Sony Xperia Z2 Review

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UPDATE: You can now read our Sony Xperia Z3 Review and Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review!

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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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)
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)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


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!



Interface

Simplistic and thorough, Sony's Xperia user interface hasn't changed much in its latest edition.

Running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the Sony Xperia Z2 is perfectly up-to-date at this time, so users will be able to enjoy all the benefits of Android's latest version. Additionally, there's Sony's custom user interface, which tends to be rather clean and minimalistic. It does change the look and feel of most of the UI and built-in apps, but it does so in a stylish and uniform manner.

Sony's custom homescreen is very easy to get used to. The manufacturer has done a good job at creating an intuitive experience that makes things like icon and widget placement (and resizing, too) easy as pie. Just like in Sony's other Android phones, the pinch-in gesture initiates the homescreen editing screen, where you can easily add/discard homescreen pages, add wigets/apps, change the wallpaper, or the theme.

The otherwise standard-looking main menu has an options panel that can be revealed at any time by doing a swipe gesture from the left edge of the screen. The panel lets you change the sorting or filtering of your app catalog, as well as to initiate the Uninstall mode. The execution of this options panel is not perfect, though, as you can accidentally reveal it while browsing through the main menu. A new thing in the Xperia main menu is that you can now have folders in the app launcher, not just on the home screen. This can be quite handy, in case you want to get some of the unimportant stuff you have in the main menu and put it all in a single directory, tidying up your launcher along the way.

Processor and Memory

Top-notch hardware makes sure that the Xperia Z2 is future-proof. Still not completely lag-free.

The Xperia Z2 is yet another phone that's powered by latest-generation Snapdragon technology. In this case, it is the Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AB processor, which is supposed to be just a notch slower than the AC version found in some other phones like the Galaxy S5, but in reality, there are other factors in play that will have a much bigger impact on the perceived performance. One such example is the software that's running on the phone.

Getting a bit more technical, the CPU ticking inside the Z2 is a quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 beast, which is accompanied by the tried and true Adreno 330 graphics processing unit. Overall, performance seems to be great, though we wouldn't necessarily classify it as lightning fast or completely lag-free. There isn't any occasional choppiness like the one in the Galaxy S5, but there's always just a small amount of lag that prevents the experience from having that instantaneous response (check out the iPhone 5s if you don't know what we're talking about).

Memory-wise, there are the whopping 3 gigs of RAM (One (M8) and GS4 only have 2 gigs each), while the onboard memory is just 16 gigabytes. Thankfully, that is so, because there's a microSD card slot, which allows you to greatly expand the phone's storage space by installing a memory card of up to 128 GB.

QuadrantHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z218584
Sony Xperia Z120277
Samsung Galaxy S525041
HTC One(M8)19139
AnTuTuHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z234088
Sony Xperia Z130838
Samsung Galaxy S536603
HTC One(M8)31075
Vellamo MetalHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z21177
Sony Xperia Z11115
Samsung Galaxy S51186
HTC One(M8)1171
Vellamo HTML 5Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z21584
Sony Xperia Z12889
Samsung Galaxy S51632
HTC One(M8)1673
SunspiderLower is better
Sony Xperia Z2925.4
Sony Xperia Z1746.2
Samsung Galaxy S5777.3
HTC One(M8)693.1
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screenHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z212.4
Sony Xperia Z19.57
Samsung Galaxy S511.7
HTC One(M8)11


Phonebook


The phonebook is mostly pleasant to use. It looks and works well, although we don't like how little space is left for your call log, as it shares a single screen with the dialer. Other than that, switching between dialer, all contacts and favorites is pretty seamless and can be done by using a simple swipe.

Meanwhile, it's great to see that Sony has kept the good old T9-style dialing, where you can start T9-typing the name of the contact you want to call using the numeric keypad, and the phone will automatically find that person for you. It's very comfortable to dial this way, though finding a certain person in the contacts list is also pretty easy, as you can use the letters to the rigth to quickly hunt down someone.

