Sony unveiled the Xperia XZ2 and the Xperia XZ2 Compact back in February, but it's saved the pick of the bunch for now. The newly announced Xperia XZ2 Premium builds on the template laid down by the XZ2 to add a better screen, more memory, and a dual-sensor camera on the back.

With all those upgrades, this is the Sony phone that can really challenge the iPhone X, the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the other handsets at the very top of the smartphone pile. According to Sony, it'll be available globally from the middle of this year.

Starting with the camera, which is an area Sony always excels in, the XZ2 Premium is the first handset from the company to follow the dual-sensor trend. It marries a 19 MP color sensor and a 12 MP monochrome one, which is intended to enable "ultra low light capture" (Huawei uses the same color-monochrome trick on its high-end phones).

In fact, Sony is claiming the camera can reach an incredible ISO 51200 sensitivity. That's only one measure of a camera's ability to handle light, and we'll have to see how well the onboard software handles all the extra noise it would produce, but it's the highest ISO rating we've seen on a smartphone by a huge margin.

Inside there's a Snapdragon 845 chip, as on the standard Xperia XZ2, but the RAM gets bumped up to 6 GB from the 4 GB included on the phone we saw at MWC. The battery is bigger too, 3,540 mAh versus 3,180 mAh.

Some of that battery juice will get taken up by the other major upgrade from the Xperia XZ2: the display. The Xperia XZ2 Premium comes with a 4K, 5.8-inch screen, so it's slightly bigger and much sharper than its predecessor. With HDR support included, this is the only phone on the market that can both record and display 4K video with HDR (last year's XZ Premium also had a 4K screen, but not the video recording chops).

There's a fingerprint sensor on the rear, a USB-C port for your charging and audio needs, and Android 8.0 Oreo on board. The phone is also water resistant and supports wireless charging – in other words, it's very similar to the Xperia XZ2 aside from the features we've mentioned above.

You can only assess a phone up to a certain point just from a list of specs, but Sony has a good track record with displays and cameras, so this should be a handset worth checking out. That said, even with a refreshed design, its 2018 devices do come across as a little bulky and bezel-heavy compared to the competition.

We're still waiting on an official price from Sony, which might also affect the desirability of the device, but considering the standard Xperia XZ2 will set you back US$800, this isn't going to be cheap. At least fans of Sony phones now have something that can genuinely go head-to-head against Google, Apple, and Samsung this year.

Product page: Sony

View gallery - 5 images