Sony Xperia Z2 Hands-on: It’s Not Just a Minor Upgrade from the Z1

Sony Xperia Z2 Hands-on: It’s Not Just a Minor Upgrade from the Z1

Gorgeous device once again from Sony!
Gorgeous device once again from Sony!

We Go Hands-on with the Xperia Z2!

When the Sony Xperia Z2 was announced it was met with a lot of criticism because people felt that it was such a minor and incremental upgrade from the Sony Xperia Z1. To be honest we also thought the same thing. However after finally getting our hands on a unit yesterday during the local launch we would have to say that we stand corrected. Having been a user of both predecessors of the Xperia Z2, namely the Xperia Z1 and the Xperia Z, we easily saw and felt the major changes during our short time with it. We’ll go through those differences in this initial review and hands-on post.

As usual here’s a refresher on the specifications.

Sony Xperia Z2 Spec Sheet

  • 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.2-inch full HD Triluminos display, X-reality engine, 1080 x 1920 resolution
  • 16GB storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3G, HSPA, LTE
  • 20.7-megapixel camera with 1/2.3-type Exmor RS CMOS sensor, G lens and BIONZ image processing engine, 4K recording capable
  • 2.2-megapixel front camera
  • IP55 & IP58 dust and waterproof
  • 3200mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

Okay with that out of the way let’s jump right into our hands-on!

Lighter, Better Grip, and Still Smudgey Like Crazy

Felt very nice in the hand.
Felt very nice in the hand.

Compared to the Sony Xperia Z1, the Sony Xperia Z2 is lighter and easier to handle. This is a very welcome development since one of our main criticisms against the Xperia Z1 was that it was kinda heavy for a flagship device. That’s no longer the case with the Xperia Z2! According to Sony representatives at the floor during the launch, Sony used a lighter but just as durable type of aluminum for the chassis. The change in materials led to the device retaining it’s sturdiness but reducing weight and heft.

Other than the material change, the Xperia Z2 (turned off) looks a lot like the Z1. It has the same dual-glass set-up (which means it’s a smudge magnet) and it also has curved corners which addresses the “flesh biting” complaint against the first generation Xperia Z. The metal band around it is colored gray which gives the device a very premium and slick look.

Sony Xperia Z2 Philippines

All the usual ports and buttons are in their usual locations. The Xperia Z2, just like the first two that came before it, is also IP55 & IP58 dust and waterproof. It’s interesting to note that every since Sony popularized “waterproof” as a feature a lot of other companies have already followed suit.

Extremely Better Display Quality

Perhaps the biggest upgrade, even more than the internals, is the display. The “whitewash” issue has hounded Sony’s Xperia line-up since the very beginning. We’re very happy to report that it’s no longer the case with the Sony Xperia Z2! The colors look fantastic and the level of detail is just as good as any other premium flagship device. The 5.2-inch full HD Triluminos display with X-reality engine and 1080 x 1920 resolution definitely kicks ass!

Finally! Fantastic display quality!!!
Finally! Fantastic display quality!!!

The upgrade is display, for us, is a major step forward. The display is the window to everything in the phone! If you have a bad display then you will most probably have a bad experience with it. Sony should have actually fixed this way earlier and we saw attempts in the Z1 coming from the Z. However we believe they finally nailed it with the Z2!

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801? What’s it For?

Incremental processor upgrade?
Incremental processor upgrade?

If there’s an incremental upgrade happening with the Xperia Z2, it’s the processor. Sony replaced the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. What’s the difference between the two? According to both Sony and Qualcomm, the 801 delivers 14% faster Krait 400 processor cores, 28% faster Adreno 330 graphics, and a whopping 45% improvement in camera sensor processing speed. Having tried and abused the Z1, we doubt if these upgrades will drastically change the gaming experience on the Z2. However we’re definitely excited to test out how the “45% improvement in camera sensor processing speed” translates to real life usage. We’re going to test this when we get a unit for a full review.

On the software front, the Xperia Z2 rocks Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. The UI we saw on the Z2 was different front the Z1 but we didn’t get enough time with it to give it a fair review. Note though that these changes will be applied to the different Xperia phones later on when they roll-out the Android 4.4 KitKat update.

We’re definitely going to buy Sony to lend us a review unit (LOL) because we’re very much interested in putting this device through the paces. Having owned the Xperia Z1, Z, and the Z Ultra, it’s absolutely imperative that we get our hands on this, hehe. Might be nice to test this as well with the Sony SmartBand!

Congratulations again to Sony Philippines for the launch!

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