Sony Xperia Z2 specs review


When we started the rumor roundup for the upcoming Sony Xperia D6503, codenamed "Sirius", the handset seemed as just an Xperia Z1 refresh with a larger, higher quality display. The further we went, the more it became clear that we are actually talking about Sony's 2014 flagship, and now that the Xperia Z2 is official, it's easy to see the massive scope of the Z1's six-months "refresh" cycle. Let's dig into the spec sheet, and see what's in store for us next month, when the Z2 hits the proverbial shelves.

Design


Measuring at just 8.2 mm thickness, Sony's newest flagship a tad thinner than the Z1 predecessor, and it's also a tad lighter. It keeps the same rectangular OmniBalance design with soft edges, and a centerpiece round metallic power key on the side. The phone is again built on a solid one-piece aluminum frame, clasping the glass front and back panels, exuding a premium feeling. 

Sony graced it with a dedicated camera button, so it will be a breeze to aim and shoot for a brief second or two, even from locked state, or shoot underwater. The slim chassis of the Z2 is still waterproof, just as on its predecessor, with tightly sealed micro SIM and microSD card slots, as well as a microUSB port. The phone's IP58 certification means you can dunk it in up to 5 feet (1.5m) of water for up to one hour, without causing damage to the internals. This also means plenty of underwater photography options, but more on that later.


Display


The Z2 has quite a different display panel, compared to the Z1. It's a 5.2" 1080p Triluminos display, with a new imaging technology, dubbed Live Colour LED. The weakest spot of the Z1 flagship was its 5" display panel, whose viewing angles were far from the flagship level, but on the Z2 we have an IPS panel, so this point is now moot. The new display technology here is called Live Colour LED - it uses red and green phosphor with blue LEDs, and has tailored color filters on top, that allegedly produce brighter and more evenly spread lighting. 


The end result, as you can see below, should be more vibrant colors on the display, yet without the accompanying oversaturation of some displays, like the OLED ones. In addition, Sony's X-Reality for mobile engine analyzes the image output in real time for artifacts, colors, sharpness and contrast, and makes sure the digital noise is boiled down to a minimum. The most important thing is that its viewing angles have received a vast improvement over the Z1 predecessor, making the screen aspect truly shine this time.



Processor and memory


The screen is not the only thing that's better here, though - the Xperia Z2 comes with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset with LTE support, paired with the whopping 3 GB of RAM. This processor is just a step below Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 805, which won't be in devices before the summer, which ensures that the Xperia Z2 won't seem underpowered until the next "refresh" cycle.

In comparison with the Snapdragon 800, the new 801 comes with 14% faster Krait 400 processor cores, 28% faster Adreno 330 graphics, and the whole reason for the 801 being - a 45% improvement in camera sensor processing speed. Qualcomm made it pin-for-pin and software compatible with Snapdragon 800, so changing to the 801 is just a matter of swapping out the old, and plugging the new.

Adding 3 GB of RAM, and two image signal processors (ISP), thanks to the new Snapdragon, is another thing that sets the Z2 apart. There are only a few handsets out there with more than 2 GB of RAM, ensuring smooth multitasking experience. The dedicated ISPs for each image processing task are bound to unburden the flow from the main chipset, too, so that 4K video encoding and decoding can run uninterrupted.

Sony Xperia Z2 comes with 16 GB of internal memory, which will get quickly filled up to the brim with that 4K footage, so Sony wisely supplied a separate microSD slot for storage expansion on the side.

Camera 


Sony again uses the 20.7 MP camera of the Z1 here, but this time enables 4K video recording from the get-go, making the Z2 "the world’s best camcorder in a waterproof smartphone". Despite that it's the same 1/2.3-type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor with 1.1 micron pixels, and Sony G Lens cover, like on the Z1, Sony has leveraged the faster processor and more RAM for extra camera functions. We already mentioned the ability to shoot 4K footage, but Sony now adds its Timeshift option for video, not only for stills. You can shoot 120fps footage, and select where the footage should turn into slow-motion one. Add to these the real-time effects you can apply during shootin, like colouring, image trails, mirror and motion effects, as well as the AR effect you can choose before you press the camera key, and the video aspect all of a sudden becomes dramatically upgraded from the Z1. 

