Sony has been a household name for a long time now, as far as the Indian smartphone market is concerned. Right from a time when Sony used to partner with Ericsson, until to date when you see how the Xperia series of smartphones have grown and evolved.
Sony's comparatively new Xperia Z2 handset is currently on the radar for us. We have been playing around with a review unit for quite some time now and have gathered enough intel on what the smartphone is capable of. Needless to say at this point that the Z2 is follow up to Sony's Xperia Z1 which debuted last year.
The Xperia Z2, arriving in the market as Sony's alternative to the likes of the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, LG G3 and the iPhone 5S, has a lot to prove if it is to compliment the standards maintained by Sony so far. And with both the original Xperia Z1 and the Z1 Compact already in the market, the in-house competition will only grow.
To be perfectly honest, the Z2 isn't really a huge upgrade over its predecessors. However, an impressive screen, good camera and great battery life make it a potent choice for those anyway looking to spend lavishly on a brand new handset in the coming days.
But how well does the Xperia Z2 chart out among others currently seated in the market? Does it have enough under the hoods to carry it over to the finish line in a potentially never-ending race to the top of the pile?
As we mentioned earlier, we already have a review unit for the same with us that we have played around with. And needless to say, we managed to get the most out of the device while our time with it. Let's see what the finer details say about it.
Sony Xperia Z2 Review: Form Factor
In terms of looks and form, the Xperia Z2 looks a lot like last year's Xperia Z1 handset from Sony. But still it has to be said that Sony has indeed done a great job with the design and the build of the device.
The Xperia Z2 comes with an aluminium chassis that makes the handset a strong prospect in terms of build. In fact, try dropping it a few times without any real fear of getting it damaged. During our time with the device, we understood that the device is hardcore enough to deal with a few blows to its body.
The glass offering both at the back and front of the device do a good job of keeping the phone free off scratches. Although the smudges and fingerprints aren't really dealt with effectively. And once the smudges settle, removing them is a sort of a nightmarish ordeal.
Nonetheless, the Z2 handset makes up for most of these issues with its water resistant nature and sealed up build. So rather than offering a SIM and a microSD slot at the back of the device, the Xperia Z2 offers them on the phone's sides with plastic flaps covering both.
Around the back of the phone, there's the familiar 20.7MP sensor present (similar to the Z1), alongside a sinlge LED flash. So while it's a treat for users who are looking to shift to a new phone, other already owning an Xperia handset already, won't have much on the plate.
The Z2 also sports a new IPS display which is an upgrade over the Z1. This gives an extra edge to the colors and brightness levels in the handset, making them more vibrant. However, things could have been much better when the device's brightness is exposed to sunlight.
Apart from that, the Z2's power button is extremely well-placed and sits well under the thumbs of most (different story though if you are left handed). Also, anyone set to get the new Xperia over their old Xperia offering will be happy to see an uncovered headphone jack on top, similar to the Z1.
Sony Xperia Z2 Review: Operating System
The Xperia Z2, as expected, keeps up with the times and the handsets around it by offering Google's latest version of its mobile operating system. The Z2, itself, runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat along with a tweaked Xperia skin complimenting the OS.
Nonetheless, the offering won't feel that much different to standard Android that comes with most devices these days. And for the sake of comparison, the UI has a lighter touch than the likes of HTC's Sense or Samsung's TouchWiz interface. The functions and the features inside the device continue to remain the same, though.
Moreover, with a powerful 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM running under the hoods, you'll find general navigation around the Xperia Z2 to be quite a fluid and lag free experience.
The device's notification bar also gets redesigned toggle switches, with new animations applied to the lock screen, music player, and more for a new experience. The display setting also gets a new ‘Smart backlight control' feature. This keeps the screen on for as long as it sense that you're looking at it.
Heading over to the app tray for the same, the Xperia Z2 allows you to slide from left to right to bring up a sidebar menu that appears in a variety of ways for you to categorize your apps and use it the way you want. The order can range from alphabetical or most used to installed or your customized order.
Also, in the display setting, you'll recognize the "tap to wake" feature. And on enabling it, you'll be able to turn on the screen of the handset with a simple double tap on it. However, note that it only works to turn the screen on. Double tapping on a lit up screen won't put the screen back to sleep again.
Moreover, sliding two fingers down from the notification bar will get you back into the quick settings tab. A single finger slide, however, will take you to the more traditional notification view.