Sony is pushing its leading range even further, with a new flagship in the form of the Xperia Z2. We’ve had some quick, hands on time with an early device to get a feel for how it shapes up, and how much of a step on it is from the earlier Z1.
Design and build
Sony’s waterproof form factor has almost become a trademark now, and is certainly one of the Xperia range’s most distinctive features. The Z2’s bodywork is very similar to that of the Z1, with the solid, industrial design proving to be an attractive alternative to some plastic-based high-end devices.
The Z2 is considerably bigger than the recent Z1 Compact, and it’s wide, sharp-edged body may not suit everyone. But, if you’re after a large premium device then this could well be one to consider.
Performance and display
With a 5.2-inch screen the Z2 offers some impressive visual power and high-res movies look outstanding on the screen. Sony regularly makes great displays and this LED example with Live Colour technology proves to be no exception.
The device’s processor is a powerful 2.3GHz quad-core offering that tackles the Z2’s software with ease, with no noticeable hang ups at any point when using the smartphone.
Software and user interface
Android KitKat comes out of the box, standing as a big selling point that could appeal to Android fanatics. On top is Sony’s UI, a minimalist take on Google’s software that adds a few touches for the user.
Sony’s distinctive Walkman, Album and Movies apps are present, and we noticed a very small but impressive change to the way updates and settings are shown in the notifications bar. While it maybe not be quite as feature-rich as that seen on Samsung’s recent high-enders, Sony’s software looks to be more than enough to give you full access to the Z2’s capabilities.
The firm is also set to include a free pair of its noise-cancelling headphones with every Z2 and while we haven’t had a chance to test these out yet they do sound like very impressive additions. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on a pair for our full review, and let you know how they perform.
Sticking with that 20.7 megapixel camera used on the Z1, Sony has put more of a focus on video than in the past. Footage can be captured in 4K, setting the bar a little higher when it comes to what smartphones can now do.
You can’t watch that high-res footage back on the Z2’s 1080p display, but you can play it back on a 4K television, which will stand you in good stead for the near future when such devices become far more common.
As for Sony’s camera app, there are a couple of extra features squeezed in there, including Timeshift Burst and Background Defocus, which will allow you to play around with the images you capture.
The Xperia Z2 doesn’t look to be an enormous leap on from the Z1, but its an evolution nonetheless. Introducing 4K video is a big deal, which will give Sony a leading edge over its competitors and could be something that others rush to follow.
Overall, the handset is a large and very powerful device that, on first impression, is a capable addition to the current crop of high-end Android smartphones.