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Sony Xperia XZ2 Review - Great Phone with Questionable Design?

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Sony Xperia XZ2 was first announced in this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It landed in the country last April along with the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra.
Sony Xperia XZ2 Review - Great Phone with Questionable Design?
Sony Xperia XZ2 review!

The smartphone company has finally jumped to the 18:9 display but has a "confusing" design. It's nice to note that it is on a USB Type-C and the first Sony phone with slim bezels.

After almost two weeks of using this smartphone, here's our full review!

Sony Xperia XZ2 Specs

Display: 5.7-inch FHD+ Triluminos HDR Display 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection at 424
CPU: 2.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 630
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 400GB
Back Camera: 19MP f/2.0 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS w/ Hybrid AF, SteadyShot,, Predictive capture, 5-axis stabilization, Motion Eye, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5MP f/2.2 1/5-inch Exmor RS w/ 22 mm super wide-angle lens
Battery: 3,180 w/ Qnovo Adaptive Charging and Quick Charge 3.0, Qi Wireless Charging
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass, light, gyroscope
Others: Fingerprint scanner, IP68 water and dust resistance, USB 3.1 Type-C, stereo speakers with S-Force Front Surround, DSEE HX, LDAC, Colors: liquid black, liquid silver, deep green, ash pink
Dimensions: 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm
Weight: 165 g
Price: PHP 43,990

Disclaimer: The Xperia XZ2 we tested was borrowed from Sony Philippines for our honest take.

Unboxing/Accessories

Everything inside the box
Everything inside the box

Sony Xperia XZ2 arrived in a gray box with Sony branding on on front. You'll find inside USB wall charger, Type-C cable, earphones, extra earbuds, USB Type-C adapter, manuals, warranty card, and the unit itself. 

Build Quality/Design

Metal and glass
Metal and glass

The Sony Xperia XZ2 is built with glass in both front and back. It has a metal frame on the sides. It has round edges with a curvy back. Overall, the XZ2 is a thick smartphone and for us, it could have been handy if not with its curvy back. It feels tough enough in general.
 Top
Top
 Top
Bottom
Top
Left
Top
Right

If you look at the front of the device, it is nice in the eyes but with an opposite impression on its back. XZ2's back design is so simple, Sony can improve the design of their next flagship phone. Its curvy body feels fragile on hands. 

Sony Xperia XZ2 is the brand's first smartphone with small bezels. Finally Sony has adapted to the 18:9 display trend of the mobile industry. 


The device is equipped with the usual volume buttons on the right side and a power button on the bottom of the volume rocker It is nice to note that Sony has a dedicated camera button on next to the power button.

Weirdly, the fingerprint sensor is placed near the rear camera making it difficult for users like me with long fingers.

On its bottom is the USB Type-C port of the smartphone for charging. It's sad for us that Sony ditched the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The device has nothing on its left side. Meanwhile, on its top is where the microSD card and SIM cards tray lies. 

Its speakers are placed on the front underneath the Sony branding on the bottom bezel. The speakers are now stereo and that's nice of the Xperia XZ2. 

The overall built of Sony is fine but what we do not like is its curvy back that makes it an instant fidget spinner when place on a flat surface. You should always be careful on placing in on a smooth surface or table because it has a tendency of falling because it is moving by itself.

Display Quality

5.7-inch FHD+
5.7-inch FHD+

Finally, Sony has jumped from 5.2-inch smartphones to 5.7-inch smartphone, an average size for a flagship.

Sony did not give in to the iPhone X's famous notch!

As mentioned, Sony Xperia XZ2 has an 18:9 FHD+ Triluminos HDR Display 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection at 424.

Gone are the days of Sony big bezels!

Sony also borrowed the HDR upscaling tech from its Bravia TVs making the XZ2 an impressive device for video streaming and game playing.

The XZ2 can go very bright too even under direct sunlight. The colors are nice and sharp. It has 10 points of touch.

Overall, the XZ2 has a decent and respectable display like many other flagship phones.

Audio Quality

The Sony Xperia XZ2 has an S-Force surround stereo speakers. On top the At first, you wouldn't notice that the speaker is there unless you start playing a music and find it using your ears. But it can be felt when you grope the bezel.

This is an advantage for those who always use their phone out loud. In our experience, front-facing speakers are a nice idea.

Sony Xperia XZ2 speakers makes a nice casual listening but its loudness can fill only small to medium-sized rooms. You can expect very minimal sound distortions when playing to the highest volume. 

The system analyses audio from music, video, or games and vibrates the phone to match the audio. It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it doesn't work with every app and you need to be holding the phone but works reasonably well, especially for film trailers.

