*This post sponsored is by Sony*
Last week I shared how Sony had sent me their Xperia XZ1 mobile phone to review and test. I talked through the features of the phone and shared my initial impressions. In this post I really focus on the camera and filming ability of the phone. It is fair to say that I really tested the phone like only a family with a monkey can. You can see for yourself how the camera coped.
When A Monkey Came To Stay…
You have all heard of the tiger who came to tea, well this weekend we had a very special but rather smelly guest come to stay. He didn’t drink all of daddy’s beer but he drank rather too much fizz over dinner (more on that later) – I am talking about the class monkey. Now whilst I was delighted for Youngest, who had been begging for that monkey to come home with her since term started, my stomach sank as I saw her come out tightly clutching the hand of the monkey called Toffee. Its hair was matted and it looked like it hadn’t had a bath – ever. It also had a faint whiff of wee. Youngest was very insulted when I told her this and insisted that he smelt of lemons. Hmm, I don’t think so, darling.
We all know how competitive parents can get over the class bear/monkey. I wondered what I was going to do. I don’t have a yacht that I can whizz Toffee away on, and I don’t have a private jet that will take us to St Tropez. However, I do have a Sony Xperia XZ1 (a-ha!) and I realised that this would be just the ticket for capturing those special moments of Youngest snuggling up to Toffee. Although, it would still be quite a challenge for me. I wasn’t sure how I would refrain from retching at the sight of the hairy and very smelly creature and then there was the overwhelming urge to stop shouting at Youngest,
“There is no need to hug that smelly monkey quite so close to you, darling.”
I needed to stop being a helicopter parent. I mean it’s not like that monkey could actually make us is ill, is it? On the plus side, this blog post means I am ticking two boxes in one: recording the adventures of Toffee for school and showing you just how fantastic the Xperia XZ1 is. I know what you are thinking, genius! 😉
The monkey came home with us on Friday. I suggested dousing Toffee in bleach and was met with a firm no from Youngest. She then caught me trying to sneak Toffee into the washing machine. Again, I was told off. In the end I gave up. We then headed back to school for a movie night. I found myself trapped in a hall with about 50 very small children from Key Stage 1. It was not my idea of a fun Friday night. The hall was small and the children were hyper, the film was also awful. However, Youngest was having lots of fun and so I consoled myself with my Sony Xperia XZ1. The HDR 10 screen was the perfect distraction and I was very impressed with how vibrant and punchy photos appeared on my screen. I spent 90 minutes flicking seamlessly between my apps, checking out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and reading the news on my phone. That phone was my lifeline and kept me sane. Thank you Sony. So engrossed was I with my phone that I was completely unaware of the stampede from lots of small people demanding ice-cream during the interval.
After the movie had finished, and I breathed a sigh of relief, we headed back home. As Oldest was having a sleepover with friends we decided to treat Youngest and Toffee to a meal out. I was rather dismayed at the fact that Youngest insisted on sitting Toffee between me and her. I ate my dinner as I held my nose to block the smell emitting from Toffee. Youngest insisted that I take a photo of her and her new best friend, the rather sullen and smelly Toffee. The 19mp camera took a brilliant photo despite the restaurant being very dark.
Also, with the excellent facial recognition facility, I managed to capture a beautiful photo of Youngest and Toffee.
I woke up to find that Toffee was still with us, despite me banishing him to the cupboard to sleep. He clearly couldn’t take a hint. Oldest was now back home and we decided to have a lovely family day out and show Toffee how we do Christmas on Jersey. First of all, we headed to the Christmas market. Again, Youngest insisted that we record this moment, and, therefore, I used this as an opportunity to test the predictive-motion and smile-capture features using the the Motion Eye™ function of the camera. Perfect for taking a photo of Youngest who isn’t known for standing still.
Motion Eye™ Function
The camera takes 4 images and then you can choose the one you would like to keep, or you can keep them all. Above is one of the images captured. Below is the photo that camera recognised as showing Youngest smiling. It’s like rewinding time, very clever!
The Xperia XZ1 will continuously detect smiles and motion and saves those moments. Then when you press the button to take the photo, the phone will capture the moment you take the image but also the moments it saved just before you took the photo. After that it shows you 4 options and you can choose your favourite. This was a godsend as she was intent on swinging that monkey around while I was trying to take photos.
