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Sony Xperia XZ2 Preview: Praiseworthy but not spectacular

04 April 2018 7

Sony took the MWC stage to announce their latest flagships Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Both the devices are successor variants of XZ1 and XZ1 Compact which were announced at IFA 2017 back in September. It's not surprising to see XZ1 series successor when it barely reached almost all regions because Sony did somewhat similar in past as well. They announced the successor with-in six months of announcement.

One of the biggest issue related to Sony flagship is indeed its blocky design which the company retained for years. Sony introduced OmniBalance design language a few years ago and since then the company didn't bring any significant change in terms of design until the announcement of new XZ2 series. Surprisingly Sony didn't bring bezel-less smartphone last year even when almost all OEMs brought at least one smartphone with the bezel-less design. For this year XZ2 series, Sony brought a new design language Ambient flow with sleek bezels, round edges. Though the new design isn't brand new still it brings enough refinements to make the new Sony smartphones striking in terms of design.

The best thing is Sony flagships are no longer metal slabs. We already put the XZ2 in comparison with a number of premium smartphones in the market. Now it is the perfect time to preview the XZ2 to know in detail how latest XZ2 is different from Sony earlier smartphones and whether the new device changes are enough to attract customers or not. Also whether you should opt the latest XZ2 if you already own the last year's Sony flagships. We are hopeful this preview will certainly help you better understand the pros and cons of XZ2.

72 x 153 x 11.1 mm
5.7 inches - 2160x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Price and Release

The Xperia XZ2 unlocked variant is now available for purchase in the UK at a price tag of £699. The device can be grabbed in blue, black, silver and pink. As for availability in the European region is a concern, the device will be available from the first week of April. The company yet to announce their plans of XZ2 availability in the US. Last year Sony took almost three months to release the XZ Premium, So its good to see the company didn't take much time to release their flagships this year.

Design

Despite the fact the XZ2 is released after six months of XZ1, still, it brings improvements in almost all aspects. After a long wait, Sony finally entered the 2:1 display arena which brings 13% more display space to play as opposed to traditional panels with 16:9 aspect ratio. Another good thing about XZ2 is its new Ambient flow design.

Sony XZ2 features an aluminum chassis with glass covering the rear side. For the first time, Sony uses glass for the rear side instead of unibody metal design. The glass on the rear is gently curved from edges so that device fits easily in your palm. We have seen LG and HTC adopted somewhat similar design approach for their last year's flagship but the good thing is Sony retained their traditional design with a new touch which looks promising. On the rear side, the fingerprint scanner, rear camera, and LED flashlight are placed symmetrically in the center.

The front and rear glass panel are protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which means it is a sturdy phone not easy to break on accidental drops. Following the latest trend, the XZ2 is IP65/68 certified which means the device is water and dust resistant like most of the latest flagships. The XZ2 dimensions are 153 x 72 x 11.1mm and it weighs 198g. The glass and metal clad design on the XZ2 look quite striking and we can easily claim it is the best-looking smartphone ever produced by Sony.

Display

Sony is amongst those OEMs who relied on their own display division for the display panel of their smartphones. Sony is amongst those few OEMs who brought 4K display but didn't enter in Quad HD arena because there isn't 2K content available that's why you don't require a Quad HD panel. That is why Sony once again opted a Full HD panel for the XZ2.

Thanks to new 2:1 aspect ratio, the 5.7-inches display panel screen resolution is 1080 x 2160 pixels. Well, there isn't any native content with such aspect ratio but Sony has to follow the latest trend. Thanks to 2:1 display, Sony trimmed the bezels from top and bottom to bring more playable space. Sony didn't reduce bezels up to iPhone X or Galaxy S9+ extent but they certainly trimmed enough to fit a larger display without increasing the overall size.

Despite having 2:1 display, you will find prominent bezel on top and bottom. Sony XZ2 lacks the elegance of edge-to-edge display. Sony once again opted an LCD panel and the HDR support is the key highlight of this display. The best thing about the display is not only it comes with HDR support but also it is capable to upscale the low-res content into HDR which is worth appreciating.

