The extra screen controls are among a select few positive software additions that Sony has made to the XZ2’s Android 8.0 Oreo operating system.
In a world where most companies are actively trying to reduce the amount of bloatware and duplicate apps that they load onto a phone, Sony appears hell-bent on doing the opposite. You’ll find duplicate applications for everything from contacts and email to music and video players, all of which aren’t a terrible step up on Android’s native offerings.
Fortunately, Sony hasn’t taken quite so heavy-handed an approach with Android’s settings menus, which remain largely untouched. This is a key positive separating the Xperia XZ2 from some competing flagships, such as the Huawei P20 and its EMUI skin.
The Xperia XZ2 ticks all the right hardware boxes for a 2018 flagship, coming loaded with a shiny new Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM. Some spec heads may point out that its memory isn’t anything to write home about as many competing phones now come with 6GB, but the truth is 4GB of RAM is more than enough at the moment.
With real-world use I’m yet to experience any serious performance issues on the XZ2. The phone smoothly navigates between menu screens, applications open in seconds, and multi-tab web browsing remains a smooth, judder-free experience. Demanding games such as Riptide GP2 and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds run with zero issue. As an added perk, the phone remained cool even throughout prolonged PUBG matches.
The XZ2’s synthetic benchmark scores mirrored my real-world impressions outside of an atypically low single-core performance in Geekbench 4’s single-core test. You can see how it compares to the Galaxy S9, Pixel 2 and iPhone X in the table below.
Geekbench 4 single-core
Geekbench 4 multi-core
I’ll be interested to see how the phone’s performance holds up with long-term testing. In the past, devices with skinned versions of Android have had a tendency to see performance drop incrementally with long-term usage.