We briefly explored the Christmas fair but both Toffee and Youngest were distinctly unimpressed. Youngest wasn’t even spellbound by Father Christmas. She informed me very dryly that he clearly wasn’t the real Father Christmas. In an attempt to lift spirits we decided to head to Portelet where we grabbed some lunch and had fun on the beach.
I used this as a chance to try the 960 fps slow-motion video recording feature of the phone. You can see this in the short film below. The Motion Eye™ camera is unique because it records 960 frames per second, for super slow motion playback. This means that the footage is four times slower than videos from other smartphones. We captured some great slow-motion footage.
Overall, I was very impressed with all of the filming that we did because, despite it being a very grey and overcast day, the camera coped and recorded lots of really good footage. This is a real improvement on my previous phone which would not have performed nearly as well.
We took lots of photos on the beach and the phone amazed me with how crisp the photos are. The burst function and smile-capture features meant that I was able to capture that special moment of Youngest smiling perfectly. You can see from below how great the the autofocus burst feature is too. It tracks and captures sequences of moving objects in sharp focus, so there’ll be no more blurred action shots. I took these as Youngest was throwing Monkey in the air. Every photo is perfectly in focus!
Autofocus Burst Feature
As the weather was a bit miserable we decided to cheer ourselves up with a special Christmas dinner. We felt it was only fair that we showed Toffee what Christmas is really like in our house. A bit like feeding time at the zoo so it probably wasn’t anything new for him 😉
On the way home I picked up a hot chocolate (it would have been rude not to) and the camera took a fabulous photo of the hot chocolate. You can see for yourself the detail the phone picks up on close-ups, and this is despite it being low-light conditions.
Back home we decided to take some photos of our Christmas party. This would be a different challenge for the phone because I would be taking photos indoors and of the whole family. However, the phone took some fantastic photos. The front 8mp front facing camera has a wide 120-degree field and that meant I was able to take selfies of me and the whole family easily.
We had a lovely Christmas dinner and Toffee, our guest of honour, sat at the head of the table. However, he hit the fizz a little too hard and fell asleep before pudding had arrived. Some guests are just so rude.
I tested out the filming features of the camera and I was blown away by its capabilities. Above is a very short slow-mo of me firing a party popper. You can also see a short film below. First of all you will find me unboxing the phone and talking through the features, followed by a film solely shot on the Sony Xperia XZ1. You can see for yourself how good the camera and filming is. I would just add that I was pleased with how smooth the footage is and how it coped with going from outdoors into the dark indoors. The slow-motion filming is epic! We did find that the super slow-motion filming works better when you are outdoors in natural light. I am filming on terrain that is uneven and I am walking up and down. This didn’t matter because the the Sony Xperia XZ1 has a the SteadyShot™ feature. This is a 5-axis image stabilisation, and it compensates for shaking movements in five different directions, and this makes your videos clear and smooth.
Our Unboxing And A Day In The Life With Toffee Film
The End Of Our Day With Toffee
I wondered how the 2700Mh battery would cope and I was delighted to find I still had plenty of power despite nearly a full day of filming and taking photos. The Sony Xperia XZ1 phone does utilise Quick Charge 3.0 which means that it is really quick to top the phone up if ever needed.
Keep your eyes peeled for films of our upcoming holiday on the Sony Xperia XZ1 over on Instastories and I will also be making a YouTube video too.
Thanks To Sony
Thanks to Sony for sending me this phone and saving my bacon when it came to showing Toffee a good time. Sadly our monkey friend wasn’t very well behaved and he did give both my girls sickness, and now me. Let’s just say I won’t be venturing outdoors today. Thanks for that Toffee. Luckily I was able to cheer them up with the footage from my Sony Xperia XZ1. We were able to watch the film back on my phone and we were all really impressed with the sound quality and footage. Don’t forget to read my other blog post for a more detailed run down of the specifications of the phone.
Where You Can Buy A Sony Xperia XZ1
With Christmas around the corner this is the perfect present for anyone who wants to capture those cherished family moments, but it is also an outstanding present for serious gadget lovers. Everyone will be captivated by this phone. You can go online at Sony Mobile and order online. The handset is available nationwide at a price of £599.99. Visit the Sony Mobile website for a full list of stockists. You will find the flagship Xperia range also includes the XZ1 Compact – the ultimate in no compromise, and the XZ Premium – Sony’s ultimate flagship handset encapsulating decades of Sony innovation.
Disclaimer – this is a sponsored post. However, as always, all words and photos are my own.