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Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits

Posted: , by Ray S.

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It's been another six months, and so it's time for Sony to unveil yet another cuting-edge Android smartphone. Coming to replace the critically-acclaimed Xperia Z1, the Sony Xpera Z2 is the manufacturer's latest and greatest smartphone proposition. This time around, Sony seems to be really pushing the technology limits with this one - the Z2 is once again bringing some much-appreciated improvement in most areas, and, thankfully, a pretty major enhancement in the screen department. All in all, Sony's latest flagship shapes up as a very promising offering - one that we're definitely looking forward to.

Design


Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits
Have we seen this smartphone somewhere? Well, the answer may be bot yes and no, depending on how you view things. The Xperia Z2 is undeniably similar to the Z1, seeing that it has pretty much the same design language. With solid, flat glass used for both the front and back panels of the handset, as well as a nice aluminum frame surround the whole body, the Z2 is just as cool as the Z1, as far as looks go. Actually, to be honest, the Z2 seems to be even cooler than the Z1 - we aren't sure exactly why that is, but we do seem to like the Z2 a bit more - probably because the frame's coloring is a little different.

In terms of dimensions, we're looking at two veeery big smartphones. Sadly, the Xperia Z2 doesn't seem to have gotten any smaller than its predecessor. Well, there's some minimal difference - it's just ever so slightly narrower, thinner and lighter, but the different isn't quite noticeable. However, the difference in height is more pronounced - sadly, the Z2 has grown even taller than the Z1. But, our thinking right now is that is you've gotten used to the imposing dimensions of the Z1, then you probably won't mind the Z2's size as well.

Other than that, it's just a big, but decidedly premium smartphone. It feels great to the touch, and it just has that exquisiteness to it - unlike most Android phones that you can find on the market right now. Another characteristic that we absolutely love about the Z2 is that it's once again IP58 certified, meaning that it's water- and dust-resistant (don't push your luck, though).

Display


As we already mentioned, the biggest improvement in this phone, compared to its predecessor, seems to be the display. Yeah, it has grown slightly larger - it's now 5.2", instead of 5", but even that's not the biggest thing about it. Ladies and gents, we're especially happy to report that Sony has finally, finally put an IPS LCD display on its high-end smartphone! So, the Xperia Z2 has an IPS screen, and we're telling you, it's leaps and bounds better than the LCD screen of the Xperia Z1. Colors are so much more vibrant and saturated - the difference really get quite striking once you check out both screens next to each other. So, the color fidelity is much better, but the viewing angles are also wider. We can't really be sure as to exactly how accurate the colors will be, but having in mind that there's this handy white balance tweak option in the settings menu, we guess it will be a pretty straightforward experience for everyone to set the screen's colors to fit their own liking. And yeah, there's Sony's X Reality software engine as well, which can be used to enhance the look of media that's displayed by the handset.

When it comes to resolution, those who were expecting to see one of those QHD screens might be a little disappointed, because the resolution is still 1080 x 1920 pixels. However, you absolutely shouldn't, because the 1080p resolution delivers amazing detail and perfect legibility with that screen size. Everything looks extremely fine and clear, so things like reading and multimedia consumption will simply be great with that screen.

Interface and Functionality


Software-wise, the Sony Xperia Z2 is very similar to what've already been enjoying on the Xperia Z and Z1. Running Android 4.4 KitKat, the Z2 comes with the latest version of Sony's custom Android user experience. It's a pretty neat UI, with a modern and consistent design, as well as a rich set of additional features and services, provided by Sony. A free trial of Music Unlimited comes to mind straight away, but of course, the Z2 also comes with those PlayStation apps that will give you access to valuable PlayStation entertainment content.

Besides this, all of the core system applications are redesigned by Sony, so that they have a rather different look and feel compared to what you get on stock Android. The redesign has also ensured that those apps, such as Phone, Messaging, Album, Movies, Settings and so on, are also consistent with the rest of the UI.

If you happen to be a heavy multitasker, then you might enjoy Sony's small apps. Those are brought up from the multitasking view, and appear on top of your current screen. There are many different small apps available, such as a small browser, a voice recorder, a note recorder, a calculator and more, and you can even add new ones to the list.

