Sneak peek at Sony’s Xperia Z2 smartphone

Sony Mobile has revealed its new smartphone and tablet offerings aimed at the high-end consumer – and in a media briefing on Tuesday, we saw that while the new Xperia Z2 phone and tablet are pretty similar to last year’s releases, they’re touted as upgrades to what’s already out there.

Taking pictures with the Sony Xperia Z2
Taking pictures with the Sony Xperia Z2


Screen size – 5 inches
Weight – 163 grams
Processor – 2.3 gigahertz (GHz) quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
RAM – 3 gigabytes (GB)
Internal memory – up to 16 GB
Expandable memory – up to 128 GB with microSD card
Camera –20.7 megapixels
Camcorder – 4K recording
Operating system – Android 4.4 (KitKat)

Head over here for our preview of Sony’s Xperia Z2 tablet

The Xperia Z2 – a little bigger, but definitely better than the Z

The Xperia Z2 is slightly larger than the Z, with a 5.2-inch screen with a 1080 pixel display as opposed to the Z’s five-inch display.

The Z2 also has been a little more amped-up, flashing a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core, 2.3 gigahertz (GHz) processor. Running 4G LTE, the phone also has a 3200 milliamp per hour battery, and a 20.7 megapixel camera. The camera also uses BIONZ, a mobile image processing engine, for sharper photos and videos.

What’s cool about the Z2 phone is that it can also shoot video in 4K resolution – a neat trick that the Samsung Galaxy S5 can also do, but that hasn’t appeared in every smartphone this year.

In story Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone

However, it’s uncertain as to how long users would be able to shoot in 4K. While we were testing out the Z2 phone, shooting in 4K and playing with the AR feature, after less than a minute, the phone showed a notification warning the phone might overheat if the 4K feature was used for too long.

“We are aware of some users encountering issues when shooting 4K video for extended periods. Shooting movies in high quality 4K resolution can make significant demands on your phone’s processor and battery life, as well as phone memory,” said Sony in an emailed statement.

“Therefore for the best experience, we recommend you install a high capacity SD card (Xperia Z2 can take a card up to 128GB) and shoot 4K video in short bursts of no longer than a few minutes at a time.”

Nevertheless, the Z2 also has a few neat tricks not found in its processor – for example, it can also run a layer of augmented reality (think cartoon gnomes and dinosaurs) on top of whatever video footage a user is shooting. And while the Z offered a camera app called Timeshift Burst, which allowed users to shoot several frames in just a couple of seconds, creating a blurred, in-motion effect, the Z2 allows users to do the same with video on TimeShift Video. Plus, after taking different snapshots, users can tap on different parts of an image to choose where they want the image to be focused – a feature which is pretty similar to one found on the HTC One M8.

Last year, the other big selling point for the Xperia Z was its water-resistance. Both the Z2 tablet and phone are also water-resistant, so you can safely dunk them underwater as deep as 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. That’s an improvement over the Z, which was water-resistant in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes.

However, both phones are only water resistant if you’re careful to shut all of its ports on the sides of their bodies, like the micro-USB charging port and the microSD card slot. Yet unlike its predecessor, thankfully the Z2 does not have a port covering the headphone jack, meaning users don’t have to worry about water seeping in if they drop the device into the bath while they’re plugged into their music and videos.

And for more extras, the Z2 has built-in digital noise-cancelling technology, which works with five-pin headphones from Sony. That can save users money on more expensive headphones with the same feature. Plus, the Z2 is compatible with a Bluetooth remote with handset function, making it easier for users to access their tablet or smartphone from a distance – for example, if a call comes in, a user can answer it using the remote.

Our first impression of the Z2 smartphone is that it’s definitely an attractive device, just like its predecessor, the Z – just updated to compete with the other premium phones currently in a crowded market. But competition is fierce, as the Z2 will be going head-to-head with the iPhone 5S, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, and the Nokia Lumia 930 and Lumia Icon.

Pricing and availability

There’s no word as to an exact Canadian launch date for either the phone or tablet, though it’s slated to be sometime in May, according to a Sony spokesperson. The phone will launch with Bell Mobility in Canada. Pricing was also unavailable, although judging by the prices in the U.S. and U.K., consumers can probably expect a price tag similar to other premium phones and tablets on the market.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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