We now have a release date for Sony's flagship Xperia XZ2 Premium smartphone in the US market, that's the good news. The bad news is the price. Sony announced this week that its feature-packed Xperia XZ2 Premium will be available to pre-order online at Amazon and Best Buy starting July 9, 2018, with a suggested retail price of $999.99. Let's just round it up a penny and call it a grand—the question is, will it sell at that price point?
That's a tough ask, though Sony is far from the first smartphone maker to encroach the $1,000 mark. Apple did it with the iPhone X, and depending on which Galaxy device you are interested in, you could be looking at a around a grand as well (slightly cheaper). This is where the trajectory of high-end smartphones have taken us, though staring a $1,000 price tag still seems out of the ordinary, because for the most part it still is.
The Xperia XZ2 Premium is certainly a top-tier smartphone. It features a 5.8-inch Triluminos display with a 4K (3840x2160) resolution and HDR support, and is powered by Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) and 6GB of RAM. It also has 64GB of onboard storage, which is a little disappointing at this price range. To put that into perspective, you can grab an unlocked Galaxy S9+ with 64GB of built-in storage for $789.99 from Best Buy, or $959.99 for the 256GB SKU.
Sony is looking to separate is Xperia XZ2 Premium from the pack with its camera performance, which we are very much interested in testing out ourselves. According to Sony, the Xperia XZ2 Premium is the first phone ever to pair two proprietary camera sensors—a state-of-the-art 19-megapixel memory-stacked sensor and a 12-megapixel black-and-white sensor—to act as a single dual-camera module. Both sensors process data in real-time through Aube, which is a new fusion image processing technology Sony developed.
"Incorporating Sony’s first dual-camera and the Aube fusion image signal processor (ISP) system, the latest in 4K HDR display technology, and overall performance improvements, the Xperia XZ2 Premium is a no-compromise, high-performance smartphone that combines the immersive innovations for optimizing mobile entertainment experiences that the Xperia XZ2 is known for with the ability to capture and showcase stunningly beautiful videos and photos that go even beyond what the human eye can see," Sony says.
Time will tell how much of an audience the Xperia XZ2 Premium will attract at Sony's asking price. To help soften the blow, when purchased from Amazon, Sony will toss in its Xperia Ear Duo wireless earphones. As a standalone product, Amazon sells the earphones for $279.99, so that's a pretty nice value add.