Processor and Memory



Say hello to the first smartphone with the Snapdragon 801 chipset! A slightly upgraded version over the regular Snapdragon 800 found in the Xperia Z1, the Snapdragon 801 with a quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU should present us with just slightly faster performance over what the Z1 was able to deliver (which was already spectacular). The Adreno 330 GPU is basically the same, so graphics performance should be equally great, and once again, the slightly upgraded system chip is expected to make the Z2 just slightly faster overall, and even more future-proof, compared to its predecessor.

The Sony Xperia Z2 comes with the healthy 3 GB RAM - an abundance of system memory, considering the current mobile app landscape. Storage space is set at 16 GB, which may seem insufficient to some, but that's actually not such a problem, seeing that there's an easily-accessible microSD card slot that will let you expand you storage space on the fly.

Camera



The Sony Xperia Z2 is still sporting the wonderful 20.7 MP G Lens camera that was available in the Z1. Sony hasn't said anything in particular in terms of camera quality improvement, be we certainly hope that the sensor has gotten even better. Speaking of which, the Z2 holds onto the sizable 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor with BIONZ camera tech, so those pixels inside the camera will still have a decent size (1.17 micron) even though there are 20 million of them.

The major new feature in the camera department is called '4K video recording'. That's right, you can now shoot 4K videos with the Z2, and then enjoy them on a 4K-compatible display. Now, we would understand it if you just default to 1080p for now, in case you haven't set yourself up with one of those 4K marvells yet, but going forward, we can definitely see that 4K theme growing stronger.

There are also some other additions to the feature set of the stock camera app. For exmaple, you can now shoot slow-motion video, or create images with a nice defocused background effect. Meanwhile, the fun AR effect mode is now available while shooting video as well, so you can have those dinosaurs and discoballs add some virtual fun to your motion captures.

All in all, we expect the Xperia Z2 to sport a superb camera. The G Lens shooter in the Z1 was great, especially in outdoor conditions, where there's enough light, so we guess things will only get better with the Xperia Z2. Hopefully, it'll be a sizable step forward in this department as well, but we'll be able to confirm that at a later date.

Expectations


Sony's 6-month upgrade cycle definitely proves that the company is serious about its Android smartphone business. Sure, the new Xperia Z2 may not seem like a revolutionary product compared to its predecessor, but it's a nice improvement over what was already an exceptional smartphone. With a refined design, significantly better and larger display, a slightly faster processor and some cool, new software features, the Xperia Z2 is set to keep Sony fresh and competitive in the high-end Android game, at least until the second half of the year.

82 Comments
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posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:14 9

1. emadshiny (Posts: 1131; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Sony just needs to get rid of its plain wallpapers
Just put something attractive like others.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:24 23

9. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


How is it plain? The wallpaper feels like the one on the PS4. Simple and elegant.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:26 5

12. istitch (Posts: 159; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


another way to look at it, simplicity at its best.
though i agree the wallpaper should have been more colorful and eyecatching

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:28 12

14. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2699; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


I think it's beautiful. What irritates me is that people are always so sceptical about Sony products and say they suck without even thinking about it. It really sucks. And saying that Vaios are/were expensive? Well why are people buying Mac's then? They are even more expensive. This world is weird I'm moving to Japan... (not sayin Mac's are bad they are excellent in fact. Mac Books and Vaios= queen and king of the PC world, iPhones and Xperias= queen and king of mobile world)

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:55 2

31. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


Well I hate to upset you ArtSIm, but Sony shut down their Vaio department... Must not have been the queen of the PC World if they continuously lost money on them.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:07 1

33. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2699; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


I know that already. And it really upsets me. If you read again my previous comment and think about it you might know what I meant. It's a bit complicated hard to say lol.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:41

37. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)


Viao and Macs sucks. Overpriced, get HP or Dell and keep your freedom (in comparison to Mac).

