Sony Xperia Z2: Glowing reviews for new flagship phone

Early reviews of the Sony's forthcoming premium Xperia Z2 handset are overwhelmingly positive

LAST UPDATED AT 11:42 ON Mon 10 Mar 2014

THE soon-to-be-released Xperia Z2 is an important device for Sony. The Xperia Z did great business for the venerable old Japanese electronics firm when it was released in early 2013, but it was soon overtaken by Samsung's hugely popular Galaxy S4.

Most people agreed that the Z1 update, released just five months ago, was a stop-gap rather than a significant update, so the Z2 arrives as Sony's first real tilt at taking back some of the high-end smartphone market share it has lost over the past year.

Will it be successful? Reviews and hands-on reports have begun to emerge and so far they have been very positive.

Design

The Z2 looks very much like its predecessor, the Z1. In fact, according to Expert Reviews "on first inspection, little appears to have changed". The difference, reviewers say, comes once you pick it up. The Z2 is lighter and slimmer than the Z1, which means "you can comfortably hold it in one hand and still reach the far edge of the screen", notes Expert Reviews. The device is also thinner than before, shaving off 0.3mm off the Z1.

Display

In spite of the streamlined new design, the screen on the Z2 is actually bigger than the Z1 – 5.2 inches compared to the previous phone's five-inch display. To put this into perspective, the top of the range Apple iPhone 5S has a four-inch display, so you are getting over an inch more screen than Apple's flagship with the latest Xperia.

Reviewers agree that the screen is also much brighter than before. PC Pro says that the display delivers "punchy colours and plenty of contrast [which] should fix the washed-out look we've become used to with Xperia devices over the years".

Camera

Cameras have long been one of Sony's strengths, and the Z2's camera is no exception. KnowYourMobile calls it "a thing of beauty". The camera's tech specs are impressive, and it offers 20.7 megapixel photos and 4K video. In a nutshell they offer relatively accurate colours and good aperture (which allows you to take images with nice depth of field). The phone also offers a new slow-motion video capture mode, similar to the slow-mo effect Apple introduced on its latest devices.

Hardware

Beneath the bonnet, the Z2 is a "veritable powerhouse", says tech review website Pocket Lint. This is reflected in the device's "smooth operation".

The phone comes with 16GB storage space inbuilt but also features a microSD slot that allows you to further expand the memory to around 64GB. In memory terms, though, the device doesn't stack up against the latest Samsung Galaxy S5, which has both 16GB or 32GB models and can be expanded to a whopping 128GB.

On the other hand, the battery life on the Z2 is almost double that of the S5. On "stamina mode," the Z2 can run for 740 hours in an idle state. The S5, when put in its equivalent "ultra power saving mode" will run out of steam after 390 hours on standby.

Sound

The Xperia Z2 has moved its speakers from the back of the device to the front to try to match the HTC One's impressive stereo effect. They call their stereo offering S-Force Front Surround, and most reviewers agree it significantly improves on the sound output of previous Sony models.

The device also has a new noise cancellation system that works with the headset that will come in the box. Sony claims that the system will be able to cancel out 98 per cent of background noise. Pocket Lint say that in their test the noise cancelling system "seemed effective".

Conclusion

Overall reviewers agree that the phone is a big improvement on the Z1, especially in terms of the quality of the screen. The device doesn't match up to the Samsung Galaxy S5 in a number of categories but its high-quality camera should appeal to photo enthusiasts. KnowYourMobile says that the new display coupled with the device's faster processor has made "a great handset even greater".

Release date and price

Vodafone said this morning that the Xperia S2 will be available from 10 April, and the company is taking orders now. On a 4G tariff with unlimited minutes and texts and 1Gb of data, the monthly fee will by £47. Vodafone is also offering a free Sony Bravia 32-inch TV for the first 3,000 people who place an order.

Alternatively Sony is taking orders for unlocked, contract-free Xperia Z2s for a £599. It says deliveries are expected to start in early April. · 

Disqus - noscript

Where exactly this phone does not match up with Samsung galaxy s5?
seriously?

Totally agree, not sure what the last paragraph was referring to as the most of the major features people are looking for had been addressed and the Z2 came out ahead. It doesn't have the storage capacity of the S5 or heart beat monitor, removable battery, funky looking back, plastic case,

Overall a strange article that seems to take positive reviews from other sources and then completely ignore them and just say " it has a great camera, other than that get the Samsung. " As this is supposed to be a 'balanced comment and analysis' I would have thought the conclusion would been so.

yo who exactly wrote this. i actually was liking the review until that fool said
"The device doesn't match up to the Samsung Galaxy S5 in a number of categories"
the only thing samsung has is a finger print scanner that may prove to be laggy and finiky in the long run just like all samsung devices before.
Xperia Z2 dominates the galaxy s5

yea keep your galaxy s5, its laggy buggy touchwiz, the beautiful plastic with band aid on back Ooh and the heart-rate monitor . not to forget the overblown display that tops it off

I hate TouchWiz. What a pig of an overlay. Also makes the phone look cheap. I'll take AOSP over proprietary overlays any day. Just leave Android alone it's great as is!!!!

"The device doesn't match up to the Samsung Galaxy S5 in a number of categories"???? Are you serious? Aside from removable battery and a 32GB option for storage, Z2 > S5 in any other category.

