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Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 review

Katharine Byrne
18 Mar 2015
Sony Xperia Z2 header
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
535
inc VAT

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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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 Xperia Z2 display

The Z2's 5.2in IPS screen is a fraction larger than the Z1, but it's kept the same 1,920x1,080 resolution. This means its overall pixel density will be lower, measuring 423 pixels per inch (PPI) compared to the Z1's PPI of 440, but text and images still looked incredibly sharp during everyday web browsing. We were able to read headlines on the desktop version of BBC News with no trouble at all, and the Z2's IPS panel meant we could see the screen clearly from almost any angle.

Image quality was good, but not exceptional compared to other flagship AMOLED screens. Our colour calibrator showed the Z2 was displaying an impressive 98.7 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, but colours didn't look quite as rich and vibrant when we compared it side by side with the Nokia Lumia 1020's AMOLED screen. Whites were a little cleaner, but blacks were noticeably greyer, which reflected our black level reading of 0.31cd/m2. AMOLED panels, on the other hand, often measure near a perfect zero. It's by no means a bad screen, though, and it's still perfectly bright enough to see on a sunny day thanks to its peak brightness reading of 386.28cd/m2.

Sony Xperia Z2 camera

For the rear camera, Sony has decided to stick with the same 1/2.3in 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera it used on the Z1, but it's included a few key differences to make it stand out. The most important is the inclusion of SteadyShot image stabilisation, which helps eliminate blur and makes video panning a lot smoother in both Full HD and 4K video.

Sony Xperia Z2

There's a wide range of modes and apps to choose from without ever leaving camera mode

Sony Xperia Z2 TimeShift

The Z2 also has a new slow motion mode called TimeShift Video. This shoots video clips at 120fps so you can slow down intense action shots without cutting the sound. It's a shame you have to edit your videos as soon as you've shot them, but the simple touch interface was very easy to use. Just drag your finger over the curved bar where you want the footage to slow down and watch the results back live onscreen. Once you've finished making adjustments, all you need to do is hit the save button and it will be saved to your phone's internal storage.

As you can see in the video above, the slow-motion effect is superb. We filmed some flowers wafting in the breeze in our back garden and the two sections we slowed down were beautifully smooth and defined with hardly any judder. Other phones we've seen with slow-motion features have often only let us shoot video at very low resolutions, so it was great to see the Z2 let us shoot video at 1,280x720.

Admittedly, there's a noticeable amount of sound distortion, particularly when the footage first slows down and resumes normal speed again. We'd much rather have some sound than none at all, though, as other flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 cut the sound out altogether, making for far less exciting home videos when you play them back to your friends. The sound transitions aren't quite as slick as those on the iPhone 5S, but the Z2 certainly isn't too far behind.

Where the Z2 beats the iPhone 5S is that it saves both the edited slow-motion version and the original 120fps video to your phone's internal storage, making it easier to share both files on social networks.

There are also a whole host of other photo and video apps available within the camera app itself. These let you edit your photos with both Sony's onboard editing software and additional apps that apply filters and special effects. These range from Background Defocus, Timeshift Burst, Sweep Panorama and AR Effect (which inserts otherworldly scenes such as prehistoric dinosaurs and aquatic fish into your photos in real time), to third party apps such as Vine. It's a neat touch, and certainly much easier than having to open up each application individually away from the main camera.

Sony Xperia Z2

TimeShift Video uses a simple touch interface to create dynamic slow-mo video shots

Like its predecessor, the Z2 doesn't take 20.7-megapixel images by default. When left in its Superior Auto mode, the camera is locked to taking 8-megapixel images, so you'll have to switch to Manual to take larger resolution photos. In both modes, though, we found that colours looked perfectly bright and vibrant, but objects in the background weren't anywhere near as sharp or clearly defined as shots we took on the Nokia Lumia 1020's camera, for example. This is to be expected somewhat when the Lumia 1020 has a huge 1/1.5in 40-megapixel sensor, but it was nevertheless a little disappointing.

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Reviews
  • Sony Xperia Z2 review

    Sony Xperia Z2
    535
    inc VAT

    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

    18 Mar 2015