Revew: Sony Xperia XZ2

Sony is still banking on their continued short cycle to bring their new series to market. This has been Sony’s way to gain more market share in the fairly crowded business. This year we have finally gotten a fresh design from Sony, along with the new 18:9 ratio that most top companies are doing.

The new design is one of the big factors with the latest device from Sony, but the specs are certainly up there with the rest of the top phones on the market. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Software: Android 8.0 Oreo.
  • Display: 5.7-inch, 18:9, FHD+ IPS LCD, HDR, 424 PPI
  • Design: Aluminum frame, polycarbonate back.
    Chipset:
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Kryo 385 (8x custom Cortex-A75 @ up to 2.8GHz), Adreno 630 GPU
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB UFS + microSD (up to 400GB)
  • Rear Camera: 19MP, 1/2.3″ Sony IMX400 camera, f/2.0 lens, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, burst AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key, BIONZ for mobile image-processing engine, ISO 12,800
  • Video Recording: 4K video recording @30fps, HDR video up to 4K, 1080p @60fps, 1080p @960fps, 720p @960fps, Steady Shot; Stereo audio recording; Predictive capture; ISO 4000
  • Front Camera: 5MP, 1/5″ Exmor RS for mobile, 23mm wide angle lens, 90-degree FOV, f/2.2; 1080p video
  • Networking: Hybrid dual SIM (4G), 4G VoLTE, 5CA LTE Cat.18, 4×4 MIMO, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Modem: LTE Cat. 12/13 (600Mbps download)
  • Other:  Fingerprint sensor, SDR to HDR video upconversion, two-stage hardware camera shutter release key, QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging.
  • Dimensions/Weight:  159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
  • Battery: 3,180mAh

We have the latest from Qualcomm with the Snapdragon 845 chipset, along with 4GB’s of RAM. There is a version of the device with 6GB’s of RAM as well. The camera is definitely one of the stand out features of the devices, with the IMX400 sensor being one of the best in the biz, but sadly lacking OIS. Overall we’re looking at a very decent spec’d smartphone.

Now let’s get a closer look at the latest design from Sony.

The Sony Xperia XZ2

This year we have gotten a new design from Sony, something we haven’t in a long time. Sony in the past few years have made subtle changes, but this year we have something more drastic. The design includes the popular 18:9 ratio and less bezel than ever before on a Sony device.

The back of device is a smooth curve of Gorilla Glass 5. We have the usual camera sensor and flash placement. The fingerprint sensor is just below the camera sensor, and sadly its position means your guaranteed to miss the fingerprint sensor and hit the camera by mistake. Something we have seen in many phones before.

This is by far one of the best looking devices we have seen from Sony in the past few years. It’s very comfortable to hold and looks much better than the last few devices. The lack of a 3.5mm is a bit of a downer, but we’re sadly seeing that more and more. Thankfully they include a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adaptor in the box.

UI

Sony haven’t made any real changes to their UI, but that’s actually a good thing, mostly because Sony have always kept a pretty stock Android experience.

   

 

   

  

The UI is as smooth as it gets. We can’t imagine anyone finding issue with performance and usability in that regard. Being Android however, means easy modifications and customizations if you so choose.

Camera UI

The camera UI hasn’t gotten any updates and we’re still working with the same UI Sony have been using for years. The layout is easy to get use too, and thankfully the performance of the device is there to make sure it runs smooth.

 

The included manual mode gives you decent control of the camera settings if you want to chance White Balance, ISO, EV, Focus and more.

  

The only real change in recent years is that 4K is apart of the resolution settings and not a seperate mode; this makes it easier to change and fine tune settings within the main area and not having to move between different modes.

Photos and Video

Since the app doesn’t have the ability to force HDR on or off when using the auto settings, we included manual HDR on and off images below. Most users will probably keep using Auto mode anyway, so most of are shots are using that. It is important to note that the Xperia XZ2 does a great job enabling HDR when using Auto when it is best to do so.

Auto Mode

 

 

 

Manual Mode (HDR Off)

 

 

 

Manual Mode (HDR On)

 

 

 

Full size images

The above images are resized for viewing on the website. If you wish to check out the full size images, you can do so with the link below.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Full Size Photos

Videos

Being a top of the line Sony device, we have all of the usual video modes supported, including 4k, and 1080p@60fps. Below are some videos taken with the device using these different resolutions. We also alternate between the different features such as HDR and Steadyshot.

