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The Xperia XZ2 is the perfect embodiment of the modern smartphone. The borderless design, now a dominant trend, in this device leaves room for a more classic aesthetic appearance, with a high level of construction quality. All this is coupled with a convincing user experience, without serious drawbacks and with some points of excellence.
All the above is due to the specific features, but also to the care of Sony in many areas. An attention to detail and some odd choices, such as the absence of optical stabilization for the camera or the ergonomics of the body, partly compromised by the high weight and the pronounced thickness.
There are small issues that do not hinder the success of the Xperia XZ2. The competition is fierce, but Sony’s choices show that the Japanese company is not really interested in competing in terms of sales volumes. Something that is noticeable using this smartphone in your day-to-day life.
Construction and ergonomics
The sensations of the Xperia XZ2 holding it in your hands are contrasting. On one hand it is impossible not to appreciate the high construction quality, with Gorilla Glass 5 used for both the front and the rear. The panel that protects the screen has a slight 2.5D curvature, which fits perfectly into the metal frame.
I appreciate the harmony in the disposition of all the photographic elements on the back cover, as well as the choice to place the small polycarbonate bands (which hide the antennas) on the frame, rendering them invisible. The feel to the touch is top of the range.
On the other hand, however, it is not comfortable to hold in your hand. It weighs 198grams, far too much for a 5.7 inch with a 3,180mAh battery (which, as we’ll see, offers an excellent autonomy). For comparison, the Galaxy S9 with a 5.8-inch screen weighs 163 grams. Over time you get used to it, but you still feel it.
The back cover is also characterized by a doming, which helps to get the thickness, in the middle, to as many as 11.1mm. The sense is that Sony made it this way to facilitate grip, as the rear curvature adapts to that of your hands. When you lay it flat on its back, however, it has no stability, and in general the Xperia XZ2 is quite slippery. A cover is a wise choice.
The physical buttons (volume rocker and power) are perfectly accessible, but I found it uncomfortable to place the biometric reader on the back cover. Personally, I have often placed my finger incorrectly on the camera. On a side note there’s an IP68 certification.
Screen and audio
After using the Xperia XZ2 for two weeks, I am increasingly convinced that the screen is among the best ever created in the smartphone industry. We’re talking about a 5.7-inch Full-HD+ IPS panel (1,080×2,160 pixels) with HDR support. As always there are present X-Reality for Mobile and Triluminos technology.
The latter has an effect on the color pallet, certainly one of the screen’s strong points. The colors are in fact reproduced with a high degree of fidelity, the blacks seem deep even though it is not an OLED, the contrast is unrivaled. A panel that really enhances the user experience.
If you want to find a defect the brightness could have been slightly higher. This, however, does not compromise the outdoors visibility thanks also to the excellent oleophobic treatment of the front glass. Although the resolution is not the highest (smart choice considering the positive repercussions on autonomy), Sony has been able to create an unparalleled screen.
The audio is also on par. The Xperia XZ2 has stereo playback, offered by the speaker (located at the bottom) and the earpiece working in tandem. The quality is above average, the volume is high, all for the benefit of multimedia content.
It is also important to note the technology known as Dynamic Vibration System. It is adjusted by the volume rocker and, concretely, returns a vibration coordinated with the audio effects currently reproduced by the smartphone. To make it simple: when you hear a song on YouTube the Xperia XZ2 will vibrate in rhythm with the music.
A nice feature from Sony. This dynamic vibration system is turned on and off by the user instead of automatically, so it’s up to the user to turn it on when they think it will enhance the experience.
Good reception and call audio combined with complete connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi ac Dual-Band, GPS A-GLONASS with Galileo support, Dual-SIM support, NFC. Unfortunately, the 3.5mm audio jack is missing, a choice that isn’t explained by the smartphones’ thickness (however, the appropriate adapter is included).
Performance and autonomy
There is little to say about performance. The Xperia XZ2 is a thundering device even under a heavy workload. The Snapdragon 845 coupled with 4GB of RAM and the Adreno 630 GPU offers top-notch performance along with convincing heat dissipation.
All of the operations run at the same time even when you launch heavy apps. No problem even during extended gaming sessions, the Xperia XZ2 remains fluid. A great job therefore by Qualcomm for the realization of the SoC and Sony for the implementation of the same.
The Xperia XZ2 also offers excellent autonomy. With my use (mixed between LTE and Wi-Fi, 2 push mail accounts, hundreds of social notifications and instant messaging apps, about 1 hour of phone calls) I have always exceeded 5 hours of screen time, a not so common feat in the top-of-the-range segment.
Sony has also integrated support for Quick Charge 3.0 with a compatible charger included in the package. This allows you to charge the battery from 0% to 50% in just under 30 minutes, which can be very useful.
The Xperia XZ2 has Android Oreo-8.0 out of the box. And as expected Sony’s custom interface offers a variety of features and customization, but without disrupting the stock user experience of Google OS.
Among the features introduced by Sony are the Xperia Actions, which allow you to automate certain quick actions based on context. Of course, there are all the new features of Android Oreo: from channel notifications to picture-in-picture mode, to the drop-down menu that appears after a prolonged press on the app icon.
It all runs smoothly without bogging down the system. The biometric sensor works very well, always recognizes the fingerprint at first try and quickly unlocks the smartphone. Pity for its inconvenient position on the back.
Sony is the world’s leading manufacturer of photographic sensors for smartphones, and this experience has been transferred to the Xperia XZ2. On the back there is a 19MP camera with f/2.0 lens, assisted by a flash LED and the Steady Shot electronic stabilization. The shots are most of the time great, and I appreciate the dedicated physical button, very comfortable.
Too bad for the lack of optical stabilization that would have certainly provided that extra “mile” at night. Even so the pictures are quite impressive. Also of excellent quality are the videos, which can be recorded in 4K HDR (30 FPS).
The 960 FPS slow motion videos are always impressive. In this mode Xperia XZ2 achieves Full-HD resolution and, as long as you have a perfectly lit scene, the effect is really staggering. The 5MP front camera is of good quality, enriched as always with some proprietary Sony features.
The Xperia XZ2 has a price certainly high, but still lower than that required by the direct competitors (Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro and iPhone X).
This device embodies Sony’s smartphone philosophy. The aesthetic does not follow current trends and fashion instead is purposefully designed to stand out. A top-of-the-range without frills, that offers all you can expect from a device in this segment of the market.
I think this is the perfect smartphone for those looking for a high end device able to differentiate itself from the pack, especially from an aesthetic point of view.