The XPERIA XZ2 is an absolute multimedia beast

Highs

  • Excellent main camera
  • A Multimedia powerhouse
  • High-performance computing

Lows

  • A bit chunky and heavy
  • Slightly weak Selfie camera

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: ~$710
  • Available on Amazon

The Sony XPERIA XZ2 marks a shift with a fresh new curved design from Sony. Launched in Barcelona during MWC 2018, this phone is now available in the U.S, and it has a few tricks up its sleeves. It has strong video-recording capabilities, including 960 FPS slow-motion in 1080p and it is the first phone in the world to record in 4K HDR. The front speakers have been included to provide a powerful sound during multimedia activities, and the new Dynamic Vibration system should give an extra dimension to the experience. 

Sony Xperia XZ2 quick specs

  • 5.7” IPS LCD Display (2160×1080)
  • 19 Camera, f/2 aperture
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform 4 RAM, 64 GB of Storage + MicroSD (400 GB max)
  • 3180 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 8.0

Market positionning

The Sony Xperia XZ2 was released on 2018-02-01 and was initially geared towards the High-end market. At publishing time, the Xperia XZ2 was priced at $710 USD. Even if this product was created to address the High-end market, keep in mind that many products will change positioning as their price evolves over time.

With cost as a primary criteria, we have found a selection of suitable competitors which we will use to assess how the Sony Xperia XZ2 fits in its immediate smartphone landscape: Samsung Galaxy S9 (most frequently cited competitor by prospect buyers ~715 USD), LG G7 ThinQ (~750 USD), Huawei P20 Pro (~840 USD), Google Pixel 2 XL (~820 USD)

Industrial Design

Sony’s new industrial design part ways with the previous boxy design (See XPERIA XZ Premium) for a soft, curved-back one. I did like the previous design a lot. It looked clean and gave Sony phones a very distinctive style that was highly recognizable. A bezel-less version of that design could have been a hit as well, perhaps. The new design is objectively much more rigid and seems sturdier.

But it possible that Sony did market studies and realized that people prefer curvy phones more. What we do know is that dual-glass (front/back) phones tend to be more successful. As such the Sony XPERIA XZ2 is sandwiched between two layers of Gorilla Glass, a highly scratch-resistant (to scratches) tempered glass.

All the buttons are on the right side, with an extra camera button: XPERIA phones are often camera-oriented devices. In the back, the U.S version finally gets a fingerprint sensor (for legal reasons, Sony couldn’t use that tech in America).

The fingerprint reader is placed closer to the middle of the phone’s body, which could be disorientating for some users. However, I found it to be not THAT hard to adapt since you know where to aim: dead in the center. In any case, that’s still better than the odd placement of the Galaxy S8 fingerprint sensor.

"THE NEW DESIGN IS OBJECTIVELY MUCH MORE RIGID AND SEEMS STURDIER"

This smartphone feels very comfortable in hand because it has a width of 72mm for a thickness of approximately 0.44 inches. For reference, this is based on a medium size hand (US M gloves). You can try extrapolating based on this. The weight of 198 grams (6.98 oz) makes it a pretty heavy smartphone, which is 9% to 18% heavier than competitors mentioned above.

The weight comes from the hefty design of the phone. It is by far the biggest and heaviest phone of our line up. It is 29% heavier than the Galaxy S9 and 21% heavier than the Pixel 2 XL, which is not a small phone itself.

Despite its size, there is no 3.5mm audio connector – a controversial move. That is because Sony considers that the lack of it is an integral part of the design language for this year’s XPERIA XZ2.

Also, Sony cites a trend showing that wireless headphones are the future, potentially Hi-Res Audio headphones. We’ll leave you to decide if this that’s a problem for your specific use case, but at least there is a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.

Glass is a smoother and shinier material  that gives out a “premium aura” that metal phones sometimes don’t have. That is true for both a visual and tactile standpoint. Money aside, the price to pay for such design is the risk of damage that can occur if the device is dropped on a hard surface. Regardless, people still prefer these materials because they are so lovely. Handsets can merely be protected by a case.

This handset design packs excellent performance in relation to its size. From another viewpoint, the amount of battery capacity the user has available is good for a handset of this size. The screen display-to-body ratio of 76.1% is also quite good overall, but others have a ratio that is almost in the mid-80%.

Durability

Analyzing how the smartphone was built, we estimate that the risk of breaking during a drop on a hard surface to be probable. You can refer to our detailed article about how phones could be constructed to avoid breakage upon drops: : How the LG V20 Was Designed To Survive Drops. By the way, the curvy nature of the phone and its extremely smooth surface make it prone to slide slowly if there’s the smallest slope. Be careful if you put it near the edge of a coffee table.

This new XPERIA phone seems noticeably more rigid than the last generation, which bodes well for its general durability and resilience. The Xperia XZ2 smartphone has an IP68 IP rating, which means that it is protected to some degree from dust and/or water. Here’s what the IP68 rating means:

  • Dust tight, no dust can penetrate.
  • Up to 3-meter immersion waterproofing.
    • In some cases, waterproofing means that “some” water can penetrate, but without harming the device

The Xperia XZ2 has not received a U.S Military MIL-STD 810G certification. You can check the link on the left to see all the details, but MIL-STD 810G is a series of test used to check that devices can survive some shocks and vibrations.

Dual front speaker

The XPERIA XZ2 has a powerful two-speaker system in the front, which is powerful enough to replace a basic small external BT speaker, and is great for conference calls, or just watching a movie on a desk. Powerful, it is, but we have even more powerful phones that are noticeably better at this: the LG G7 ThinQ, the S9+, and the HTC U12+.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Android, Editorspick, Smartphone Reviews, Sony, Sony Reviews, Sony Xperia.

Display
5.7"
2160x1080
IPS LCD
424 PPI
Price
~$710 - Amazon
Camera
19 MP
F2 Aperture F-Stop
Weight
198 g
Battery
3180 mAh
Non-Removable
Wireless Charging
Launched in
2018-02-01
System
4GB RAM
Snapdragon 845 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
64
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