Sony Xperia Z2 Review
Sony the underdog. That's not Sony's official nickname in the mobile industry, buy it might have as well been, given that the company has long struggled to return to prominence in a market dominated by... well, Samsung and Apple. Ever since current CEO Kazuo Hirai took the helm at the company, though, Sony has been slowly but surely clawing its way up the food-chain. It all started with a solid foundation in the Xperia Z. However, Sony's new boss didn't just direct the company to craft a solid piece of machinery – he was well aware that the short-term success that comes with a single smartphone model won't be enough to resurrect the company.
Behind the scenes, Sony was instructed to adopt healthy design principles that would allow it to build upon the success of the strong foundation. With uniformity and simplicity in mind, Sony's engineering team went on to improve the Z's formula with the Z1; however, the new model didn't came a full year later, as it was customary for the industry, but rather – just half a year later. The shortened upgrade period allowed Sony to flexibly evolve its top smartphone offering – reacting to market feedback and keeping up with technology in a quick and timely manner. Still, while the Xperia Z1 managed to further solidify the company's new image, it wasn't quite the breakthrough success it needed it to be. Another half a year later, though, and it seems that Sony has finally positioned itself at a vantage point. At MWC 2014, the Xperia Z2 was announced to substantial critical and consumer acclaim. With a design that builds upon the Z1's fancy glass-and-metal body, as well as a top-notch specs sheet that leaves little to no room for criticism (in its stricter form), the Xperia Z2 turned out to be a surprisingly formidable challenger for the Samsung Galaxy S5 – a phone which many thought would be the juggernaut of 2014. Needless to say, the Galaxy S5 is already available and it's said to be selling very well; however, after some short delays, the Sony Xperia Z2 has now joined the fray as well, as it's becoming available to customers in an increasing number of countries.
The time has come to see if Sony has gained enough momentum to challenge Samsung for the top. 5.2 inches of IPS screen, Snapdragon 801 processor, 20.7 MP camera, 3200 mAh battery, microSD card slot – it seems next to impossible to find a weak spot in the Xperia Z2's armor (which is water-proof, by the way). Well, let's see if it's really so unyielding then!
Solid build and exquisite looks – these are the virtues of the Xperia Z2's design.
Staying true to Sony's successful design language, the Xperia Z2's exterior is mostly made of glass, with a nice metal frame adding contrast and integrity to the body. It's not really exactly the same design, though. While the contrasting, gray metal elements covered the Xperia Z1's edges, in the Xperia Z2, the metal area is the central part of the frame. This creates a more iPhone 4-like appearance, and it's actually quite likable. It does make the Z2 look cooler than the Z1, so it's a job well done by Sony in this department.
In terms of size, the Xperia Z2 is a rather big phone, just like its predecessor. Once again, there has been some small tweaking of the design, as the Z2 is slightly higher than the Z1, but also ever so slightly narrower and thinner. Having a very long phone (5.78" / 146.8 mm) isn't so cool, but having a very wide phone (2.89” / 73.3 mm) is even worse, as it makes it more difficult to hold, so we don't mind these latest tweaks to the dimensions of the Sony flagship. Still, it's a very big and relatively heavy phone, with all the practical annoyances that this brings. Thankfully, the Sony Xperia Z2 isn't a large handset just for the sake of it, as it comes with a rather large display. But more on that in a while.
The metal frame is also where some key elements lie. First and probably most important is the power/lock key, which is protruding from the surface and is very easy to find by touch. Right next to it is the smallish volume rocker, and near the bottom edge of the right hand side is the two-step camera shutter. Sadly, none of the physical buttons, except for the camera shutter, function very well. They are all somewhat shallow and not clicky. The two-step camera key isn't particularly great either, but it's decent and gets the job done. On the opposite side is where you'll see the proprietary dock connector, sitting completely exposed there, as if some part that's used to cover it is missing. Thankfully, at least the parts used to cover the microSIM card slot, microUSB and microSD card slot are there, providing a uniform look and enabling water- and dust-resistance for the handset.
