Sony Xperia Z2 review – A worth upgrade

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Last month we tested out Sony Xperia Z1 compact, now we got hands-on with Sony’s flagship device Xperia Z2 for review. The Xperia Z2 makes almost zero compromises – on screen, sound, camera or battery life. So it’s perfect, right? Well, let’s check it out.

BOX CONTENT

  • Sony Xperia Z2
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Earphones
  • Charger
  • User manual

DESIGN & BUILD

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Without looking closely, it’s hard to distinguish the Xperia Z2 from the Xperia Z1. Both phones use a distinctive rectangular slate design with smooth glass (or glass-like plastic) on both sides and a series of flaps around the edges. There’s a camera in the top-left corner of the back panel, flanked by branding, and the display sits in the middle of the front. The dock connector also can be seen on the left side of both.

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In Sony’s tradition, the Z2 is still IP certified, dust and waterproof. That’s why the glass surfaces are still covered by a thin plastic film out of the box, but one that’s hardly intrusive. And that’s why the main ports are still protected by plastic caps, which feel somewhat better made than on the Z1 though.

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Here is a short waterproof test video.

There’s no doubting the Xperia Z2 is a well-constructed, strong device that uses high quality materials. It still sits behind the aluminium-clad HTC One M8 in terms of overall look and feel, but the premium aesthetics are present, as they should be for an expensive high-end smartphone.

A dedicated camera button down below the volume rocker is also welcome, allowing you to use the smartphone’s camera as you would a point-and-shoot.

HARDWARE

Sony Xperia Z2 packs with Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. It’s a top of the range processor which offers a fluid interface experience with no noticeable lag. At moments I had dozens of apps open at once with no problem at all.

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There’s also 3GB of RAM inside here to help the processor out, which is a noticeable upgrade compared to the Xperia Z1′s 2GB.

You get 16GB of storage onboard(11.6GB of space usable) and then there’s microSD support all the way up to 128GB. Not all the manufacturers offer microSD support that high but ofcourse it’s an extra expense on what you’ve already spent on the handset itself.

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Connectivity wise you’ve got your standard microUSB cable to charge and connect to your desktop computer when necessary. All the usual options are here including Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11. The Sony Xperia Z2 is a quad-band 3G and 2G device but sadly, the model sold in India does not support 4G.

Sony packed 3,200mAh battery inside Xperia Z2.

CAMERA

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Sony prides the Xperia range on one seriously impressive camera. It featured on the Xperia Z1 and has returned for the Z2 after rave reviews; a 20.7MP shooter.

It’s a seriously impressive set up when compared to a number of the other flagship phones and can only really be beaten by Nokia’s Lumia range. The camera is much the same as what was seen on the Xperia Z1 with the same Exmor RS sensor, an f/2.0 aperture and sensor size at 1/2.3″.

This time around some improvements have been made to the video including some beautiful 4K recording. It’s a shame that the screen isn’t in 4K so you won’t experience the full benefit unless you rig it up to a 4K TV, but it’s useful to start filming your home movies in 4K ready to play on a 4K screen at home.

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The Z2 has an an easy-to-use camera app, smooth HD video skills and plenty of settings and effects to play with. I quite liked the dedicated shutter button, being used to one on my Windows Phone, but the button is slightly awkward and ironically induced a shake sometimes while clicking photos.

The front camera is 2.2MP and the selfies come out fine.

SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE

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Once you take the Sony Xperia Z2 out of the box and set it all up you’ll be running on Android 4.4.2 straight away. On top of that you’ll also get Sony’s own special user interface overlay. The launcher supports theming and even allows changing icons, accent colours, and navigation buttons. The optimizations that Android 4.4.2 introduced and the internals of Xperia Z2 translate into a fast and snappy user experience and performance that matches most flagships. Sony’s mini apps – they float on the top of the open app in a small window – such as note app and calculator are available on Z2. These apps are useful.

Here is a short hands-on video

We did not notice any user interface lag on this phone. The device handled web browsing, social media use and multi-tasking with ease. GPS in the phone works well. The device also played most of our 1080P videos with ease. Some video formats that could not be played with default player were handled fine by third-party apps like MX Player.

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By default Sony has installed a lot of apps. This is both good and bad. Good because you get apps like Facebook, Twitter and File Commander preinstalled. Bad because if you want, you cannot uninstall them. Though, you can disable them. Then there are apps like BigFlix, Sony Jive (a rather limited music store for streaming songs), Sony Select (an app store) and WisePilot (a navigation app). We didn’t find these apps useful. They just add to the clutter and are unnecessary.

VERDIT

So at the end of the day, the Xperia Z2 is no-doubt the best Smartphone Sony has delivered to-date. It’s a solid upgrade on an already great handset. Making it thinner, lighter and with an even bigger and better display than before, making it an even better experience. Sony Xperia Z2 cost Rs.44,000 and if you’ve got the money right now though, it is a worthy upgrade to the Z1 and worth investing in just for the few minor changes.

Sony has crafted itself an amazing handset that deserves to be fighting against the Galaxy S5, iPhone 5S, LG’s G3 and HTC’s One M8.

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