The "1-Minute" Review
- Mediocre battery life
- Camera struggles in low light
- Slippery/prone to drops
With the XZ2, Sony has finally refreshed their design to make it look more modern. But in a sea of sleek and powerful flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 or iPhone X, it might not be enough to stand out and convert potential customers.
In terms of visuals, Sony has moved away from the boxy, flat design to a more modern look. The aluminum edges curve around the rear, making it much more comfortable to hold. More importantly, they’ve reduced the size of the top and bottom bezels for a shorter profile.
Instead of a unibody design, Sony has opted for a mixed material chassis. The edges are aluminum while the rear offers a curved glass back. As you’d expect, the glass makes the phone slippery. Luckily, it is IP68 rated -- so it can survive if you drop it in a puddle.
The 5.7-inch display is the star of the XZ2. It offers a full HD+ resolution of 2160-by-1080 for a more modern aspect ratio of 18:9. While not the sharpest, it’s still plenty sharp with a pixel density of 424 ppi.
Unfortunately, Sony’s still sporting IPS LCD technology rather than AMOLED. This means it can’t get the same deep blacks you'll find from other flagships. Still, for most people it will be good enough.
Coupled with bright colors and great bright light legibility, most reviewers have few complaints when viewed in isolation. It was only when comparing it to other flagship phones that they saw a difference in quality.
The XZ2 is equipped with the powerful octa-core Snapdragon 845 chip and 4GB of RAM. Critics had no issue in the performance department. Whether just scrolling through their home screen, multitasking or playing graphically demanding games, it performed better than competitors like the Galaxy Note 8.
To keep running, the XZ2 comes equipped with a 3,180mAh battery. This is surprisingly small given the demanding processor and display. Experts squeezed a full day of the battery when they minded their usage. However, Heavy usage drained batteries quick -- leaving them searching for a charger in around 6-8 hours.
To help with this, the phone offers Quick Charge 3.0 and Qi wireless charging. You can charge up to 30% in a few minutes.
Once again, Sony has bucked the trend with their camera.
Rather than implement dual sensors, they’re using the same 19MP sensor they put on the XZ1. It also offers a bokeh mode to blur out the background, but it produced rather mixed results.
In good lighting situations, reviewers could capture detailed images with excellent color reproduction.
The combined phase detection and laser autofocus made it easy for them to capture moments as it was quite fast. But the lack of touch focusing made the interface a bit clunky as they had to press the on-screen shutter button or half-press the dedicated camera button.
Since the phone doesn't have optical image stabilization, pictures often were blurry and full of noise and digital artifacts.
Looking to shoot video? You’re in luck. It takes 4K HDR recordings and 3 second super slow motion (960fps) videos.
Unless you’re a Sony fan, critics have a hard time recommending the XZ2. Trusted Reviews states, “... it doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the competition... This, coupled with a complete lack of killer special feature... stop the XZ2 from being a true return to form…” Engadget adds, “... the XZ2 is in danger of being overshadowed by the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus…”
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