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Xperia XZ

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Xperia XZ and X Performance are the first Sony devices to get Android 7.1.1

Sony has been pretty quick with Android updates recently, at least for its highest profile handsets. The Xperia XZ and X Performance were the first Sony phones to see an update to Android 7.0 Nougat, and that was just 3 months after Google's Pixel and Nexus devices received it. Now, Sony is building on this good work by bringing the Android 7.1.1 update to both its flagships.

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[Deal Alert] Get a Sony Xperia XZ for $430 ($220 off) with a U.S. warranty from eBay

Sony has the tendency to significantly over-price its phones, with the Xperia XZ from last year being no exception. Since its launch a few months ago, it has steadily dropped in price. But now, you can grab one for $429.99, which a nice savings of $220. Oh, and you get free standard shipping and a U.S. warranty to boot.

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Weekend poll: What phone do you think stole the show at MWC 2017?

MWC 2017 is over, and now we all know what was unveiled. Sony, Motorola, LG, Nokia, BlackBerry Huawei, and others all unveiled new smartphones ranging from the most basic to flagship-level, and this weekend's poll will have you pick among some of the most prominent contenders for a winner.

To give you a brief rundown, the highlights were: the LG G6, Sony's Xperia XZ Premium, BlackBerry's KeyONE, Huawei's P10, Nokia's various Android phones (and the 3310), and Moto's G5 and G5 Plus.

Between them, who do you think came away with the lion's share of the glory?

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[Deal Alert] Sony Xperia XZ is now $449.99 on Amazon ($200 off)

One tradition with Sony smartphones is that they are nearly always overpriced at launch. Sony's latest flagship, the 2016 Xperia XZ, was no exception - it started at a whopping $699. Although the official MSRP has been marked down to $649 since then, you can now get it from Amazon for just $449.99.

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[Deal Alert] Sony's Xperia XZ has fallen to just $499.99 on Amazon ($150 off)

The Xperia XZ hasn't been out for long in the United States, but its prices just keep dropping. Just a few days ago, this very phone went from its MSRP of $649.99 to as low as $581.98, but now, it's gone down another $80 or so to $499.99. That's a pretty damn good price for such a new device, even if you have to flash different firmware to get the fingerprint sensor to work.

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[Deal Alert] Sony Xperia XZ down to $580-$600 in all its colors on Amazon

If I was going to spend about $600 on a phone, I wouldn't put it down on a Sony device. Don't get me wrong, I love the company, but I don't think its prices for the past year or so have been realistic and I would fear the huge loss in resale value. But that's just me. If you like Sony, this deal should be right up your alley.

The unlocked Sony Xperia XZ with a US warranty is down to $580-$600 on Amazon. When it was first released, the XZ was priced at $699.99, but we saw its price drop to $649.99 in October.

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Brutal YouTube tester JerryRigEverything finds a lot of plastic in Sony's 'premium' Xperia XZ

If you haven't at least glanced at YouTube gadget aficionado JerryRigEverything (whose real name is Zack), you should close this tab and go do that. He puts new phones through excruciating damage tests for "entertainment purposes only" - it's the kind of thing that we're not really supposed to do in our standard reviews (unless the phone dares us to kill it). In a breakdown of the Xperia XZ, Sony's current premium flagship which retails for $700, Zack found a surprising amount of materials that were less than premium.

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[Deal Alert] Get a Sony Xperia XZ for just $649.99 from Amazon ($50 off)

As of late, Sony Mobile has been making some pretty decent smartphones, but it destroys any chances of them succeeding by slapping massive price tags on them. The relatively new Xperia XZ is one of these phones; it's nice, but $700 nice? Not to most. However, with this latest markdown by Amazon, you can grab an XZ with a US warranty for $649.99, $50 less than the MSRP.

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TWRP now available for Xperia XZ, Xperia X Performance, and Galaxy J3

TWRP is by far the most popular custom recovery, and for good reason. Backing up your device, flashing ROMs, managing files in a pinch, and more are all possible through a customizable GUI. Now TWRP is expanding its reach to three more devices - the Sony Xperia XZ, Sony Xperia X Performance, and Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 Qualcomm (SM-J320YZ).

Considering the XZ was only released a week ago, this is pretty fast work from the TWRP maintainers. The other devices are a bit older, with the Xperia X Performance released in June of this year and the Galaxy J3 in January.

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The fingerprint sensor on Sony's Xperia XZ and X Compact can be enabled by a firmware flash

After having a Nexus 6P, I think I'd find it pretty difficult to go back to not having a fingerprint sensor. It's just such a convenient way to quickly and easily unlock my phone. The Sony Xperia XZ and X Compact (this year's model) both have fingerprint sensors, but weirdly on the US editions (and possibly others from around the world), they are disabled via software. Xperiablog has found that by flashing the UK firmware, the sensor can be enabled.

xperia-xz-fingerprint-usa_1-315x560 xperia-xz-fingerprint-usa_2-315x560

Left: US firmware - 1304-9206. Right: UK firmware - 1305-2216.

A thread on XDA details the process - in essence, download and install Xperiafirm, Xperia Companion (from Sony), and Flashtool.

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