Sadly, Sony have removed the headphone jack. You need to use the USB Type-C dongle supplied inside before you can use you favorite wired headphones. As expected, the audio out for headphones are quite good, highly detailed, and clean sounding in general.

It is equipped with a single microphone. Voice calls are clear most of the time. It can record audios with minimal noise.

Battery Life

Sony Xperia XZ2 is equipped with 3,180mAh battery only despite its thick and big build.

We tried to run the PC Mark Battery Benchmark but after running it for a few minutes, it will prompt that we shouldn't be using the device while running the test even if keep our hands off of it.

Meanwhile on our actual usage, the XZ2 lasted all-day long with the usual texting, calling, web browsing, and taking camera shots.

Fast charging!

Despite its small battery capacity, you can take it on its Quick Charge 3.0 and Qi wireless charging that charges up the XZ2 in good speed. Charging time from 0 to 100 percent is around 2 hours.

Camera

Single powerful camera
Single powerful camera

The Sony Xperia XZ2 is equipped with 19MP f/2.0 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS w/ Hybrid AF, SteadyShot, Predictive capture, 5-axis stabilization, Motion Eye, and dual tone LED flash.

The Xperia XZ2 has an A.I. feature that can detect different objects and scenes to intelligently optimize picture settings and the interesting camera features.

Taking photos ion auto mode can get you sharp photos with nice color saturation. However, there are times that the photos can be overly saturated.

It also has a great contrast. It's A.I. feature automatically displays on the bottom right of the screen the scenery it detects, be it a landscape, a macro or any other! 

There's also a dedicated button on the right side of the device for easy camera access and taking camera shots.

Overall, the Sony Xperia XZ2 main camera won't disappoint. It shoots decent photos with sharp quality.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Against the light
Against the light
Close-up
Close-up
Dim close-up
Dim close-up
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 1
Lowlight 2
Lowlight 2

For its selfie camera, Sony equipped the XZ2 with 5MP f/2.2 1/5-inch Exmor RS w/ 22 mm super wide-angle lens that shoots nice photos.

It shoots selfies both on well-lit and low-lit areas. Although it is not a selfie-centric smartphone, the XZ2 won't disappoint

Its beautification mode can over-beautify you if you go beyond level 4.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Face beauty
Face beauty
Dim light
Dim light
Lowlight selfie 2
Lowlight selfie 2

Sony, being a company of mirrorless and DSLR cameras, moved us to expecting more on this smartphone.

This is one of the first smartphones capable of recording 4K HDR video footage, while the 960 fps super slow motion that Sony pioneered will now be available up to 1080p, compared to the previous cap of 720p.

Video Samples


Performance

Benchmark scores

Sony Xperia XZ2 with the 2.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor. It is packed with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory that is expandable via microSD card slot up to 400GB. 

In our benchmark tests, XZ2 got 235,377 score on AnTuTu and 8,845 on GeekBench.

Using the Sony Xperia XZ2 is smooth and fast. It is snappy enough for its price and in my experience, it did not gave me any lags.
PUBG high settings
PUBG high settings

Multitasking is a breeze. You can play PUBG on high settings, as expected, definitely being a flagship smartphone. It has a nice thermal management.

It boots with a clean type of Android 8.0 Oreo OS. The biggest change the XZ2 has is the Xperia Assist software. It is designed to help users make the most of the phone’s various features.

It also has an app called Start Here that you can manually open but will also pop up the first time you open a relevant app to explain any features you might be able to take advantage of. For example is the HDR upscaling, or Dynamic Vibration. It uses a chatbot interface to explain how everything works.

Its fingerprint sensor lies on the back under its rear camera. It is snappy but the downside is that, most of the time, I mistakenly put my finger on the camera since they're lying close to each other.

All in all, XZ2 has one of the better connectivity in all smartphones we have in the market right now. It has a strong GSM signal for SIMs, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.It also has LED notification, and dual SIM slots.

Pros - 18:9 display, dedicated camera button, excellent battery, fast charging, Android 8.0 Oreo, 4k HDR video quality, USB Type-C
Cons - Curvy back making it unstable on surfaces, non-OLED display, no headphone jack, "misplacement" of the finger print sensor, no face unlock

Verdict

Sony has finally a smartphone with features that make-up with its rivals. The Xperia XZ2 is the brand's testament that their future phones will now have the trendy 18:9 displa just like any other smartphones.

XZ2 could been a lot better if not with its curvy back. It is having a hard time being stable on flat surfaces. Literally, it can be your fidget spinner as it rotates when placed on a table.

However, Sony Xperia XZ2 is a good choice since it is a good phone in every aspect. You can buy it for PHP 43,990.

Build/Design - 3.75
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.25
Performance - 4.75
Average - 4.167/5
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