Thanks to upscaling feature you enjoy awesome colors, contrast ratio even on low-res content. The new display will certainly attract those who are worried about low-res content, the XZ2 can enhance your ordinary content into HDR.

Hardware

Sony knows the importance of bringing the latest best hardware that's why the company opted the latest Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC. The XZ2 amongst the first devices to have the latest chipset from Qualcomm. According to Qualcomm, the new chipset performs 25% better than the last year's Snapdragon 835 SoC.

However, the chipset isn't the only key aspect of the Sony's flagship performance because we will number of new smartphones this year with the latest chipset. Sony joins hands with Qualcomm to specially design image signal processor for the Xperia smartphones camera, this step will certainly enhance the image processing speed of Sony smartphones. Sony stated new ISP brings more power on board to process images and also will help to reduce the noise from images.

The Octa-core chipset is accompanied with 4GB RAM and built-in native storage is 64GB which can be further expanded using MicroSD card. Unfortunately, the XZ2 lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack instead the company relied on USB Type-C port. In terms of performance, the XZ2 is certainly amongst the best performing Android devices available in the market. No matter you are an avid gamer or want to do HIFI multi-tasking tasks you surely won't disappoint with the performance of Sony XZ2. The device doesn't lag at any scenario which is pretty much you can expect from a true flagship phone. As OS the device is pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.0 straight out of the box with Sony's custom UI layer over it.

Specs Xperia XZ2
Display 5.7-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear camera 19MP with f/2.0 and LED flashlight
Front camera 5MP
Battery 3,180mAh
USB Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack None
OS Android Oreo 8.0
Dimensions 153 x 72 x 11.1mm
Weight 198g

Camera

Once again the key selling aspect of Sony's latest flagship is its camera setup. Sony still seems like not inspired by dual rear camera setup that's why they stick to the single module for the XZ2. The XZ2 is the one of its kind smartphone which supports 4K HDR. There are only a few OEMs which support HDR video capturing capability. Sony stepped up their game by introducing this feature for everyone.

Sony relied heavily on their custom ISP which they jointly manufactured with Qualcomm. Apart from HDR, Sony also brought slow-motion Full HD video capturing capability at 960 frames per second. Sony introduced HD slow-motion video recording last year with the XZ1, now they are offering Full HD capability. The camera sensor remains Sony's own 'Motion Eye' 19MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture.

Having capability of capturing at Full HD showcase the camera strength of this flagship phone. Although you can't record full HD at 960fps for a longer period the few seconds results are certainly impressive. The XZ2 will have to face stiff competition from dual rear camera phones like the recently announced Galaxy S9+ and Huawei P20. The front-facing selfie sensor is 5MP. The XZ2 camera performs pretty great in stable light conditions whereas its quality suffers in low-light conditions.

Dynamic vibration system

Apart from hardware and design upgrades, the XZ2 brings upgraded speaker as well. According to Sony, the new audio setup is 20% louder than the XZ1. To bring stereo audio setup, the device is featuring two speakers on the front. Sony introduced Dynamic Vibration System which brings vibration to games, music, and movies. The device lacks 3.5mm headphone jack but the good thing is you can enjoy a wide-range of Hi-Res formats on XZ2. The haptic feed while watching video is something which isn't available on any other smartphone in the market.

Conclusion:

There is a number of positive aspects regarding the XZ2 which makes it a standout device amongst the competition. The XZ2 is certainly a welcome change in terms of design over the Sony's traditional OmniBalance design. Though the design is a refreshing change but didn't bring completely drastic changes in design. The new aspect ratio display will certainly help the company to stand out against the other top-tier flagships of 2018. Bringing HDR support is the new trend in the display department, so it is pretty much on cards.

In terms of hardware, the XZ2 is bringing the latest best chipset. The camera is indeed one aspect where XZ2 takes lead, it could be claimed as the camera-centric flagship smartphone available in the market. Sony also refined their OS by bringing a light custom ROM over the stock version of Android OS.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the Xperia XZ2 preview in the comments section below. Stay tuned.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 is available at Amazon for $ 799. The price/quality is good and this is the best device in this price range.
(last update 17 July 2018 @ 22:14)

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