Feb, 24 2014

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After numerous leaks and countless rumors over the past few weeks, we were more than excited to get our hands on the now official Sony Xperia Z2. Announced during Sony’s Mobile World Congress 2014 press event, the phone features just about every (practical) high-end spec you can throw on a phone these days — and we like that.

We covered many of the device’s specs in the announcement post, but as a quick refresher, the Z2 features a 5.2-inch Triluminos 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 20.7MP camera, micro SD card slot, Android 4.4.2 KitKat and to top it all off — the dang thing is waterproof. It’s not too big of an improvement than its predecessor, but given this phone is releasing barely 5 months after the original Z1, there’s still enough here to please die-hard spec junkies.

Sony Xperia Z – Camera and 4K video

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Of course a phone is defined by much more than raw specs, the reason why Sony is also relying so heavily on their software customizations to wow prospective buyers. A wise man once said, one man’s bloat is another man’s treasure (or something close to that) and for the Xperia Z2, Sony is pulling out all the stops. In our hands-on, we decided to put the the Z2’s new camera — including 4K video capabilities — to the test.

With 4K video, Sony claims it will “future proof memories” for its users. Clever wording given the Z2 can’t actually display 4K videos in their full resolution (of course Sony recommends outputting to one of their expensive new 4K televisions). To see the Xperia’s 4K video in action, we’ve embedded the raw file taken from the phone below.

We were pleased with the 4K video’s output for the most part, but it was the performance of the Sony Xperia Z2’s camera that really impressed us. Focusing was smooth and quick, delivering an aut0focus experience on par with Sony’s mirrorless cameras. This is unheard of when dealing with smartphones that constantly hunt around for focus whenever shaken. Speaking of shaking, the device’s image stabilization helped a ton while filming, keeping movement surprisingly smooth.

Sony Xperia Z2 – build quality

Where many have dogged HTC or Samsung for keeping their phone designs largely similar the past few generations, Sony’s flagship line — even when placed side-by-side — are largely indistinguishable from one another. The premium quality of the Sony Xperia flagships is well known on Android circles, and the Z2 doesn’t stray from this tradition with its aluminum frame and glass covered face and back plates. A glowing multicolor LED bar could also be seen fading in and out, tucked away neatly inside the device Z2’s earpiece.

Sony Xperia Z2 – UI

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Although the Xperia Z2 runs the lightest version of Android yet (Android 4.4.2. KitKat) powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor,  we were surprised to find the UI wasn’t always as snappy and responsive as we’d expect. We know that the device on the showroom floor is still preliminary, but the UI was about as sluggish as the that 12-minute walkthrough leaked last week.

Of course, we’ll reserve our final judgement until we get our hands on the actual retail version of the device. So far, it looks like Sony has entered into the smartphone wars of 2014 with their guns blazing. Stay tuned to Phandroid for additional Mobile World Congress coverage!

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