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Sony Xperia Z2 won't let you record more than ~5 minutes of 4K video (and neither will Note 3 and S5)

Sony Xperia Z2 won't let you record more than ~5 minutes of 4K video (and neither will Note 3 and S5)
4K video recording is slowly but surely clawing its way into the mobile scene, and although its adoption is quite limited thus far, some manufacturers who are feeling more adventurous than others are starting to build the feature into some of their premium smartphones. Some of the first models offering 4K video recording are Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and S5, as well as Sony's Xperia Z2, which recently got released on the market to become what's considered one of the finest handsets money can buy right now (probably until the LG G3 shows up, that is).

However, it turns out that these phones, even though they are officially capable of recording 4K video, cannot deliver an experience we'd consider truly adequate. Why? The answer is simple: they cannot record more than 5 minutes of footage in 4K resolution.

Now, that issue probably isn't so huge for most people, because no one is really going to capture full-length movies with their smartphones, but still, 5 minutes is a relatively short limit. There are many cases where we start recording a certain event on video, and we often don't know exactly how long that event is going to continue. Obviously, in those situations, the current 4K video support just isn't going to cut it.

"4K capture is an advanced and professional video recording experience and shooting movies at this resolution can make significant demands on your phone's processor, memory and battery life. Therefore for the best experience, we recommend you install a high capacity SD card (Xperia Z2 can take a card up to 64GB) and shoot 4K video in short bursts of no longer than a few minutes at a time." - Sony
Up until now, we weren't completely sure why manufacturers are limiting 4K recording to the 5-minute mark, but Sony's Xperia Z2 might have revealed the answer. While Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 are strictly limited to 5 minutes by their camera apps, the Xperia Z2 doesn't have such a software-defined limit. However, it appears that the Z2 determines when to put an end to your 4K recording session based on the temperature reached by its internals. In short, when things start getting too hot in there, the built-in camera of the phone decides that you'd be better off with a short and potentially ruined video, rather than an overheating phone. We tend to agree, though this raises the question if such a half-baked feature should be included at all.

Starting a recording session from a normal state (idle temperature), and in a room that's air-conditioned to about 77° F / 25° C, the Xperia Z2 usually manages to keep recording for just under 5 minutes. At this point, it gets too hot and the phone shuts the camera app down. If we start a second recording, right after the first one has been terminated, the Z2 would hardly record more than a couple of minutes of 4K video. We've measured the temperature while recording 4K, and the phone's exterior gets very hot indeed, with the glass surface on the back side reaching about 111° K / 44° C. Interestingly, the Note 3 and S5 don't get nearly as warm when recording 4K, but that might be due to their materials not dissipating heat so well.

Galaxy Note 3 - Equally guilty - Samsung's and Sony's latest flagships come with 4K video recording, but they will not let you record more than about 5 minutes of 4K footage. Stick with 1080p video for longer clips!
Galaxy S5 - Equally guilty - Samsung's and Sony's latest flagships come with 4K video recording, but they will not let you record more than about 5 minutes of 4K footage. Stick with 1080p video for longer clips!
Xperia Z2 - Equally guilty - Samsung's and Sony's latest flagships come with 4K video recording, but they will not let you record more than about 5 minutes of 4K footage. Stick with 1080p video for longer clips!

Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy S5

Xperia Z2

Equally guilty - Samsung's and Sony's latest flagships come with 4K video recording, but they will not let you record more than about 5 minutes of 4K footage. Stick with 1080p video for longer clips!


It's important to note that it's only the temperature of the phone that the Xperia Z2 takes into account when determining when to terminate the recording. There is no fixed time limit as on the Samsung phones, or if there is, it has to be much longer. We figured that out by starting a 4K recording and placing the Xperia Z2 right in the way of the flow from the air conditioner. Utilizing this external source of cooling, the Xperia Z2 successfully recorded over 10 minutes of 4K video and kept on going. Of course, there's always the storage space factor, as a 10-minute 4K video from the Z2 came in at the whopping 4 gigabytes!

And there you have it - current-gen phones cannot be used for 4K video recording of more than about 5 minutes (you obviously can't bring an air-conditioner with you while out and about). As you can imagine, there are solutions for rooted phones that can bypass those time and temperature limits imposed by manufacturers, but we wouldn't really advise you to take advantage of those, if you don't want to risk frying the precious silicon inside your phone!

