After only six months, Sony’s Xperia XZ1 has been pushed aside to make way for its successor, the Sony Xperia XZ2. But what can Sony do to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple? Sony has abandoned its old design and equipped the XZ2 with a lot of exclusive new features. Let's find out how the device did in our full review.
- Handles well
- Features a button for the camera
- Excellent battery life
- Intelligent Charging Management
- Updated software
- Fast and responsive
- Unstable on surfaces
- Non-OLED display
- Headphone jack missing
- Disappointing camera software
Sony Xperia XZ2 release date and price
The pricing isn't yet clear for the US market, but it will arrive in the UK at £699, with pre-orders available now. If we convert it directly, we can estimate that the price will be around $970.
Sony Xperia XZ2 design and build quality
Yes! Sony has done it, they've finally modernized their design. Goodbye old square and edgy smartphones, welcome to the curves. Maybe even too many...
Sony's new design embraces curviness and rounded corners. I'm a fan of the result, especially in the back. It's made of glass and aluminum, which is great to handle, and is probably the most comfortable device I've had the opportunity to try recently. Maybe a little too heavy, as it's almost 200 grams. Still, it feels robust.
Curves, however, have a weak point: flat surfaces. It's impossible to use your smartphone resting on a table as it will shake and rotate. You could literally use it as a fidget spinner, which is quite annoying.
Sony has also moved its fingerprint reader to the rear shell. I'm a fan of the fingerprint sensor on the body, but in this case those with big hands and long fingers have been forgotten.
If you thought that Samsung had found the worst place for the fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus you'll have to think again. Placing your finger naturally on the body will end up on the camera each time, as it has a rounded shape and the same size as the sensor. To reach your fingerprint reader and unlock your smartphone, you'll need to unnaturally bend your finger or change the grip on your smartphone.
It's a shame because the layout of the hardware on the back is, at least in my opinion, very nice to see. Aesthetics never win over practicality though.
Sony Xperia XZ2 display
Sony has also finally updated the display for its top-range phone. The XZ2 offers a 5.7-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1080x2160 pixels. As the resolution suggests, the company has finally switched to an 18:9 format, reducing the bezels, but not too much.
It's certainly not a revolution, but there is a clear step forward which many of you will appreciate: it doesn't have a notch!
The Triluminos display is covered with Gorilla Glass 5 and is supported by the X-Reality Engine image processor for better image quality. It also has support for playback of HDR content compatible with the standard BT.2020.
Sony Xperia XZ2 software
Once again, Sony has impressed with the software. The Xperia XZ2 features Android 8.0 Oreo, which has already been updated with April's security patches. The software is clean, light and fast, there's nothing to complain about. Many manufacturers should take an example from Sony, as the brand is able to offer useful extra functions without weighing the system down.
One of the main features is Xperia Assist, Sony's new interactive guide to smartphone software functions. It's nothing more than a chatbot that can guide you through the discovery of some interesting things your new smartphone can do. Useful the first few days but then you will not use it anymore.
There are some apps pre-installed such as Amazon Kindle and AVG Security but they are all easily removed if you're not interested
Sony Xperia XZ2 performance
The Xperia XZ2 has all the power you need. The SoC used by Sony is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and includes an Andreno 630 GPU and 4GB of RAM alongside the eight-core CPU. The internal memory type UFS is 64GB and is expandable via microSD up to 400GB extra.
The phone never let me down during use, and regarding graphic benchmarks, the Xperia managed to tear up its competitors. The Xperia XZ2 is the fastest smartphone I've had the pleasure of trying. That may sound like a little bit of an exaggeration, but really, there were absolutely no slowdowns or pauses
Sony Xperia XZ2 audio
The Xperia XZ2 has two extremely powerful front stereo speakers. The first is the ear capsule for calls, and the second is located in a slit at the bottom of the front glass panel, just before the metal frame.
The speakers sound good, the volume is very loud and the fact that they are located on the front improves the experience when watching videos or gaming. The bass is enough, and there is virtually no distortion even at full volume.
The XZ2 also has a curious trick up its sleeve to improve the smartphone's multimedia experience, called the Dynamic Vibration System. In practice Sony uses the vibration motor of the smartphone to completely immerse the user in video or audio content, turning low frequencies into the physical vibration of the smartphone.
The option is adjustable in three levels and can be completely deactivated if required. It also only works when the screen is on, so when you listen to music, for example, your smartphone will only vibrate until you're actively using your phone, not while it's in your pocket.
The result of the DVS is very interesting but it still needs to be improved. For example, not all games have the function available and the noise sometimes overtakes and disturbs the sound output from the smartphone.
Sony got rid of the 3.5mm audio jack but didn't replace the headphones that come in the box. Fortunately, a USB Type C adapter is included to connect the headset. Alternatively, there is Bluetooth audio with high quality codecs such as LDAC, AptX HD and AptX. Sony has been offering these codecs on its smartphones for years, even before they were available on all Android Oreo smartphones.
Sony Xperia XZ2 camera
The Sony Motion Eye camera hasn't changed much. The sensor is still 19MP with focal aperture of f/2.0, and a 5-axis electronic stabilizer. What's changed is the new BIONZ image processor that allows the smartphone to record 4K HDR video at 30fps or super slow motion video in FullHD resolution at 960fps. The front camera for selfies os 5MP and the results are mediocre.
Overall, the shots are good and better than the XZ1, but the quality is limited by Sony's software. It's unbelievable how the world's largest manufacturer of photo sensors for smartphones can't beat its competition with their own devices.
The 3D creator mode has also been updated and you can now also scan from the front camera. This way, you no longer have to ask a second person for help to scan yourself.
Sony Xperia XZ2 battery
The smartphone has a battery of "only" 3180 mAh. If compared with the competition of Galaxy S9 Plus, Huawei P20 or Google Pixel 2 XL on paper, it has no hope. But sometimes the numbers don't tell the complete story.
The Sony Xperia XZ2 is capable of incredible durability thanks also to the company's software features for energy saving and intelligent charging via USB Type C.
Quick charging with the Quick Charge 3.0 standard (charger included) and Wireless Qi charging are also available.
Sony Xperia XZ2 technical specifications
Sony has demonstrated its ability to evolve. The Xperia XZ2 is perhaps one of the most complete smartphones, taking into account all the the important categories. The software is fast and free from bloatware, the battery has a very good life, it's fast and also looks and sounds good.
The problem with the Xperia XZ2 is that it doesn't excel in any of the essential categories in order to grab people's attention, and to actually buy it. There isn't a high resolution curved OLED display, no impressive technical specifications and the camera definitely isn't a reason to buy this device.
For around $900, you get a great smartphone, and you won't regret your purchase. It's a good phone in every respect, but against the increasingly fierce competition, it might have a difficult time to catch people's attention.
What do you think about the Xperia XZ2? Are you considering buying it or will you be looking for something else? Leave a comment.