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SONY XPERIA XZ2 - 2018
The new flagship from Sony is the Xperia XZ2.
As the years go on, it has become the norm for smartphone makers to release an update of their premium models on an annual basis. Sony has differed in the past with new releases being made as quickly as six months after launch. I have been – and largely still am – an iOS man. My one and only venture into Android was with the great-grandfather of the XZ2, namely the Sony Xperia Z3, which was deemed the ‘Samsung and Apple equal/killer’ a few smartphone seasons back. The phone was great and, being the tech geek I am, I got it on launch, which was not such a great idea when I look back. Being that early into the release cycle, one would assume that my issue was a glitch in Sony’s smartphone Matrix, but it was not. The support with regards to phone cases and protectors was non-existent and, lo and behold, the glass backing of the Z3 meant that dropping the phone was a dangerous exercise. It was thus imperative to hold and handle the phone with a surgeon’s touch. Unfortunately, here I sit writing my thoughts on the new flagship from Sony and not standing scalpel in hand, because, yes, I dropped my beautiful Z3 and shattered the back glass, wrecking my first attempt at Android.
The reason for going down that road in a review on the new and much improved Xperia XZ2 is that, on first touch, I had all those memories flooding back. The back of this new phone is once again accentuated by a glass panel that makes it tricky to tame. The difference this time is that you have a fighting chance with covers and protectors readily available in South Africa on launch. The phone does fit one’s hand easily, more so than most 5.7-inch screen smartphones on the market. The design is simple yet elegant and not too flashy. The review model I had was the black version and most times a black phone hits the spot if you’re into the whole ‘your smartphone is a fashion accessory’ train of thought. The screen, all 5.7 inches of it, houses a 1080 x 2160 Full HD+ touch screen display that is HDR capable. Those numbers are usually seen in mid-range television screens (and seem high for the 5.7-inch viewing area of the phone), allowing you to watch Netflix at its highest output which is HDR (High Dynamic Range). These stats mean that a mobile media fan would really take note of the phone and they could sway a purchase. The one issue I found with regards to the media side is that Sony has also decided to go the ‘no audio jack’ route and have changed to the Type-C USB connector. I never received the audio jack to Type-C adapter in this review model so unfortunately wasn’t able to test the sound quality of the XZ2. However, with Sony being the forefathers in portable music players, I’m pretty confident they’ve put some great sound drivers in the XZ2 and can vouch that the model I once owned didn’t disappoint on the sound side in any way.
Sony has always been proud of the lenses used for their camera series and have tried to emulate that with the back-facing and front-facing cameras available on the XZ2. The back camera is set up as a dual camera system housing a 19-megapixel and 12-megapixel lens to allow amazing quality in low-light still images. The cameras are the real star on the Xperia XZ2 and this is ever present when recording video. With the ability to shoot video in 4K HDR and the screen mentioned earlier, you are able to play back your clips in their full HDR glory. The slow-mo mode does an impressive 960 FPS at 1080p and allows you to create some amazing content. The front camera, with its 13-megapixel lens, does allow for some great selfies and even uses the screen as a flash in low light. It’s also rather impressive for video calling. When I said this is a media fundi’s device, I was not exaggerating. The collective functions of the camera systems on the XZ2 allow your photographic genius and videographer vision to transcend your mind and become a reality.
The XZ2 Premium is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and it comes with 6GB of RAM. It was never a hassle using this device as the apps were smooth, along with lag-free navigation around the phone menus. I could play some premium mobile games like PUBG Mobile without putting strain on the phone. Android 8.0 Oreo is the stock OS and has all the features one would need in a modern premium smartphone.
Having played with all these features and the usual web surfing, updating and taking stock of my social media, you would suspect that a charger and plug would need to be in close proximity. However this was not the case. Besides for camera lens use, Sony is synonymous with batteries that can handle a workload and more. The XZ2, with heavy use, can easily last over 24 hours between full charge cycles.
All of this bodes well for Sony’s 2018 flagship smartphone. The price point locally is favourable too. Some brands are starting out their premium offering closer to R20 000 as opposed to the mid-level pricing structure on Sony’s premium phone.
In closing, the phone does have many usable and viable perks, the likes of which other phone manufacturers will be rushing to their R&D division to implement in their 2019 offerings. The Sony XZ2 – if you are not brand loyal to the ‘other two’ big hitters – should definitely be thrown into the hat as a great option for a premium device.