Sony Xperia XZ1 Review: XZibit One: Telephony, Text Input, Messaging, Assorted Apps

By 10:13 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


The Xperia XZ1 has its call log separated from the contacts, but there are shortcuts from one to the other in the upper correct corner. It can be filtered by missed, incoming and outgoing calls. Smart dial is supported too.

Dialer with smart dial • Call log • Phonebook • Favorites


Messaging is equally straightforward. Sony's default app organizes communication into chats. It also has a nice collection of stickers and supports all sorts of attachments. These will force you to convert to MMS though.


Since Sony shops the XZ1 with a Google app package pre-installed, Gmail is probably the most obvious choice for email. Then again, Sony also has its own app. It has some pretty nice extra features to offer, like integration with Sony's calendar for event management and reminders, plus weather info.

Two email apps

If you plan on jumping into Sony's own ecosystem, you could give it a try.

Text input

SwiftKey has been Sony's bundled keyboard of choice for some time now. It is a truly powerful solution. You can customize pretty much every aspect of your typing experience, including custom layouts, themes, size adjustment, dictionaries and more.



We would hold a stereo setup over a mono one any day of the week. However, there are certain drawbacks that come with most dual-speaker phones these days, primarily in the loudness department. Just like most of its siblings, the Xperia XZ1 just doesn't have enough volume to impress.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score

Sony Xperia XZ 61.6 65.5 67.6 Below Average

Sony Xperia XZ1 (S-Force Front Surround) 63.8 68.0 67.4 Below Average

Sony Xperia XZ Premium 62.9 65.2 71.6 Below Average

Sony Xperia XZ1 (ClearAudio+) 64.5 67.6 67.7 Below Average

Sony Xperia XZs 62.4 65.5 73.3 Average

Sony Xperia XZ1 65.4 68.0 69.1 Average

Samsung Galaxy S8 66.2 70.5 72.5 Good

Samsung Galaxy S8+ 68.5 69.4 71.6 Good

LG G6 66.8 68.8 74.5 Good

Huawei P10 Plus 64.8 69.8 82.5 Good

Xiaomi Mi 6 66.1 69.0 84.1 Very Good

OnePlus 5 69.2 72.9 77.5 Very Good

HTC U11 (Theater) 69.2 72.7 78.4 Very Good

HTC U11 (Music) 68.7 73.0 79.1 Very Good

Huawei P10 67.7 70.0 83.6 Very Good

LG V30 66.9 72.3 84.5 Very Good

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force 68.2 70.2 86.1 Very Good

Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent

Nokia 8 88.0 77.1 81.4 Excellent

In its default mode, the XZ1 barely pushes an "Average" mark. Fiddling around with ClearAudio+ or the S-Force Front Surround toggles nets you a decrease in volume either way. (You can't have both turned on at the same time). ClearAudio+ does seem to improve sound a bit, but S-Force Front Surround is just weird. We guess it's an acquired taste, and we do hear some of Sony's efforts to give some more sense of depth to the sound, but it just seems off - especially for voices.

Another thing to appreciate here is that unlike many of its competitors, Sony opted for a symmetrical setup, making for a much better stereo experience than blasting the earpiece on high.

Other apps

Besides email, Sony has some other app basics covered with its own solutions as well. The News app is a news aggregator, pulling stories from sources on topics of your choice. It can also issue two daily bulletins for you at a time you specify, so you don't miss out on current events. There is also a simple weather app, complete with nice animations.

News • Weather

Xperia lounge is Sony's own entertainment app, feeding you exclusive content and competitions related to music, movies and games. What's recent is a similar concept, but it act like more of a guide into Android applications, themes, games and more. It is a curated catalog of links to various other platforms, like the Google Play store, Audible, Amazon and others.

Xperia Lounge

Sony's health-tracking app Lifelog doesn't come pre-installed, though all it takes to download it is a trip to the Play Store. However, there is no shortage of third-party apps that do come pre-loaded on the XZ1. AVG Protection Pro is a particularly annoying one, since its usefulness is questionable to start with, and it is also just a trial.

Amazon apps • AVR Protection Pro

Then there are the Amazon Shopping and Kindle apps. It is a honest bet that these would come in handy to at least some of the XZ1 users, but it is still a bit annoying to find them pre-loaded. If nothing else, we recommdiscontinue you replace the Amazon app with the Underground one that has the application store intact.

Sony did finally include a simple file manager in its ROM, which gets the job done. There is a basic calculator as well. The default Google app package should have you covered for most everything else.

File manager • File manager • Calculator • Google app package



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