Sony Xperia Z2 review
A worthy alternative to Samsung's Galaxy S5
- 20.7MP Camera
- Powerful CPU and RAM
- 4.4 KitKat
- Big in size
Sony’s Xperia Z2 is a genuine contender in the competitive smartphone market. Sony’s hallmarks are all there — the solid camera, excellent screen and refined software. Years of refinement has led to a product where the basics are spot on, and then there’s its competitive advantage: its waterproof credentials.
Price$ 759.00 (AUD)
Sony’s Xperia Z2 is a genuine threat to the flagships from Apple, HTC and Samsung. The camera has 20 megapixels, the screen is Full HD and the smartphone can take on more water than any other flagship. But are these features enough to make the Z2 stand out when the market is this competitive?
Big, black and beautiful
The Xperia Z2 is not a case of love at first sight. Cumbersome proportions and an unnaturally rigid design language prevails here. This design isn’t exactly new from Sony, but over the years the company has made subtle revisions — revisions that greatly improve the feel of the Z2. The corners, for instance, feel more rounded and less recessed for a more comfortable fit in the palm.
Glass remains a premium material featured heavily. It adorns the front and the back elegantly, and gives whatever colour you choose an added sense of depth. The material places emphasis on the smooth panels. It looks simple, but a great deal of work goes into making incongruent electronics form perfectly flat surfaces.
The extra RAM delivers real multitasking benefits
The Xperia Z2’s showpiece is a 5.2in, 1920x1080 resolution screen, which benefits from a mobile version of Sony’s proprietary television software. Having the screen incrementally larger than Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and HTC’s One (M8) lowers the Z2’s pixel-per-inch density to 424. Regardless, the Z2’s screen still proves outstanding in both colour reproduction and touch sensitivity.
Flanking the screen on either side are stereo speakers. The speakers — practically crevices two millimetres wide — nestle right at the top and bottom of the Xperia Z2. They resemble surgical incisions as opposed to familiar speaker grilles and the sound produced is commendable, but it is not better than the Samsung Galaxy S5 and is a far cry from the HTC One (M8).
Then you receive a notification and the top speaker pulses in a wide array of colours.
Picking it up reveals the back of the top speaker is an LED notification strip. White is for an incoming call. Blue is for Facebook. Yellow is for SnapChat. Red is for a flat battery. Green is for a full one. Intelligible design has imbued this humble notification light with lovable charm.Read more: Unbearable wearables: The problem with smartwatches
Note: UniqueMobile, who provided Good Gear Guide with a review unit, is currently selling the Xperia Z2. The article will be updated when Sony provides an Australian unit.
Sony’s tasteful design extends beyond the construction right through to the software. The Xperia Z2 runs a version of Android 4.4 KitKat dressed intuitively in Sony’s custom overlay. The software dons the kind of clean lines modelled by the phone’s hardware. The result is a smartphone that has well defined character inside and out.
Multimedia users will value the software’s fantastic approach to photos and music, which, as far as we’re concerned, are the best multimedia suite of any Android smartphone. Simplistic interfaces are dressed aesthetically and prove highly functional.Read more: Optus integrates direct billing into Google Play store for Android users
The best multimedia suite of any Android smartphone
Take the gallery ‘Album’ for instance. Zooming in or out causes the number of preview icons to increase or decrease — all of this happens quickly and with fun animations. Then there’s the menu, which follows Google’s design language, but because the Android OS used on the Xperia Z2 follows Google’s example tightly, these elements feel like an organic part of the software.
Much of the charm stems from the software’s quick nature, owed in part to the spiffy hardware at work behind the scenes.Read more: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review
Power meets economy
The Xperia Z2 does hardware a little differently to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). Whereas the two rivals have opted for a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM, the Xperia Z2 comes with a 2.3GHZ quad-core CPU and 3GB of RAM. We actually believe the Xperia Z2’s arrangement is better for it. The difference between CPU clock speeds is negligible, but the extra RAM delivers real multitasking benefits, especially as the smartphone ages.
The Xperia Z2 features one of the best smartphone cameras
Internal storage is 16GB, but the expandable microSDXC slot can accommodate a further 128GB of storage. We recommend investing in an expandable memory card if you purchase the Xperia Z2.
Powering the Sony smartphone is a large 3200 milliamp-hour battery backed by efficient power modes. Our testing methodology involves increasing the brightness to max, turning on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and using the smartphone intensively until the battery drains. We used the Xperia Z2 to make phone calls, send texts, take pictures, record videos, play music, watch YouTube videos, download a movie, navigate over GPS and to generate a Wi-Fi hotspot. A full charge under these inefficient conditions kept the smartphone going for more than 18 hours, and even then it had 10 per cent of charge remaining.
