Sony Xperia Z2 vs Sony Xperia Z1
With extra gestures and features, the Xperia UI on the Z2 has an edge over the software on the Z1.
The phones carry Sony's newest Xperia interface overlay, coated over Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Compared to previous Xperia UI iterations, the status bar, and its Quick Settings, have been reworked to become clearer, and more intuitive. Also, the new launch animation and the live wallpaper have been borrowed from thePlayStation 4, but you also have Sony's Xperia Themes with downloadable UI packs from Sony Select that let you customize up to 280 items from the Xperia Android interface in a variety of styles.
Furthermore, Sony's native Android apps, such as Messaging, MyXperia, Smart Connect, Small apps, TrackID, TrackID TV, Sony Select, Smart Social Camera have received updates as well, while the Media apps (Walkman, Album, and Movies) are now integrated with Sony Entertainment Network and PlayMemories. There is also a "What's new" app with its own homescreen widget, that serves as a recommendation engine for apps, media and feeds.
The Z2 interface overlay, however, offers a few more functionality improvements than the Z1, like DoubleTap to Wake, and a Smart Call function that lets you answer calls with gestures, as well as new extras in the camera interface, which we will list below. With the Xperia Z2 you are finally able to answer a call by just bringing the phone to your ear. The feature is enabled from the Smart call handling setting on the Z2, and has been present on phones from other manufacturers for a while now, just as the double-tap-to-wake option, so Sony is just bringing its flagship up to speed here.
Processor and memory
When it comes to 3D gaming and multitasking, the Z2 takes the helm in processing power, but still you won't be disappointed from both Sony phones' performance.
The screen is not the only thing that's better in the Z2, compared to the Z1. Sony's finest comes with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset with LTE support, paired with the fair 3 GB of RAM, while in the Z1 we have 2 GB. In comparison with the 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 in the Z1, the 801 chip comes with 14% faster Krait 400 processor cores, and 28% faster Adreno 330 graphics. Even more important - we have dedicated image signal processors with it, for a 45% improvement in camera sensor processing speed, allowing Sony some new image and video capture trickery that the Z1 doesn't have.
When it comes to the interface and apps, both handsets perform well, without noticeable lag or hiccups, though the Z2 appears slightly more fluid in everyday interaction. Its graphics performance scores much higher on the standard benchmarks, though, while heavy 3D games like Aspahalt 8 also seem to load faster, and run with richer graphics. Sony starts you off with 16 GB of storage on the handsets (12 GB user-available), but offer a microSD slot for memory expansion, too.
Internet and connectivity
The Z2 sports more LTE bands than the Z1, including the ones for US carriers.
Sony uses Android's default Chrome browser on the Z1 and Z2, whose performance is seamless when it comes to panning, scrolling or zooming on both handsets. Granted, we have a slightly lower pixel density on the Z2, but it can't be noticed while reading small text in the browser, for instance, as 424ppi is still plenty enough for any purpose.
The phones offer up to 42 Mbps HSPA+ download speeds with pentaband support, which includes the 1700 MHz spectrum of T-Mobile in the US as well. They also have 4G LTE modems, which in the case of the Z1 is octa-band, while the Z2 throws in two extra bands for US carrier support from the get-go. The handsets also offer a rich set of other wireless connectivity options, too, such as Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, and Miracast connectivity, plus NFC. Wired connectivity is supplied via the MHL port at the left side of the handsets for TV-out purposes.