You are now also able to create short and sweet Vine video clips directly from the camera interface, too, and underwater at that, if the situation calls for it. The still shots are also getting new options, such as Background defocus. This new camera option will captures two photos at different focus settings, and blends together the different depths, leading to a blurred out background for more artsy photos. 

If you are worried about the 4K video decoding, the Z2 can easily play back the footage it captures on the large-screen TV in your house via the MHL port. Not only that, but the MHL standard that the phone supports, is the latest 3.0, meaning that the phone can be charged from your MHL-equipped TV, while you are streaming the 4K footage towards it.

Stereo speakers


Sony didn't stop with only specs upgrades from the Z1, but actually put new features in the Z2, adding stereo speakers to the phone, just as rumored. Together with the amplifier, they form the so-called S-Force Front Surround sound feature on the phone. Not only that, but the Z2 also offers digital noise-cancelling technology, when paired with Sony's MDR NC31EM Noise Cancelling Headset, reducing up to 98% of ambient fluff around you. 

We'll have to see how those two technologies behave in reality, but they sound very promising, coupled with Sony's Walkman-derived audio prowess. Sony doesn't list the strength of its new speakers, like HTC did with the 93dB claimed for the BoomSound set on its One line, so we'll have to test the S-Force Front surround in action, before we peg any verdict.



Battery


Sony managed to sneak a large, 3200 mAh battery, in the slim 8.2mm chassis of the Z2. This capacity is more akin to a phablet, and Sony promises "outstanding, class-leading battery performance". Granted, we had a 3000 mAh unit in the Z1, which is not much smaller, yet screen-on times were unimpressive. The 5.2" display on the Z2 seems to be of a higher caliber, though, than the TN LCD unit of the Z1, which hopefully translates to better power efficiency, hence the promised good battery life. Sony cites 6-7 hours of HD video watching on a charge, however, so apparently the Z2 won't break any battery endurance records, as this is just an average screen-on duration for an Android flagship

Sony says that its new Xperia Z2 will be available globally as soon as March, so no more long waiting is in order between the announcement, and the actual release. So, to sum it up, the Z2 is thinner than the Z1, with a larger, better display, faster processor, more RAM, larger battery, stereo speakers, and runs on the newest Android 4.4.2 KitKat. All in all, the Xperia Z2 indeed seems like a Spring 2014-worthy flagship. What do you think?

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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39 Comments

1. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Let the haters hate, I think Sony did an outstanding job with Z2. Waiting for hands-on review PA.

3. SleepingOz unregistered

Let's face it, there's nothing wow about it. Not saying it's bad but..

11. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

I guess I was in your camp 2 minutes ago, but being a camera fan, the Z2 sounds more promising by the minute as Sony looks to live up to it's sensor standards on the SW side, and that alone is worth more than just new specs. Which the Z2 has, 2 image signal processors for fast and furious performance, solid microphone with advanced noise filtering, and goodies to the rest of the specs such as SD801, 3GB RAM, 3200mAh battery in a thin body, promising un-Sony-like display, stereo speakers, great build and IP58 certification. You know what? The combination and focus on the camera should make you WOW. It just made me...

14. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

What's the wow that everybody is searching for? Gimmicky software? Laggy UI? Unnecessary 2K display? or maybe plastic back?!

16. mokhtar

Posts: 405; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Just face it yourserlf .. sony put an incredible display and the best in the market be sure even s5 or g3 will not beat it , BEST camera , awsome battery life .. incredible design so much better than s5 or lg s , S-FORCE SOUND , what you want more ? alliens made phone for you ? go home you are samsung fan :D

31. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Im not a fan of the z ranges design style,the squareness just doesnt do it for me,but that aside the specs and features are top quality

6. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

I second that. I'm yet to find a flaw on this phone. Btw, PA should also include the software tweaks that Sony has included in this phone - DoubleTap to Wake, Smart Call, Steadyshot etc Eagerly waiting for Samsung and HTC to release their flagship to see how Sony has fared this year.

