Sony promised a lot from this years Xperia line, a fresher new design, and a return to curves, as they put it. However, whilst Sony do deliver on those promises, we can’t help but feel like, once again with a Sony, they could have just done so much more.
One thing we continue to praise, however, about Sony, is how when they release a flagship, they also release a smaller variant of the same flagship for those of us who don’t have hands the size of a 30 stone behemoth, to which the XZ2 Compact is a great new addition. However, it’s the larger XZ2 that we have more problems with.
But, before we get to that, let’s get through the good, and thankfully there’s a lot of good to get you going with the new XZ2 line. First of all, the obvious, the XZ2 has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor backed up with 4GB of RAM, which allows the device to perform like a champ thanks to Sony’s minimum overlay on top of Android Oreo. One thing of note, Sony have finally begun, be it baby steps, to reduce the huge bezels by adopting the 18:9 aspect ratio on the HDR capable 1080P display … yeah, you read right, both the XZ2 and Compact are both just 1080p resolution, which is a bit of a shame. Due to it being a 18:9 aspect ratio, you’ve a 2160 x 1080 resolution in the XZ2 line. You’ll also find 64GB of base storage, microSD card expansion remains, and an interesting Dynamic Vibration System in the larger XZ2, which we’ll get to shortly.
Whilst the display is lower resolution than you may have hoped, the bezels may not be reduced as much as even the Pixel 2 XL, one thing you can’t really deny, is that this isn’t a notable step up for Sony, and on the black model (shown above), it actually looks like a decent enough design. As we mentioned, both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact both support HDR in their displays, so whilst the resolution may not be the expected 2K on the larger model, at least watching content will still look great.
All this talk of HDR must bring us to the Camera on the Xperia XZ2 line, as this is one of the first Smartphones (according to Sony) which can record 4K HDR video with full HDR Colour profiles, which is actually very impressive. Sony have also outdone Samsung’s latest, Galaxy S9, by allowing the 960fps Slo-mo video recording once again, however now at 1080p recording, rather than the same 720p Samsung has just introduced. Sony’s rather gimmicky 3D Face Creator now also works on the front Camera, the company insisted on telling us. Hey, every phone has its gimmick.
As you may have also noticed, the Fingerprint scanner has moved from its usual Power button position, which is a shame as we actually preferred it there, to the back. However, Sony have, in the process, done a little bit of a Samsung of old with the position however, it’s very low down. In fact, the Camera placement is where you’d expect the Fingerprint scanner … let’s all just do a tut tut at that one.
One thing you won’t find on either of the XZ2 line is a headphone jack. Yep, Sony have finally ditched it as well. This now leaves just LG and Samsung with flagship devices supporting a headphone jack, what a world eh!
XZ2 Exclusive features
Whilst we commend Sony for releasing smaller variants of their devices with an equal parallel, some features didn’t quite make it to the smaller variant, which is a shame, especially as one of these is something we’ve being waiting for for a while. Sony have finally adopted Qi standard for Wireless Charging on the XZ2. Sony have supported Wireless Charging in the past, however it was proprietary and required an expensive Sony dock, so we’re happy to see Qi on a Sony device … they had little excuse with all these glass back Sony’s.
One of the rather interesting additions to the Sony Xperia XZ2 is a specialised Vibration System. The concept is odd, and we recon it will be something turned off eventually, but whenever you interact with the Xperia XZ2, any sound playing from the 20% louder dual-front firing Speakers, will be amplified by vibration motors within the device. Similar to how Playstation controls give you haptic feedback. It’s an odd concept, and something we need more time to look at, though a weird one none the less.
Should the 5.7 inch Xperia XZ2 be of the slightly larger side of the spectrum, thankfully, Sony still released an Xperia XZ2 Compact, and, for the most part, kept most of the features in toe. The same Snapdragon 845 with 4GB of RAM, still back up the Compact, making it the fastest Smartphone out today at this size in the hand, though you do get some sacrifices with the Xperia XZ2 Compact.
As we mentioned above, the Compact lacks support for Wireless Charging, and also doesn’t have the questionable Vibration system, doubt most will care about the latter, though the reason is a bit of a shame, due to the Xperia XZ2 Compact having a plastic back rather than glass, which looks fairly cheap on the dark model.
The XZ2 Compact is also quite a thick device, though that does translate to an even better feeling in the hand, so that’s one trade off we’re not too bothered about. What’s interesting however, is the XZ2 Compact actually has a better overall display than it’s larger cousin, supporting the same 2160 x 1080p HDR 18:9 aspect ration display, the Compact is also the smallest Smartphone to get that aspect ratio at all at 5 inch, so it’s really impressive that Sony put that technology down to a smaller form factor. It’s worth noting as well, that whilst the Xperia XZ2 is 5 inch, that’s 5 inch on an 18:9 scale, so it’s more the size of the 4.6 inch devices of old.
So, where does that leave us with the Xperia XZ2 line. Whilst it’s great that Sony are playing catch up, be it on a slow pace, it’s clear that the Sony Xperia XZ2 is going to get completely outdone by the competition! What we’re really impressed with, however, once again, is the Compact, and we really hope Sony continue the line, as it’s the Compact line which gets us very excited, even if the Plastic back is a bit on the cheap feeling side.
The company didn’t have to lose the headphone jack, but they did anyway, which is a shame, but to be fair, outside of that, everything’s an upgrade, so when you look at it like that, we suppose they’re not that bad!