The latest addition to the Sony Xperia Z family, the Xperia Z2 combines a good, if predictable design, with some very good hardware on paper. However, the big question is if these will enable it to compete against some very high-profile devices.
Right out of the Xperia Z family Sony had introduced a new design ethic with its first Xperia Z device, encasing it in glass on both sides and making it dust and water resistant. Well, that tradition continues with the Xperia Z2. From the glass front and back to the spherical display/ power on/off button, there is no way in which this could be mistaken for anything but a member of the Xperia Z range. Which is not a bad thing really, as the design still looks very good. The phone is built on a single aluminium frame with rounded edges. The front is jet black and is dominated by a 5.2-inch full HD display with no hardware buttons whatsoever. The left side houses the microUSB port and SIM card slot, both of which are below a cover. The top has a 3.5 mm audio jack while on the right hand side reside a covered microSD card slot, power and display on/off button, the volume rocker and – this remains a Sony touch – a dedicated camera button. The back is smooth and bears the Sony logo with the 20.7-megapixel camera with LED flash in the top left corner. We got the black model of the Z2 to review and while it did not represent a major break away from Sony’s traditional Xperia Z design, we thought it looked classy in an understated manner. At 8.2 mm, the phone is definitely on the slimmer side although at 146 mm, it is on the longer side and at 163 grammes, no lightweight either.
The hardware beast Beneath the traditional Xperia Z range beauty lies an equally traditional hardware beast. Sony has not held back on the hardware of most of its Xperia Z devices and the Z2 is no exception. It features a 5.2-inch full HD Triluminos display, and is powered by a quad core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, allied with 3GB RAM (more than that seen on the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5). Storage stands at 16 GB and is expandable using a micro SD card. And then, there is the camera, which is a 20.7-megapixel affair, and which Sony claims comes with a larger sensor than those seen in most smartphones and is also capable of shooting 4K video. Running on top of this is Android 4.4.2 (Kit Kat) with Sony’s relatively non-intrusive interface placed on top.
A multimedia dream It has excellent hardware and a good design but where the Xperia Z2 really scores is in multimedia. The display is the best we have seen on a Sony mobile device and is great for viewing videos and browsing the Web. The hardware muscle means that this device can handle pretty all high-definition games (be it GTA or Shadowgun) with a degree of ease. And then there is the camera. If we had been a bit underwhelmed by the shooters on the Z and the Z1, we must confess to being very impressed by the camera on the Z2. Although not the greatest performer in low light conditions (the Lumias are masters there), it was brilliant in daylight and well-lit areas. Sony has thrown in some very handy shooting options as well, not least of which is the option to record in slow motion. The phone does seem to heat up a bit while using the camera, though. Sound quality is brilliant on headphones although a bit on the lower side on the loudspeaker. Battery life is decent – we got through a day of heavy usage. Sony also needs to be commended for steering clear of the temptation to add bells and whistles to its interface, making it one of the easiest ones to use.
The SmartBand factor There is more to the Xperia Z2 than specs, software and design. Sony is bundling a smart cover with it and more significantly, its SmartBand as well. This is a device that you wear on your wrist and which records your activities and literally provides you with a profile of how your day went. You can get information about calories, distance travel-led and even message and mail notifications on it. It is neat, compact and unobtrusive and makes no attempt to replace your watch (it has no display whatsoever). Priced at Rs 5,990, it comes free of cost with the Z2, which makes it a very handy accessory indeed.
Size: 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm
Weight: 163 grams
Memory: 16GB, microSD
OS: Android OS v4.4
Screen Size: 5.2-inch, Capacitive
Battery: Li-Po 3,200 mAh
Talktime/Standby | Up to 19 hours/Up to 7400 hours
GPRS/3G/BT/WiFi | Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes
Others: 3GB RAM, Sony mix, Xscape, SmartBand
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