Performance and battery life
The rest of the XZ2 Premium is basically the same as the XZ2, which launched a few months ago. It has the same Snapdragon 845 processor, allowing for powerful multitasking in both cases. The Premium didn't stutter as I scrolled endlessly through my Instagram feed, played games like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and The Sims, and watched makeup tutorials on YouTube. Switching between apps and launching things like the camera on this Android 8 Oreo device happens without delay, and I've grown accustomed to the Sony's lightweight Android skin, so it doesn't bother me.
The XZ2 Premium's battery lasts about a day and a half on light use, although typically it conks out every night. It charged back up in almost no time at all, though, and I frequently got back to nearly 25 percent about 15 minutes after plugging it in.
Sony fans might find suitable alternatives to the XZ2 Premium within the Xperia XZ2 lineup itself. The XZ2 Compact, for example, is much less ugly, since it doesn't have that smudgy glass covering, the one makes the Premium so slippery. All three XZ2s use the Snapdragon 845 chip, so you won't notice performance differences across the range, and all three offer features like the 4K HDR video recording and dynamic vibration. The Premium has the biggest, sharpest screen; both the 5.7-inch XZ2 and the 5-inch Compact model run at full HD+ (2,160 x 1,080). Display specs aside, the Premium is the only one of the XZ2-series phones to have dual cameras and the 4K HDR panel. It costs $200 more than the XZ2, though, and is almost twice the price of the Compact ($650).
If you're merely looking for a high-end Android phone, you'll find plenty more options. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ both take excellent photos in the dark, thanks to a "Dual Aperture" feature that opens up the lens to let in a lot more light. The Plus sports dual cameras, just like the XZ2 Premium. The S9s also pack the same Snapdragon 845 chip, along with longer-lasting batteries. Finally, the Samsung flagships are much more stylish and won't keep falling off your couch, either.
Also check out the LG G7 ThinQ. It has an AI camera similar to Huawei's that identifies what you're shooting and automatically tweaks settings to optimize your photo. The G7 also takes clear, vibrant pictures without the AI's help and has some useful video-recording features that vloggers may appreciate. For readers outside the US, there's also the Huawei P20 Pro, which uses three sensors on the back to produce some of the best smartphone photography we've seen, and comes in a gorgeous "Twilight" gradient finish.
All told, the Xperia XZ2 Premium has plenty of rivals, but it's still the only one that can (officially) record and display 4K HDR video, so if that's something you must have, you might want to consider it. Otherwise, almost any other flagship would be a better (and cheaper) option.
Ultimately, the XZ2 Premium is a strong flagship with some quirky features. But it also has quite a few flaws. I won't harp too much on the outdated design, since personal taste is subjective, but I can't ignore the massive price tag. For $999, the Xperia XZ2 Premium doesn't deliver enough, unless you're a pro moviemaker who really wants to record and watch 4K HDR footage on a phone. Otherwise, you're better off getting a Galaxy S9 or S9+ or holding out for the next Pixel phone.