dreamcatcher
Vincenz: Although the song doesn’t sound as intense as their other releases, the latest music video tells a deeper story. There is a line that struck me: “Now I’m holding this pain,” especially that it talks about betrayal and abandonment. The melodic musical arrangement accompanied by contrasting light and dark visuals blend so well together — which gives a surreal and melancholic feeling to listeners and viewers alike.

Go Up by SB19
Vincenz: SB19 has been garnering attention for weeks. They sound like a K-Pop boy group because they were trained by a Korean agency. Although I’m not totally a fan, I appreciate their music especially since it talks about aiming high and achieving your dreams. Despite the hard choreography, their live vocals sound great. P-Pop is finally improving!

Linkin Park Favorites
Rodneil: It’s been quite a stressful past couple of weeks for me. To combat the urge of setting myself on fire, I’ve been listening to a lot of my favorite Linkin Park songs. The collection is mostly from the Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums. Listen to the full playlist.

Feel Special by TWICE
Rodneil: TWICE’s gradual concept change is evident in their new song Feel Special. More than that, though, the song seems to hold a special place in the members’ hearts as it alludes to their struggles. Especially Mina who is struggling with anxiety and begged off from parts of their tour but still participated in the album with strong support from the other members.

Games to play

Madden NFL 20
Gab: I know how everyone is on some hype train towards the recently released NBA 2K20 video game, but there are other sports-related games out there. As someone who is starting to have a level of interest with the NFL, Madden NFL 20 introduced me to how American football actually works. If you need a quick change of pace from shooting the basketball, I suggest you try scoring touchdowns.

NBA 2K20
Rodneil: Echoing what Gab said on his NBA 2K20 review — this game essentially feels like a massive patch for NBA 2K19. That’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s still the superior NBA simulation game and for it to improve, EA needs to step up big time with NBA Live. Will still play it because it’s my number one way to destress.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Luigi: As a child, I never played the original Link’s Awakening on the Gameboy. I joined the Zelda party way too late. Thankfully, this Switch remake plays like a traditional game on the Gameboy. The new Link’s Awakening brings a lot to the table for both new and old players. It’s a well-polished game that doesn’t rely too much on nostalgia.

Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

October 2019 Edition



Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

ASUS ZenFone Max M2 ($175)

We were disappointed to find out that the ZenFone Max Pro M2 went above the US$ 200 mark, but we still have the non-Pro Max M2 to buy at this price point. Fortunately, the fast Snapdragon 632 processor, large 4000mAh battery, and dual rear cameras remain.


Redmi Note 7 ($150)

Xiaomi blew everyone away when it announced the Redmi Note 7 with its class-leading specs and design. It’s been selling like hotcakes for a good reason: In terms of pure performance, nothing rivals this in the sub-US$ 200 category.

READ MORE: Redmi Note 7


OPPO A5s ($117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.


Realme 5 (US$ 154)

Realme is giving Xiaomi a run for its money on our top-of-mind easy phones to recommend. The Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5

Samsung Galaxy A20 ($190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

Update as of October 2019:

  • The Realme 5 replaced the Realme C2 on this list

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

October 2019 Edition



When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE ($300)

Xiaomi has always been a part of the list and the Mi 9 SE truly deserves its spot. It’s a flagship-grade phone from its design to its specs. It’s dubbed as a “compact flagship” thanks to its smaller-than-usual form factor. If you’re looking for a phone that won’t hurt your pockets both in size and price, check out the Mi 9 SE.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

Realme 5 Pro (US$ 232)

A quadruple-camera setup at this price point seems unlikely but Realme made it happen. And it’s not just the setup, the lenses actually take photos with good image quality. That would have been enough to recommend this but it also has a Snapdragon 712 AIE chip with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you’re looking for a great deal, this is it.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5 Pro

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 ($245)

While not as affordable as its predecessor, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 still does several things most phones can’t even dream of at this price point. We get an upper-midrange chip, large 5000mAh battery, versatile cameras, and a pure take on Android.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2

Huawei Nova 5T (US$ 367)

Huawei managed to put a flagship-level chip with a glass back and with triple cameras on a midrange phone. These are things you expect from brands like Xiaomi but Huawei was able to pull it off as well.

READ: Huawei Nova 5T

Samsung Galaxy A50s ($345)

Samsung’s pivot to the A series has been fantastic and the Galaxy A50s is another proof of that. It’s a refinement of everything that was good with the Galaxy A50. If you’re a die-hard Samsung fan looking for a midrange phone, the Galaxy A50s is a solid option.

READ: Samsung Galaxy A50s

Update as of October 2019:

  • Huawei Nova 5T replaced the Pocophone F1
  • Realme 5 Pro replaced the Realme 3 Pro 
  • Samsung Galaxy A50s replaced the Samsung Galaxy A50 

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