As technology reaches the specs plateau tech geeks have been dreading for years, we find a disturbingly increasing amount of “minor iteration” new product launches. While this, if you look at things objectively, combined with faster product refresh cycles is completely justifiable, this leads to a glut of devices across the board.
I once had a discussion with an ex-colleague of mine that we were in a golden age of smartphones. Never have we been in such a time that there was no one true winner to the “which phone is the best to buy” crown but with the economy how it is, laying out in excess of RM2,300 for a top of the range smartphone is beyond most. Sure you could get your device with a 2-year telco contract but that is never as “value for money” as one thinks.
This leads me to the point of this review. If you’ve noticed, most tech sites and bloggers are already clamouring for the latest handset in the Sony Z family, the Xperia Z3, posting first impressions and the like as quickly as possible. Me, having retired from the industry full-time have decided to remind you that the Z2 is still a bloody good value proposition, ESPECIALLY since the Z3 and Z3C have come out.
I’ll preface this by saying the Xperia Z3 is a fantastic device and I’m not ignoring it in any way shape or form but this is also the basis of why I believe the Z2 is not anywhere close to being relegated to that drawer of mobile phones past. Speaking briefly about the gap between successor devices the Z2 & Z3 only had a seven month gap between announcements, a far cry from the heyday of announcing one star product a year.
If you want to stop reading the article and want a tl;dr right now it’s this: The Z3 is a more expensive Z2 with very minor updates. Spend less on the phone and go put it toward one of the Sony QX Devices instead.
I’m extremely familiar with the Z family of devices from Sony, having used the Xperia Z & Z1 for an extended period of time, reviewing it for Lowyat.NET so the Z2 was that familiar pat on the shoulder from Sony, who seems to either make the most amazing devices, or the silliest.
A familiar design and still a fingerprint magnet
Design-wise, Sony has retained the boxy, rectangular exterior and refined it, giving attention as a plastic surgeon may to accentuating curves in the right spots on the device. The side power button is now a little smaller and gives a little more resistance when pressed to prevent those silly pocket power-ups that kill your batteries. Replaced is the dual flap on the left of the phone in favour of a large single that houses your USB port as well as your SIM card. This is quite a strange decision by Sony as you shouldn’t really need to see your SIM card, why not put the microSD slot there instead?
Overall build wise, the Z2 is more of the same from its predecessor the Z1, the glass back is still a fingerprint magnet and prone to scratching but it is an incredibly pretty one at that.
A crisp screen with just the right saturation
Unlocking the phone, you’ll notice that gone is the black bar at the bottom, the three capacitive icons now floating on your screen, giving you more screen real estate for more important things. The 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display is the same one found in the Z3 and still puts out 424PPI and while many people may think it’s a little faded, I find it just right; a far cry away from the vivid, high saturation default that many phones employ these days. The screen is as crisp as you’ll expect and the brightness is pretty adequate for most outdoor viewing situations. If you’ve used one of the Z family before, you’ll feel right at home with the shape and size of the Z2. While 5.2 inches is not small enough for one handed usage, the Z2 doesn’t feel cumbersome both in hand and pocket.