Sony has been kind enough to let Xperia device owners unlock their bootloaders for years. That's an option that fewer and fewer OEMs offer, but it comes with some very real drawbacks in Sony's case. Unlocking an Xperia device would clear all DRM keys, thus turning your camera into hot garbage. There's good news, though. It appears that the Android Pie update no longer cripples the camera on unlocked devices.

Sony has been very clear about the tradeoff when unlocking bootloaders. It's FAQ page notes that "...noise reduction algorithms might be removed, and performance when taking photos in low-light conditions might be affected." Owners of previous Xperia phones could confirm the accuracy of that statement. In some cases, the camera would just crash because of the missing DRM keys. According to several XDA users, the Pie update restores most camera functionality on unlocked and rooted phones.

On devices like the XZ Premium (see above) running Pie, the camera can take photos normally with white balance control and Camera2 API support. However, you won't get RAW file output from the camera. Sony's X-Reality video enhancement feature still won't work, and a lack of Widevine L1 DRM prevents HD video playback in many apps. The ClearAudio+ and DSEE HX audio features also remain dead. If you've got a rooted Sony phone with an official Pie update pending (most of the XZ series), it's probably time to take the plunge.