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Sony Xperia XZ1 Tips, Tricks and Best Hidden Features

Get the most from your shiny Xperia XZ1 smartphone with this tips and tricks guide, highlighting some of the best features of Sony’s flagship mobile. From streaming PS4 games with Remote Play to streaming HDR video, here’s everything you need to know about the XZ1.

Sony’s Xperia XZ1 flagship device is one of the first handsets that isn’t Google branded to come packing Android Oreo. Version 8.0 of Google’s mobile OS offers plenty of cool updates over Nougat, while Sony itself has tweaked the XZ1’s UI to add a selection of its own funky features.

If you’re not familiar with Android Oreo or Sony’s Xperia smartphones, this guide is for you. Here we’ll discuss some of the best features hidden away inside the Xperia XZ1 that you might not be aware of. Find out how to set up your phone just the way you want and discover through our tips and tricks about some of the more unique functionality of this premium device.

For more on this mighty mobile check out our Sony Xperia XZ1 hub.

How to change the Xperia XZ1’s desktop grid, wallpaper and more

Your Sony phone’s desktops can be completely configured to your liking, by switching up the wallpaper or theme, adding widgets and even changing the size of your shortcut icons.

Tap your finger to any spare bit of desktop space and hold it there and a settings menu will pop up, offering a handful of options. For instance, in Widgets you’ll find real-time information streamers which can give you a glimpse of your mail inbox or calendar schedule.

Another option is ‘grid’. Give that a poke and you’ll have the option of changing the default 4×5 icon grid to 5×5, so you can shove even more app shortcuts or widgets onto each desktop. Alternatively, you can shrink it if you’d prefer larger icons.

How to quickly load the Xperia XZ1’s camera

If you want to capture an impromptu photo or immediately begin shooting a home movie, you can jump straight into Sony’s camera app simply by double-tapping the power button. This works even when the phone is hibernating, for extra convenience.

Find yourself accidentally activating the camera when the phone is in your pocket or bag? Fret not, as you can deactivate this shortcut by heading to the Xperia XZ1’s settings menu and tapping Display. Buried away at the bottom of this menu you’ll find the ‘jump to camera’ option, which can be deselected.

How to open split-screen mode to multi-task with two apps at once

Android’s split screen mode can be used to run two separate apps side-by-side, as long as they support the feature of course. These days most apps seem to accept split screen use thankfully, with the exception of games.

To start split-screening on the Xperia XZ1, just open the first app and then press and hold your finger on the recent apps button (the square-shaped icon to the right of the home button). This will divide the display in two and give you a choice of currently open apps to fill the bottom half of the screen. If you need a different app, just tap the home button to quit out and find the desired application. Tap on this and you’ll re-enter split-screen mode.

How to stream PS4 games to your Xperia XZ1 using Remote Play

The Xperia XZ1 is the latest Sony flagship phone to support game streaming from the Playstation console, using the Remote Play app. This uses your home WiFi network to beam a PS4 gaming session direct to the Xperia’s small screen.

First up, connect the Xperia to the same network as your Playstation. With that done, you’ll need to download the Remote Play app from Google Play if your handset doesn’t already have it.

Once that’s installed, find the app and open it and you’ll be led through the DualShock 4 pairing process. Alternatively, you can use on-screen controls; although we strongly recommend hooking up a controller, unless you’re playing a very basic title. Note that you can also pair up your DualShock in the Device Connection section of the XZ1’s settings menu.

You’re now ready to stream your PS4 game to your Xperia, to play anywhere in the home – even when your TV has been commandeered for some other non-gaming purposes.

How to stream and Download HDR movies and TV shows to your Xperia XZ1

Your Xperia XZ1 supports mobile HDR video, which boasts improved contrast levels and more accurate colour representation, for stunning visuals.

Right now, you can check out HDR shows and films from two main streaming services.

Amazon Prime Video

If you’re on Amazon Prime, you can login to the Prime Video app and immediately begin streaming HDR shows. One of the first options you’ll see is ‘HDR-TV shows’, which includes a selection of Amazon’s exclusive content. The likes of American Gods, The Grand Tour and Transparent can be enjoyed in all of their HDR goodness right now, and you can also download these shows to watch when offline.

Just make sure your video quality is set to high in the Prime Video app’s settings, and you’re good to go.


If you want to stream HDR video on your Xperia XZ1 via Netflix, you’ll need a premium Netflix account; standard subscribers can’t enjoy those lush visuals, sadly. Set the quality of your video streaming and downloads to high in the Netflix settings menu and then you can get started.

At the time of writing, many recent Netflix Original shows such as Okja and the Marvel series are available to watch in HDR.

Check out Sony’s interactive tutorials

Want to know more about your shiny new smartphone? Sony has actually packed the Xperia XZ1 full of its own guides, which can be accessed by heading to the settings menu and then scrolling down to the Assistant option. In here you’ll find a bunch of helpful tips which show you how to setup your accounts, further customise your mobile and so on.

You’ll even get some personalised advice in the Xperia Tips section, based on how you’re using the Xperia XZ1.

If you need to perform a bit of spring cleaning or want to take a closer look at your battery use, you can do so from the Sony Assistant. There are shortcut links to the battery stamina modes, as well as Sony’s Smart Cleaner tool which can automatically clear out your storage and memory when needed.

Sony Xperia XZ1 tips and tricks video

Check out our Xperia XZ1 tips and tricks in action below.



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