The Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone was launched in March of this year. It appeared on the Vodafone network in Ireland exclusively from April but is now available on the O2 network. As of the date of publishing this article it has not appeared on any other Irish networks.

The specs of the device are as follows:

Weight – 163 grams

Dimensions – 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Rear Camera – 20.7 MP camera 5248 x 3936 pixels, autofocus, LED flash

Video recording – various up to 4K quality

Front Camera – 2.2 MP, [email protected]

Network – GSM/HSDPA/LTE

Display – 5.2” Full HD TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile with X-Reality for mobile picture engine 16,777,216 colours Full HD 1920×1080 pixels (424 ppi pixel density)

Operating System – Google Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat)

Processor – 2.3 GHz Qualcomm MSM8974AB Quad-core

Battery – 3200 mAh minimum

Memory – 16GB internal expandable to 128GB with microSD card

Ram – 3GB

Other notable features – Built in FM Radio, Dual front stereo speakers, Waterproof (IP55 and IP58) Dust-resistant (IP55)

 

Design

I’ve had the Xperia Z2 for a fortnight now, and for some background my normal device is a BlackBerry Q10 with a physical keyboard and a 3.1 inch display so moving to this behemoth has been a radical change. The device looks gorgeous with an all glass front and back cover and a metal bezel running around the edge of the device. I did find that with all that glass it was a slippery device particularly when my hands were cold but I have yet to have the misfortune of dropping the device. It’s very thin but feels robust in your hand with nothing loose particularly the port covers. It’s rated IP55 and IP58 for water and dust proof and for the uninitiated that means the phone is protected against low pressure jets of water from all practicable directions and/or can be kept under 1.5 metres of fresh water for up to 30 minutes provided that all ports and covers are firmly closed. These covers protect the charge port and sim card slot on the left side and the microSD card port on the right side. The headphone socket requires no cover for protection.

The volume rocker and power button are on the right side midway down the device and is ideally located and comfortable to use with one hand. The device also has a magnetic charging port on the left hand side. Down the bottom right hand side is the camera button. There are dual microphones at the top and bottom of the device for calls and video recording and the stereo speakers are neatly located at the top and bottom of the screen. The speakers are of decent quality and are also pretty loud for a set of speakers in a device of this size. Another nice feature I found is the fact that there’s an LED located just under the top speaker which can notify you of calls/texts or charging information. Some reviewers have commented that the centimetre sized black bezel at the top and the bottom of the device, which is not part of the screen, is a bit wasteful but I think it doesn’t detract from the device and I’m not so fond of edge to edge screens as I can accidentally activate the wrong app when holding the device. There are no physical buttons for screen control.

A nice feature on the device is that the processor allows for double taping of the screen to wake it up but this feature does have to be enabled under settings. The screen is very good but it could be a bit brighter in direct sunlight. This is not a criticism as the device is eminently usable in sunlight but other devices do have a slight edge here in my opinion like the Samsung Galaxy S5.

There’s a handy lanyard slot on the device which is something you don’t see too often any more on smartphones particularly the high end ones. The screen sensitivity can also be increased if the user is wearing gloves which is mighty handy in cold winters.

Screen in sunlight

Usability

The device is certainly snappy as you’d expect with a quad core 2.3Ghz powered device. Sony does keep the interface relatively neat and minimalistic compared to other Android manufacturers but I still loath that Vodafone and Sony do dump me with apps which I cannot delete easily. In saying that some of Sony’s apps are very neat such as the quality music player and the Xperia lounge. The Xperia lounge is a premium feature which offers you exclusive Sony material. Yes they’re trying to sell you things but from the off you get 6 free movies to pick from a selection of about 9 (which include Django, White house down and Zombieland as well as others) plus the latest album from Michael Jackson which ain’t too bad for something posthumously released.

Call quality was excellent as you’d expect from a high end device.

Battery

From my tests the big 3200mAh battery last easily a full day even under heavy use and that’s without turning on all the battery saving options such as Stamina mode, location based WiFi, low battery mode and queue background data. The battery is impressive and you should easily get a day and a half to two days use out of it.

Camera

The camera is a 20 mega pixel sensor and is certainly very good as you’d expect from Sony. There are tons of option to go with it including lots of fun filter to play with but for straight forward picture taking in full auto mode the pics look very good particularly in low light situations. There’s also a new feature in the video recording arena on this camera. It records in 4K so forget your 1080p quality as 4K is where it’s at but you really would need a 4K supporting TV to get the full effects although the device does support MHL 3 for displaying video output of up to 3840 x 2160. There have been reports of problems recording for a long time in 4K mode such as overheating of the device but in recent Sony updates this seems to have improved although Sony still recommend short bursts of recording rather than a long video. But you can also set the recording quality to less (like full HD) and the camera is perfect.

IMG_20140612_074712

Accessories

The device comes with noise cancelling headphones which can be used with the noise cancelling effects on the device. Unfortunately other headphones or noise cancelling headphones cannot take advantage of the devices noise cancelling features.

 

IMG_20140612_075147

Overall

I was torn with holding out for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 due later this year or getting this device but I’m not disappointed in it. In terms of looks I think it’s got it all and it will certainly meet the needs of most high end users out there. The screen and camera are high quality. While I haven’t tested the water proof features of the device it is reassuring to know that a toilet accident won’t lead to disaster. There’s not a lot to get disappointed about with this device. In terms of gaming it does appear from benchmarks that it’s not as powerful as some other devices such as the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 but I certainly didn’t notice any slouching in this area. The device is a big slab and that won’t appeal to everyone but to me it’s Sony’s best Android smartphone yet.

 

The phone is free on Vodafone Red plans (55 euro per month on 2 year contract). It’s out of stock as of June 12th on the O2 network.

If you’ve any questions or comments just fire them off below.

[taq_review]