Camera


The 20.7MP camera that made its debut on the Sony Xperia Z1 is now gracing the Xperia Z2 as well. We're not complaining, of course, as we know what the snapper is capable of. The 1/2.3” size of the sensor makes it bigger than those found in most other popular smartphones, and with cameras, a bigger sensor is always a good thing. Pixel size, however, is average at 1.1 microns.

HTC has taken an unorthodox approach when designing the 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera found on the HTC One (M8). It is practically the same one that the last-gen One M7 had, but with an added secondary camera that captures depth information. The latter gives us the option to apply fancy effects to photos – to blur out the background or to convert images into 3D-like renditions. On a technical note, the One M8 camera relies on a 1/3” sensor with 2-micron pixels, and pixel size is touted as the camera's advantage over other cameraphones. These larger pixels should be able to capture more light, which is projected to result in good low-light performance. Resolution, however, is the UltraPixel camera's biggest drawback – it captures 4MP stills at a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Launching the Camera app on the Sony Xperia Z2 brings us to a clean and intuitive user interface, with large buttons for taking photos or video. The camera opens up in Intelligent Auto mode by default, which attempts to set the scene mode automatically, and it tends to be pretty accurate at that on the Z2. A manual mode has not been omitted, however. It lets the user control scene settings as they wish, to turn HDR on or off, and to take full-resolution, 20.7MP stills (Auto mode yields 8MP ones). Furthermore, Sony has added slow-motion video effects, background defocusing for professional-looking close-ups, 4K video support, and the option to download additional camera modes.


The camera UI on the HTC One (M8) isn't bad. We like that it is clean, with no knobs and toggles in the viewfinder's way, but switching between photo and video mode, or between the front and rear cameras, takes more taps than it does on the Z2. Nevertheless, kudos go to HTC for adding true manual controls to its camera software.


When it comes to actual image quality, the Sony Xperia Z2 is a class above the HTC One (M8). First of all, its images pack a lot more detail. Also, Z2's camera tends to be better at setting the right exposure, while the M8 might leave the photo under- or overexposed. Unless we use a tap to manually select the area that we want exposed, that is. On top of that, digital noise is more discernible in the M8's photos. Low-light indoor photos from the HTC One (M8) may turn out a bit lifeless, with dull colors. The Xperia Z2, on the other hand, produces livelier colors in a low-light indoor situation. Interestingly, very dark scenes in which the HTC One (M8)'s flash has fired look quite good, if not better than those from a Z2 with its flash on.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z2 3
No data
452
398
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363

All in all, the HTC One (M8) UltraPixel camera is still a good one – it is fast and its photos are definitely usable – but it falls behind when compared to the camera on the Z2, or any other of today's flagships.

The Sony Xperia Z2 takes smooth, good-looking 1080p video at a steady 30 frames per second. Sound is clear and dynamic as well. The option to shoot 4K video with it is welcome, but it would be hard to truly appreciate it unless you have a 4K TV to enjoy the footage on.

The HTC One (M8) shoots daytime 1080p videos that are about as good as the Z2's. Framerate is set to 30fps by default, but there's also the option to crank the dial to 60fps for extra smoothness. Night videos, however, are not as fluid as those from the Xperia Z2 and exhibit a stronger motion blur.


Multimedia


There's a lot to love about the Walkman music player on the Sony Xperia Z2. First of all, it has a UI that is both beautiful and functional. We like its option to fill in any album art that happens to be missing in our collection. Modes and tweaks are present, to no surprise. You get an equalizer, which you're allowed to modify yourself, as well as ClearAudio+, which is an option that aims to enhance audio automatically, depending on what's being played. The Music application on the HTC One (M8) is also a pleasant-looking one, although we find its lack of an equalizer rather puzzling. It has a music visualizer, on the other hand, and like the Walkman, it can pull missing album art from the internet.


Watching videos on the Sony Xperia Z2 is a pleasure thanks to its large and vivid display. Moreover, the stock video player did not have any troubles playing back videos of any popular format. Either the gallery or the dedicated Movies app can be used to play videos with, both the ones you have recorded and the ones you have copied onto your handset. The latter has a clean and stylish UI, with a built-in option to edit videos shot with the Z2. There is no dedicated video player app on the HTC One (M8). (You can download a third-party one, of course). Instead, videos are listed in and viewed from the Gallery application. The video playback UI is clean and simple, but can also be used to trim videos in case that's required.

As we mentioned earlier, both phones sport front-facing speakers that produce high-quality stereo sound. The HTC One (M8), however, outpaces the Z2 in that respect. The former's speakers are louder and with much more depth, while the ones on the Xperia Z2 can't reach the same output level and have less presence in the lower register.