A warning message that the Xperia Z2 displays when its temperature starts to get dangerously high during 4K video recording

A warning message that the Xperia Z2 displays when its temperature starts to get dangerously high during 4K video recording

79 Comments
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posted on 29 May 2014, 08:50 4

1. INCOMPARABLE (Posts: 16; Member since: 05 Mar 2014)


heeheee

Thats it ... getting hot always will be our problem

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:02 9

3. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4010; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


So true, because mobiles phones now pack RAW beast power in such TINY skinny slabs. I am glad it does that, that way you don't ruin your phones.

posted on 29 May 2014, 13:14 1

50. akki20892 (Posts: 3438; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Plug in 20TB hard drive then shoot 4K....oh yeah carry on.

posted on 29 May 2014, 14:02 1

54. LikeMyself (Posts: 273; Member since: 23 Sep 2013)


Yeah because nowadays people so fond of 4k recording will at least need a 500GB memory to record some crap videos of their precious events which after they will never watch of course! Common Joe is so weird!
I record only 720p or 480p videos @super fps which I concluded has better video results!
Once asked a friend a video about 5 min and it was 2 GB in 1080p! How I'm supposed to share that vid??
And they say 4k is futureproof!!! Clearly they don't record videos at all!

posted on 29 May 2014, 15:20 3

57. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Looks like you don't realize what bulls**t you are talking...

posted on 01 Jun 2014, 07:21

79. Sealblaighter (Posts: 42; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


5 minutes video on Full HD needs 2 GB?

posted on 29 May 2014, 17:30 1

63. cheetah2k (Posts: 810; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


What phone arena fails to say is that the Note 3 and S5 dont get boiling hot and shut down like the Z2. The Note 3 and S5 is limited to 5 minutes of recording but you can simply start recording again, and again and again without issues.. Not sure what FUBAR Sony did with the Z2, but it gets extremely toasty, even recording 1080p for more than 6-7minutes

posted on 29 May 2014, 20:42

68. Arte-8800 (Posts: 4281; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


So what, whats the big deal? Do you have baby fingers? Just use a case and you won't notice anything.

If you don't, try to ignore touching that section.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:00 1

2. LeBrownJames (Posts: 86; Member since: 17 Mar 2014)


So that's the reason why G2 preferred 1080p@60fps rather than 4K. Hope G3 has an answer to this problem.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:53 4

24. neops (Posts: 168; Member since: 28 Jan 2014)


Same chips, same behavior. The answer is next generation / less nanometers architecture, lower temperatures

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:33

38. JC557 (Posts: 1047; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Same happens with the GoPro Hero3 and 3+. The device gets pretty warm when recording in 4K and in RAW mode. It'll be a while till the processors and viewing outlets will catch up anyway so no real need for 4k yet.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:05 2

4. aayupanday (Posts: 516; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


Who needs 4K? Among all people only 1% of us own a 4K TV.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:10 11

8. ArtSim98 (limited) (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Even on a 1080p display 4K looks better than 1080p. It's also future proofing

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:14 6

10. LeBrownJames (Posts: 86; Member since: 17 Mar 2014)


ArtSim98 is right. A year or 2 from now 4K TV will eventually be everywhere.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:15 3

11. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Maybe not today, but tomorrow, it is future! Not all people are buying phone for one or two year, some are buying it for three or even four years and it will be a future proof for them, people may keep 4K videos for a future. It doesn't hurt to have ability record 4K video it is advantage not disadvantage. If you don't like it you can change settings and record video in HD or FullHD.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:43

21. UglyFrank (Posts: 381; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


Samsung released a sub £1000 4K TV

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:48

23. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Yes, I know 4K TVs and projectors are already on sale.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:22 3

12. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4010; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


It's never too early to adopt something that will be the norm. It's not like it's going to be hit or miss, 4K HDTV's are literally around the corner...

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:40

20. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


4K TVs and projectors are already here and you are already able to buy them ofcourse if you want and if you can afford them. And if they are too expensive for you then it is your own problem wich doesn't make 4K technology into a gimmic.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:05 10

5. ArtSim98 (limited) (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


I recorded 3 minutes of 4K. It took 1,3 GB of storage space. lol. BTW it's funny how that warning message asks if you want to close the app. Then only gives 1 answer which is "yes" lol

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:24 6

13. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4010; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


I was thinking the same thing. Do you want to close it...YES or... YES?!? lol

+1

posted on 29 May 2014, 13:51 1

53. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1275; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


I was managed to get 7 minutes of 4k footage out of my z2. Then it just said please click yes haha nuh it told me it's overheating

posted on 30 May 2014, 04:46 1

76. NikkiGirl (Posts: 5; Member since: 27 Apr 2014)


I got 15mins on mine (just under 6gb), when the warning came up, it only gave me about 1.5secs to read the message then it shutdown itself but at least the video saved.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:06 4

6. buccob (Posts: 1423; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


4K is still very unnecessary for me... 1080p is more than enough for the next few years

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:11

26. adecvat (Posts: 128; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


No, you don't see 4k in action.

posted on 29 May 2014, 11:01 2

43. buccob (Posts: 1423; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


less than 5 minutes of action?