Speaking of ruggedness, the Sony Xperia Z2 is IP 58-certified. This means it's considered completely water-proof and very dust-resistant. Well, it's mostly not a good idea to just leave it in a glass of water for the night, or to go to the beach and put the phone on the sand, but generally, you should have the peace of mind that you can only have with a truly rugged device, such as the Xperia Z2.
Other design elements of note in the Z2 are its front-facing stereo speakers – always a much-appreciated affair, as well as the 20.7 MP G lens camera with LED flash on the back. There's a hole for a lanyard in the bottom-left corner, while the top edge opposite to it houses the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
All in all, it's a decent experience to hold and work with the Sony Xperia Z2. Due to its size, the handset is definitely clunky, but the quality materials and stylish exterior kind of make up for it.
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)
144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)
Larger-than-life display with LCD IPS technology – exactly what Sony fans wanted.
A massive upgrade – that's how we'd describe the Xperia Z2's screen, after comparing it with last year's Z1. Finally, Sony's finest has embraced the beloved IPS (in-plane switching) technology, in order to deliver a superb viewing experience, with eye-catching color reproduction and viewing angles that are on par with most of the competition.
The 5.2” panel has a standard high-end resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The resulting pixel density is 424 ppi – more than enough to guarantee an extremely clean picture quality. An interesting detail that Sony touts is the company's Triluminos display tech featuring the so-called Live Colour LEDs. What it does is that it uses blue LEDs in combination with red and green phosphor and color filters in order to display better red and green colors, all of which supposedly working towards achieving a brighter, deeper, and truer-to-life image, with a wide range of displayable colors.
The display has a tolerable maximum brightness of about 460 nits, resulting in a decent outdoor experience. We wouldn't advise you to read a book on your phone while having some relax-time in the park, but it's good enough for a quick email check or a web look-up. Sadly, minimum brightness is a bit high, at 16 nits, so viewing in the dark may not be as comfortable as with some other phones like the iPhone 5s (5 nits) or the Galaxy S5 (2 nits).
Color temperature of the Sony Xperia Z2's 5.2” screen is about 6900 K, which is pretty close to the reference point of 6500 K. This means that colors, as a whole, will appear just a bit colder (bluer) than what's said to be the standard, but the deviation won't be that big. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a color temperature of 8100 K (when using Standard display mode), the iPhone 5s' one is 7150 K, and the One (M8)'s one is also about 7150 K.
The average gamma of the Z2 screen is 2.59 (reference value is 2.2). This makes this aspect of the screen somewhat inaccurate, as the brightest areas (highlights) of the content you're viewing won't appear as bright as they should be, but slightly darker. High gamma usually makes for a slightly more contrasty image, and we mean slightly more contrasty than normal, so that's probably what Sony was looking for. As we can see from the CIE chart, which is accessible through the 'Display measurements and quality' data below, it really wasn't Sony's goal to go after a realistic and standard-conforming image. Instead, it has boosted the colors of its flagship, achieving a more vibrant and saturated color reproduction than what's outlined by the globally-accepted sRGB standard. That's all well and good if you just want to enjoy your content, but one should still keep in mind that this screen will not be able to reproduce colors exactly the way they were meant to be seen, since you can't just color-calibrate the display of your phone the same way you can calibrate your PC's monitor, for example. Anyway, the Delta E (grayscale) of the Z2 proudly stands at 2.95, suggesting a rather good balance between the three primary colors: red, green, and blue.
Needless to say, the Sony Xperia Z2 also features the so-called X-Reality image enhancement engine, which makes sure to add some oomph to images and videos you're viewing on the phone, in the form of sharpness, contrast and color tweaks. X-Reality does make the photo and video content you're viewing on the phone look more vibrant, but most of it as at the expense of color accuracy.
At the end of the day, what you should take away from all this data is that the Triluminos-powered screen of the Xperia Z2 is definitely a very high-quality one, though not exactly as accurate as we'd have liked it to be (of course, it's way more accurate than Samsung's AMOLED displays). There's still some room for improvement ahead of Sony!
