Sony Xperia Z2 Review
Sony continues to improve on the Xperia Z concept they introduced about two years ago. Today, the 3rd-generation Xperia Z2 has surpassed almost all aspects of the original blueprint while maintaining that distinct signature. Check out our full review of the Sony Xperia Z2 after the break.
The Xperia Z2 followed the same design philosophy that Sony used in the Xperia Z, Xperia Z1 and the Z1 Compact so at first look, there might not be much difference to easily distinguish them from each other (unless of course you look closer).
We didn’t have the chance to own the Xperia Z but eventually got the Xperia Z1 last year. The Z2 introduced some refinements and probably more polished in the engineering side that’s very subtle to notice.
Design and Construction.
Coming in at 5.2-inches, the Xperia Z2 almost had the same size and profile of its predecessor. It it slightly taller but slimmer but until you put them side by side, you’d have very hard time to tell which one is which. That being said, we can only say that perhaps Sony has perfected their desired look of what a flagship Xperia smartphone should be.
All of the physical buttons are found on the right side — the signature power button, the volume controls and the dedicated camera shutter button all lined up on the right side of the device. The slot for the microSD card is also along the same side.
On the left side is the slot for the microSIM card and the microSUB port, both of which are covered with the water-proof flap. The two external contact points are found along the same side which is used for the optional charging cradle.
At the top end is the 3.5mm audio port that’s covered by a fine layer of oleo-phobic coating to prevent water seepage for a limited time and pressure.
The glass on glass design still looks very luxurious and elegant but be prepared for that consistent look of smudges and fingerprints all over the surface (both surface for that matter).
And while we know Sony uses some type of scratch-resistant glass, we’re still wary that an unprotected device will eventually meet its match (and this happened twice with our Xperia Z1 which now suffers several scratches on both sides after a few days in our gadget bag).
Our suggestion is get a simple flip cover or gel case and just remove them whenever you feel like jumping into the swimming pool with the phone.
Nevertheless, we think Sony has one of the most unique designs in a flagship smartphone in this very crowded and competitive mobile market. It’s both simple and beautiful; feels delicate yet at the same time also resistant.
Being one of the top producers of TV displays int he world, Sony has leveraged its development of the Triluminous display and employed the same with their smartphone. The Xperia Z2 is among the few they’ve used it so far.
This produced great results in terms of color quality, depth, contrast and clarity of the display. Couple that with a full HD resolution and you have an impressive combo. We noticed very rich, deep dark colors with a balance of saturation that makes images looked very natural.
We liked the idea that not only can you adjust the brightness of the display but also the white balance (by giving you manual control of how warm or cold the white screen should be with an RGB slider).
The large display makes it more ideal for web browsing, watching movies and playing mobile games. One thing we noticed with Xperia handsets for some time now is that the bezels are quite thick, starting with the Xperia Z and followed by the Z1.
It is more narrow now with the Xperia Z2 but still noticeable compared to a lot of other handsets. Then, we realized that all those wasted space are not really wasted especially when you hold the device in the landscape position and play with an immersive game or use the handset under-water to take photos/videos.
OS, Apps and UI.
The Z2 came with Android Kitkat right out of the box and along with it, all the optimizations and features added by Google. Sony added a slew of enhancements, of course — like smart backlight, glove mode, double-tap to wake, LED notification,
The UI is simple an uncluttered, even the shortcuts from the dropdown settings menu at the top. The standard soft buttons at the bottom corner are Back, Home and Recent Apps with another row of shortcuts to most frequently used apps right on above it.
The App Drawer has some simple yet clever app management filter which allows you to arrange all the apps alphabetically, by recency or frequency of use. It can be confusing at first but works really well once you get used to the idea.
The interface is clean and simple, the same UI as with the Z1. Where Sony placed a lot of effort is in the multimedia where the Walkman app, the Album and Movies all have visual cues and refinements.
Multimedia and Camera.
One of the things we did not like with the older Xperia Z1 is that the speakers are a bit muffled. It was obviously a drawback from the water resistance feature of the handset.
