Sony Xperia Z2 Review – Now I understand why the smartphone hasn’t been released in the U.S.
When Sony introduced its new Xperia Z2 a few months back at MWC 2014, I was so excited because I thought Sony could make an almost perfect smartphone finally. I was waiting a few months for the phone to be available in the North America market but it keeps being delayed for no reason.
I was so confused, but after I got the chance to use the Sony Xperia Z2 global LTE version (D6503), I understand one of the reasons. The phone is not ready yet. Keep reading my review of the Xperia Z2 for more details.
Design and Build Quality
I totally love design of the Xperia Z2. I am using the purple one and it looks so gorgeous. Sony still keeps its OmniBalance design philosophy on this phone by using minimalistic form. It looks quite similar to predecessors, you can still find tempered glasses on the front and back, beautifully-crafted aluminum buttons on right side, softened edges and aluminum frame running along edges.
This is an appealing design, some people even asked me when I am testing it on the streets. The product images below will tell it all.
Actually this is my first phone in the Xperia Z line, and I’m very surprised with its build quality. This is a solid phone and the joins between glass and metal are seamless. There is also no more anti-shatter film on the screen. over, the Z2 is a completely waterproof phone with its IP55/IP58 rating, this is even better than the Samsung Galaxy S5, so you can take photos and videos underwater (up to 1.5m depth).
The only problem with the design is that the corners are not rounded enough, so I feel a little uncomfortable when holding the phone, especially when this phone is quite big.
I was more tempted to get this phone because it comes with some interesting accessories like a noise-cancelling earphone and a charging dock. However, while the charging dock station works great, I am very disappointed with the included earphone because it is not a noise-cancelling one. I got the mediocre MH410 stereo earphone instead of the MDR-NC31EM.
Interface and User Experience
The Z2 uses the refreshed Xperia UI on top of Android 4.4.2. It works similar to other Android phones out there, and Sony also tries to adds its own apps and services like Walkman, Sociallife News, Music and Video unlimited streaming services (for extra costs) but those services are really junk in my opinion. All I want is just a clean and pure Android, manufacturers are making it worse with their customized UIs. I only used the Xperia Lounge service once when I tried to get free storage from Box and redeem 6 free movies. That’s all. Otherwise, I never thought about moving to the Sony’s content ecosystem.
Thanks to the powerful quad-core 2.3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB RAM, the phone runs very smoothly and I hardly see any performance hiccup. I really can’t imagine how phones could be more responsive and faster in the future. The performance is on par with its rivals like Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.
This is a new section I’ve just added when reviewing phones. I never thought about it until using the Xperia Z2. Its signal reception is horrible for both Wi-Fi and cellular networks. At the time of writing this article, I have no signal on this phone and it says “emergency calls only”. When I use the phone on ATT network, I have no signal at all although the coverage is said to be moderate in my area. The problem never happened before. Even when I changed to T-Mobile, the signal is still very weak and I had some dropped calls actually.
The Wi-Fi connection is not better. In fact, this is the worst reception on all smartphones I’ve used. The Wi-Fi connection is so weak that I have only 1 bar in my house and it often takes a few more seconds to connect to server when I browse web or watch YouTube. This is totally unacceptable for a smartphone released in 2014.
Audio and Display
The Xperia Z2 boasts an IPS LCD display with 1080p resolution. The screen is very crisp and clear with Triluminous technology being used on Bravia TVs. However, I don’t really like the display because it is not really vibrant and bright enough. over, the viewing angle is very narrow, so I almost can’t see the screen when tilting it to the side.
Sony tried to improve audio audio experience by using stereo front speakers, however, the speakers are not just at the same level as the ones on HTC One M8. It is also not better than the mono speaker on Galaxy S5. I haven’t got a chance to try noise-cancelling feature because the earphone is not bundled in the box. Audiophiles might also be interested in the USB support for portable DAC.