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Sony Xperia Z1||495
|HTC One (M8)||490
|Sony Xperia Z2||458
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|Sony Xperia Z1||78.2%
|HTC One (M8)||79.6%
|Sony Xperia Z2||90.4%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
8. PunyPoop (Posts: 715; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
OUCH THE TRUTH HURTS S-fans! Kudos to SONY! Lovin every beat, every bits of my Z2!
20. maherk (Posts: 893; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
It doesn't hurt me tbh, the better the competition the better products we end up with. I am not a guy that usually buy a phone depending on the looks, so I can't comment on that. But what I can tell is that Sony has finally made a great flagship, I believe that this phone is flawless, just the size of it is a bittt to much, but it won't hold me from buying it if it was available for t-mobile.
50. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2969; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
All Sony needs to do is hype this phone up, make some great commericals, make it available on all major carriers and Samsung will have some major threat on it's hands.
I want this phone.
51. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4000; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
It's coming to Verizon as per the leaked shots...
My wife is going to LOVE this phone.
130. joker47man (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 May 2014)
I would be surprised if it does. Rumor has it that Sony wants only boot loader unlockable devices, and Verizon I heavily refusing to subsidize Any device with an unlockable boot loader. So you will probably have to pay full price for it.
105. sgodsell (Posts: 1210; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
The only thing they seem to miss on the review is the noise canceling features, and they said the screen can be a little over saturated. But you never mentioned that you can control the screens saturation through the settings. Sony gives you options to control the Brava display engine.
124. RuiBacelar (Posts: 125; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)
also they forgot to mention those awsome headphones included and what they can do.
125. fireblade (Posts: 694; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)
3 GB of RAM, 3200 mAh battery. Dual speakers.
62. rd_nest (Posts: 768; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Why should Sammy fans or HTC fans have any problems if you enjoy your purchase?
And more importantly, why are you concerned what other people thinks about your purchase? You spent the money, why should anyone else be bothered about it.
41. DerryAhmad (Posts: 243; Member since: 05 May 2012)
Great score indeed! I just wish they reviewed the noise cancelling feature the Z2 has. It's one of it's unique features compared to the S5 and M8.
61. rd_nest (Posts: 768; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Are you that guy who gloat if your phone scores 100 points more on Antutu?
If you want to validate your purchase by a higher PA score, then just think what it says about your attitude. it's time for you to grow up.
96. cheetah2k (Posts: 806; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
You can tell that Phonearena never really does detailed reviews of these phones, so take the scores with a grain of salt IMO. The fact that they didnt pick out the fact you cannot record 4K video for more than 2-3 minutes without having the phone crash, shutdown, or melt in your hands is a clear CON for a flagship phone. Also the phone was released in Feb, and yet most of the world hasn't even got it on sale yet is a BIG issue for Sony - 3 months late is unacceptable.
Other issues such as size (its bigger than the Z1 WTF?) the shear size of the wasted space with the large forehead and chin are CON's as well. You might as well call this a phablet as its phsically the same size as the Note 3!
In any case, Sony won't have the crown for very long. The 3Q14 phones are coming with even better specs, and Sony's Z3 will be delayed again in typical fashion...
I like Sony, I owned the Z1, but IMO this phone isnt the wholy grail iPA is making it out to be..
128. NikkiGirl (Posts: 5; Member since: 27 Apr 2014)
My Z2 records 4K for 15mins then I get overheat warning and shutdown, but the video is saved.
It's only a little taller then Z1 because it has a 5.2 inch screen and front facing stereo speakers.
It is not the same size as the Note3, it's narrower and shorter then the Note3. Yes it's a big phone but I wouldn't call it a phablet.
It's the best all round phone out of the 3 flagships released so far.
142. Heddy87 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 May 2014)
Where did that acid came from?
