At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony took the stage to introduce its next offering in the smartphone area. Introducing the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, Sony’s fastest flagship smartphone yet.
Sony hasn’t had much luck in recent years, largely due to its outdated design. But with the new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, the company is taking its smartphone offering in a new direction. The smartphones are fast, beautiful and fascinating. Sony not only wanted to strike a balance in these devices but present you with a device that you’ll love to use.
Sony’s Xperia XZ2 is one of many smartphones that will be released this year. Already, Sony is seeing competition from the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, both of which were released yesterday. The XZ2 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset, comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, with options for expandable storage. Sony’s own custom software offering on top of Android makes it feel like a smooth device that’s great to use and you don’t notice a slowdown either. Sony says that it’s implementation of Qualcomm’s X20 modem features more RF antennas to help the device reach download speeds as high as 1.2Gbps.
For software end of things, the XZ2 runs on Android 8.0 Oreo, and you will get to use the software on top of the 5.7-inch Full HD+ HDR display. At this time, we don’t know why Sony didn’t go with a higher resolution screen, but since the device has a 3180mAh battery, our best bet is the company decided to take power consumption into consideration, which is an important factor for many consumers. There’s also one small trick you need to know about the device too. Thanks to Sony’s XReality engine, the XZ2 will up-convert standard SDR videos into HDR on-the-go. Pretty neat, right?
Handling and Feel
One of the biggest irks of past Sony devices was that they felt so big and chunky. With its previous smartphone, Sony still used the same aesthetic — “OmniBalance,” Sony calls it — as this was introduced in the Xperia Z over five years ago. But that isn’t the case anymore with the XZ2 smartphone. The company opted for a more curvier and more organic approach to designing the device. It’s quite beautiful, if you ask me.
To me, the biggest improvement I see in the design of the XZ2 is the fact that it’s no longer using the older, flatter design. The XZ2 uses curved Gorilla Glass 5 back that helps it to be held in your hand very nicely and smoothly. Seeing as the device has a 5.7-inch screen size, it feels quite comfortable and well. The device’s rear-mounted fingerprint sensor sits towards the middle of the phone on the back, making it easier and more natural for you to access. Sony even aligned the camera towards the center rather than in the corner, which is a wise decision for a better feel of the device.
It’s very well known that Sony makes some of the best cameras in the industry. Many smartphones on the market use Sony-made camera sensors, and Sony brings the same quality to the XZ2. Like its predecessor, the XZ2 has a 19MP Motion Eye sensor on the back, and there’s only one of them. Other companies are slowly introducing dual cameras (Apple and Samsung, for example), but it may be a while before Sony goes that route. To evaluate the camera, there are a lot of bright colors and sharp details, which is super important. Pairing that up with the software, you can take some amazing photos.
Even though the the sensor may be the same, the smartphone still has a few new tricks to offer. Smartphone videographers can shoot videos at 960FPS, super-slow-motion video at full HD (up from previous 720p), and since the XZ2 comes with the Snapdragon 845 chip inside, you can use the XZ2 to capture 4K HDR video.
Speaking in terms of the front camera, it has a monster 5-megapixel selfie camera, but there are a few tricks here as well. You’ll remember that the Xperia XZ came with a 3D creator mode that allowed you to “can” objects with the phone’s main camera to build 3D models that you could share on Facebook or print. Even though it may have been more of a marketing gimmick, but there was one thing that was a shortcoming: it was fine for scanning objects, but not the best with scanning your own head. The company took that into consideration and fixed the oversight. Those scans can now be used in the front-facing camera, and the results can be pretty impressive.
Can’t forget the audio
There are a number of improvements in XZ2’s audio performance as well. The phone supports higher-resolution audio, and a set of S Force stereo speakers can help jam out like no other. The XZ2 has a significantly larger haptic actuator inside of it, too. Basically, you’ll notice the vibration more firmly, especially when you’re gaming, for example. The idea for gaming rumble is that an algorithm processes the audio data of whatever is playing and vibrates the phone accordingly. Depending the the game you’re playing, it will give you responses accordingly.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no headphone jack on the device. While this might be a dealbreaker for many, there may be others that prefer it this way. Right?
Lastly, there’s the XZ2 Compact
We talked a lot about the XZ2, but what about its little brother? The XZ2 Compact is the smaller sibling. The XZ2 Compact comes with every feature that makes the XZ2 smartphone capable, but into a smaller, curvaceous polycarbonate frame that’s also incredible to hold.
While it includes many features from the XZ2, there are a few noticeable absences. For example, there’s no wireless charging and no haptic rumble features. In addition, Sony went with a 5-inch Full HD+ HDR panel for the smaller sibling.
What about pricing?
There’s a lot we discussed here, but you’re probably wondering how much this thing costs. Sony’s new XZ2 smartphones will go on sale next month. The unlocked XZ2 and XZ2 Compact will be available in the UK for £699 and £549, respectively. At this time, we’re still working to figure out the US pricing, but once we have it, we will update you.