The Joyful Overkill of Sony Xperia XZ Premium Smartphone

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SET ASIDE THE fact Sony has not been a part of the smartphone conversation lately. Never mind that you’re almost certainly better off with an iPhone 7 or Google Pixel. For now, just take a moment to bask in the glorious, mostly unnecessary overkill that defines the Xperia XZ Premium.

Specs? Why yes, it has all of them. For its latest flagship, Sony opted for a 5.5-inch 4K display that crams in 801 pixels per inch, roughly twice what you’ll find in the iPhone 7 Plus. To be clear, that’s way beyond what your eyeballs can discern, and it’s an LCD display instead of OLED, so it’s not optimized for Google’s Daydream VR platform. But isn’t that part of the fun? There’s joy in big numbers just for big numbers’ sake.

In fact, here’s another one: The Xperia XZ Premium can shoot at 960 frames per second. In practice, that means you can make videos that are so very, very slow! Achingly, uncomfortably slow, and only for five seconds of playback. Whether your life would benefit from videos four times slower than most top-tier smartphones can manage seems beside the point, in the way that you don’t add spinners to your rims to boost your car’s torque.

There’s more. So much more. A 19 megapixel camera? Check. A Snapdragon 835 processor, the tippiest top of the line? Check, whenever it’s ready for production. A full 4GB of RAM? Ruggedized IP68 water and dust resistance? Upscaling high-resolution audio, whatever that means? Check! Check! Check!

None of this means the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the next phone you should buy. Sony hasn’t announced a price, for starters, and those gaudy specs will cost. More importantly, they won’t necessarily make your smartphone experience discernibly better from devices with scaled-down stat sheets. (Also, it could use a fresher design than its current boxy-shiny look.)

But that’s okay! That’s what overkill is for. Sony needed to make a big splash, and it has. Cannonballs don’t win medals, but they’re a heck of a lot of fun to gawk at.

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