Until before using the Xperia Z2, my favorite phone camera is the one on Samsung Galaxy S5 as it is simply the best. My thought still hasn’t changed but it is not because the Z2’s camera is bad. Actually, this is a brilliant camera and even better than S5’s camera in some aspects. The camera app comes with some interesting features like Defocus, Slow-motion video, 4K video or AR Effects. You can check them out in the video playlist below:
I’m just a little disappointed with the autofocus feature when recording video. The camera keeps readjusting FOCUS and you will find it very annoying. It happens more often when I film in low light environment.
One more problem is the placement of the camera module, it is placed on the top left corner, so it is so easy to be blocked by your fingers when you turn it horizontally to take photos.
I really love the dedicated camera button because it could help launch the camera app faster with a long press, and it is also easier to take picture instead of tapping on the screen.
With regard to taking photo, I’ve seen many complaints about the image quality. And I agree with them, the Z2’s camera sucks particularly in auto mode (intelligent mode). The images in auto mode are clear and have a lot of details, however, I don’t like their cool tone. seriously, the images are easily overexposed when taking photo outdoor. over, the images are limited to 8MP when you are using the intelligent mode. To take full advantage of the 20.7 camera, you need to take photos in manual mode. Then you will see the huge difference, you can set the white balance to take warmer pictures, and of course, with more details. Take a look at some image samples:
The battery life of Xperia Z2 is so impressive. A full charge takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. For normal usage, the phone can easily last about 1 day and a half. It can be extended longer when I turn on the STAMINA mode and low battery mode. With the STAMINA mode, the phone can make it through 3 days and with the low battery mode, you can have more 20 hours with just 9% of battery left. The STAMINA mode will restrict hardware performance and disable Wi-Fi and mobile data when the screen is off. The low battery mode is only enabled when the battery if running low, you can set the activation level, as well as functions to turn off, such as Bluetooth, auto-sync, Wi-Fi or GPS.
- Sleek and minimalistic design.
- Earphone and docking station are included.
- Brilliant camera.
- Long battery life.
- The display is dim.
- The earphone is not a noise-cancelling model.
- Camera module placement is not ideal, sometimes it is blocked by your fingers.
- Poor signal reception for both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.
Now, I can partly understand why the Sony Xperia Z2 is being delayed for U.S. release. This is a beautiful device, but it doesn’t perform well as a phone, and some other minor issues will prevent you from buying it. The international unlocked version of Xperia Z2 is available on Amazon for around 630. We are not recommending this phone at the moment.
Disclosure: We might earn commission from qualifying purchases. The commission help keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
I totally agree about the signal reception. I love EVERYTHING about this phone. The look, the feel, the glass on back and front, the speed, the perfect camera. But I get 1 or 2 bars when I’m lucky, in my own apartment. I’ve had at least other phones I’ve used on both T-Mobile and ATT in my same apt, and both got 4 or 5 bars. I’m looking at it now and it fluctuates between 1 and 2 bars. Awful. Good thing I don’t use my “phone” as a “phone” much.
Sony Xperia Z2 review: a marginally better Z1?
Sony has just presented the Xperia Z1 flagship, and this is our Xperia Z2 review. As soon as you see the Z2 you’ll feel like you’re in familiar territory, and indeed you are. The Z2 looks an awful lot like the Z1 and follows the same Omnibalance design language to a tee. The experience is very similar too, so you won’t be seeing any major departures from what worked with the Z1. In this case, the Z2 really feels like an incremental improvement to the Z1 in many ways, with just a few eye-catching additions like 4K video and noise cancelling technology.
Sony Xperia Z2 review
Design and Manufacture
There’s not too much to say about the aluminum and glass design and build quality of the Z2 that you wouldn’t already know from our Xperia Z1 review. The same seamless construction, solid build quality and premium feel is carried over perfectly. Having said that though, there’s not really anything design-wise to get excited about other than the removal of the plastic inner layer between the aluminum and glass on the Z1. The Xperia Z2 is marginally thinner and slimmer than the Z1 but 2.4 mm taller, meaning it can squeeze in a 5.2-inch display compared to the Z1’s 5-inch screen. The Z2 is also over 10 grams lighter than the relatively hefty Z1 (something we noted as a move backwards in our Z1 review). In this regard the Z2 feels how the Z1 should have felt.