1080p

1080P@60fps

4K

Benchmarks

Since we have the latest Qualcomm chipse, we’re expecting top of the line numbers.. Below are the most popular benchmarks available, these will give

3D Mark Ice Storm ExtremeMax
3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited62861
3D Mark Sling Shot6386
3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme4714
3D Mark API Overhead OpenGL Es 3.0187535
3D Mark API Overhead Vulkan431594
Antutu 265083
Geekbench Single-Core2438
Geekbench Multi-Core8497
Geekbench Compute14172
PC Mark Work 2.08195
PC Mark Computer Vision5058
PC Mark Storage5013
PC Mark Work9713

Those are definitely strong numbers. The XZ2 should easily be able to provide smooth performance for the next few years without any issue.

Battery Life

Now it’s time to see how long the Xperia XZ2 will last throughout our 12 hour battery test. The test aims for medium to heavy usage.

Phone Calls20-30 Minutes
Text message/Chat/EmailsThroughout the day(checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos10-20
Video recording20-30 Minutes
Internet browsingThroughout the day(around 30-40 minutes total)
Gaming30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix30-40 Minutes
ConnectivityWiFi and 4G; mostly 4G
Screen Brightness50-percent

The XZ2 made it through our 12 hour test with 38-percent battery left. Not the best we have seen, but definitely respectable. We’re also very impressed with Sony’s battery saving routine; which can do great to extend battery life when it reaches that low point. Most will find them reaching for a charger well beforehand, and of course the fast charging certainly helps.

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap up the latest flagship from Sony, As usual we break down our conclusion into different categories. Design, Display, Camera, Performance and then finally overall. This should give anyone looking to pick up the smartphone what what we believe it has to off what it has to offer.

Design

The biggest change we have seen from Sony in recent years. The new design features an 18:9 ratio display with less bezel than previous designs. We’re definitely fans of the new look and are happy to see Sony finally make that leap. Of course this comes after a lot of other companies made similar changes themselves.

The feel of the device is great for the large body. The glass back is definitely the fingerprint magnet you would expect, but always looks stunning when you give it a quick wipe down. We not only have a great design, but the build quality and premium feel you get is immediately evident with the Xperia XZ2.

Our only issue with the design is the placement of the fingerprint sensor, or more especially how it aligns with the camera sensor and them both being circles. Accidental swipes of the camera instead of the fingerprint happen quite a lot, so anyone with long fingers will have issue reaching the fingerprint sensor naturally, and might do better sticking with a pattern/code or other unlock method.

The lack of headphone jack is worth a mention for those still rocking wired earphones. It’s a clear pattern of the future, but for now, 3.5mm jacks are still an important feature.

Display

Sony typically reserve the high end 4K displays for their premium series of devices, which would be considered their actual flagship device. It typically arrives not too long after the release of the main series. Think of Samsung’s S Vs Note series.

That being said, the included 1080p IPS display is still of high quality. While 4K is the marketing word buzz word nowadays, HDR has quickly taken a jump in being more prominent, most notable because HDR content is now becoming more regularly avaialble. The Xperia XZ2 is HDR BT.2020 compliant.

When watching content that the display can take advantage of, everything looks incredible. The included haptic feedback that triggers vibrations based on sound also aids the full experience. Ultimately this is one of the best displays Sony have included in a device.

Camera

Sony haven’t jumped on the dual sensor bandwagon, but as we’re aware that’s coming in their next flaghip device. That being said the included 19MP 1/2.3″ Sony IMX400 sensor included in the XZ2 is definitely up there. Sony being the biggest manufacturer of camera sensors, they certainly know a thing or two.

The Xperia XZ2 provided us with well balanced and color accurate photos. HDR worked very well when used and loaded up the photos with extra details that would otherwise be missed. The lack of OIS was evident, but Sony did very well to limit how much that effects the finished photo.

Performance

The included Snapdragon 845 chipset is one of the best on the market and hit all the top marks with our benchmarks. Performance in terms of software and general use was exemplary, with the device not showing any signs of struggling.

Battery could have been better, but Sony’s battery saving routines again show up and save the device in terms of complete longevity. We got decent usage out of the device within our 12 hour period with enough left over that any single day usage should be fine. 2 day usage is possible when battery saver is used, but otherwise slightly less intensive usage here and there could lead to a 2 day battery life.

Overall

Ultimately the Xperia XZ2 does one thing above anything else, and that’s showing that Sony are still in the game. Their latest device brings with it a much needed new design, that we love. While Sony have gotten certain things great with previous devices, they tend to miss the mark more than a few times as well. This time around the XZ2 ticks a lot more of the right boxes for the company.

We have a great modern design with an overall more premium look and feel. Performance is fantastic in terms of horsepower and camera quality. While overall the phone doesn’t do any one thing better than the competition, it definitely does everything very well. Anyone picking up a Xperia XZ2 will be very happy with the device. We do believe that this is Sony on the right track to becoming a bigger contender in the smartphone world again. Let’s hope the can keep it up.

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Craig O'Sullivan
Craig O'Sullivan

Creator of Geektech.ie Passionate about Technology and always looking for that next cool gadget or app

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