Another perk that makes the HTC One (M8) stand above the Z2 is its built-in IR blaster. With its help, HTC's phone turns into an intelligent remote control for your TV and set-top box. The pre-loaded TV application lets you switch channels, adjust the volume, and browse the TV menus, all the while acting as a TV guide (not available in all markets). The Xperia Z2 does not have an infra-red blaster, unlike many other flagship smartphones.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z2 0.29
HTC One (M8) 1.28
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z2 71
HTC One (M8) 75.2


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58 Comments

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Such beauties!

17. Sauce unregistered

Z2 looks pretty cheap and not classy. The white trim ruins it.

21. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Are you drunk or what?? I think your profile pic exactly fits you!

22. Sauce unregistered

Glad to know my opinion deeply hurts your poor feelings LOL. I think my profile pic exactly fits what I'm doing right now to you.

23. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

You need sth to sooth your burning bro.

24. Sauce unregistered

#fail

34. hari120

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

@emadshiny as longs as everyone has eyes no one give a damn **** to his comments

36. marcski07

Posts: 600; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

have you ever seen one in personal? :) xperia z I agree it's not classy, but not looking so cheap also, but hell, ugly. It looks like a brick and u can bitch slap anybody using that phone, but z1 and z2, really looks premium, and eye catcher... i love z1 compact, because i have small hands, and i don't want to use 2 hands for a phone, for multi-tasking purposes. plastic yes, but it doesn't look cheap, it's beautifully crafted really well made, and very comfortable to grip and browse with your thumb only... :)

55. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

The Z2 is prettier to me.

39. craigy72

Posts: 41; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

HTC One all the way IMO

2. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Ultimately it comes down to aesthetics for me because both phones are truly beasts at what they do. I'd prefer thee HTC One simply because I'm a huge HTC One fanboy. The Sony Phone is utter perfection though. I just wish the back had like this shattered look to it so when you drop it and it actually shatters, you can't tell.

3. giani

Posts: 269; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

So, as per yr conclusions general score is 4-1 in favor of m8. But the z2 has a higher rating in the individual review. Hah ?!

8. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

hah 8.8 is pretty high for ultragimmickpixel camera.

11. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

that's what you call cosolation or a balancing act. no ad-subsisting site or blogwould want to offend fans. there should be some redeeming factor somewhere.

15. giani

Posts: 269; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Straight edgeNexus, if you dont get my point, please don't TROLL. I was only trying to make Nick T confess. It is very clear from the comparison that he prefers the M8.

16. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Sorry didnt get the point till the edit time passed out. :-)

4. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

HTC one M8 is a near perfect phone, great design, great specs overall, but only let down by its camera. But had it has a 1/2.3" 8MP ultrapixel sensor, then it is perfect..

18. MichaelA

Posts: 18; Member since: May 14, 2014

It's not all about MP's, but don't even think about printing a photo from the M8 to anything like a 4x6 or 5x8 because it's going to look terrible. I rarely ever do this, but when I do I want a alright pic, not crap. If I had to choose I would go with the Sony, but why not just wait for the LG G3 instead?

33. adwienc

Posts: 136; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

And software buttons.

5. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2364; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

M8 since it offers more internal memory, and up to 128GB ?

10. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

at least all flagships released this year can use sandisk's 128GB sd card. that's been tested and proved on some youtube video.

14. josephnero

Posts: 795; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

lesser battery?crappier camera?

28. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

The Z2 accepts 128 gb cards too

6. cyborg009

Posts: 119; Member since: Sep 17, 2011

Sony has good UI but it should be smooth not laggy... they should focus on optimizing it. I'm using Sony phones from old SE times and though I'm entirely in love with Z2's display I'm thinking of either getting a lumia 930 or oneplus one as my next phone.

7. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

design-subjective Ergonomics- Htc One(curved back) display-Tie i guess UI-One Sense more beautiful and functional Hardware-Z2 ram Camera-LOL no comments multimedia-TIE battery-dont know conclusion- Z2 due to all rounder IMO

29. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Id give the M8 the edge in multimedia, boomsound+ higher output headphone jack+ ir blaster.

31. FCB-Eto

Posts: 64; Member since: Aug 17, 2013

Battery life the Z2 kills the M8 and S5 those two respectively do 71hrs and 72 but the Z2 manages 89hrs it's on Gsmarena, but get this that's without any power saving enabled.

9. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

no contest here

12. papss unregistered

I love both actually. I prefer the looks and design of the z2 (I like square phones with sharp corners) but like the UI of the m8...

13. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Yeah i love sense 6, 5 days on and i have no tempt to flash ROMs, unlike s5 touchwiz when i was dying to flash CM.

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