When we enabled some of the battery saving modes, automated the brightness and disabled location and Bluetooth when not needed, the smartphone lasted just more than a whole day.Read more: Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review
20.7MP photos, 4K Video
Gracing the rear of the Xperia Z2 is Sony’s renowned 20.7MP camera. Daytime photos are snapped with ease, while the sensor has a fluent understanding of low light situations. Photos of Sydney’s Opera house were taken from a moving ferry, and on the Full HD smartphone screen, they looked better than anything we’ve seen on a smartphone.Read more: Sony SRS-X5 bluetooth speaker review
Today’s smartphones don’t have the storage for 4K
Our tune changed slightly when we blew the photo up to its native resolution. Smartphones tend to exhibit a fair bit of image noise during night time photography. Fortunately the high resolution grants the impression photos captured by the Z2 are clear when they are not enlarged. Rivals like the HTC one (M8) and Apple iPhone 5S don’t have this luxury.
The Xperia Z2 features one of the best smartphone cameras in spite of these shortcomings. We have yet to see a smartphone perform well in every scenario, but the Xperia Z2 sits alongside the iPhone 5S, the Nokia 1020 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 in coming close.Read more: The best Android smartphone of 2014: Samsung vs HTC vs Sony? Read more: When pro features go compact: Sony’s RX100 III point-and-shoot camera
Frankly, we wouldn’t bother with the novelty of 4K
Videos can be recorded in 4K resolution; however, our prototype unit — sourced from overseas — struggled to record these videos due to a shortage of space. It appears more than 2GB of free internal memory is needed for the Xperia Z2 to record video supportive of the data-intensive format. (Sony claims this is not an issue with Australian Xperia Z2s. Good Gear Guide will update this review when we receive an Australian review unit.)
Frankly, we wouldn’t bother with the novelty of 4K. Videos recorded in Full HD and ordinary HD are a fine trade off between pristine quality and fair file sizes. Today’s smartphones might have cameras supportive of 4K, but they don’t have the storage.
Videos recorded in Full HD were rendered with vibrant colour and clarity, even when viewed on a Full HD television. The camera quickly and continually auto-focussed to accommodate a wide range of lighting conditions. Even under water shooting.
Just add water
Sony’s Xperia range has garnered a reputation for surviving encounters with water. The Z2 doesn’t let the Xperia range of devices down with its IP55 and IP58 certification, which makes it resistant to dust and capable of being dunked in freshwater 1.5 metres deep for thirty minutes.
Good Gear Guide thoroughly tested the Xperia Z2’s water credentials. We’re not saying we had a shower with the smartphone, but we’re not-not saying that either. Other tests include holding it under a running tap and keeping it submerged in our test-tank for a cool thirty-one minutes.
Each time the Xperia Z2 emerged without problem. Waterproofing devices is a trick Sony has been doing for a while now — Sony cameras perform it fluently — and with the Xperia Z2, it shows.
Sony’s Xperia Z2 is a genuine contender in the competitive smartphone market. Sony’s hallmarks are all there — the solid camera, excellent screen and mature software. Years of refinement has led to a product where the basics are spot on, and then there’s its party trick.
No other mainstream smartphone can take as much water on as the Xperia Z2. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes close, but not close enough. Whereas Samsung’s flagship does many things well, the Xperia Z2 does all things better.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Xbox One X
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- Sony Xperia XA2 to be Available in Australia
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Belkin
- CES 2018: Belkin Unveils Armada Of New Wireless Charging Solutions
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTIntegration SpecialistNSW
- FTDevOps EngineerVIC
- FTPHP Developer (Codeigniter / Cake)NSW
- CCFront-End DeveloperNSW
- FTMainframe DevelopersOther
- FTOracle DBAOther
- CCProject Administrator OR project coordinatorNSW
- TPSenior Applications Project ManagerACT
- FTTest Manager - InfrastructureOther
- FTSOE ArchitectOther
- TPProcurement ManagerACT
- FTDesktop EngineerOther
- FTLead Salesforce DeveloperOther
- CCSAP Fiori + UI5 ArchitectVIC
- FTICT Solution Architect - Canberra OpportunityNSW
- TPSenior Business Systems AnalystQLD
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- CCMiddleware SpecialistNSW
- FTDigital Producer | High Profile Website | 6 Month ContractOther
- FTTest Analyst - SAP ERPOther
- CCAutomation Test Engineer - BRISBANE BASEDVIC
- TPJunior Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Data & Information ModellingQLD
- CCJunior Cyber Security AnalystACT
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC