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Sony unleashes its flagship Xperia Z2!

May 19, 2014 08:20 IST

Sony unleashes its flagship Xperia Z2!

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Himanshu Juneja

Is the latest Android phone the best there is in the market? Himanshu Juneja tells you just that.

Sony finally has revealed its flagship phone which will be competing against the current best of the Android segment.

The Xperia Z2 boasts of an impressive screen, a brilliant and feature loaded camera, and a very capable battery.

It seems Sony has supplied all the elements to allow the Xperia Z2 the right tick marks.

It is not perfect though.

With its issues of occasional heating up and with its slab-like design, it remains to be seen how it stands up in the current competition.

Specs:

  • OS: Android v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Display: 5.2 inches @1080 x 1920 pixels, IPS LCD
  • Processor: Quad-core 2.3 GHz, Krait 400
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Camera: Primary - 10MP with LED flash, Secondary - 2MP
  • Memory: 16 GB, microSD up to 128 GB
  • Battery: 3200 mAH Li-Ion (Non-removable)

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Image: Sony Xperia Z2
Photographs: Courtesy Sonymobile.com

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The Xperia Z2 has glass and aluminium as its construction material.

The bezel has a prominent presence here, and Sony has made no effort to keep it subtle.

The glass material used on the phone is definitely there to make the phone look classy, but also happens to be a fingerprint magnet.

Sony has ensured that they have made Z2 more resistant to scratching and scuffing.

This was a much needed move since the Z1 experience.

Also accompanying the phone are the stereo front facing speakers which enhance the media experience for the users.

Unlike the bezel, the speakers are indeed more subtly placed.

It seems Sony got the hint from HTC camp, and it is a good thing!

Sony should also have taken a leaf from HTC's manual to give the phone better ergonomics.

The phone gives a feeling of being a piece of a slab, especially after one has seen the curvy backplate of the HTC One M8.

The back panel of the Z2 should have been a bit meatier, or curved to enable a better grip.

But to Sony's credit, the phone still can be operated using one hand without too much of a fuss.

Sony has maintained the certifications and made the Z2 Dust and water resistant.

The phone has onto its right hand side, the power/lock key, and directly below one finds the volume key.

The dedicated camera key also finds its way on the right hand side as well.

Lastly, the microSD card slot too resides on the same side, duly covered to help the set maintain its dust and water resistant profile.

On the left, one finds the micro SIM and the microUSB slots, both covered in conjunction again to prevent it from dust/water.

The top of the phone features the headphone jack.

Sony has managed to squeeze an RGB LED near the top speaker grill to provide the users with the relevant notifications.

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Image: Sony Xperia Z2
Photographs: Courtesy Sonymobile.com

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Sony unleashes its flagship Xperia Z2!

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The 5.2 inches screen on the Z2 is an IPS LCD and it gives fantastic results.

The colours are vibrant and an approximate 424 pixel density means that the text comes out sharp and makes the reading a comfortable job as well.

Sony has always known for certain factors, and producing stunning displays is one of the traits.

A screen size in excess of 5", and coming in at a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels is pretty much expected to make movie viewing a pleasure and Z2 doesnt disappoints.

Results are crisp, and contrast offered is very good.

The Z2 comes with KitKat version preloaded.

One of the things Sony does is it minimises the Android OS skinning. What this means is that users have less clutter on their handsets.

Sony is one of the few mobile phones to offer only one browser -- Google Chrome.

The app does the job quite convincingly and with the option to synchronise the mobile browser with the one being used on the desktop, the user gets to import the bookmarks etc, so very less scope for a complain.

The lock screen itself will just display the time, date, and a camera shortcut.

If playing the music, the menu for the same will appear.

But otherwise it is a pretty simple affair.

One also notices the simplicity when pulling down the notification bar

Unlike Samsung, which provides with numerous settings on the pull down menu, Sony has decided to keep it devoid of any other option.

What this does is, that a user is able to read the many notifications he might have received, without any major hassle.

Sony has of course made provisions for the settings menu by providing a separate tab right next to the notification tab, and without any surprises, labelled it as quick settings.

Sony has included a thoughtful functionality of waking the screen up via double tap, called as 'Tap to wake' feature.

This should make things easier for the user to work with the phone.

However, there should have been provisions for putting the screen back to sleep as well via similar gesture, which disappointingly is not present.

Sony did miss a trick here.

There are some intuitive software on board as well.

For example, users will get a prompt as soon as they connect the phone with their choice of earphones/speakers.

