Smartphones are usually about compromise. We all want a huge hi-resolution screen, excellent camera, quad-core power and long battery life, all squeezed into something a few millimetres thin. The problem is that some of these requirements are mutually exclusive, unless you’re Sony and are about to unveil the Xperia Z2. A casual look reveals a handset with very few compromises on any of these vital parameters. We take a closer look to see if it really is possible to have the best of everything in this top of the range smartphone.
Premium materials feature heavily in the Z2’s casing, obviously drawing inspiration from Apple’s iPhone 5S. In fact if wasn’t for the HTC One M8 it would easily be the classiest Android phone around. Unfortunately we feel it is (albeit only just) trumped by the HTC and its all metal unibody design. Don’t let this put you off though as it is beautifully finished, with slightly rounded corners and a glass back with machined aluminium edges. These high quality materials mean that the Sony is heavier than something like the Samsung S5 but we don’t see this as a bad point. In fact the weight adds an air of solidity to the experience.
Compared to the Xperia Z1 it manages to squeeze a larger screen (although only 0.1 inches) into a lighter body whilst maintaining the IP55/58 water resistance rating.
The only problem we have with the design is from an ergonomic point of view. The sheer size coupled with relatively square corners and that hard glass back makes it difficult to handle with one hand. Even the larger Galaxy Note 3 feels easier to manage due to it more shapely contours and gripper materials.
We’d recommend you call into a store and handle the device for your self before committing to any deals on this smartphone.
The Xperia Z1 screen was big, colourful and sharp but suffered from poor viewing angles. We’re please to report that this issue has been all but solved on the Z2, with the new 5.2in IPS display sporting much improved off axis viewing.
Thanks to the Live Colour LED technology the colours and contract seem even better than its predecessor. Everything from 1080p videos to Apps and web pages look crisp and clean with text particularly legible.
If we’re looking for problems we could highlight a slight lack of brightness compared to the Galaxy S5 whilst the glossy glass screen did tend to reflect quite a lot of light, not to mention showing up both fingerprints and specks of dust.
We should also mention Sony’s X-Reality engine, a feature designed to enhance picture quality. We felt it was too aggressive leaving colours looking over saturated and just a little unnatural. Note that this feature is switched on as default, although it can be turned off. If you choose the Xperia Z2 as your next smartphone we would recommend doing this as well.
Despite the above minor criticisms this is a stunning screen and one of the best ever seen on a mobile device.
Thanks to the HTC One, people have realised how good smartphone speakers can be and how poor most actually are.
Sony has taken note and moved the speakers to the front of phone, a much better location as it allows them to fire sound directly at the user. Whilst they are not earth-shatteringly loud the quality is definitely there.
Even though we have only dealt with the screen, design and audio capabilities, we can confidently say that the Sony Xperia Z2 is one of the best smartphones ever released. This conclusion includes all smartphones meaning the Z2 really takes the fight to the iPhone 5s.
Which ever smartphone you might be considering, the Sony deserves making it onto your shortlist.
Look out for our next article that deals with the Z2’s processor, battery, camera and software.