What looks like an Xperia Z2 Tablet, is powered like an Xperia Z2 Tablet but isn’t an Xperia Z2 Tablet? Well, Sony’s Xperia Z2 smartphone. This might start to feel a bit like deja vu but that’s because, with a few very minor tweaks and adjustments, Sony’s latest flagship phone and tablet might as well be the same device. Overall though, the Z2 smartphone comes out on top over its larger (yet thinner) sibling.
Sony have given their 10.1-inch Z2 Tablet a thinner profile than the Z2 phone, a difference of almost 2mm. The Z2 is 8.2mm through the middle, the tablet edition is a mere 6.4mm but Sony have dropped a 20.7MP Exmor RS sensor into the Z2 phone so we’re almost willing to forgive the lack of compression here. Almost. The thickness and overall design of the Z2 makes it feel almost clumsy to handle, as if it is actively trying to tumble out of your hand when holding it for day-to-day operations. Not a good thing.
We’ll be getting back to the camera in a little bit since we’re taking some time out to examine the rest of the components inside the Xperia Z2 first. We’ve seen it all before in the Z2 Tablet, the Z2’s internals are basically the same. Just as a quick recap, that’s a Snapdragon 801 brainbox (2.3GHz, quad-core), 3GB of system memory, 16GB of storage, supported microSD, all running on Android 4.4 KitKat. The operating systems are all but identical as well, just compressed onto a small screen for the smartphone.
Speaking of the display: guess what else is identical across Sony’s two flagships. Yup, the displays might as well be two peas in a pod, though shrinking the Trilumonos, X-Reality Engine-boasting screen from 10.1-inches to the Z2’s 5.2-inch size results in a clearer HD picture thanks to almost double the pixel density.
The Z2 is just as nippy as its tablet relative then and there’s almost nothing that you can throw at it that won’t be handled and then some, even if you’re operating multiple windows at the same time. The Z2 can do that, giving you the option to run more than one app onscreen at once in their own little windows.
Sony have including the same, minimally customised version of Android 4.4 KitKat for users to play with. There are a few more Sony-specific apps in evidence, many of which won’t ever see uses here in South Africa, but they’re most sitting in the main Android app menu and can safely be ignored unless you really, really dislike clutter in your backend.
Take Your Best Shot
Which brings us full circle back to that Exmor RS rear-facing camera. The front shooter doesn’t hold any surprises, being a nice little 2.2MP unit, but the 20.7MP rear camera is capable of shooting at several resolutions, graduated from 8MP right up to the full 20.7MP. Stills are great across the board, Sony have a full complement of automatic and manual options available for shutterbugs.
The Z2 is of course capable of video, both in HD and in 4K, though it’s here that you might want to stick with some older tech. Sony’s 4K video recording is just as smooth as standard HD but it isn’t without problems. Shoot in 4K for more than a few minutes and the Z2 starts to overheat, going as far as to warn users that the device is about to shut down the recording. So you’ll be able to shoot 4K is short bursts effectively but longer captures are out of reach. That’s not really something for Sony to be proud of. We’ve got no idea what the long-term effects of this heating issue might be but it wouldn’t be pleasant to sacrifice this smartphone just for some UHD home movies.
Long and short
Sony’s Xperia Z2 is basically the Z2 Tablet in smaller form and the company has done a good job making the two devices almost identical. If they can do the same with the obviously-incoming Z2 Compact, it would be an improvement on the Z2’s chunky feel. That said, the Z2 is still a high-end smartphone that will deliver everything that you could possibly need. It doesn’t hurt that it can also add swimming to its resume. Just a pity about that 4K heating issue but maybe if you’re recording underwater… nah, that won’t work. Will it?