Sony Xperia Z2 review: Action pack

GSMArena team, 16 May 2014.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Sony, Android

A 5.2" 1080p IPS display

The Sony Xperia Z2 comes with a 5.2" 1080p Triluminos IPS display, backed up by the company's X-Reality engine. We've already seen the X-Reality Engine in action on the Xperia Z1, so we know that it's clearly superior to most of the screens Sony has produced in the past. The IPS display is definitely welcome as it deliver superb viewing angles.

Sony Xperia Z2
The 5.2" 1080p IPS display

The pixel density breaks down to 424ppi, which is as good as it gets in terms of sharpness. No matter how closely you look, you won't be able to tell pixels apart and images will always look tack sharp (provided they have enough resolution in the first place).

Here's a shot at the underlying pixel matrix of the screen that we've taken with our digital microscope compared to the Xperia Z1's RGB matrix.

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A key area that has seen further improvement courtesy of the IPS display is viewing angles. Those have been a long-standing issue of all of the company's screens over the past few years, but they have been tweaked in the Xperia Z1 and they are now even better in the Xperia Z2.

The native display contrast of the Sony Xperia Z2 is somewhat less impressive as on the Xperia Z1 because the Z2's screen isn't as bright as its predecessor's. Colors are nicely punchy, but still fairly accurate. If you'd like a bit of extra punch to your images and videos you should enable the X-Reality engine, which is the successor of the Mobile Bravia Engine. It aims to improve sharpness, reduce noise, while boosting contrast and saturation, and it does a pretty good job of it.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia Z2 - - - 0.41 488 1195
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Sony Xperia Z - - - 0.70 492 705
Oppo Find 7a 0.33 280 842 0.68 580 852
Samsung Galaxy S5 0 274 0 529
Samsung Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
HTC One (M8) 0.20 245 1219 0.46 577 1256
LG G2 0.10 149 1522 0.45 667 1495
HTC Butterfly S 0.15 165 1117 0.43 451 1044
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320


The Xperia Z2's screen is more reflective than the Xperia Z1's, which means we got a lesser score in our dedicated sunlight legibility test. We tried the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z2 side by side under direct sunlight and being noticeably brighter, indeed we found the Xperia Z1 screen easier to read and work with.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.950
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.790
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.740
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.270
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

The Sony Xperia Z2's screen may not earn it too many bonus point in today's market saturated with mind-blowing displays, but it's still a great unit and can't be held against the smartphone.

Hardware overview

There are the usual sensors above the 5.2" display, next to a 2.2MP front-facing camera. What's new is the stereo speakers, a nice addition to the flagship spec sheet, helping an immersive experience when watching videos or listening to music.

Each speaker is hidden underneath a very thin but elongated grille carved out of the front glass. The top speaker doubles as an earpiece and the LED notification light is integrated therein too.

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The font of the Xperia Z2 and the notification light in action

The right side of the Xperia Z2 is very busy. In the upper corner is the microSIM compartment under its protective flap. Just below it is the signature power key, followed by a volume rocker. Finally, there is the two-stage shutter key.

Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2
Right side: microSIM card slot, aluminum power key, shutter key

The left side has the microSD card slot and the microUSB port under a protective plastic lid as well. Naturally, it should be properly closed if you want your Xperia Z2 to be dust and water proof. The lanyard eyelet is also around.

Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2
Left side: microSD card slot and microUSB port, plus the lanyard eyelet

The top of the phone holds the exposed but waterproofed 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone allowing stereo sound in videos and keeping ambient noise out of calls. The primary mic is at the bottom of the Sony Xperia Z2.

Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2
The water-resistant 3.5mm audio jack is left exposed same goes for the loudspeaker on the bottom

The entire back is covered by a scratch-resistant glass of undisclosed origin. One of the key features of the Sony Xperia Z2 - the 20.7MP camera lens - is in the top left corner. It's a 27mm wide Sony G lens with a fast F/2.0 aperture and the Sony Exmor RS backside illuminated (BSI) sensor.

Sony Xperia Z2 Sony Xperia Z2
The back of the Xperia Z2

If you were hoping for a more powerful LED flash, dual or a true-tone LED, you'll be disappointed. The Xperia Z2 uses the same tiny singe-LED flash we saw on the Xperia Z1.

Battery life

The Sony Xperia Z2 is powered by a 3,200mAh Li-Ion battery - sealed under the sheet of glass, it's non-user-replaceable as usual. It's a bigger battery, the one in the Z1 was only 3000 mAh. We couldn't wait to do our battery test and find out whether the new Xperia Z2 can do better than its predecessor.

So, we did what we usually do and the Sony Xperia Z2 turned out an amazing performer. An overall rating of 89 hours was mostly down to vastly improved video playback and web browsing times. This means your Xperia Z2 will last just shy of four days if used for an hour each of video playback, calls over a 3G network and web browsing a day.

Don't miss to see how these results compare to other phones we've tested in our Battery life table.

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