Well, Samsung's money works eh? The author's probably included in Samsung's payroll!

I purchased xperia Z1 4 months ago and will say just one thing. The other day, a fellow passenger with a Samsung s4 saw me holding my Z1 and within seconds he asked me which handset I was using. As I handed him over the elegant glass like handset (with blazing speed performance even with 100+ apps), he just looked at his white brick like handset and then back at the z1. The look on his face said it all. Starting from galaxy grand to it's flagship, Samsung could never make a good looking phone! Xperia Z2 or HTC one/m8 will be my recommendation to anyone who wants to buy a new smartphone!

Both are great handsets but the article favors Samsung with no reason. Xperia z2 does match up amazingly to s5 even I believe it does better.

Yea who is this guy? Just copying other people comments, then ended up saying it did not match Samsung?! Then call it Xperia S2?!
Anyone can write review these days.

Terrible article. There are loads of areas on where the S5 doesn't match the Z2.

It's like reviewers have a blind spot when it comes to any device that isn't Apple of Samsung.

Agreed is too bad that reviewers are going with the same brands always just because a company is more preferable from buyers for no reason.

I guess they mean the hopeless heart rate monitor and finger swipe print reader... Or the other crud that Samsung fill up half of the 16gb of space on! Apart from a removable battery I don't see where the S5 is in any way superior, although it still looks a great phone.

Thankfully those two features aren't what make Samsung phones stand out. While I'll likely get an unlocked z2, the s5 will have an IR blaster (which I use a TON on my note), multiwindow (yes I know Sony has small apps, but it's not the same unfortunately), and a removable battery. Again, while I'm still likely going to get the z2 (I've wanted to get a Sony smartphone ever since my k790a), you must agree there are features that make Samsung stand out. And I believe I read that the s5 will have a tick over 10gb of available storage, not half. The lack of storage was very disappointing with the s4.

Let samsung got many little gimmicks

But in the end you got 32inch bravia. Its better than little useless gimmicks

Are you serious? Read the specs, done! S5 is a glorified S4 & looks the same almost! Common Samsung, get creative!

Strange old article this. The Z2 looks to be Sony's most complete phone yet. It's not missing much (ir blaster is a shame) but it's improved on the Z1. Battery life, camera most importantly screen. I know a few people are slagging off samsung for lack of ideas on the design front but in a way you can say the same for the z2 it's basically the same as the z1. I own a HTC ONE and am keen to see what the Htc One Two offers but if rumours of a 2600 battery are true then you can stick it up your a*se. I'll sell my Htc ONE and buy a Z2, HTC make the best handsets, sense is actually lovely, but why will they never ever learn from the fact that everytime their phones get reviewed the battery life is always slaughtered. Just stick a proper battery in it and be done with it for goodness sake.

Exactly! Galaxy S3 user here. So far Sony with the bigger battery, better speakers, build quality and lighter overlay is obvious winner over Samsung for me(I call the camera a tie as apparently it's good on s5 as well if you don't think mega pixel is everything)
I'm still waiting for HTC. From the leaks and rumors there 2 things that really disappoint me 1. Stupid htc logo at the bottom front of the phone 2. 2600 battery!? Seriously?! That alone is a deal breaker for me. The difference between Sony and HTC is that Sony listens and HTC doesn't!

S5 has better memory and removable battery but z2 has 1 gb ram more bigger battery. (maybe better camera but that has to be seen yet) and water proof instead of water resistant. I prefer sony one but 47£ a month on a 24 months contract sounds like a rip off... I just saw note 3 for 370£ unlocked.... anyway if sony not make sure it comes at the right contract price than s5 is going definetly sell a lot more..... I am sure s5 can be found for 41£ on 24 months contract...

Z2 is by far the best phone on the market. Forget HTC. Their camera is junk. The s5 is just stupid with their heart rate monitor and looks exactly the same as s4 except for the back. The z2 has more ram, a touch bigger screen, best camera out and a slew of cool ass features. Don't even bother with any other phone. Get the z2. You won't be sorry

Come on*

Um so does the Sony from last year to this year

Galaxy S5 has 8.4Gb free. A removable battery hardly makes the S5 "stand out" does it? And multiwindow, seriously?!
IR blaster is a nice feature though. But then again, the Sony has noise cancellation, digital audio out (which also means it can fully utilise the stereo microphone) It's waterproofing is superior - try taking your S5 in the bath!
As I said, I still think the Galaxy is a great phone - I -ummed and -aah'd for a while before choosing - but there is nothing on it which makes it 'stand out' really, nice as it is.

To be fair, Samsung look to have improved TW considerably for the S5.

I find multiwindow extremely useful tbh. Noise cancellation isn't useful to me because I already have headphones with the feature, and I prefer over-the-ear instead of in-ear headphones, so this feature isn't very important to me. Also audio out through USB is nice, as I'm sure it'll output some nice sound (and charge at the same time), but I'm satisfied with bluetooth and it's ease of use. I do prefer the waterproofing of the z2 over the s5, however in no occasion do I see myself using my phone in the bath... Frankly I haven't taken a bath in I dunno, 10 years? Showers are good enough. This is all personal opinion, so if you think multiwindow is silly, so be it, but i don't. Still, the s5 is at the end of my list of possible phones to get.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.

Read more about