25. Reverence

Posts: 224; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

It's good for a change but not tooo good for an upgrade over the z1....and the most important thing is that Sony isn't pushing the boundaries with software or the os like Samsung and lg does...and ya sony has an awful update record

2. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

This looks quiet good but my emotions is still with the terrible name yet very anticipated 'HTC the all new one'

4. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Two dedicated ISPs & HW focus on camera, NOW WE'RE TALKING! If naughty naughty Sony heads can make their own great sensors work like they do in Apple and other devices, this could be a winning combo, 20MP Exmor RS, advanced lens, underwater capabilities and the 2 nex-gen ISPs can make the photography Sony phones longed for, but failed to deliver on SW side. Now gimme some samples!

5. Killua

Posts: 270; Member since: Nov 25, 2013

It's intriguing, that's for sure.

7. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Good job from Sony, not outstanding but all mobile phone fans can see Sony are slowly but surely bringing their A-game. The successor to this Phone (Z3) will be very very interesting and could be a game changer for Sony fortunes. Samsung needs to innovate as they appear to be stagnating ever since the launch of the S4.

8. istitch

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

i personally think that sony has done a good job, albeit not fantastic one. I mean, what do you expect? they refine the z1 in every possible way, while some prefer gimmicks feature such as fingerprint scanner and such, which are still too early to be useful. The high end smartphone is kinda saturated now, so it's not really surprising that OEMs can't wow us. Though i have one comment, 6 months for a new flagship is a little too quick, maybe Sony should have some trade in programme for Z1 users..

9. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

Z2 VS 1520

10. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I'm currently using the Xperia Z, luckily I skipped the Z1, so it's still worth it if I upgrade to the Z2. And It's sad that the flagships from Nokia, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and BlackBerry didn't be unveiled at MWC, but at least LG did with the G Pro 2, HTC All New One will soon be unveiled and the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be unveiled later as well. So, I'm gonna wait for the review of these four phones before making my final decision of which phone I will get this year.

12. GMS85

Posts: 216; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Nah, I 'll keep my Z1 and wait for HTC this time!

18. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

I think you'll be more happy with your current Z1 than new HTC One.

20. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

@emadshiney, Explain, the z1 trailed behind 2013 phones where iPhone 5, s3, HTC one x, note 2 were good alternatives against the z1. Don't talk out of ignorance.

23. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

LOL, iP5, S3 and Note2 are better than Z1? Maybe you don't know what Z1 is or you are in ignorance yourself. Go study a little bit!

22. GMS85

Posts: 216; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Well, its my money, and I'm the the one who'll decide that! Thank you!

24. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

OK, I know you have money! enjoy it bro...

13. iamoa unregistered

this phone is just perfect. no complaints or doubts. i just wish sony had 12 months flagship cycle or bring two flagships like galaxy S (spring) and galaxy Note (fall) which people can prefer and use for 12 months atleast. ps: now don't say galaxy s and galaxy note fall under the same category. they are both completely different flagships from a single manufacturer.

15. dome888

Posts: 86; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

and the battery last 12 hrs.

17. moroninc

Posts: 193; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

Wow.. this maybe the year Sony finally outdoes itself in the Smartphone category... 2K display or not the noise cancelling and 20MP shooter features alone are enough to make we want to have this unit. Welcome back Sony!

19. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Z2 .. pretty good actually !!

21. zachattack

Posts: 621; Member since: Jul 31, 2013

Shut the hell up, nothing new? They pretty much destroyed anything bad about the Z line with this phone. NOT TO MENTION IT'S FINALLY GOING TO BE ON A SERVICE THAT'S NOT JUST TMOBILE. This is huge! They are putting their best device on more than just tmobile, i can't wait for big red to get it. I won't be able to afford it though... but i would spend the 600 easy. Sony makes beautiful phones compared to samsung. HTC has sense 5 though which is the only UI to stand up to Sonys

26. Federated

Posts: 263; Member since: Mar 06, 2010

I I just simply cannot find one single flaw on this Z2. This is an outstanding phone. This should have at least 11/10 rating on the review. I did not expect all of these to be honest. Sony listened this time.

27. potatosalad

Posts: 40; Member since: May 07, 2012

it's time to retire my SP.

28. iMemo

Posts: 113; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

Now that's refreshing!!! :D

29. eq5555

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 03, 2013

refused skin on glass of display

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