Organizer


The busy man's best friend, the calendar, has been updated for the Sony Xperia ZZ and Android 4.4.2. The phone's calendar app features all the basic necessities like month, week and day views, as well as some 'bonus' features such as the ability to expand the appointments for the selected day in month view. The pinch-to-zoom function from the stock calendar has, thankfully, been preserved, allowing you to see more or less of your appointments in week view.

The handset also comes with a simple calculator, as well as a versatile notes app, which isn't the most convenient notes app ever, but makes up for it by offering a good array of options and an easy way for syncing with Evernote. Meanwhile, using Sony's Small Apps is very convenient. Once you press the multitasking button, you gain access to a number of shortcuts to handy mini apps, including a calculator, timer, notes and voice notes. In the end, we found it pretty easy to make quick notes or recordings using the Sony Xperia Z2. In some cases, it might be even faster to use a small app to accomplish a certain task, rather than the respective full-blown version. However, keep in mind that Sony's Backup software feature doesn't include the content stored in the built-in Notes app (strange, isn't it?), so it's definitely a good idea to sync it with Evernote or use some other note-taking application that has an automatic back-up in the Cloud.

Messaging


Sony's QWERTY keyboard is very reminiscent of the iPhone keyboard as its main layout features only a basic set of keys, as well as as a suspiciously similar color scheme. All in all, typing with the keyboard is a joy, as the letter buttons are big and easy to locate. The landscape layout is also great as it takes advantage of the full screen width.

The messaging app of the Xperia Z2 is very well designed, with a versatile and intuitive interface. You can easily do stuff like attaching a photo, video, sound, note, location, etc. to your messages. The default email app also has a pleasant and intuitive design, though it lacks some more advanced settings like tweaking the preview text length, for example. Also, you might experience some unexpected slow-downs upon opening email messages at times. Most of the time, though, it works just fine.

Internet and Connectivity


Chrome is the browser of choice for the Sony Xperia Z2, and it tends to perform lovely. As always, loading is super-fast, while navigation around pages, including scrolling and zooming, is very fluid and trouble-free. The browser has recently been updated to inflate text perfectly well, so we're now definitely pleased with the overall browsing experience when using Google's Chrome for Android. Still, there are some viable third-party alternatives in the Play Store, such as Firefox, which isn't so polished, but can display Flash content, as long as you install the latest version of Adobe's now discontinued Flash Player for Android.

LTE is supported across numerous bands, so as long as your carrier of choice offers 4G, the Z2 should deliver blazing-fast cellular data speeds. Actually, it supports LTE Cat4 for download speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s, and upload speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s, provided the network conditions are optimal, which is rarely the case. In the unfortunate case of having no access to LTE, the Sony Xperia Z2 will default to HSPA+ (42.2 Mbit/s down and 5.76 Mbit/s up).

Further completing its full set of connectivity options, the Sony Xperia Z2 is also the proud owner of support for all the latest Wi-Fi protocols (802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac), Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, MHL, and NFC. Whether you want to mirror your phone's display on a bigger screen, beam content or quickly pair with a Bluetooth accessory, the Xperia Z2 has you covered.

Camera

Yet another G Lens camera joins Sony's growing portfolio of capable camera-phones.


Just like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z2 comes packing the critically-acclaimed 20.7 MP G Lens camera. The most intriguing aspect of this camera package is the size of its sensor: 1 / 2.3”. This makes it considerably bigger than the sensors found in most flagship smartphones out there. For example, the iPhone 5s and One (M8) have sensors of 1/3”, while the Galaxy S5's one is 1 / 2.6”. The massive Lumia 1020 is the undisputed leader in the cameraphone sensor size department with its sizable sensor of 1 / 1.5”, but it's way thicker and bulkier than the rest of the high-end crop. Because of that, we consider the Xperia Z2's sensor of 1 / 2.3” a strong proposition for smartphone camera enthusiasts. Having such a large sensor enables pixels to have a decent, 1.1 micron size despite their great numbers, allowing the camera to reproduce more detail in its high-resolution images.

The aperture is of the G Lens camera is reasonably wide (f/2.0), which should also help the camera achieve good results in low-light conditions, as it lets more light reach the sensor. Finally, the Xperia Z2 has a wide-angle lens of 27mm that will let you capture more of the scene in front of you.

