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

Sony Xperia Z2 header
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
535
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Screen Size: 5.2in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 20.7-megapixel, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 147x73x8.2mm, Weight: 163g, Operating system: Android 4.4.2

Sony's six-month release cycle seems to have slowed down now that it's reached the Xperia Z3, but Sony's latest flagship smartphone shares many similarities with its predecessor, the Xperia Z2. This is great news for anyone looking for a slightly cheaper Xperia Z phone, as the Z2 has the same aluminium frame, rear glass panel, waterproof chassis and 20.7-megapixel camera as Sony's latest handset, making it better value than its expensive cousin. 

While we prefer the smoother, more rounded design of the Z3 to the Z2, the Z2 still has plenty of merits. Sony's just confirmed it will be receiving an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop as well, so you won't miss out on Google's latest operating system by opting for a slightly older handset. 

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.

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 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.

Sony Xperia Z2

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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