Sony seemed to have fixed that little bugger altogether as we didn’t notice the same on the Z2. Sound quality is very good, volume is quite high for both videos and music, and there’s some presence of bass.
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Sony also boasts of their phone camera and we agree that it’s one of their biggest strengths even way back in the days of the Sony-Ericsson Xperia Arc with but a few misses in between.
The camera has a plethora of features that one can hardly use but they’re there just in case you fancy them. It has 8x digital zoom, HDR capability for both photos and video, image stabilization, object tracking, smile shutter, face detection, burst mode and video capture at 4k resolution.
Sony started off with their Xperia smartphone as both water and dust resistance, an effort that paid off a lot and also being emulated by the likes of Samsung in their Galaxy S5. This direction create a solid following for the Xperia that is dominated by folks who are more outdoorsy and tend to get their hands dirty.
The IP55/58 rating allows you to submerge the device under fresh water down to 1.5 meters deep and up to 30 minutes. It can also survive jets of stream at certain tolerable pressure. The flaps need to be sealed tight, otherwise the warranty might be voided.
Performance and Benchmarks.
With a powerful Snapdragon 801 chip, the Xperia Z2 can chomp up anything we throw at it. Paired with 3GB of RAM, the unit feels very snappy and responsive, a workhorse of a smartphone. There’s actually minimal performance improvements compared to the Z1 but it’s still an improvement, nonetheless.
The scores that we got from our suite of benchmark tools showed impressive results.
Antutu Benchmark: 32,310
Quadrant Standard: 18,113
Nenamark 2: 59.9fps
Vellamo: 1,704 (Multicore), 2,350 (Chrome), 1,426 (Metal)
3DMark: 17,728 (Ice Storm Unlimited)
The number are pretty impressive and is within the same range as other flagships we’ve reviewed before it, like the HTC One M8 and the Galaxy S5.
We enjoyed any and all games we’ve downloaded from the Google Play Store and have not encountered any lags with playing them.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.
While the IP58 certification doesn’t really allow you to make calls while underwater, it’s always a nice thought that you can still see if someone is calling or testing you while taking the phone on the beach or the swimming pool.
Overall, call quality is very good. Reception is clear and crisp. The all-glass body didn’t seem to interfere with radio signals so we get good WiFi and cellular signal strength. Sony also added features like noise suppression and voice enhancement to the mix.
As for connectivity, Sony is looking at making all of their products inter-connect smoothly and, as such, makes a lot of effort in this department. It does all of the usual options like WiFi, LTE, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth but there’s more — MHL, DLNA and Miracast with features like screen mirroring.
As for battery life, the Z2’s 3,200mAh internal battery is one of the largest we’ve seen in any flagship handset. Couple with battery-saving features, that also translated to a more robust battery life. The handset managed to last us about a day and a half (1 day, 16 hours) with normal use (WiFi on and all the usual social media apps running).
In our standard battery bench, the Xperia Z2 managed to last 12 hours running a video loop at 50% brightness and 0% volume. That’s among the highest we’ve seen so far.
It is no doubt that Sony has close to perfected the Xperia Z2, both in the design and hardware aspects. It is definitely gorgeous, plays well with other connected devices especially that of Sony, with a camera to be really proud of and the hardware performance to boot.
It might not be a huge jump from the Xperia Z1 but definitely a well-spent upgrade if you’re coming from the Xperia Z.
With a suggested retail price of Php33,990, the Xperia Z2 is positioned as a top-notch, premium flagship smartphone.
Sony Xperia Z2 specs:
5.2-inch Triluminous display @ 1080×1920 pixels, 424ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz quad-core processor
Adreno 330 Graphics
16GB internal storage
up to 64GB via microSD
LTE 100Mbps (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
ANT+ wireless technology
GPS with aGPS support
20.7MP rear camera, f/2.0, 1/2.3-type Exmor RS
Li-Ion 3,200mAh battery
Android 4.4 Kitkat
163 grams (weight)
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm (dimensions)
What we liked about it:
* Beautiful and unique design
* Impressive hardware
* Great performance
* LTE capable
* Long battery life
* Water and dust resistant
* Great camera performance
What we did not like:
* A bit unwieldy
* More prone to scratches