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Sony Xperia XZ3 review: After years of mediocrity, Sony is finally ready to compete

For several years now, Sony fans and critics have been calling for the Japanese company to move away from its boxy, dated hardware design language and join its rivals in releasing a modern Android smartphone. When the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact arrived at MWC 2018 in February, we hailed them as a small step in the right direction. Curved glass and greatly reduced bezels around an 18:9 screen combined with high-end internals and a relatively stock treatment of Android — a recipe that was also followed for the overpriced XZ2 Premium that came in the summer.

It’s somewhat surprising that we’re talking about another flagship Sony phone so soon, yet the Xperia XZ3 stole the show at IFA 2018 and goes on sale at the beginning of October, just six months after the XZ2 was released and three months after the XZ2 Premium.

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Sony announces mid-range Xperia XA2 Plus, with 18:9 display, Snapdragon 630, and Hi-Res Audio

At the start of the year, Sony unveiled two new mid-range smartphones in the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra. They offered familiar Sony stylings, with chunky bezels and squared off corners, but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chips and rear fingerprint sensors represented a considerable improvement over their XA1 predecessors.

Today, Sony has announced another entry in the lineup, the Xperia XA2 Plus. It features the same Snapdragon 630 SoC, and many of the same specs as the XA2 Ultra, but is the first in the series to include an elongated 18:9, 6-inch FHD+ display. This phone will sound better, too, with Sony's High-Resolution Audio technology and DSEE HX audio upscaling.

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[Update: Now available] Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact now up for pre-order in the US

The Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are arguably Sony's best-looking phones yet. Unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in February, the latest Sony flagships have rear fingerprint sensors and sport 18:9 displays with far less bezel than we're accustomed to from Xperia devices. They both include the freshest Snapdragon 845 chip with 4GB of RAM and will ship with Android 8.0 Oreo.

I was impressed by them in my hands-on at MWC, especially in view of Sony finally embracing a more modern design aesthetic — even if the Compact is a little chunky. Sony doesn't usually concentrate on the US market too much, but we learned a couple of days ago that Best Buy would have both phones available to pre-order from today, and both are now live on the site in a range of different colors.

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Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium announced with 4K HDR display, Snapdragon 845, and dual cameras

Sony has officially announced the Xperia XZ2 Premium, the top dog in the XZ2 range. Last year's XZ Premium was best known for its 4K display, and the XZ2 Premium builds upon that by offering HDR certification, top-notch processing power, a "Motion Eye Dual" camera setup, Qi wireless charging, and more.

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Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact hands-on: Sony takes a [small] step in the right direction

Today at MWC 2018 in Barcelona Sony announced its latest flagship Android phones, the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Looking at them without context, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were released a couple of years ago. Yet these are Sony's most modern smartphone designs ever, with curved 3D glass and much smaller bezels than previous Xperia devices.

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[Update: More images] Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact leaked with new design and 18:9 screens

For better or for worse, Sony has stuck to the same phone design for years at this point. While I personally don't mind the design, it has started to show its age over the past year or two with the advent of 18:9 phones and small bezels. We've been hearing rumors that Sony's next flagships would be a radical departure in terms of design, and now that has been confirmed with a new leak from VentureBeat.

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Xperia XA1 family's Oreo updates will ditch built-in blue light filter, meaning that zero Sony phones will come with any form of 'night mode'

These days, many manufacturers include some sort of blue light filter or "night light" in their phones' ROMs. Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and some other companies are on the list, and Sony was as well with its "Good night actions" function in Xperia Actions for phones in the XA1 family. However, following the impending Oreo updates, no Sony phone will have a built-in blue light filter.

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Sony adds Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra to the Open Devices Program

Sony is pretty good about letting the open-source community have a field day with its devices thanks to the company's Open Devices Program. Two new phones just got added: Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra. That means that they are open to flashing custom versions of Oreo.

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Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra feature Snapdragon 630, rear fingerprint sensors, Android 8.0 Oreo, and more; L2 also announced

Sony seems serious about improving its smartphone game. The Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra, despite having interesting camera setups and not-terrible pricing, were let down by the lacks of a Snapdragon processor and a fingerprint sensor. The XA2 and XA2 Ultra, which were leaked a few days ago, fix that with a Snapdragon 630 and a rear-mounted scanner. Also announced was the budget-oriented Xperia L2, which sports a rear fingerprint sensor as well.

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[Deal Alert] Sony Xperia XZs is down to $399.99 ($200 off) at Amazon

People clearly like slow-motion videos, given The Slow Mo Guys' 9.8 million subscribers on YouTube. If you're planning on shooting some seriously slowed-down videos, you don't have many options, and most of them are prohibitively expensive. However, some of Sony's latest phones can shoot 960fps video, with the Xperia XZs being one of them. Now you can pick one up for $399.99 on Amazon, $200 less than its list price.

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