The Xperia XZ2 has taken a leap in specifications and functionality over the Xperia XZ1 model we reviewed last year and Sony call this an evolution of the design language for their flagship phones.
The design theme, Sony says, is called 'Ambient Flow'. The handset react differently to the surrounding lighting - the XZ2 is an amazingly reflective handset, reflecting the light where you are, while the XZ2 Compact diffuses the light.
Motion Eye camera improvements allow for capture of 4K HDR video on the XZ2 and 960fps super slow motion video in Full HD. Features like predictive capture, smile detection and predictive autofocus ensure that your still photographs are the best you have ever taken - and all made easier with the Quick Launch and, our favourite, the dedicated two-step camera button on the phone.
The Xperia XZ2 makes an excellent argument for completely ditching a dedicated point and shoot camera.
“If entertainment is your priority, then our new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are your smartphones. From what’s inside — world-class technology, to a new sleek, sophisticated design, these smartphones are everything you need and probably a lot more. We have pushed Sony’s boundaries even further with our new products for movie recording, viewing, and music listening – offering entertainment to the extreme.”
- Ciaran Cleary, Sony Mobile Ireland
The XZ2 manages to add a half-inch to the screen size while the overall size of the handset is slimmer and smaller than last year. The 5.7-inch 4K HDR display fits nicely into the hand with it's 18:9 Gorilla Glass 5 screen and IP65/68 rating meaning that it will essentially be dust and waterproof.
3D creator improvements are present this year, too. The XZ2 can now do a 3D Scan using the front-facing camera for the perfect 3D Selfie. If you choose you can also go for extra detail by allowing your 3D Scan to be post-processed to add up to 100x the detail to your scan.
Exclusively on the XZ2, Sony have included a new haptic experience, similar to the rumble systems in a PlayStation 4 Controller, so you can feel your viewing experience. It uses Sony’s brand new Dynamic Vibration System which analyses audio data and lets you feel the action in your hands, bringing your movies, games and videos to life.
In the hand, the Xperia XZ2 feels as you would expect from a premium handset, comfortable and evenly weighted in the hand. The glass back has a wonderful reflective quality that adds to the sense of premium build, but also leaves you feeling slightly nervous that it might slip - especially if you are trying to text with one hand. It also seems to be more resistive to fingerprints than you would have expected.
The display really pops, even when compared to last years flagship XZ1 models. 4K and HDR work together to show extra detail that you might have missed in videos or photos before. The 3D audio immerses you in your music and movies like never before.
The display also leverages some technology from the Bravia range of TVs to upscale or up-convert content to near HDR quality, so even if you are streaming video you can expect to get a better quality playback experience.
The XZ2 is a nice size for a phone, just about pocket friendly enough to be comfortable, however reaching the top of the screen with one handed use is not going to be easy. This can be eased with the scalable UI that can adapt and allow you to shrink to a portion of the screen to complete a task just in cast you find it hard to reach the top of the screen. The Dynamic Vibration System is a nice touch. It actually adds to everything from music, videos and games - although it's longer-term impact on battery life we'll only be able to determine after a longer time with the handset.