Anyway... unless is on a 50" TV I really do not care for it...

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:06 1

7. enzotarece (Posts: 22; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)


i dont see anything wrong with this even laptop, desktop and engines get really hot member cell phone does not have any fan that kicks in when its internals get to hot like the other examples i give its best this way so u wont complain that your precious device is fried

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:12 1

9. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


the major problem of android you can't record more than 4gb OR 5 minutes 4k of videos. No matter how good your smartphone are. IF samsung, sony or others not change the storage to NTFS format. The smartphone became a bit useless,IMO. 4k recording just gimmick.

posted on 29 May 2014, 13:21 3

52. Kamehameha (Posts: 44; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)


Ever heard of exFAT or ext4 or F2FS?? These 3 don't have any 4 GB limit. The 4 GB limit you are talking about is a technical limitation of FAT32 NOT ANDROID.

But as they say, haters gonna hate!

posted on 29 May 2014, 16:59

60. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


yes.. I heard those things..IF you're correct, why u don't try recording some 4K video over 5 minutes with third party apps on google play store.IF your phone have this option. I bet you phone also cut after reach 4GB. Android systems not perfect even for true multitasking. why? simple task, 2 songs can not be play in one android device.

posted on 29 May 2014, 21:06 2

69. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


No one says that Android is perfect OS but do you know any better mobile OS for smartphones than Android at the moment???

Also your explanation about two songs and multitasking is nonsense.

posted on 29 May 2014, 17:22

62. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


FYI, I also android user but not the haters okay, IMO, why keep defending them if (sony, samsung, google) keep toying with us.. think?

posted on 31 May 2014, 12:58

78. Kamehameha (Posts: 44; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)


Okay. Can you read food and write at the same time. No? You can't do a simple task so you are nor good at multitasking. -_-

P.S.: I said writing and reading at the same time, not continuously switching between the two.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:25 2

14. boblight (Posts: 82; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)


What about using the phone underwater and recording it at 4K ? I mean, does the water helps to cool down the phone ? Someone should go and try it.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:26

15. hellonerds (Posts: 221; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


60fps 1080 is good enough on my note 3... I would like to record 120fps slow mo 720p or 1080p.. cant the note 3 record slow mo 720p 120fps? Comes out a bit like a 480p 240p looking :/

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:29

16. Desmortibus (Posts: 58; Member since: 04 Apr 2014)


4gb maximum recording ?... No more than 5mn of 4K video ?... I feel cheated !!! Another marketing trap hole... What a f... disgrace !!!

posted on 29 May 2014, 14:06

56. utg001 (Posts: 31; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


That was probably why I think Nokia held up on 4K, its not exactly ready to come on a smartphone. I think the next 1020 might break this!

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:32 3

17. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 116; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


Xperia Z2 has recently received performance boosting firmware update. And I heard from several z2 owners the 4k video recording now can reach 9-10 minutes. And turning off SteadyShot can make it even longer

I have updated my z2 with the newest firmware but haven't test the 4k.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:43 1

22. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 116; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


Here, collected changelog from many users. I got it from xda developers

- Shortcuts to dial contacts on home screen now shows phonebook picture
- (not mentioning any improveness in general performance or lags because this is just a fresh install and always behaves differently)
- touchscreen responsiveness improved (especially knock to wake feature - but I bet this has an impact on battery performance)
- Google keep system app
- Keyboard font size larger
- Notification sound now through both speakers
- (The display brightness when set to auto, now takes the brightness slider into effect, so you can choose how much the screen will dim or brighten relative to environment light)
- Exchange-Fix: PASSWORD instead of the usual 4 digit passcode. 17.1.1.A.0.402 now corrects this problem
- Sony Apps and chrome updated
- changed responsiveness of navigation buttons
- theme chooser redesigned
- camera improvements (faster opening & focusing time and slight bump in quality)
- possibility to uninstall facebook
- Improved performance of Sony live wallpapers
- Battery number font is now larger

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:15

27. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


really???Can you tell me how much storage for 10 minutes 4k video recording? IF you have one, better try it yourself to record fullHD at 1 hour,tell us the result. I bet you can't go more than 1 hour.hehe

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:17 3

29. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 116; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


Jeez dude, I was only telling about a firmware update..

