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.

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.

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!




Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 05, 2014

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

3. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

50. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

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

54. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 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!

57. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

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

79. Sealblaighter

Posts: 430; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

5 minutes video on Full HD needs 2 GB?

63. cheetah2k

Posts: 2294; Member since: Jan 16, 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

68. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 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.

2. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

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

24. neops

Posts: 297; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

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

38. JC557

Posts: 1925; Member since: Dec 07, 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.

4. aayupanday

Posts: 582; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

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

8. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

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

10. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

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

11. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 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.

21. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Samsung released a sub £1000 4K TV

23. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

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

12. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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...

20. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 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.

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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

13. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I was thinking the same thing. Do you want to close it...YES or... YES?!? lol +1

53. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 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

76. NikkiGirl

Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 27, 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.

6. buccob

Posts: 2979; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

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

26. adecvat

Posts: 654; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

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

43. buccob

Posts: 2979; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

less than 5 minutes of action? Anyway... unless is on a 50" TV I really do not care for it...

7. enzotarece

Posts: 87; Member since: Aug 14, 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

9. latido

Posts: 45; Member since: May 31, 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.

52. Kamehameha

Posts: 44; Member since: Apr 21, 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!

60. latido

Posts: 45; Member since: May 31, 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.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.