The Sony Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact are now official, and they are launching with Android Oreo installed, which is a pretty big deal. Considering the stable version of Android Oreo only launched earlier this month. It makes these two devices some of the first to launch with Android Oreo available. With the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact launching in mid-September, another manufacturer does have the ability to be first and launch a device ahead of them with Android Oreo.
This is a big deal for Sony, and anyone looking to buy the new Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact when those launch next month in the US and in other countries around the world. Seeing as you won't need to wait for the Android Oreo update to appear on your device – like you would with something like the Nokia 8 which launched with Nougat but will get Android Oreo at some point. This means that these two devices are launching with the very latest version of Android, which is Android 8.0.0, and that is definitely a leg up over the competition.
As far as how Android Oreo looks and feels on the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact, there's not much new here. Sony's UI is still fairly minimal, but there are still some of Sony's features on top there. The launcher still has an app drawer button, and there's no gesture available for swiping up to get to your apps. The app drawer does also still scroll horizontally instead of vertically, which is a bit of a bummer, but it works for Sony, so there's no reason to really change that just yet. A lot of the changes in Android Oreo are actually under-the-hood, other than the notification channels, which was a bit hard to really try out during our hands on experience with the two devices. But it should act as it would on a Nexus or a Pixel device. With the Snapdragon 835 under-the-hood here, and 4GB of RAM on each device, the Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact do both perform quite well, and the experience is plenty smooth, no hint of lag here, as you would expect with a rather minimal skin and Qualcomm's latest silicon.