The first half of the year was particularly busy, with the launch of several high-end terminals. Sony was obviously not outdone and the Japanese giant took advantage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to introduce the new flagship of its fleet, the Xperia Z2 . He has been accompanying me for several weeks, so the time has come to take stock of the operation.
I repeat it with each test but I think it is important to insist on the fact that this article is not intended to sink into pure technique. You'll get a few benchmarks, of course, and a couple of things like that, but it won't go any further.
No big surprise here, before going any further it is advisable to start by looking seriously at the technical sheet of the terminal, just to refresh your memory. And also because it is important to know what it is about.
The Sony Xperia Z2 has a 5.2-inch screen capable of displaying Full HD 1080p type definition , for a resolution of 1920 × 1080. On that, well we are entitled to all the usual technologies, such as X-Reality or even Triluminos.
On the processor side, well we find a Snapdragon 801 coupled to an Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM , exactly the same chip as the one that equips the LG G3 ( tested here ), the HTC M8 ( tested here ) or even the Samsung Galaxy S5 ( tested here ). So much the better, because it's a safe bet, especially in terms of raw computing power.
The internal memory does not go beyond 16 GB , but it will always be possible to expand it through the integrated micro SD card slot. On the positive side, if necessary, we can even use cards of up to 128 GB . Which will give us a lot of leeway, in the end.
The Z2 is obviously aimed at amateur photographers and videographers, like its predecessors before it. It therefore incorporates a 20.7 million pixel Exmor RS sensor , G-Lens optics capable of opening in f / 2.0 and a BIONZ processing chip as a bonus. With an 8x digital zoom story you can photograph the neighbor (or neighbor) across the street. Added to this is a 2.2 million pixel front camera that offers good results and should therefore delight fans of selfies.
And after ? Well apart from WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, the terminal also relies on an NFC chip, on a GPS chip and on FM Radio. It is compatible with DLNA and Miracast. Otherwise, well unfortunately we will have to be content with a Micro USB 2.0 port to recharge it or to transfer our data, which is a bit of a shame.
On paper, therefore, we have a pretty beast, perfectly able to compete with other high-end terminals on the market.
Design & Ergonomics
Some people pay little attention to the look and design of their phone. It's not my case. After all, even if it means investing several hundred euros in a mobile, as much as it is not (too) ugly to watch, right?
In this area, the Xperia Z2 is obviously doing very well. It is at the same time beautiful, racy and pleasant to handle. Yes, it does not lack charm, and it especially benefits from an IP55 and IP58 treatment. What does it mean ? Quite simply, it will be able to resist water and dust. Better still, it can even be submerged if necessary, but only in fresh water and for a period of half an hour.
So obviously, on paper, the Z2 looks a lot like its predecessor, while being a little longer. No difference in terms of width, however. Also note that its shell consists of two tempered glass plates connected by a metal hoop. It is resistant, of course, but it is also very vulnerable to scratches and it will be better to invest in plastic films to protect it and to avoid ruining it.
As far as I'm concerned, I opted for atFoliX FX-Clear protections and I'm very happy with it. They are not very expensive (9.99 euros) and they are of good quality.
Some new features, however, in terms of ergonomics. If the placement of the physical buttons has not changed – they are all gathered on the right border – Sony has revised its hatch system. Now, the micro SD card port is on the right, while a long hatch conceals the micro USB 2.0 port and the SIM card on the left edge.
On the lower edge, we still find the terminal speaker, but this time it is hidden behind three holes drilled directly into the structure. No more grid, then. The hole for the strap is no longer on the lower right corner, but on the lower left corner. Otherwise, the notifications LED located on the front of the terminal is also a little more visible. No change on the headphone jack, however.
Nothing revolutionary, therefore, but a few interesting adjustments, making it easier to grip the phone. If you've ever had a Z1 in hand, sure, you won't be caught off guard.
Screen, Power & Autonomy
The screen of a telephone is a piece of choice, both in terms of visual comfort and power consumption. On this ground, Sony has not done in half measures. If the Z1 had to be "content" with a TFT panel, the Z2 for its part is entitled to an IPS panel coupled with LED lighting . In the end, the image is more beautiful, the colors are almost perfect and we are even entitled to a better viewing angle as a bonus.
And if we add to that the Triluminos and the X-Reality, well we get a nice mix that should delight the most demanding mobile users, or even those who sometimes tend to watch videos on their phone.
But what about the raw power of the Snapdragon 801? If you've read my latest reviews, then you should know that the bugger is doing well, very well even. And this on every possible and unimaginable occasion.
Now, if you want to compare with your own terminal, the best is still to refer to the scores obtained on Geekbench, AnTuTu & Co:
- BenchmarkPi: 194.
- Quadrant: 15,456.
- Linpack: 453 405.
- An3DBench: 7671.
- Geekbench: 916/2544.
- AnTuTu: 30 369.
Verdict? Not surprisingly, the Z2 is aligned with its competitors and its results are therefore very close to an HTC M8 or even an LG G3. Finally, it all depends on the tests. According to Linpack, it is far ahead of its competitors. Same thing according to Geekbench. AnTuTu, for its part, places it behind the HTC M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5.
After that, of course, these are just simple numbers. What I can tell you is that the Xperia Z2 is running smoothly and I haven't seen a single slowdown during this entire testing period. Whether for apps, for games or even for capturing photos and videos.
