Sony Xperia Z2 vs Z1: first look


The Sony Xperia 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. Let's dive in for the nitty-gritty differences between the six-months old Z1, and its thorough overhaul the Z2.


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, and feels a bit better in the hand.


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 Z2 carries Sony's own interface overlay, like the Z1, but it is coated over Android 4.4 KitKat, which is yet to arrive on Sony's six-months old flagship. There are numerous functionality improvements, too, like DoubleTap to Wake, a Smart Call function, and a bunch of new extras in the camera interface, which we list below.

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 in the Z1, 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.


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.

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