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:31

37. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


I just telling the truth! believe or not, up to you bros..chill!.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:23 2

33. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Better have ability to record 5 minutes of 4K video than don't have such option at all. It is advantage not disadvantage.

P.S.
It sounds like you are butthurt...

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:32

18. gaara6775 (Posts: 298; Member since: 20 May 2014)


haha. Lols. what a waste 4k technology at the moment. hate to say but this is the future . I better fill my space with games & let my phone heat up while playing games than just recording something for 5mins n take 1gb of space.

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:39

19. mrblah (Posts: 437; Member since: 22 Jan 2013)


looks like apple will have to save them again

posted on 30 May 2014, 00:50

74. techperson211 (Posts: 608; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


When was the time apple saved mobile industry? I admit they have a huge contribution in the smartphone industry but in terms of technology? What does really apple invented? Ah there's one pinch to zoom and oh round corners .

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:59

25. yankel (Posts: 3; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)


The first photo cameras to record Full HD also had heating issues.
& most clips are less then 5 minutes

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:17

28. DBounce (Posts: 32; Member since: 26 Apr 2014)


This is why I will wait for the new phones with the 805 chip. The new chip supports H.265 codec, which is made specifically for 4K capture and playback. Any devices not sporting the new chip will be crippled as far as 4k goes.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:20 1

30. isprobi (Posts: 197; Member since: 30 May 2011)


4K video is just another feature to sell phones to those obsessed with specs. To me real world performance is much more important than specs because that is what I actually experience.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:20 3

31. ngyixian96 (Posts: 84; Member since: 05 Feb 2012)


So this is the disadvantage ???
Bullsh*t, 4K recording is just a extra feature that build-in into Xperia Z2.
User have the option to use it.
And if a people really want to make a 4K movie, I suggest to buy a 4K camcorder.
Oh ya, the 4K feature in the Xperia Z2 let user able to record 4K video under the water.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:23

32. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


FHD video eats your phone memory if you don't have a big micro-SD installed. when I get my GS5 next week I will plug in my 32 GB card in but will use FHD or HD for video recording even if 4K doesn't stop at 5 minutes or whatever ...

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:39 1

41. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


GS5 just crap.. even you buy 128GB external micro sd storage you can't record more than 5 minutes in 4K video..

posted on 29 May 2014, 23:46

71. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


ZF@rt just crap. Who told you anyways that i want to use 4K? Please tell me which device is better at 4K? At least it doesnt f@rt and heat like ZF@rt. Oh yes I love the GS5 like all people do. And I dont give a sh*t about farty htc/sony/lg, like all peopledo. Now go to h*ll no one cares about you

posted on 30 May 2014, 10:35

77. latido (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 May 2012)


Opss.. sorry, my mistake.. even in FullHD U can't record more than 40 minutes. believe it or not up to you. I already test myself with SGN3 64GB but not working!hehe

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:25 3

34. DBounce (Posts: 32; Member since: 26 Apr 2014)


Most of you seem clueless. Why 4k?
1. Downscales to super sharp 1080 video.
2. You can zoom in frame without loss of quality.
3. You can do post image stabilization.
4. You print high quality still pictures from ant frame of the video.
5. Future proof.
6. Why the heck not?

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:28

35. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Agree.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:51

42. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Or if things which you are recording doesn't require continuous shooting then you can record video into few 5 minutes pieces and after that just join them using video editor.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:30 1

36. wilsong17 (Posts: 893; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


I have a 128gb memory card to record 4 video works fine on my note 3

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:39

40. hellonerds (Posts: 221; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


Nice.. I was thinking that the 128GB wont work on my note 3..thinking about getting it but its only 30mps speed.. I hope they come out wirh a faster card when note 4 come out.. im good with my 64gb for now.. plus I have a 32gb version note 3..

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:36 1

39. mixedfish (Posts: 102; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


If anyone had a clue about taking nice professional looking videos, you wouldn't take more than 5 minutes of continuous shooting anyway.

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