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We all have reached a stage where we can no longer live without a smartphone haven’t we? It’s a necessity for some while a status symbol for others. Observing this opportunity, handset manufacturers try to compete using design as an important factor because this is what it matters after specifications or in some cases before specifications. Sony launched the third iteration to its flagship smartphone series, with the Xperia Z2 got a lot more excitement amongst us since we always loved the Xperia Z series design and build along with the additional accessibility of it being water proof which we could barely took advantage of in a city like New Delhi, India. With the improved design and better features, Xperia Z2 turns out to be on the upper edge of our smartphone of the year comparison. Want to know why? Find out the details below.

Design and Build

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Starting with the Xperia Z which was the first smartphone launched by Sony which was waterproof and dust proof with a design that actually grows upon usage. At the first glance it might look as a rectangular slab but later with days of usage you slowly seem to like the design. There were some of the drawbacks in Xperia Z design like the pointy edges which were fixed in Xperia Z1 and have been improved in Xperia Z2. The design language is evolving making it easy to handle without compromising on looks. The Xperia Z2 looks beautiful especially in the variety of color options, one of our personal liking being the purple one which we also got for review.

The build of the smartphone is sturdy with Gorilla glass protection on front and back. This though makes it shatter proof but there’s always a little belief that it might crack on mishandling by someone if not by you. The design language does not look much different compared to the Xperia Z1 which was the predecessor in the lineup. The aluminum frame, little slimmer and a little lighter though it has increased in length by 2.8mm. The handset weighs 163 grams and measures 8.2mm in thickness.

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It comes with IP58 certification which should protect it down to a depth of 1.5m for up to half an hour in fresh water and makes it dust proof. To achieve this, Sony has used strong rubber edged covers on all the external ports. The camera has a safe glass covering on the top allowing it to work underwater.

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The front has the Sony branding on the top along with the 2.2MP secondary camera and ambient light sensor on either side along with the earpiece. There is a fancy color coded notification LED right on the top of the earpiece which adds to the looks when blinking. We feel this is one of the best placement pattern for a LED breaking the conventions and still adding the accessibility. The stereo speakers are also placed on the front below and above the display.

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The back has clean with Sony branding in the middle and the 20.7MP camera on the back with LED flash. The left side has the MHL port and the microUSB port while the right side houses the volume rocker, power/standby button and the microSIM card and microSD card slot.

Display

The Sony Xperia Z2 packs a 5.2-inches full HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen Triluminous display with 16 million colors. The display is powered by X-Reality Engine and supports 1080×1920 pixels resolution with 424 pixel density. It can handle multi touch supporting up to 10 fingers thereby adding scope for gestures. The display is quite bright and colors look rich and vivid. All courtesy to Live Color LED technology which uses blue backlight LED rather than the usual white ones.

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Contrast and viewing angles are excellent on the Xperia Z2. It though makes the interface look lively but the same does not apply for videos or still pictures. This does not mean that the experience is very bad, its just that the competitor is slightly better in this respective case. The display is very sharp and the X-reality engine which was earlier made for television screens jazzes the experience. You can also tweak the white balance of the display setting to warm or cool depending upon how you like. Its better to stay away, unless you know what you are doing.

The ambient light sensor works pretty well when it comes to automatic brightness control. The reflective screen though somehow try to hamper the visibility but there’s enough light being emitted that it is comfortable to deal with outdoor use.

Hardware:

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The Sony Xperia Z2 packs the top notch specifications that should be in a 2014-aged smartphone. It comes with Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2.3GHz Quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. It comes in 16GB capacity and supports external microSD card up to 128GB. On the connectivity front, it supports a HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps, LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi hotspot along with Bluetooth v4.0 and NFC. The microUSB comes with USB OTG (on-the-go) functionality which allows flash drives or external inputs to directly communicate with the smartphone.

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Software:

Sony has a very lively user interface which they have been progressively improving with the Android release. The Sony Xperia Z2 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and can be expected to update with upcoming releases in the future. There were some of the changes under the hood which adds on the stability of the operating system.

Screenshot Sony Xperia Z2

Keeping things clean, Sony’s Android skin is one of the beautiful and loved by the users around the globe. There are some of the things which can be implemented better learning from the custom ROMs. The multimedia applications on the Sony handsets are very well designed. The Walkman app which is the music player has to be in this list, along with Albums which is a gallery replacement for Android.

Overall the experience is quite pleasant and we think would satisfy all sorts of users who opt for this smartphone.

Camera:

Sony Xperia Z2 features a 20.7MP rear camera which we had seen on the Xperia Z1. Though the hardware still remains with its 27mm wide angle G Lens, f/2.0 aperture and an Exmor RS BSI 1/2.3” sensor but with an year passed between Sony has done something to make it look better.

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The Xperia Z2 can shoot 4K videos which is a huge feature for a smartphone camera. Though this is still not that exploited as most of us don’t have 4K panels to watch that content hence making users stay with the Full HD recording. The image quality from the smartphone is okayish. To be honest it varies a lot with the environment.

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Forget the low light, you might even struggle with well lit conditions to get a perfect shot but then it also depends on how you handle your camera. The manual mode on the smartphone is not as good as the one on Nokia or HTC handsets.

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To mention we were able to get some great clicks as well depending on the situations. Sony has also packed in some of the accessibility shooting modes and advanced features like Augmented Reality mode and Background Defocus which adds the trending Bokeh effect to your pictures.

Performance

The Sony Xperia Z2 packs a 3200mAh battery which with the power efficient Snapdragon 801 chipset gives an amazing battery backup. Battery drain on this device was astonishingly low allowing the smartphone to stay up for longer periods. It could easily give a day on extensive usage sometimes even better.

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The smartphone has 16GB of onboard storage but we know this memory is not user accessible. It gives about 12GB of free storage which can be used for applications or mutimedia content. Alike the competitors there is no IR blaster on this device maybe due to design constraints but it is a good nifty add-on to have on a smartphone.

Though the benchmark scores are lower than the rivals but the performance is absolutely top-notch. We barely found anything to complain. Yes, there is a heating issue which should be fixed very soon. In places like Delhi, where the heat is soaring every smartphone feels like having some issue with the heat rising its temperature on usage. Sony Xperia Z2 having an unibody design is effected by the same but there is an heating issue because the abnormal rise in temperature tends to abort some of the functionalities like camera until the device temperature lowers down.

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Verdict:

Sony Xperia Z2 is the flagship smartphone of the year 2014, and an iteration to the last year’s Xperia Z1. The handset is definitely an improvement with better specifications, display, design and features. It is a flagship well done. There is still room for improvement which we think Sony shall act upon with time.

Sony bundles a lot of offers with the Xperia Z2 like the Smartband, a smart cover and free content from their streaming service which adds on to the value. Solving the above mentioned heating issue the smartphone is a good buy and a top contender for the best smartphone of the year 2014.

Pros:

  • Hardware
  • Display

Cons:

  • Lack of IR sensor
  • Camera

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