Sony and LG have respectable camera divisions and compete in image quality but also value-added features. We'll see camera performance in the next chapter, first we'll visit the multimedia apps each company has preloaded.
Both gallery apps are custom jobs and feature extensive support for online albums. Sony's Albums pushes its PlayMemories service along with Facebook, Picasa and Flickr. It features Globe and Map views, great for finding photos you snapped abroad, and a SensMe slideshow that groups similar photos together automatically.
Sony's gallery features online album integration and map view
The LG gallery is a bit more pedestrian, and doesn't have as many sorting options. Editing is done through Google's Photos app.
Image editing on the G3 is done through Google Photos
Sony has deep roots in the music industry and uses the music player on the Xperia Z2 to feature its Music Unlimited store, which can also be a great tool for discovering music with Charts, New Releases and Channel categories. It can also be completely disabled.
Sony's Walkman-branded music player
The music player features a neat trick - the infinity button allows you to do quick lookups related to the song you're listening to. This could be finding the video on YouTube, looking for lyrics, checking out info about the artist on Wikipedia and more (it can be extended by way of plugins from the Play Store).
Finding additional contetn with the infinite button • more options
As for audio quality settings, the Xperia Z2 features a 5-band equalizer, a Clear Bass setting, Clear Stereo (it enhances the stereo effect), ClearAudio+ (adjusts the audio settings to fit the song) and dynamic normalizer (which levels out volume differences between tracks).
If you're listening music on the front-facing speakers on the Z2, Clear Phase and xLOUD promise to improve the audio quality and boost the volume respectively.
Various sound enhancement for headphones and the stereo loudspeakers
The Sony flagship also has an FM radio with RDS and TrackID integration. Once TrackID recognizes the song, you can post an "I'm listening to..." update on Facebook.
FM radio with RDS and built-in song recognition
The LG G3's music player, though looking beautiful, offers less functionality. Yes, it comes with various sorting options and a good enough Now Playing screen with support for lyrics. There are customizable equalizers too, you can even change the pitch and speed of the music.
The LG Music player with advanced equalizer settings
What's missing is manual search for lyrics and related content as Sony's infinite button is offering. There aren't as rich sound options as Sony's offering, too.
LG G3 offers FM radio only on the Euro version.
Sony video player suffers from relatively poor codec support. Notably DivX is missing, though the XviD works. It also supports MP4 and MKV files, which have overshadowed AVI in recent years - and both work fine. Unless they have multi-channel audio that is, both players pretty much only work with MP3 and AAC.
Sony's video player has an extra trick up its sleeve - much like the song recognition engine in the video player, it can recognize a movie and pull additional info including cast and plot summary.
HTPC-like video player from Sony
The video player on the G3 has a very simple interface, but is still very powerful. It does play all sorts of file types and video/audio codecs - virtually everything we threw at it.
It also supports subtitles and carry over the sound options from its music player. LG G3 also has the QSlide function, which puts the video in a small, resizable window with adjustable transparency if you want to use another app while watching video.
Winner: Tie. LG offers robust video decoder support, but Sony's image gallery has more sorting and editing options and the music player is more feature-rich.
Sony Xperia Z2 offers front stereo speakers, but it didn't turn them into a calling card as HTC did with its BoomBox setup.
LG has an orthodox setup - one speaker, on the back. The company seems to have decided to go with power over quantity and the speaker can produce 1W of audio normally, 1.5W with its boost feature.
The LG G3 wins in terms of raw sound volume, which is great for notifications and ringers. The stereo speakers on the Sony Xperia Z2 are more conductive to listening to music, but since they are on the front they are less likely to get muffled too.
Check out more about our tests and our loudness test in particular.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|HTC One (M8)||65.8||64.7||75.7|
Winner: LG G3. Its speaker is louder - simple as that. Bear in mind that when the G3 lies on a table, the loudspeaker gets muffled slightly. However, the Z2 is no stranger to speaker muffling either. When you hold it in landscape position, it's really easy to place both your thumbs on top of the two speakers.
The LG G3 results in the first part of our audio quality test are nothing short of amazing. The smartphone produced the best numbers we've ever seen including a perfect -100 on the stereo crosstalk score. The Sony Xperia Z2 also delivers excellently clean audio output worthy of its flagship status, though couldn't quiet match the LG G3.
Plugging in a pair of headphones tells a similar story - the output is great on the Xperia Z2, but still not quite up to the G3 standard. Sadly, neither of the two contestants lived up to its high-end billing when it came to volume levels - both falling well short of the average.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
LG G3 frequency response
Sony Xperia Z2 frequency response
Winner: LG G3. While the majority of users will be perfectly happy with the output of either smartphone, the LG G3 produces some of the cleanest audio we've heard on a smartphone.
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