Sony Xperia Z2 review
Sony proves that big really is beautiful - the Xperia Z2 provides a long-lasting alternative to Samsung and HTC
Review Date: 14 May 2014
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £446 (£535 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Smartphones are steadily swelling to pocket-stretching proportions, and Sony’s latest flagship, the Xperia Z2, is no exception. The Sony Xperia Z2 fully embraces the bigger-is-better mantra, edging fractionally ahead of premium rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 with a massive 5.2in screen and pixel-packed 20.7-megapixel camera. See also: what's the best smartphone of 2014?
Sony Xperia Z2 review: Design and features
With the design of the Z2, Sony hasn’t strayed far from the design of its predecessor the Xperia Z1, or its diminutive stablemate the Xperia Z1 Compact, and that’s no bad thing. Glass plating shimmers across the front and back of the handset, and the flattened metal edges darken into curved strips of grey and black as they arc around the phone’s circumference. Compared to the rather underwhelming exterior of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony’s design is altogether classier.
Beneath that pretty exterior, the Xperia Z2’s 163g body remains just as tough and resilient as ever. Corning’s Gorilla Glass is notable by its absence – instead, Sony has made do with a generic “scratch-resistant” glass on the front and back – but the phone’s aluminium skeleton means the Z2 still feels solid and well built.
It’s also waterproof. Look around the edges, and you’ll see pop-out flaps on either flank sealing in the microSD, SIM card and USB connections. The handset’s IP58 rating means the Xperia Z2 can survive a swim in 1.5m of (fresh, not salt) water for up to 30 minutes. And should you leave the flaps open, onscreen reminders badger you to seal them closed before venturing into the great outdoors.
In fact, there’s very little missing from the Xperia Z2’s feature list. There are no pointless fripperies such as heart-rate monitors (we’re looking at you, Samsung), but Sony has ticked all the important boxes with support for up to 150Mbits/sec Cat 4 4G connections, dual-band 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4 and NFC. And while it’s disappointing that Sony hasn’t managed to accommodate a removable battery, the massive 3,200mAh unit sealed inside bodes well for battery life.
Sony Xperia Z2 review: Display
Up front, Sony has squeezed in an excellent 5.2in display. Its Full HD resolution makes for crisp, pin-sharp images, and it’s easy to believe Sony’s claims that the new Triluminos panel has a wider colour gamut than the previous model. The IPS panel’s even-handed colour reproduction helps to serve up lively yet natural-looking images, dredging up detail right across the colour spectrum, and it deftly reproduced even the trickiest of our test images. If there’s a weakness to the Sony’s performance, it’s that the IPS panel’s black level is a touch high: blacks appear noticeably grey next to the inky nothingness served up by the AMOLED screen of the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Technically, the Xperia Z2’s display isn’t quite as bright or high-contrast as the best handsets, but it’s not far off. We measured a maximum brightness of 411cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 1,245:1. Just like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Xperia Z2’s backlight only really struggles in strong, direct sunlight. Here, the HTC One M8’s display remains more legible thanks to the extra potency of its LED backlighting.
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