A few years back, Sony ditched its feature phones division to concentrate on its Android efforts. It did carve out its fan base by introducing waterproof flagship phones that actually look good. However, the company never managed to match the success of its rival Samsung. The Xperia Z and Z1 were promising phones with a few drawbacks. The Japanese brand has probably addressed those issues in its latest flagship phone the Z2. So is it finally ready to take on the likes of the GALAXY S5, One (M8), and G3? Let's find out.
Aesthetics Among the Android flagships, the Xperia Z2 is the second best-looking phone after the HTC One (M8). It looks similar to its predecessor the Xperia Z1. In what Sony prefers to call an omniBalance design, you get reflective surfaces on both the sides. Consider it an oversized iPhone 4. While it looks fancy, the rear is prone to scratches. The review unit we received has a web of hairline scratches on its back. Another drawback of the glass rear is that it's hard to grip.
The phone has a sturdy aluminium-frame. Like its predecessor, the Xperia Sony's latest flagship is IP58 certified, which means that the phone can withstand dust and water. The number '5' denotes protection against dust particles, and '8' stands for the phone's ability to withstand water immersion up to 1.5 metre. Of course, there are covers for the micro-USB, micro-SIM, and the memory card slot.
For its flagship handset, Sony has done away with the capacitive navigation keys. The Lock button is placed on the right side, where it's easily accessible to your thumb. Below that is a Volume Rocker. Considering that the phone packs in a 20 megapixel camera, Sony has added a camera button. The microSD card slot is also on this side. Bang opposite is the micro SIM slot accompanied by a dock connector.
Display The most notable improvement comes in the Z2's screen department. Sony has been boasting about the X-Reality engine and Bravia tech for some years now, but it wasn't any better than the competition. Thankfully, Sony has finally gone with the IPS display, which offers great viewing angles. The 5.2-inch screen packs in 1920x1080 pixels. That translates to the pixel density of around 422 ppi. Undoubtedly, the screen sharpness in impressive. The colour reproduction is good. However, the whites don't look accurate. If you crank-up the brightness on a white background, you can see a slight purple tinge on the screen. Such issue was also found in Sony's earlier devices such as the Z and Z1.
Specifications The Xperia Z2 is powered by a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset. To take care of heavy multitasking, the phone packs in 3 GB of RAM. The gaming bit is looked after by the Adreno 330 GPU. Then, you get a 20.7 megapixel rear-camera with Exmor RS sensor. It boasts of 4K video recording. For selfies, there's a 2.2 megapixel front-facing snapper. Other features include 16 GB internal storage, microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and 3200 mAh battery. All this, is squeezed in a 8.2 mm thick body that tips the scales at 158 grams.
User Interface The handset tuns Android 4.4 Kitkat. Sony's custom skin makes all the difference though. The interface is reminiscent of PlayStation's XMB dashboard. We liked the return of Sony's colourful themes. Similar to the PS Vita, the Z2 features round icons. It, however, breaks the consistency as default Google icons are box-shaped. That said, aesthetically it's much better than what Samsung and LG offer. With a powerful Snapdragon 801 inside, the phone mostly runs smooth. However, you can spot a slight stutter if you pay enough attention.
We also ran popular synthetic benchmarks, and the results can be found below:
AnTuTu: 34,441 Quadrant: 19,647
Camera On paper, the Xperia Z2 looks strong with its 20.7 megapixel camera. It is backed by Exmor RS backside illuminated sensor. The phone offers 20 and 8 megapixel modes. The image quality is quite good in well-lit conditions. From the first few shots, the Xperia Z2 doesn't seem to perform well in low-light. We will shed more light on it after testing the camera thoroughly.
Closing Thoughts Earlier, Sony had an edge over other Android flagships with its waterproof body. However, now that Samsung has also come up with a water-resistant phone, Sony has done a right thing by upping its game in the display department. The 20 megapixel camera is also something that is rarely seen on Android handsets. To find out whether this handset is worth a Rs 49,000 price tag, keep an eye out for our review.