Sony Xperia Z2 Phone Review, Still a top contender?
The Sony Xperia Z2 is a high end smartphone released in April 2014. Designed to compete with the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. It packs all of the features that you would expect in a high end phone, however with Sony's 6 month release timeframe it has since been superseded by the Sony Z3. This means that you can get the Z2 for a very good price compared to its rivals, however is it still a good phone?
Styling, Feel and Build Quality
The Sony Xperia Z2 has obviously been designed to look and feel premium. The outside edge of the phone is metal (unlike the plastic S5), and both the front and back are simple large panels of glass. The screen is a large 5.2 inch display, and combined with the sizable bezels the device does feel very large. Combine this with the overall design and the phone is very slab like and can feel slippery in the hand, and with the large amount of glass used in the phone dropping it could cause lots of damage.
The build quality is fantastic, no bending or creaking when any parts are pressed. The phone is also rated for water resistance and able to survive up to 30mins in up to 1m of water (IP58). This does cause one downside however, that the usb/sim and microsd card ports are covered by little flaps that do feel like they might break after long term use. There is however a magnetic charging port on the side and I would advice buying that adapter to use this instead to avoid keep opening the flap.
The Sony Z2 currently runs Android 4.4.4 Kitkat, however is expected to get an update to Lollipop imminently along with the Z3.
Sony's skin on top of android is less intrusive than Samsungs UI, however isn't light either. Sony is pushing many of their own apps and services and these can at times feel like bloatware, for example Sony has placed a "What's new" (Sony News) icon right next to the google now icon when you swipe upwards. However some of Sony's apps are very good, for example the walkman player feels very smooth and well designed giving lots of options for music sorting and playback. The phone also offers an advanced equaliser which allows you to select from many presets or customise your own, I found this to be very useful.
The phones hardware is comparable to most other high end smartphones at the moment. The proccessor is the standard Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.3ghz, however with 3gb of Ram compared to the 2gb of the HTC One M8. All of this means that the phone performs as expected, very little lag in any situation.
The screen is 5.2inches and 1080p resolution, this resolution is pretty much the standard nowadays for top phones and provides beautifully sharp images. The phone has a microsd card slot for media expansion, and along with all the usual connectivity such as 4G, Bluetooth, NFC. One potential downside of the phone however is its lack of internal memory at only 16gb, this is just about enough for normal use, however you will often be worrying about how much is left. Media can be put onto the SD card, however currently on 4.4.4 no app data can be, hopefully this will be available in the Lollipop update.
The camera on the Sony Xperia Z2 is one of its standout features with 20.7megapixel capability. The camera app automatically defaults to its "Superior Auto" mode which limits the resolution to 8mp, this however is not an issue and gives brilliant flexibility for point and shoot shots. There is an option to go fully manual and delve into the plethora of settings to fine tune photos. There are also many other "apps" within the camera app which give features such as "Background defocus" and "Creative Effects" which all work very well.
The phone allows video capture in many resolutions including 4k, however this can cause the phone to overheat quickly. The more commonly used 1080p mode is much more useful. The phone can also do iphone esque slow motion "timeshift" recording at 120fps at 720p.
The overall quality of the results are very good, better than pretty much all android devices and comparable to those by the iphone 6.
The battery life of the Xperia Z2 is brilliant. I use my phone relatively heavily for music, checking facebook, google searches/internet and messaging, from 8am to midnight the phone drops to 40-50%. This is with stamina mode enabled, which turns off wifi and other connectivity when the screen is not on (apart from syncing certain apps of your choice). I found this had no detrimental effect on performance whilst giving a boost to battery life.
The Sony Z2 is a brilliant phone, and can easily hold its ground against the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. The Z3 is a marginally better phone due to a few small added features, however there is very little between the two, and no reason to spend significantly more to get the Z3.
The Z2 will happily do any tasks that you throw at it, however the small internal memory (which tbf more phones suffer from) may be an issue to power users. The camera is one of the best phone cameras available and the battery life is sublime. The phones design however is prone to scratches and thus investing in a good case would be advisable.