The physical camera shutter button returns, as does the trademark Sony power button and all the ports are in Z1 locations (you’ll remember that with the Z1 Compact Sony shifted all the ports to the one side). Sony seems to have back-peddled a little on the notification LED, which is larger and brighter than the Z1 but still housed up top in the earpiece speaker. The Xperia Z2 is just as watertight and dustproof as its predecessor, with an IP55/IP58 waterproof rating – that’s a half hour submerged under a meter and a half of fresh water – and IP5X dust rating.
As far as hardware goes, there’s also not much to report. The Z2 has a marginally faster Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.3 GHz and the same internal and expandable storage options as the Z1. The Xperia Z2 does, however, get a significant RAM boost to 3 GB, putting it on a par with the Galaxy Note 3. The camera hardware is the same too, with that whopping great 20.7 MP shooter – let’s just hope it performs better under test conditions than our experience of both the Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact. I was informed that Sony is not aware of any camera issues on these devices, but for us it’s already two for two.
Of course, the major selling point for the Z2 is 4K video capture at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, playable at lower resolution on the device or at full-resolution on a 4K television via MHL. 4K recording consumes roughly 300-350 MB per minute of recording time. Sony rightfully calls the 4K technology “future-proofing” your videos, even if you can’t watch them now, either on the device or your current TV. Further improvements to recording are made with slow-motion capture at 120 fps. There’s also a minor increase in battery capacity to 3,200 mAh, which will probably be cancelled out by the mild increase in display size.
Display and Sound
Where the display is concerned, it’s a mixed bag. The diagonal increases to 5.2-inches, but maintains the same Full HD resolution, resulting in a lower pixel density per inch. As far as image quality is concerned though the Z2 has a significantly better screen than the rather lackluster Z1, which was and is a big issue with that device. Contrast ratios are improved on the Z2, as are viewing angles, and the result is significant. But really, the Z2’s display is what the Z1’s should have been from the start.
The inclusion of Android 4.4.2 brings transparent system bars which are always nice to see. There’s solid audio through the stereo speakers located on the bottom edge of the device along with the earpiece speaker. The Z2 brings noise cancellation to the mix with Sony’s xLoud Experience and ships with noise cancelling headphones that can be customized to various noisy environments, reducing external noise by 98%. These headphones alone are worth 69 USD/60 EUR if sold separately.
System and UI
There are quite a few UI tweaks thanks to the inclusion of KitKat that we’ll go into in greater detail when we review the device fully, but much of it you would have already seen in the leaked Sirius software video. There’s full support for the Smartband wearable and the Z2 ships with the Lifelog app, which is kind of like an e-diary or private social network that logs absolutely everything you do. While at first it seems a little weird it might have its uses depending on just how much of your social interactions, web searches, music tastes, photography and even WhatsApp commentary you want logged for future reference. You can even watch your life flash before your eyes with a playback feature sort of like a really invasive version of Google’s Auto-Awesome movies.
The camera software has some new additions, like the availability of third-party apps like Vine and Instagram from within the Sony camera app. The software runs smooth as silk and feels nice and responsive, launching the camera quickly and handling transitions and video nicely. However, the Z2 kept crashing when I tried to launch the Anti-Theft app, so it’s not perfect. The Quick Settings are also laid out differently and, along with the status bar icons, are customizable. You’ve also got Glove Mode, X-Reality for mobile and Sony’s Stamina Mode for power management.
The Xperia Z2 feels like a marginally better Z1 – as I said above, it can almost be considered to simply be what the Z1 should have been. It is in no way a significant successor to the Z1 other than for 4K video capabilities; while noise cancelling technology and that better screen is nice, it’s not enough to warrant the “successor” tag in my mind. On the other hand, my colleague Camila Rinaldi feels that the Z2 is significantly different to the Z1 in subtle ways, but perhaps she is more attuned to and forgiving of Sony’s conservative approach. Without a doubt, the Z2 is a better device than the Z1, but anyone looking for a radical departure or serious hardware improvements should look elsewhere. Of course, if you already have a Z1, you’re not really missing out on too much.