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:52 3

38. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2699; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Sucks???? I have a HP right now. The display is JUST HORRIBLE. And the build quality is JUST HORRIBLE. And it had HORRIBLE software issues with the HP software so I had to completely re-install windows... And I also had a Dell and it also had horrible build quality. Plus new Dell design is just a plain copy of the Mac Books. Just instead of the premium aluminium they are cheap plastic... I don't really like Macs either, but at least I can see why people like them and why they are good. I just much prefer Windows 8.1 to Mac OS X. As for Sony, their design is fantastic and modern and they have amazing build quality and working software. There is a reason for the little higher price tag you know?

posted on 15 Mar 2014, 15:22

82. Neo_Huang (Posts: 368; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)


Lenovo laptops FTW. -_-

posted on 03 Mar 2014, 16:36

73. romeo1 (Posts: 220; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)


I also (like artsim) have a hp at the moment and its a piece of cr*p.
In 1.5 year the battery was gone. Cant even leave it on for 30 minutes doin nothing and it shuts off.
The hp software was messed up and had a lot of bugs in it.
The screen cant compare to the vaios.
I personally had no problems with dell.
My next laptop probably will be a vaio if they keep selling them till then

posted on 04 Mar 2014, 00:51 1

74. LevelingTheDebate (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2014)


I can agree with HP and Dell, but Mac's suck? What a troll.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:42 2

19. emadshiny (Posts: 1131; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


I agree with all of you dears!
What I really meant is that these wallpapers may disappoint in the first glance as it won't show the great color reproduction of the display, but sure it is classy.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:19 4

28. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6373; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


I"m getting sick and tired of Ray S. reviews so BIAS

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:29 1

44. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Ray S. is a nonentity and a waste of space and his opinions, well, if they were toilet paper, one may consider using them as ass wipes!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 15:36

41. 21babydoll12 (Posts: 42; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


wonder if you know how to drag and drop pictures into you phone?

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 09:19

81. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Wallpapers can easily be changed and can make your own or download some free ones from Google play...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:16 6

2. _Bone_ (Posts: 2123; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Size bezels are manageable so I'm wonder how the top and bottom got so large, it's a full cm taller than the S4 and not much smaller than the Note 3. But I like the thin frame that packs a loot of goodies, 3200mAh is a fitting battery, so are the stereo speakers, 20MP supposedly larger than Z1 sensor, the G lens and dual-ISPs for better processing. It all looks the same, spec'd the same, yet it could be the most impressive Sony phone in years, cause Sony looks to focus on camera and audio end-quality.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:21 2

6. tech2 (Posts: 2015; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Off topic but I'm quite bummed by GS5 leaks earlier today :(

All that design 3.0 and 'different look and feel of the phone' said by their exec. was a lie ;(

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:22

7. _Bone_ (Posts: 2123; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Now with those large top-bottom bezels, one wonders why aren't the stereo speaker grills placed there, that's literally the only thing Sony hasn't figured out yet.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:46 2

22. PunyPoop (Posts: 714; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


You know too much. Let's wait for your S5 :D

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:50

23. _Bone_ (Posts: 2123; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Am I getting one? OMG!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:42

48. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I have seen the S5 and it is totally underwhelming in terms of looks/design etc. Specs look good though but it is the Z2 that wins my wallet....that build quality is an unbeatable package!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 23:30

53. amirxd (Posts: 10; Member since: 04 Jan 2014)


This device is near perfect! If Sony makes a GPE of it (like Z ultra GPE), I would definitely buy it!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:16 6

3. fireblade (Posts: 693; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)


meanwhile Samsung Galaxy S5...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:25 18

10. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Samsung Galaxy S5
Sometimes ugly needs to get more uglier.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:38 8

18. Kuroki (Posts: 79; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)


it's ugly and it gained huge bezels... L.O.L.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 15:38

42. 21babydoll12 (Posts: 42; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


small hands prehaps?

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:36 3

45. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


You mean like the S5? Its necessary for all that water proofing etc, not to mention the huge battery and camera sensor in a thin frame. No one is forcing you to buy it, personally, in these days of cheap plastic and poor build quality, this is a joy to behold. Don't worry, I am sure there is a "bezeless" phone for you somewhere! The Z2's bezels are less than the Z1's and that is plenty good enough for me! I don't see trolls shouting about the iPhone's bezels or those on the Nokia.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:43

20. mokhtar (Posts: 219; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:16

4. alterecho (Posts: 1079; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


Isn't everyone done playing around with screensizes yet?

