Introduction


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!

Design

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.


Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

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!



FEATURED VIDEO

158 Comments

1. lee480 unregistered

Yup. More superior compared to M8 and S5.

8. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

OUCH THE TRUTH HURTS S-fans! Kudos to SONY! Lovin every beat, every bits of my Z2!

20. maherk

Posts: 6768; Member since: Feb 10, 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: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: May 13, 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.

144. crazzyd77

Posts: 36; Member since: May 07, 2014

True.

105. sgodsell

Posts: 7187; Member since: Mar 16, 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: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

also they forgot to mention those awsome headphones included and what they can do.

109. crazzyd77

Posts: 36; Member since: May 07, 2014

Agreed.

125. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

3 GB of RAM, 3200 mAh battery. Dual speakers.

62. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 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.

69. TouchWiZSucks

Posts: 53; Member since: May 12, 2014

EXACTLY

41. DerryAhmad

Posts: 296; Member since: May 05, 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: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 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: 2213; Member since: Jan 16, 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: 12; Member since: Apr 27, 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: May 19, 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. Cheers!

158. ogee4life

Posts: 105; Member since: Apr 12, 2014

I guess you don't know it has front facing stereo speakers, where do you think that is housed? of course the bezels top and bottom aren't perfect but compared to other phones with front facing speakers this is clearly number one. I guess you have seen the bezels in the htc m8 that has so much waste top and bottomn and is a slightly smaller screen? Plus the fact that this phone has a far larger battery than all the rest should explain more reasons for the bezels. And since the firmware sent to update the device it no longer crashes after 5 mins or stops when recording 4k videos, i guess you know that all other devices recording 4k with the 801 processor have the same problem of not being able to record longer for a certain period. Then you forget that this a water proof phone, just look at the s5 comparing it with the s4 and see the major difference in bezels. You would see that on the water resistant phone the bezels are far bigger than on the other despite the s5 not being ip58. There's no phone without cons, but don't slate this phone in areas where there is a logical reason for that minus or con as u see it.

118. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 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: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=52446659​#post52446659

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Ooh, nice!

90. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

And it looks like Snowden uses this phone too. Must be good.

153. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Dam sexy and slick looking, with a touch of prestige

3. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 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!

5. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

And Z2 deserves it. What a beast.

22. maherk

Posts: 6768; Member since: Feb 10, 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: 2213; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

iPA has always been about cash for comments, Sony is just paying better $ these days to get good reviews lol

25. butteredjelly

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 16, 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: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

If I never got a S5, I'd get a Z2 only if it were offered through T-Mobile.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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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