What do you think of the improvements in the Z2? Do you think they are enough to count as a flagship successor or simply as a re-released Z1?
The one to beat, doing everything right and excelling in the sound department Tested at £0
What Hi-Fi? Verdict
Bringing as much style as it does substance, the Z2 will not disappoint
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
Sony isn’t short of fantastic smartphones right now, with the Xperia Z2 appearing just six months after its predecessor, the Z1, and only a few months after the excellent Xperia Z1 Compact.
It comes with a bigger screen size, upgraded specs and plenty of techy tricks, so we’re not complaining.
But now that Samsung has matched Sony’s trick of making good-looking smartphones waterproof, Sony has had to dig deep to craft its best smartphone yet – and it’s all there: screen technology, camera smarts and digital noise cancelling.
In many ways, this is a rebooted Xperia Z1 – so if you’re an owner of Sony’s last flagship, you may want to give the upgrade a miss.
But for anyone deciding between this years’ big smartphone launches thus far, the Z2 should definitely be a consideration.
The Xperia Z2 has a striking build – similar to the Z1, but unlike any other smartphone on the market.
This is a large, quite heavy 5.2in device, weighing 163g and coming with an all-glass back and blocky shape; it’s a phone you will feel in your unlike, say, an iPhone 5s.
It’s clearly a premium handset, putting the similarly-priced Galaxy S5’s faux-metal sides to shame.
The only interruptions are the neat flaps covering the microSIM slot and other ports around the phone: there to keep it waterproof in up to one-metre of water.
The headphone jack – as on the Samsung – is sealed internally, so needs no protection.
The Z2 is sturdily built, but thin too at 8.2mm. It can also be an uncompromising design, with no friendly curves; even picking it up from a table can be tricky, despite the slightly raised edges giving your hands something to grip, as does the exposed dock connector on the left hand edge
One further niggle of the Z2: the volume rocker is both shallow and not quite long enough for stubby fingers to hit the correct half, which can get annoying.
Sony might be pushing its 4K TVs, but like the rest of the smartphone manufacturers in 2014, it’s sticking to Full HD for the moment.
What has increased is the size of the Xperia’s screen – from 5in on the Xperia Z1 to 5.2in on the Xperia Z2.
It’s impressive considering it’s a similarly-sized handset that is slimmer than its predecessor, despite a bigger battery to power the larger screen.
Sony has also introduced its Live Color LCD tech to the Xperia Z2 – it uses blue backlight LEDs instead of white.
The X-Reality engine returns too to boost contrast and saturation levels, but as before we’d leave this switched off, otherwise photos and videos look unnaturally vibrant on the phone.
When playing with apps and scrolling through webpages, everything looks very crisp, with good contrast.
Those appalling viewing angles on the Z1 have improved too – they’re still not the best, but now it’s no longer an issue.
The colours might not be as eye-popping as the Galaxy S5, but even on the Sony’s homescreens, fonts look lusciously rich and it’s an eye-catching display.
The Z2 is fairly easy to read outside too, but we wish Sony would crank brightness up a notch – rivals like the S5 are much better when reading emails and composing messages outside on sunny days.
The Z2’s all black, all glass front catches all types of reflections too, which can make using the screen outdoors a chore.
Loading up Full HD movies and TV shows is where the Sony really shines, as ever. This is one of the most refined and accurate smartphone screens you can find.
Like the Xperia Z1, it excels at fine detail; producing lush, detailed textures where rivals fall just short. Watch Planet Earth and you can see every last strand of fur on sleeping leopards.
In The Amazing Spiderman, colours are punchy without being overdone – as long as X-Reality is switched off, and motion is handled beautifully.
The S5’s Super AMOLED tech is capable of producing deeper blacks and cleaner whites than the Z2 – but that’s not to say the Z2 isn’t good here too.
It’s only from side-by-side comparisons that the Samsung and the HTC One M8 have the slight edge over the Sony in this respect.