First of all, it's not sony that made the phone late on market, but a fire in one of the biggest electronics factory which, what a surprise, also delivers parts for samsung. So it is a sad thing that someone's bussiness burned to ashes and in no way Sony's fault. Samsung had bigger magazine, but their products are cut also (from 3mln devices sold plan to 1,8 mln in 2014).
Before speaking and blaming things make sure you are actually right and have all the facts available in internet.
4K was a software issue and will be solved soon with service-update patch to android.
118. sar44 (Posts: 197; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
Facepalm. Paid pa.
"the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a color temperature of 8100 K (when using Standard display mode)" "Galaxy S5 Grayscale accuracy" "of course, it's way more accurate than Samsung's AMOLED displays". Also need "orande red color".
Samsung, that's what I said. Please remove Dynamic and Standard modes, because at testers gray is blue, red is orange, they specially put other profiles that have very cold tone (6500-6700K - cinema mode, 7500-8000K - others). These modes are as bone that samsung threw for some reviewers and haters. Benefit from them is no, only cons. Anyway all image are designed for SRGB standard, and enhanced range is color distortion, red hues (at normal color temperature) and oversaturation. Also complete yet color gamut to 100% SRGB, the unnecessary 6-7% still sometimes make themselves known.
Now about the review, in movie and pro photo mode the temperature 6500K, also they have 106-107% SRGB, its better than 130% in Z2.
119. sar44 (Posts: 197; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
90. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2962; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
And it looks like Snowden uses this phone too. Must be good.
153. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4281; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
Dam sexy and slick looking, with a touch of prestige
3. ArtSim98 (limited) (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Guys. This day will go into the history books. Something has really changed in this world.
PA rated a Sony phone higher than it's Samsung rival!
22. maherk (Posts: 893; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Because they don't look at what the brand is (hopefully I am right), and I am not to shocked to be honest, Sony's mainly problem(aweful screens) is gone now, so I don't see any reason why it shouldn't beat the S5 and M8 in head to head comparisons. Now what Sony has to do, is what Sammy did, fund your mobile department with lots of money and market the hell out of the Z2 because it deserves it.
97. cheetah2k (Posts: 806; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
iPA has always been about cash for comments, Sony is just paying better $ these days to get good reviews lol
25. butteredjelly (Posts: 18; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
only by a 0.1 difference. As in love with my S5 I am, I have to agree this is an amazing phone.
55. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8240; Member since: 14 May 2012)
If I never got a S5, I'd get a Z2 only if it were offered through T-Mobile.
70. maherk (Posts: 893; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Same here, I just finished watching a full 20 min video review done by a British site, and it pissed me off lol I loved every bit of the camera app, stupid amazon should've priced it right 2 weeks ago when I was buying a new phone, it was around $1000 now it is $779. If the gear neo works with it (I don't care that much about receiving notifications tbh) I would sell my S5 and get it, and then probably get killed by my wife :D
91. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4281; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
But I thought you didn't like SONY
94. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8240; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I hate their UI and the Z ___ series have had display issues up until now. I'd get this over the M8 any day because of the camera.
95. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3197; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Last time i disagreed on this...but now i can say their UI sucks. Its simply not perfect.
59. sergiobr (Posts: 416; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)
I just don´t like the photos. I expected much more. Keeping my Note 3 and my 808.
30. buccob (Posts: 1409; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
finally a Ray S review somehow objective...
Now regarding the phone, I want the ZL2.. I would definitely get the plastic uncrackeable version of this, with a smaller footprint
33. maherk (Posts: 893; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Just because the back is made of glass doesn't mean it breaks easily. The Z and Z1 proved before that they can be pretty durable, drop test videos confirms it.
49. buccob (Posts: 1409; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Yes, but somehow Sony Forums has many people complaining about the Z1, Z1 Compact and Z2 for its "self-cracking" backs... and bending...
I would really love to have a phone as tough as my Acro S, but with top specs... so the closest one today might be the ZL2...