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:20 11

5. PowTheBowl (Posts: 82; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)


damn beautiful! I see no cons so far :)

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:37 2

46. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Second that! Can't wait to get one!!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 23:56

54. jeff1434325 (Posts: 93; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


couldn't agree more bro:)

posted on 25 Feb 2014, 05:14

58. williamdroid (Posts: 125; Member since: 19 Jan 2014)


The only con for me are the onscreen buttons :/
i've tried them and i hate them.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:23 2

8. GMS85 (Posts: 157; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


HTC M8 here I come :D

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:27 10

13. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


If the HTC all new One really have the too-rounded corners with big bezels like on the leak pictures, I think I'll pass.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 22:50

67. Astoni (Posts: 489; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


i don't really mind the bezels, I'm just happy to swtich away from the z1 :p

posted on 04 Mar 2014, 00:53 1

75. LevelingTheDebate (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2014)


I was very excited for the release for the HTC M8 but from seeing the leak it looks like they skimped on the design. They still left that giant HTC logo which is blocking more screen real estate. Not a big deal for a great phone, but things like that really tend to bother me. Oppo Find 7 or iPhone 6 for me now.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:26

11. toink (unregistered)


It's too damn tall!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:29 7

15. melcruz66 (Posts: 21; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)


This z2 is a Beauty. The Best Processor so far. IPS LCD better than previous Zs.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:34 6

16. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5399; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


One word: Beautiful.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:35 1

17. lalajani (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


S5 killer perfect design i like this

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:44 2

21. mokhtar (Posts: 219; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


Sony is the only company who listen to costumers ... SONY IS THE BEST ALL TIME

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:55

24. livyatan (Posts: 691; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


Judging by the S5 leak, I really don't see why would ANYONE go for that instead of this phone.

Granted, I have a feeling Samsung is playing a distinctive game this time.. that plain looking and rugged S5 looks purposely done like that because of the S5 PRIME that will be all about class.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:00 1

25. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 1000; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)


well Sony xperia Z2 done it again,squashing the competition..waiting for the next big thing ...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:16

26. Trex95 (Posts: 543; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Looks good. Hope will work as it should cause I sold my Z1 after couple of days of use due to the camera crash plus the camera performance not as I thought totaly crap. Now I'm rocking with Lumia 1520 great camera .

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:28

30. MathieuLLF (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


I know some people with the Z1 and none have issues with the Z1. Odd.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:45

49. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Each to their own. The Z1 was top dog until now and that is the way it goes until the next king is crowned.....

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:18 2

27. nightfury (Posts: 55; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


all Sony haters find a flaw in this phone and win a trip to Disney land to get fuc#d by mickey in the a## :-P

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:23 2

29. MathieuLLF (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


Now that they finally fixed the viewing angles I would definitely buy this phone!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:01

32. milanmahat (Posts: 11; Member since: 01 Oct 2013)


What else do you need??? It is the best..with no disadvantages for me...great camera, design,display,battery,4k recording, stereo speakers etc.....

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:13

34. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1810; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


16GB???? FAIL!!!!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:12 7

36. nightfury (Posts: 55; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


Uncle it has 64GB expansion slot...what else do u want...if u want more,then its timefor u get a pc

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 12:11 1

39. sanyamjain75 (Posts: 14; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


Finding a way to criticise a phone it has an expandable storage of 64Gb..if not satisfied then start your own mobile company...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 16:40 2

47. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Ever heard of memory cards? I would rather have 16gb with expandable memory than be limited to 32gb internal memory!I suspect even if it had 32gb with expandable memory, you would have said FAIL. So transparent...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:28

35. LuckyS (Posts: 52; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)


I want this. I want it badly.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 14:23 6

40. 1EXreMAR (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


After watching S5 unpacked I have to say: I don't want fitness, I want Xperia Z2!
Hell yea.

posted on 28 Feb 2014, 00:42

68. Samitha (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


You can do fitness in a classier way with Z2 with S-band..... no need to keep fingering the phone LOL, Z2 is said to be capable of recording heart rates continuously... :D

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 15:41

43. zachattack (Posts: 565; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)


What a great video, was like 10 minutes of him going meh. I already don't like him much as a reviewer but man you sounded unimpressed which is beyond me. This is the phone of 2014. Unless HTC pulls it out of their ass, but this phone has it all

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 17:52

50. rueleonheart (Posts: 20; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


It's either this or S5 and I like the design of Z2 more. My only concern is the screen has a protector that can easily be scratch and removing it will remove the logo. Can any Z1 users tell me how they circumvented this? I don't want to apply screen protector, it's like applying screen protector over another screen protector.

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