If you’re impressed by the Sony’s picture, just wait until you hear its sound. Alongside the iPhone, this excels as an on-the-go music playback device.
As with past Xperia smartphones, the Z2 makes Android rivals sound pedestrian with its punchy, engaging sound. Strong dynamics, solid bass, plenty of detail – the Z2 has it all.
Listening to Bastille’s The Rip Tide through our BW P7 reference headphones, timing is precise, vocals are clear and instruments have room to breathe.
The listening experience is as immersive as you can get on a smartphone.
Call quality is also good on the Z2, with the Sony speakers sounding clear.
The stereo ‘S Surround’ speakers have been repositioned on the front of the Z2 to compete with HTC’s best-in-class BoomSound speakers on the One M8.
The Sony’s smaller speakers are relatively powerful but can’t compete with the loud, direct and warm HTC sound just yet though.
There’s some nifty audio tech to try out too. Sony offers digital noise cancelling on the Z2, which works with Sony’s own MDR-NC31EM headset that uses tiny microphones to measure and cancel out exterior chatter.
These noise-cancelling headphones will cost £50, though some retailers may bundle them with the phone. We weren’t so lucky with our review sample.
The Z2 also offers USB support for portable DACs if you want to splash out on a smartphone sound-boosting accessory.
Sony’s 20.7-megapixel camera returns with a slightly bigger sensor, new features like background defocus and the ability to shoot 4K video. Finally, something to watch on that 4K TV.
It’s a very capable main camera on the Z2, but its Superior Auto mode leaves something to be desired.
This isn’t a quick-fire snapper that takes great pictures every time, compared with the iPhone.
You’re limited to 8MP on auto for a start, and though it’s quick to recognise a scene is low-lit, it sometimes has trouble getting the correct exposure and white balance too.
Things are much better in manual mode – the Sony captures natural colours, lots of detail and is particularly good at shooting faces in dim light, so it’s a good choice for indoor snaps.
There are plenty of controls to play around with too for photographers who want to treat their smartphone more like a DSLR.
4K video is smooth and detailed, plus it looks great on the smartphone itself – autofocus does jump around a little, but hopefully Sony software can improve this.
You will be limited to a couple of minutes shooting, as the Z2 heats up a fair bit when shooting footage at this resolution and quits when it has reached its limit.
We’d mainly stick to 1080p, which will take up less space.
OS, music, video
Sony’s sparse Android skin returns; this time, over the latest version of the OS, KitKat.
It offers its own music player, Walkman, Gallery, Album and also its Movies app, which stores your own files, as well as providing quick access to its own excellent Movies Unlimited store.
Its Spotify-rival Music Unlimited is also here and can be found in the Walkman app if you subscribe, but Sony’s attempts to get you to sign up can grate a little.
So does its What’s New curation of content and apps, which is a homescreen widget as default and also an option when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Usually on Android this brings you to Google Now notifications, weather and location-based information – but Sony’s added its own app to this gesture.
Sony Xperia Z2: 5 причин не покупать. Слабые места смартфона Sony Xperia Z2 от FERUMM.COM
Still, with 16GB of storage, none of Sony’s additions take up too much space on the Z2 and they are easily deleted or moved.
A few additions borrowed from rivals enhance the OS experience: you can now tap to wake the Z2’s enormous 5.2in screen, as on the LG G2, rather than using the power button.
Smart Backlight will also keep the screen on when you’re looking at it – a trick borrowed from Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
There’s far fewer of the gimmicks and tricks than seen on Samsung and HTC phones here though.
The one main addition is small apps, which can run as Windows on top of what you’re doing: calculator, calendar, browser and so on. It’s a relaxed approach to Android and one we’re fans of.
Notifications, app drawers, email and contacts all have a clean and clear design that will appeal to fans of stock Android.
Power and battery life
The Z2 does, of course, have plenty of power with a quad-core Qualcomm processor and 3GB of RAM inside.
Everything from multi-tasking to playing back 4K video is handled well, only the occasional use of multiple small apps on top of browsers runs a little slowly.
But it’s mostly smooth sailing.
