Last summer I aquired a brand new, top of the line, Samsung Galaxy S7 Active. However, a few months later the protective lens on the rear camera inexplicably shattered and neither Samsung or AT&T gave a damn. Slowly, of the next 11 months the camera lens itself was damaged thanks to the missing protective cover and the screen has started to exhibit pink lines down the length of the right side. Overall, I've been disappointed. The camera was excellent while it lasted but, for a $700 device it didn't last long enough.
The camera is probably the most used feature of my phones. I love taking photos of things I see and places I visit. But all of my photos started to be very fuzzy and to have four black blobs scattered around the center of the image. It was unacceptable. So, this past weekend I bought another flagship phone from 2016 - the Sony Xperia XZ.
I basically went on the hunt for another phone of the same period with an equivalently good camera but which wasn't made by Samsung and which would work on our companies cell plan with AT&T. The Sony was the winner and, at only $350 brand new, it seemed like a pretty good deal. I've now had it in my possession for one day and I'm currently satisfied with my purchase.
- It comes with an even newer version of Android (7.1.1 ) than my S7 had (7.0.1).
- The rear camera is fast and takes really nice photos.
- The front camera also seems to take nice photos
- The screen feels really nice to interact with
- It seems quite responsive
- The Sony UI is basically vanilla Android.
- It is really skinny
- One handed operation is super easy. It's the perfect size for my hand.
- Expandable memory
- Headphone jack
- The body is slick - my wife fears she would drop it almost instantly. She was afraid to even test the phone less she break it.
- The screen and body both really show off finger prints. I've never really noticed finger prints on a phone so much before.
- The buttons are so subtle that I have to physically inspect the phone to figure out where the power button is some times; it's hard to tell if I have the phone upside down or not just by touch. I suspect I'll get better at this.
- I can't rearrange the notification panel shortcuts. Like I want the flashlight to be in the first row so I don't have to swipe down twice.
- screenshots are taken a bit differently. You have to long press the powerbutton then select screenshot from the menu. Or, you can press power and volume down at the same time. This second way is a better option as it doesn't change the screen at all.
- copy/paste - to select a word to copy you double click it. I'm used to having to long-press. I was pretty annoyed until I found the guide on editing text
Overall, so far, I'm happy. I might get a lightweight case to improve grip - just to be on the safe side. But, at least for now, I'm not thinking about rooting the phone and installing a custom rom on it. Though I did switch out the launcher for Nova - I just prefer a more customizable UI.