Sony Xperia Z2 review

A few minor improvements and huge battery life make this a better phone than the Z1, but it doesn't stand out from the competition

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Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), 5.2in 1,920x1,080 display

When Sony released the Xperia Z1 just six months after the initial Z launch, many saw it as a stop-gap phone rather than a proper upgrade. Six months later, and Sony is about to release yet another version of its flagship handset, the Xperia Z2. On the outside, though, you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. The Z2 uses the same aluminium frame and glass rear panel as the Z1, and plastic flaps on the side of the phone hide the microSD card slot, micro SIM card slot and micro USB port to keep it waterproof up to 1.5m.

Sony Xperia Z2

The phone's sharp, angular edges aren't quite as pleasant to hold as other Sony phones such as the more rounded Xperia SP, but we were still able to use the Z2 comfortably in one hand without too much trouble. It's once you're holding the Z2 that the differences start to become more noticeable, as the phone is both lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, measuring a mere 8.2mm thick and weighing 163g.

Sony Xperia Z2

It's not too dissimilar from the Z1, but when you consider the Z2 has a larger 5.2in screen and a huge 3,200mAh battery packed inside its tiny chassis (the Galaxy S5's battery is only 2,800mAh by comparison), it's a pretty remarkable feat of engineering.

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 performance

Android 4.4.2 KitKat runs beautifully on the Z2's 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor. Menu animations are lightning fast and swiping between home screen menus is quick and responsive. We particularly like what Sony's done with its default background animation, as its multi-coloured ribbon will keep twirling and twisting as you swipe from one screen to another.

The Z2 wasn't quite as fast in our SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks as we were expecting, though, as it only scored 862ms when using the phone's default Chrome browser. This is 200ms slower than the HTC One (m8), and almost 500ms behind the Samsung Galaxy S5. Even the Z1 was faster than we benchmarked it a year ago, scoring 740ms in Chrome. We weren't able to improve the Z2's score using other browsers either, as it only managed 1,021ms when we re-ran the test in the Dolphin browser.

This was disappointing, as we would have expected the Z2 to be at least a bit quicker than the Z1, if not as fast as the One (m8) considering both the Z2 and (m8) use the same processor. Fortunately, we found it didn't really make too much of a difference in day to day use. Websites loaded quickly and it was able to handle image-heavy sites such as The Guardian with ease.

Sony Xperia Z2

Where the Z2 really excelled was graphics performance. Its Adreno 330 GPU maxed out both our 3DMark Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme tests easily and it scored a huge 18,385 in Ice Storm Unlimited, which translates to a blistering average of 75.3fps. This is more than enough to run anything in the Google Play Store, and we saw great results in games such as Real Racing 3 as well. The phone was immediately able to run the game on the highest quality settings without any judder in the frame rate.

This is easily on par with both the Galaxy S5 and One (m8), but we think the Z2 has the edge when it comes to playing games, as it not only comes with Sony's PlayStation Mobile app, which lets you play games from the Sony Entertainment Network, but it also has support for Sony's Dualshock 3 controller, so you can use a wireless PS3 controller with the phone.

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