The phone will take instructions to start music as soon as the earphone/speakers are connected, and similarly will pause the playback when the device is disconnected.

To sweeten the deal, one can also choose the type of app to playback the content from the media library.

The phone also goes a step ahead and asks user about the preferences when using the wi-fi, this is to conserve the battery life.

A user will be able to set the option to turn off the wi-fi connectivity, as soon as the phone moves away from the area of a saved connection.

One definitely benefits by the Playstation facet of Sony is that the Xperia Z2 can be connected with a ps4, OR a Playstation game controller can be connected to the Z2 for some enhanced gaming experience.

Also, there is the 'Playstation mobile' as a separate game store for the added advantage. One expects this to get decently populated in due course of time.

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Image: Sony Xperia Z2
Photographs: Courtesy Sonymobile.com

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The phone comes with a 20 MP camera, with a Flash for support.

Upon pressing the dedicated camera button, the camera app launches itself pretty quickly.

Not only will the app lunch itself, the phone settles with the focus fast enough as well.

And thanks to the Exmore RS sensor present, the noise reduction in the photographs is there for everybody to see.

Not only does the camera does a fantastic job during the well lit conditions, it also does performs quite decently with low light conditions.

The results are very impressive and one can easily see the quality being the best between the current competing flagship Android phones.

There is the Superior mode supplied, which made the phone camera something of a easy to handle point and shoot device.

For the veterans, there are options to be tweaked via manual mode like the brightness, ISO, white balance etc.

Timeshift burst mode will allow the users to pick the best possible shot from a series and make their efforts of all the tweaking that much sweeter.

Then the option to render effects like defocus is onboard as well, which enables the user to blur out particular sections of the picture.

This makes the simplest of the shots to look like the work of the pro. Apart from that there are other filters for effects, which will definitely excite every camera enthusiast.

The kids can have their fill of excitement with the AR mode, which basically allows the picture to be superimposed with effects like that of a dinosaur roaming in the same vicinity as the subject.

For the video department, there are few things on offer too.

Like the timeshift video, which allows the user to make particular section of a video to be tweaked and slowed down to look as if it is in slow motion.

One of the features which deserves a special mention is the 4k video capturing ability.

4k provides four times the quality provided by a conventional Full HD resolution.

Even though the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 are quite capable of delivering the same, Sony's camera trumps both in terms of sheer quality.

But this doesn't comes without its own share of issues.

The phone gets pretty hot while shooting the videos, and then there is the issue of the OS crashing midway, rendering the captured video as corrupt.

Sony should correct this flaw ASAP with a simple software update push.

Included in the list of features is the 'Info-Eye' mode, which brings you information if you're shooting next to an important place, for example something like Qutub minar.

There is something in for the front facing 2MP camera as well.

Sony has supplied the 'Soft skin effect', which basically softens your skin tone! :-)

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Photographs: Courtesy Sonymobile.com

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With a 3200mAh battery onboard, the Z2 is capable of lasting more than a day for a moderate usage pattern.

Sony has also been considerate and has included few power saving modes on the phone to prolong the battery life in desperate situations.

One is the Stamina mode which will disable mobile data and Wi-Fi connectivity, basically reducing the phone communication to the bare essentials.

The user can also customise the stamina mode and clamp down on the hardware performance of the phone to further save the battery aggressively.

This will mean the CPU power gets restricted and as a result the phone will exhibit longer load times for the apps, which is understandable really.

Then there is the Low-Battery mode, where the user is free to choose which functions are to be disabled depending upon their preferences.

This particularly seems more like a go to option in times of need.


Verdict:

The Z2 is an all-round contender to compete with the other two leading Android based phones: The HTC One M8, and Samsung Galaxy S5.

It does most of the things, and does them pretty much right.

It easily trumps the HTC One M8's camera for overall quality. Still, one can't help but sense something amiss.

One doesn't find the device doing something which sets it apart from the competition in a glorious way.

This might come in the way of the set becoming a runaway success. But one cannot overlook the fact that it is still a solid phone which does the basics fantastically well.

It offers a minimalistic interface, a great camera and waterproofed device to the buyer.

Unfortunately, it does have the sporadic issues of overheating.

Sony really should have tested the handset and not rushed it into the market.

To sum up, if one values a handset which has a great screen, provides solid options in terms of camera and battery, without bloating the set with unnecessary features, this is a worthy option and deserves a look.


Image: Sony Xperia Z2
Photographs: Courtesy Sonymobile.com

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