One area for concern: the Z2 can run hotter than most flagships powered by the Snapdragon 801 processor; you will feel the heat through the back of the smartphone when filming 4K video or playing intensive Android games.
Battery life is equally impressive. The Z2 will last a day’s heavy use thanks to its beefed up 3200mAh battery.
The screen does drain a lot of the battery and you will no doubt have brightness set fairly high throughout the day. So we recommend switching on the Z2’s Stamina mode when you can.
This kills data when the screen is off, with some apps immune if checked in the settings, and is a lifesaver if you’re below 20 per cent and need to make it last.
The Z2 is one of the best Android phones money can buy. Is it the best Android? Possibly.
With that bigger screen, improved performance, enhanced camera, excellent stereo sound and noise-cancelling, it’s outstanding.
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
Jonathan Bray Jon has been tinkering with tech since the days when 128KB was a lot of storage, and games took 20 minutes to load via tape cassette. He’s been smitten ever since, and having decided to forge a career in technology journalism, he’s now been testing, reviewing and dispensing balanced and objective advice for over 20 years. If it’s been released in that time and has some kind of processor, he’s probably tested it.Despite having written about enough PCs, laptops, tablets, routers, smartphones, headphones, graphics cards, monitors, printers, scanners, cameras, cars and Smart tech to fill an Amazon warehouse, his enthusiasm for all things shiny has never waned. Read more February 26, 2014
When Sony unleashed the first Tablet Z back at MWC 2013, it was the thinnest, lightest tablet around; now it’s the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet’s turn to take over. Sony’s new top-end Android tablet is lighter and slimmer than the original, and by a noticeable margin.
In fact, at 426g, the Wi-Fi version of the Z2 weighs a full 69g less than the Z, and itmeasures 0.5mm thinner, at 6.8mm from front to rear. Quite how Sony’s engineers have managed it, we’re not sure.
Fortunately, the Z2’s drastic diet plan hasn’t had a negative impact on build quality. If anything, the Z2 Tablet feels more robust than the previous version, an impression that’s helped by the introduction of a one-piece, grippier soft-touch, matte plastic rear panel.
If there’s a downside to the new finish to the rear it’s that it picks up greasy fingerprints more readily and holds onto them stubbornly. You can see the evidence of this in the photo above. Still, it’s good to see that the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet retains its IP58 water and dust resistance, thanks to sealed flaps all around the edges.
Elsewhere, there are improvements all round. The Z2 Tablet has a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip – the same as its compadre, the Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone – there’s 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. If the latter sounds a bit stingy, don’t worry – the Z2 Tablet has a microSD slot so you can increase storage quickly and easily.
As far as performance is concerned, the tablet’s take on Android 4.4 OS feels responsive and fluid, and gaming performance should be on a par with devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5.
On the connectivity front, the Z2 Tablet benefits from upgraded wireless, with 802.11ac and NFC on board, and there will also be a 4G-compatible version for those who want access to the internet while they’re on the road. As with the Tablet Z, the Z2 has an infrared transmitter on the top, so it can double as a remote control for your TV and set-top box. Along the bottom edge is a docking connector for hooking the tablet up to various accessories, including a backlit keyboard, which will cost around £100.
Elsewhere, the speakers have been moved from the ends to the front, which is an improvement, but the tablet’s cameras see no change at all. Just like the Tablet Z, the Z2 has an 8.1 snapper on the rear, which can also shoot 1080p video at up to 30fps, and a 2.2-megapixel camera facing the front for video calls.
The display remains a 10.1in 1,920 x 1,080 panel, with no distinguishing features as far as we could see, and Sony has also left battery capacity static at 6,000mAh, which is a slight concern, since we weren’t bowled over by the battery life of the Tablet Z.
We have to hand it to Sony’s engineering department, however. It didn’t look like it had anywhere to go with the Z2 Tablet but to boost processing power and add software features. Instead, it has delivered a lighter, slimmer tablet, and added more power and features.
We’ll bring you the definitive review as soon as we get our hands on a review sample, but in the meantime, things are looking good for Sony’s flagship tablet.