Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sony Xperia Z2 Review

Sony seems to be reducing its phone refresh cycle to crazy-low levels. The Sony
 Xperia Z2 is it's latest offering and it has a lot to prove, especially since its 
predecessor the Xperia Z1 was only released six months earlier, and it's little
 brother the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact just a few short months before.

As Sony's flagship Android phone for 2014 it has to compete with the like of
 the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, LG G3 and the iPhone 5S.

This new model is what you can only call a very iterative upgrade, and we have
 some issues with the design and hardware. However, great battery life, a strong
 screen and solid camera make it a good choice for those on top-end contracts,
 or with deep pockets.

Sony Xperia Z2 – Design

The Sony Xperia Z2 looks almost exactly like last year's Xperia Z1. Its front 
and back are flat layers of glass, the core of the phone is aluminium and the
 three parts are joined with thin buffers of black plastic.
It's a pretty strong, assured look, and one Sony's top end-phones have used 
since the original Xperia Z arrived back in 2012. We think the phone looks 
better – more stylish – than the Galaxy S5, but it is not quite as great a visual
 design as the HTC One M8 or the LG G3.

What holds the Xperia Z2 back is that its body is laden with seams, flaps 
and an obvious dock connector that detract from an otherwise simple style.
Sony Xperia Z2 27

However, the Xperia Z2 needs most of these interruptions because it is 
water resistant and sealed-up. With no removable back, there is nowhere 
obvious for the Xperia Z2 to hide things like the microSIM and microSD card 
slots. This phone has both, and they sit under chunky, pretty obvious plastic 
flaps on the phone's sides.
As well as interrupting the look a bit, the construction of the phone does 
the Xperia Z2's ergonomics no favours. The tiny plastic trim around the rear
 glass plate sticks out a fraction of a millimetre (likely a way to protect the
 rear glass layer), and it only adds to what is a pretty boxy-feeling mobile.

You can really feel those seams, and a little curvaceousness can help handling
 with a phone this size – this is not a curvy phone. We prefer the smoother 
style of both the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 in-hand, much as we criticsed
 the S5 for looking and feeling a bit cheap.
Sony Xperia Z2 5

The effects of a handset with a pretty severe design become all the more
 obvious as a phone gets bigger. The iPhone 5S has a pretty angular little 
body, but it is such an easy-to-handle phone that it is a non-issue. Here
 we'd be tempted to buy a silicone case just to give the phone a friendlier feel.

Sony Xperia Z2: Water Resistance

The Xperia Z2 also offers the best water resistance of all the new top
 Android phones. A coated headphone jack and the two rubber-sealed
 ports help the phone earn its IP55 and IP58 certification. This means you 
can submerge the phone in water and it can take being pummeled with water
While we don't imagine many of you will take out the high pressure hose to 
test this, it does mean you can put the phone under the tap and let rip if you 
get a bit of grime, pocket lint or chocolate stuck in the phone's various indents.
 Especially the somewhat-unnecessary dock connector and lanyard loop.
Water resistance is handy, but it means you have to remove and reseal a 
flap every time you charge the Xperia Z2. This gets annoying, and may result 
in the seal failing further down the line – it's only a little bit of rubber, after all.

Sony Xperia Z2: Speakers

Another neat feature you may not initially notice is the set of stereo-front
 speakers. They output from tiny little near-invisible grilles on the very top
 and bottom of the Xperia Z2, the top one sharing its home with the multi-colour 
notification LED. As with the phone design, speaker performance sits somewhere
 between the HTC One M8 and Galaxy S5.
Having decent stereo separation is great for playing games and watching movies,
 but the Xperia Z2 doesn't have quite as beefy-sounding output as the HTC One M8. 
The Sony phone probably has significantly smaller speaker enclosures, if you're
 looking for a reason why beyond using different drivers.
Xperia Z2 speaker

The sound dispersal isn't great, either. For a comfortable stereo image, you want the output of the speakers to cross over before it reaches your ears. Here, there's a bit of a dead-zone in-between, making it sound as if each speaker is directed right at each ear. This is not how stereo is meant to work. Still, it's better than using a single rear speaker as on the S5.