What about autonomy? Unsurprisingly, she is very good. With intensive use and without any optimization, it will easily last more than a day. On the other hand, if you activate Stamina Mode and if you pay a little attention, then you can easily reach the two days of autonomy.
There, for example, my Z2 has been on battery for 24 hours, and it has 63% battery left. Okay, 4G is not activated, so that also explains that.
Photos, Video & Sound
If you take a look at the page devoted to the Xperia Z2, on the Sony site, then you will see that the manufacturer highlights its multimedia functions, and more precisely its skills in capturing photos and videos. The speech is well put together, and it seems rather convincing.
But what about in everyday life?
It is doing well, very well even and better than its predecessor. Even when the light is lacking. Astonishing? Not that much. While it retains the Z1's optics and sensor, the BIONZ processing chip has been specially optimized to erase the latter's defects. And although the Z2 will not be able to replace a reflex or a hybrid, it will be able to produce images that will not be ashamed of what high-end digital compacts offer.
Its autofocus is also very responsive, although it does not quite match that of the LG G3 ( tested here ).
Besides, you probably know that Sony's new flagship is also one of the first smartphones to be able to capture videos in 4K. Which left me very puzzled. This being the case, and against all odds, the guy is doing pretty well and is thus able to deliver excellent quality images.
I took advantage of a small meeting organized by the Uzful agency to ask a video pro, Maël not to mention him, to take some very high definition shots. Below is the video of his exploits, and I think it will give you a good idea of what the Z2 is worth in the field.
But Sony's real strength, its main asset, is undoubtedly its photo application. This is not the first time that I have told you about it, but this tool has absolutely no equivalent elsewhere. And for good reason since the Japanese firm has opted for a modular architecture , made up of several tools developed by itself, but also by third-party publishers.
Apart from 4K, the Xperia Z2 also offers another super well thought out mode, a mode allowing you to achieve slow motion. It's very stupid, but it works really great and the editor is a formidable ergonomics. The same goes for the module dedicated to background blurs. A module that works quite well and that should delight all people who love to play with depth of field to bring out their subjects.
Usually in this part I only focus on the photo and video part. However, if you go a little further up the page, you will find that the title of the section also alludes … to sound.
This is not a typo, or a mistake on my part. I don't talk much about it in my tests, but there, I can't decently miss it. And for good reason, since the Z2 comes with special headphones , capable of picking up ambient noise in real time and inverting the frequencies to suppress it, and therefore to isolate us from the outside world.
On paper, it is rather seller and it is clear that it works really well. Very well even. And if we add to that all the options available in the parameters of the terminal, as well as its equalizer, we obtain one of the best “musicophones” (I would have to think about registering the mark) of the moment.
Ecosystem & Applications
Choosing a cell phone is also choosing a specific ecosystem and, in this regard, not all manufacturers can boast of going as far as Sony. Because the manufacturer has a major advantage over an HTC, for example: it is present on several fronts and if it sells phones, it also has in its catalog touch tablets, televisions, Hi-Fi systems and even game consoles.
Products, but also services.
Apart from all the usual applications (mail client, calendar, calculator, alarms, etc.), we will therefore be entitled to three connected multimedia applications, perfectly formidable applications: Album, Films and Walkman.
What's interesting about these tools is that they don't just give you access to content stored locally on the device. In reality, they work a bit like aggregators.
With Films , for example, I will also be able to access Video Unlimited and connect to the Plex servers on my network. Walkman will send me back to Music Unlimited, or to Deezer. As for Album , well it will be able to connect perfectly to Facebook, Flickr or Picasa to fetch my remote collections. It's damn good and in the latter case we will even have access to a full editor, offering tools similar to what we find on the Snapseed side.
So what about the overlay?
She's doing pretty well. Sony has not yet given in to the sirens of “flat design”, but the interface is nonetheless accessible and fluid. What I like least, ultimately, is the notification center and this system of tabs not always the most practical. I would have preferred that the manufacturer regroups all the shortcuts of the settings in a horizontal bar, like what LG or Samsung offer.
The windowed application system is super well thought out, however. It works with any widget . The same goes for the applications window and for those nifty filters that will allow you to get straight to the point, and more easily find what you are looking for.
The list is not exhaustive, but I just shot a small video to present the Sony overlay to you. The best is therefore to make yourself comfortable and watch it. Allow around 30 minutes.
Frankly, the announcement of the Z2 left me quite perplexed. I did not really see any noticeable difference with the Z1, apart from the presence of a Snapdragon 801. However, and as often, you should not trust appearances , and even less the photos or videos that you can find on the web. Nothing beats a real grip to get a real idea of a product, whatever it is.
So what ? The results of the operation? Good or good ?
Good, and even very good. The grip is comfortable, and the IP55 / 58 treatment is still appreciable. Okay, not everyone is necessarily going to take a shower with their phone, but we have to admit that it's still great to be able to take it out in the rain without worrying about its fate.
Power level, there is nothing to say. The Snapdragon 801 performs on all fronts and is able to run all the apps and games on the Play Store without batting an eyelid.
But what does he have more than the others?
The answer is simple, and can be summed up in one word: multimedia. It can advantageously replace your digital compact and even your small camcorder without any problem. Better, thanks to its headphones, you will not have to invest in an expensive helmet. And then there is the screen of course. Truly beautiful, and without a doubt one of the terminal's biggest strengths.