I was very tempted of buying the ZR but the 8GB of internal memory is really a turn off
98. cheetah2k (Posts: 806; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
Objective but flawed. They clearly didnt do a comprehensive test of the phone because they would have found the 4K video issue.
67. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4281; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
9.2 that's superb
Those bezels need to shrink down and make the phone same size as the S5
It's to big for a 5inch
Just love the design
68. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3197; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Except that it has a 5.2inch not a 5inch or GS5's 5.1. And this one has front facing stereo speakers.
72. Ashoaib (Posts: 1924; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Bcoz sony was always on a lesser part specially when it comes to display... for the first time sony fixed its display, so PA rated sony phone higher which is obvious before it was also obvious to rate it lower
120. sar44 (Posts: 197; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
130% SRGB. All image are designed for SRGB standard (99.9% of the colors in nature), and enhanced range is color distortion, oversaturation and red hues.
Lack of OIS
Weak sound in headphones
Large energy consumption (3200 mah batery life less then 2800mah S5 and 2600 mah M8)
FBReader Video 3D Games
HTC M8 2600 mА·h 22 h. 10 m. 13 h. 20 m. 3 h. 20 m.
Galaxy S5 2800 mА·h 17 h. 20 m. 12 h. 30 m. 4 h 30 m.
Xperia z2 3200 мА·h 15 h. 20 m. 11 h. 00 m. 3 h. 30 m.
4. anleoflippy (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)
A great score for a great phone. Now time to consider buying this.
6. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1268; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I gotta say Z2 is one hell of a phone. Sexy design, great display, amazing battery life, and excellent camera. With continue tradition of IP 58 rating, this is a phone can't be ignored.
73. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2962; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
The headphone output is still low, unfortunately, even worse than S5 which is traditionally mediocre. Still an overall competent phone, but Sony likely crippled the audio output on purpose so people will buy Sony's standalone players/DACs.
75. CamaroSS (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
They measured it with MH-410c. Whole bunch of z2 kits actually come with MDR-NC31EM noise-cancelling headset that has a much higher output level.
82. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2962; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
I do wish Sony would simply do what Apple, HTC, and Vivo do -- put in a high quality headphone amp that has 1V+ output.
I've heard good things about the noise-cancelling that is built into the Z2, even though they require specific headphones. Have you heard the MDR-NC31EMs in person?
107. CamaroSS (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
Yeah - I have one actually. They sound pretty good - virtually no distortion at max volume. I was about to get run over twice as NC is damn good - LOL. It's better than any other OEM headsets I have ever tried. Of course, it's not gonna beat a $150 bose or sennheiser pair but gets pretty close.
7. NoFanboy (Posts: 221; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)
Points should be ticked off for that ugly UI
10. refillable (Posts: 631; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
That's completely subjective. However, lags in Touchwiz isn't.
35. tech2 (Posts: 2035; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Funny how Sony fanboys call GS5 ugly and when it comes to Sony's UI all of a sudden looks become subjective.
44. refillable (Posts: 631; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I didn't say Touchwiz was ugly. All I said was 'ugly OS' doesn't have to be put in cons, like what 'NoFanboy' wants. But if say, some lag occurs in an OS then it is obligatory to put them in cons.
60. ArtSim98 (limited) (Posts: 2738; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Sony UI is simple, balanced and beautiful. Not a mix of everything.
65. rkoforever90 (Posts: 78; Member since: 03 Dec 2011)
iam not a sony fanboy but galaxy s5 is ugly, it looks just like galaxy grand with similar size and feel
100. cheetah2k (Posts: 806; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
At least the S5 doesnt have forehead and chins the size of mexico
137. TMach (Posts: 352; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Suggest you might want to look at both side by side and re-think your post.
12. PorkyBurger (Posts: 219; Member since: 18 May 2013)
What's pretty to you? I know it's your opinion, but I want to know.
|Display||5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AB, Quad core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400 processor
3072 MB RAM
|Size||5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches|
(146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm)
5.75 oz (163 g)
|Battery||3200 mAh, 15 hours talk time|