Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on: pushing the limits


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


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.

Related phones

Xperia Z2
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(19h 3G talk time)

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82 Comments

1. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

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

9. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

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

12. istitch

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

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

14. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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)

31. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 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.

33. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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.

37. wolfsaviorzx unregistered

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

38. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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?

82. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Lenovo laptops FTW. -_-

73. romeo1

Posts: 814; Member since: Jan 06, 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

74. LevelingTheDebate

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 04, 2014

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

19. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

28. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

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

44. TMach unregistered

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!

41. 21babydoll12 unregistered

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

81. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

2. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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.

6. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 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 ;(

7. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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.

22. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

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

23. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Am I getting one? OMG!

48. TMach unregistered

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!

53. amirxd

Posts: 10; Member since: Jan 04, 2014

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

3. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

meanwhile Samsung Galaxy S5...

10. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S5 Sometimes ugly needs to get more uglier.

18. Kuroki

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

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

42. 21babydoll12 unregistered

small hands prehaps?

45. TMach unregistered

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.

20. mokhtar

Posts: 405; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

4. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Isn't everyone done playing around with screensizes yet?

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