Sony Xperia Z2 Review: Everything You Need in a Flagship Smartphone
By on July 16th, 2014

Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, the Sony Xperia Z2 has recently arrived in India. Sony’s flagship smartphones have always pushed the envelope further in terms of design and features, but a few mishits here and there have let them down.

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Design

If you have seen the Xperia Z1, you have seen the Xperia Z2. In terms of design, there are not many differences you will be able to notice at a glance. But that’s a good thing. Sony’s OmniBalance design with a combination of glass and metal looks very premium, and stands out from the crowd. It picks up fingerprints like crazy though. There are three color options like with the Z1 – white, black, and purple.

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The latest iteration is tougher and the company claims that the glass panel on the back is scratch-resistant now. The design’s top notch, and the Z2 is dust-proof as well as water-proof. Sony’s distinctive round power button is in its now-familiar spot in the middle of the right edge and flaps lined with rubber protect the microSD card slot, the microUSB charging port, and the SIM card slot.

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The Xperia Z1 suffered from a poor display with bad viewing angles. That changes now, and the Xperia Z2 boasts of IPS LCD which makes the 5.2-inch 1080p display pretty crisp with great viewing angles. It’s not perfect, and is quite reflective especially in direct sunlight.

Hardware

The Xperia Z2 checks all the boxes on the specifications sheet for a flagship smartphone. Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.3GHz, the Z2 packs in a mammoth 3GB of RAM. There’s 16GB of internal storage, expandable by up to 128GB.

There’s not much you need to talk about the performance. The UI and navigation is as smooth as it gets, while multitasking and app startups are a breeze. There’s no lag in the overall user experience, and no stuttering while playing graphic-intensive games. I noticed it getting hot sometimes when pushed harder though.

One of the understated highlights of the phone is its battery backup. The 3,200mAh battery lasts for the entire day with several calls, and continuous 3G or Wi-Fi use with GPS turned on. That’s pretty impressive, and arguably the best performance in the current crop of flagship Android smartphones.

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Camera

The Sony Xperia Z2 prides itself on its 20.7-megapixel camera. You’d only get that resolution in the manual mode though as the auto-mode defaults to 8MP. The photos in good light conditions are brilliant and vivid, with good color reproduction. In low light though, there’s considerable noise. There’s not optical image stabilization, which is a bummer.

Again, the camera is not perfect, but it’s no downer as well. If you know your way around manual settings, you’d be able to click pretty good photos. There’s also the ability to shoot 4K videos, pretty much a nice novelty on the list.

Among several effects that Sony packs in, background defocus is an interesting one allowing photos with a subject in focus and background blurred. Although, it’s pretty much a trick. The camera doesn’t sense the depth, but takes two photographs and then blurs everything except the subject. While you can select the intensity and pattern of the blur, it’s not a smooth process and the option has to be selected before clicking the photo, and not added after it has been clicked.

Software

Powered by Android 4.4 KitKat, the user experience it pretty much stock Android with some UI customizations. In most cases, that’s not a bad thing, but you’d miss the more functional implementations in notifications or settings like in Samsung or LG flagships.

There’s of course too many Sony apps, some of which like Jive for unlimited music downloads are good to have but are too, for the lack of a better phrase, in the face. There’s also Sony Liv that offers a number shows from Sony’s television channels. The ‘What’s New’ widget throws up updates about Sony content and services, and pretty much annoys and eats up data. It’s the first one you should get rid of.

Summary

Sony Xperia Z2 is a significant improvement over the Z1, and the water-proof feature is a terrific addition to the feature list. Sony has also almost got the display right this time, and offers a terrific battery life.

While Sony covers all bases for a flagship smartphone, there’s no standout, marketing pitch like the fitness features of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the dual-camera system of the HTC One (M8). If that doesn’t bother you, and in most cases, it shouldn’t, Xperia Z2 is a good buy if you are looking for a top-end Android smartphone. Launched at ₹49,990, the price has dipped a little since then.

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Product Reviewed: Sony Xperia Z2

Review By: Abhishek Baxi
Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, the Sony Xperia Z2 has recently arrived in India. Sony’s flagship smartphones have always pushed the envelope further in terms of design and features, but a few mishits here and there have let them down.
Rated: 4/5
Author: Abhishek Baxi
Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.

Abhishek Baxi has written and can be contacted at abhishek@techie-buzz.com.

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