The Sony Xperia Z2's camera user interface is mostly easy to use, especially when you're sticking with Sony's Superior Auto mode, which attempts to automatically pick the best settings for you, depending on the scene you're trying to photograph (it tends to be pretty accurate most of the time). Still, Sony has also included a Manual mode, which allows you to tweak a variety of different settings on your own.

There are also some other interesting camera modes in the Z2. For example, there's Info Shot, which will attempt to give you useful information about the object that you're photographing. Or, there's also Social Live (powered by Bambuser), which lets you livestream up to 10 minutes of video directly to your Facebook feed. There is, of course, a number of picture effects, as well as the gimmicky AR (augmented reality) effects, which attempt to blend the real scene in front of you with a 3D scene of your choice. For example, you can put an animated 3D dinosaur in the frame, because... why not. Some of the way cooler new shooting modes include Background Defocus, which aims to achieve the trendy shallow depth of field effect that's also possible with the HTC One (M8)'s Duo camera or the Galaxy S5's Selective focus. Another very cool feature is the Timeshift video mode, which lets you create slow-mo video. Sony's implementation of this mode is wonderful, as it allows you to create 720p video with only certain moments of your choosing being rendered in slow motion.

Images taken with the Sony Xperia Z2 tend to have mostly natural colors, with just the right amount of added color punchiness and contrast. Still, the handset refrains from oversaturating or overwarming them too much, which is a good thing. Exposure is also great most of the time – the dynamic range is good enough to let you take immersive photographs that feature both darker and lighter areas, and it will all look natural and appealing. Unfortunately, bright areas illuminated by the hot, bright sun come out overexposed, but you know what they say – nothing is perfect.

Details are very good with the Z2. If you view the 20.7 MP photos in actual size, you might dislike the mostly pixelized look, but if you scale these gigantic images down to something like 13 or 8 MP, and compare them to awesome 13 MP photos such as those from the G2, you'll be surprised to find that the Xperia Z2 actually captures details extremely well. Well, if you look really closely from a zoomed in view, you'll see some digitalization present, but that not how people usually view their photos. By default, the Sony Xperia Z2's Superior Auto mode shoots at 8 MP. It does use the full resolution of the 20 MP sensor, but scales the pictures down - this way, the user ends up with high-quality 8 MP photos of 'easy-to-share' size that don't exhibit visible artifacts when viewed in actual size. Furthermore, the Superior Auto mode enables you to use the camera's Clear Zoom feature, which produces good-looking, lossless-like digital zoom. Having in mind that one rarely needs a gigantic, 20 MP shot, we believe the Superior Auto mode is the more appropriate shooting mode for most consumers, due to its more easily manageable photos and the lossless zoom capability. Still, the Manual mode lets you take 20 MP photos, if you happen to need this. We've used the Superior Auto mode to capture most of the sample images that can be seen in the gallery below.

The Xperia Z2 takes mostly good-looking indoor images. Colors stay natural, but overall, the pictures are a bit soft. Of course, this helps the camera get rid of some of the noise, but it's not really cool how everything besides the center of the shot seems slightly blurred. The LED flash does a decent job at illuminating a small scene. Sadly, night images are as terrible as always with Sony's G Lens cameras - the pictures often turn out blurred or overly-grainy. As a whole, we're starting to lose hope that this otherwise wonderful camera can be used to take appealing night photographs.



Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z23
No data
452
398
Sony Xperia Z13.2
No data
558
490
Samsung Galaxy S52.5
3
300
243
HTC One(M8)2.3
No data
444
363


1080p video recording with the Xperia Z2 is nothing fancy, but it does capture some solid footage that's sharp and fluid enough. A cool thing is that the sound captured by the handset's microphone sounds lively and isn't devoid of low frequencies. This way, your videos will not only have an appealing image quality, but also a pleasant sounding. Since this is Sony's latest and greatest we're talking about, it's only natural that there's 4K video recording on board. We're pleased to say that the 4K video footage looks very nice, with a lot of details and potential, though it seems that it requires quite a bit of processing power to get decoded, meaning that you may have some trouble if you try to run it on a different device. Meanwhile, night video recorded with the Z2 is very fluid and has a certain liveliness to it, though it's annoyingly grainy, ruining the pleasure of watching it to an extent.


Multimedia


The Sony Xperia Z2 is the perfect mobile device to enjoy video or play games. With its large, 5.2” IPS display, content like images, video and games really look gorgeous. The video player supports all the popular formats, and even if you manage to find a video that is not playable with the stock player, you should be able to fix this by downloading a capable third-party player from the Play Store.

The Walkman music player is quite cool and full with eye-candy. It sports some interesting features like ClearAudio+, which aims to give some more clarity to the sound, though it's basically a specific EQ preset. There are also some other sound enhancing tools like xLOUD, as well as a regular equalizer with many presents, including a custom option, allowing you to set your own equalizer, if you're feeling adventurous.

The picture and video galleries present the user with a pleasant experience. The apps have a fresh and consumer-centric design – typical Sony.

The Sony Xperia Z2 comes with front-facing stereo speakers, but don't hold your breath for HTC BoomSound-like volume and quality. Indeed, the tones coming out of the speakers are pretty decent and having some nice depth to them, but they aren't very powerful. It's always cool having a duo of front-facing speakers, but in this case, Sony should have worked a bit more on squeezing some loudness out of it.

The supplied earphones, which are the MH-410c model, are capable of reproducing great sound. They also have a convenient form-factor that makes them usable even for longer periods of time. However, some promotional bundles with the Xperia Z2 will feature the more premium, MDR-NC31E noise-cancellation in-ear headphones, which sound very nice and bassy. And, of course, they'll use the smartphone's processing power to negate ambient noise. That's why you should pay attention if the package you're buying features the MDR-NC31E or the MH-410 earphones.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z20.29
Sony Xperia Z10.29
Samsung Galaxy S50.43
HTC One(M8)1.28
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z271
Sony Xperia Z168
Samsung Galaxy S581
HTC One(M8)75.2


Call quality


Phone calls aren't wonderful with the Sony Xperia Z2. The earpiece produces sound that's completely lacking any lower-range frequencies, resulting in a high and unrealistic voice.

When it comes to the microphone, it's by no means much better, but at least it does manage to capture some of the voice's fullness. Still, there's some slight noise present, along with a bit of digitalization. At least volume is just enough, so you should have no trouble hearing your callers in noisier environments.

Battery


Sony's latest flagship smartphone has a pretty thin profile, but the company has still managed to fit in a remarkably juicy, 3200 mAh battery. With such a respectable capacity, the Xperia Z2 is officially said to remain operational for 19 hours of 3G talk time or 30.8 days of stand-by time. Additionally, the handset should be able to deliver up to 120 hours of continuous music listening, or up to 10 hours of video playback. These are some formidable battery times, which should make it possible even for users heavily relying on their phone to have a no-compromise experience for full 1 or 2 calendar days (depending on the user's activities and usage time).

The Sony Xperia Z2 has passed through our battery test with flying colors, finishing with a result of 8h 10 min - one of the best we've seen! For those who don't know, our battery test runs a custom-made script on the phone, and it's specifically designed to replicate real-world usage. Of course, while it's not perfectly accurate (as any other synthetic benchmark), it does give a relatively good idea of what to expect from a certain handset in the battery life area.

So, as you can see in the graph below, the Xperia Z2 has turned out to be among the best performers in the field, finishing right behind the Galaxy S5, which also has a fantastic result. It's always a good idea to keep in mind that battery life experience can greatly vary from user to user, due to different usage patterns and intensity, but all in all, it's hard to argue with numbers, and the Xperia Z2 has given us just that - indisputable proof that the battery it packs is a real marathoner!

Meanwhile, it seems the time it takes to charge the Xperia Z2 is fairly standard, which is to say that it's slower than some more forward-looking phones, like the GS5 and the Oppo Find 7a, which obviously employ techniques that allow them to fill up their tanks significantly faster.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script,designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.
hoursHigher is better
Sony Xperia Z2
8h 10 min(Average)
Sony Xperia Z1
4h 43 min(Poor)
Samsung Galaxy S5
7h 38 min(Average)
HTC One(M8)
7h 12 min(Average)

hoursLower is better
Sony Xperia Z2
3h 32 min
Samsung Galaxy S5
2h 2 min
HTC One(M8)
3h 27 min

Conclusion


In the end, the Sony Xperia Z2 managed to meet the great expectations we had for it. It's supposed to be Sony's no-compromise flagship Android smartphone, and more often than not, it proves it deserves that title.

The design? Well, we would be lying if we don't say that we'd have liked it more if it was a bit smaller and lighter, but oh well, we guess it's not too big the way it is. Looking past the imposing dimensions and weight of the phone, we definitely dig the quality materials and eye-pleasing appearance of the Z2. It's not a major redesign of the Z1, but the minor tweaks made by Sony have elevated this new high-end proposition to another level. And of course, we shouldn't forget the fact that it's both gorgeous and waterproof!

We're especially pleased to say that what was one of the Xperia Z1's weaker aspects, the display, has been vastly improved in the Z2. Adopting IPS LCD technology has allowed the Xperia Z2 to have a vibrant screen that doesn't get washed out as soon as you tilt it at the smallest angle. It's also good to see that while the phone hasn't grown too much in comparison with the Z1, the screen size has been increased a bit, making a slightly better use of the available space.

Thankfully, the software experience presented by the Xperia Z2 is also quite solid. We really have no major criticisms against the custom user interface, apart from the fact that it doesn't have that instantaneous response that's available with the iPhone 5s and, to some small extent, the GS5. It's not the lightest of UIs, but it's OK, because the powerful Snapdragon 801 AB processor takes good care of keeping things moving at a steady pace.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the camera section, this is yet another 20.7 MP G Lens camera by Sony. We hoped to see some visible enhancements made to the image quality, but we can't really say that there's such a great difference from the performance achieved by the Z1. This isn't really a bad thing, as it's already among the best smartphone cameras with its own unique virtues, but naturally, that's not to say that there isn't room for improvement.

At the end of the day, the Xperia Z2 is just what we expected it to be – an amazing all-round performer that can deliver great experiences in each and every category – from screen, to camera, and beyond. The Xperia Z2 isn't really perfect in any of the components that we've gone through, but it's pretty damn good. It's one of the very best Android smartphones at the moment, and there are real reasons why you should prefer it next to most of its competitors – like its exquisite design and streamlined user interface that's almost completely free from unnecessary features that shouldn't be a part of the core package. Good job, Sony!

At the same time, it's always worth to consider the rest of the players on the market before pulling the trigger on that purchase. One of the best competitors that the Xperia Z2 has is the HTC One (M8) – also a very beautiful handset, but one that relies on a completely different design language, so who knows – if the glass-and-metal build of the Z2 isn't your cup of tea, then maybe the One (M8) will be... though you should keep in mind its inferior, 4 MP camera. The Galaxy S5 is another top rival. It's armed with very similar specs and features (including an amazing camera and water-resistance), but of course, it does offer a completely different user experience, as well as a more uninspiring plastic body. The 5.2” LG G2 is a similar affair to the GS5, but if you're looking for a brand new top-shelf smartphone, and LG's phones are among your considerations, then it'd probably be wiser to wait for the G3 to get released – this is expected to happen sooner rather than later. Finally, Apple's iPhone 5s remains a worthy alternative to the Xperia Z2, due to its amazing design and rich set of perfected features, but the smaller screen assumes a more casual type of usage, so if you're really spending a lot of time on your phone, or you simply don't mind the bigger size, it's probably a good idea to stick with the Z2's larger display, or wait for the new iPhone, which is expected to have a larger screen than the current generation.

Software version of the reviewed unit: Android 4.4.2; Build 17.1.A.2.55

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UPDATE: You can now read our Sony Xperia Z3 Review and Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review!

Pros

  • Solid and eye-pleasing design
  • Large and vibrant display
  • Streamlined and polished user experience
  • Quality camera

Cons

  • A bit bulky
  • Slightly oversaturated screen
  • Average speakers

PhoneArena Rating:

9.2

User Rating:

9.0
53 Reviews

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