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Sony Xperia Z2: Battery Life, Call Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Sony Xperia Z2 – Call Quality

The Sony Xperia Z2 puts more effort than most phones into making its calls sound good. It's not just about providing a secondary microphone for active noise cancellation in calls – that's a given in decent phones these days – but applying processing to the voice signal to make the post of the piezo driver used as a call speaker.

The phone uses a particularly successful mix of compression/DSP to make calls sound vital, clear and crisp. While the HTC One M8 uses a beefier-sounding call speaker (it uses the top BoomSound driver), we think the dedicated call speaker of the Xperia Z2 sounds a bit better.

Bottom Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 – Battery Life

Sony has also managed to make the Sony Xperia Z2 a bit of a battery outlier. This phone has a 3,200mAh battery with significantly higher capacity than either the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8.

Video testWhen set to play a looping SD-quality video, the benefit is clear. The Xperia Z2 lasts for 15 hours of video playback, which is a whole lot longer than the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8.

It's an impressive performance.

In day-to-day life, the Xperia Z2 battery means you can get very good stamina without resorting to using any special modes that cut down features. The Samsung and HTC rivals need these if you want the phone to last for two days, and they limit top brightness fairly severely.

In other words, you have to try pretty hard to make the Z2's battery drain down completely in a day. And for some people that's a massive bonus.

There are also two battery life optimisation modes to make the phone last even longer. Stamina mode switches off Wi-Fi and mobile data when the screen is off, and you can make a list of certain apps that can access data at all times.

Low-battery mode is a more invasive power-saver that kicks in when the battery is low, to stretch out the last bit of battery life. Perhaps the most unusual, though, is Location-Based Wi-Fi. This switches Wi-Fi off apart from when you're in range of your 'known' networks. We assume this works by scanning every now and then – so it's not 100 per cent off – but is a sensible extra.

Other things to Consider

Like every other new phone at this level, the Sony Xperia Z2 is a 4G phone. Its USB ports also supports USB on the go, which lets you connect external devices like hard drives, and the supports the 802.11ac Wi-FI standard. This offers better range and speed than the previous n standard, but you'll also need an ac-compatible router to make use of it.

Should I Buy the Sony Xperia Z2?

Picking between this year's top Android phones is pretty difficult. Their core specs are extremely close and this time around the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2 all have microSD slots. There's nothing too obvious to pick between them.

The Xperia Z2's issue is that it doesn't have any key area where it beats the competition. Its impressive-sounding camera isn't really any better than the S5's, and the Samsung phone produces better-looking photos in some conditions. And while its screen offers great contrast, the slightly overenthusiastic colours won't please the more discerning among you. This is also the most problematic phone design-wise. It feels the most awkward out of the top three Androids of early 2014, and its overheating issues are worrying.

So who should buy the Xperia Z2? If you like the sound of its easy-going interface, and value its waterproofing, it's a decent choice among some evenly matched Android contenders, but only its waterproofing really sets it apart.

Verdict

The Xperia Z2 is a great phone in most respects. It has a very good camera and outlasts the competition without compromising the experience. However, it is a bit awkward to use at times and gets hotter than the other top phones when under strain.

Next, take a look at our round-up of the best mobile phones

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 9
  • Calls & Sound 8
  • Camera 8
  • Design 7
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Usability 8
  • Value 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

私たちの

April 15, 2014, 2:55 pm

i hope you realize that getting hotter on the outside is actually good for the phone since the heat gets dissipated. remember that it has the same internals as s5 and m8. if it gets hot, you can expect the rest to have the same heating issue unless you really notice the phone's performance becoming laggy with the heating. as anandtech noted, the galaxy s5 tends to consume more power as it gets hotter probably due to reduced efficiency, because it's difficult to release the heat through the s5's plastic water-resistant body.

WORYA

April 15, 2014, 2:56 pm

Why has there been no mention of the active noise cancelling headphones? That is a major selling point for some, especially when no other phone offers this,

andyvan

April 15, 2014, 3:09 pm

Or it could just mean the phone is getting hotter on the inside, which is why it's hot on the outside. I'm struggling with your logic, there. Assuming you'll see the same due to similar hardware is spurious argument given the cooling setup and configuration has just as much bearing.

私たちの

April 15, 2014, 3:18 pm

what i'm saying is if it gets hot and laggy at the same time, that means there's probably a problem with the optimization of the software. however, if it only gets hot on the outside without any problem in the performance, it's highly likely that the heating is only due to the natural heat dissipation design of the device. it's the performance that needs to be evaluated.

i'm just insinuating that the device is simply maximizing the non-plastic build by letting heat dissipate to the metallic parts for better cooling. it could simply be how the phone is designed. again, if it gets hot and the performance falls, then there's a problem.

however, i think we all agree that a hot device is uncomfortable to use.

andyvan

April 15, 2014, 4:10 pm

This isn't a standard feature on all phones. We're told you only get them from select retailers, or at least that's the case in the UK. Our review sample did not come with them.

munta abdel

April 15, 2014, 4:15 pm

There are many things which are not mentioned in the review, i'm sorry but poor review You guys still need a lot of IT education to be able to review such devices (phone tablets, pcs, ...etc ) ,as i see in most of your reviews(htc m8, galaxy s5 , xperia z2,....etc) with unrealistic and wrong info .
i really feel sorry for people which they are not educated enough to know what reviewers are talking about .
any way good luck in future reviews

toboev

April 15, 2014, 5:45 pm

How can it be both IP55 and IP58? One or the other, surely?

私たちの

April 15, 2014, 9:00 pm

add to that their suspicious scoring. in their breakdown, the galaxy s5 scores lower but was given a 9/10 overall rating but the z2 with the higher score breakdown only gets an 8/10. so what's the purpose of the score breakdown?

seriously, i wouldn't question any reviewer's opinion but once i see a lot of mistakes, that's another issue.

munti

April 15, 2014, 10:38 pm

I totally agree , look for example at the cam review , I think the reviewer has not seen dxomark ranking
http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles...

that was one of many wrong info given in the review

Bugblatter

April 15, 2014, 11:23 pm

And many of the things you say are wrong. However I'm not going to say what they are because you might be able to prove me wrong, and that would never do.

See what I did there?

munti

April 15, 2014, 11:49 pm

i would agree with you if we are talking about personal opinion but not a professional point of view.

verygoodbrother

April 16, 2014, 3:04 am

Excuses excuses. The Z1 had the same overheating problems and still can't believe that Sony didn't fix it for the Z2

Benjamin Rodriguez

April 16, 2014, 5:37 am

The IP(Ingress Protection) rating is a bit weird, you see. In a given IPXX rating, the first digit indicates the level of dust protection(5) and the second digit is for water protection(8). But the rating IP55 is not for either of those, it's a separate rating for pressurized water jets.

So the Xperia Z2 is IP55 certified for water jets and IP58 for dust and water ingress(including submersion).

toboev

April 16, 2014, 8:34 am

Finally, I've tracked it down. The IP ratings spec (IS/IEC 60529) is not freely available public domain info it seems, but courtesy of the Parliament of India's Right to Information programme (!) it is available. The relevant paragraph:

"Up to and including second characteristic numeral 6, the designation implies compliance also with the requirements for all lower characteristic numerals. However; the tests establishing compliance with any one of the lower degrees of protection need not necessarily be carried out provided that these tests obviously would be met if applied.
An enclosure designated with second characteristic numeral 7 or 8, only is considered unsuitable for exposure to water jets (designated by second characteristic numeral 5 or 6) and need not comply with requirernents for numeral 5 or 6 unless it is dual coded as follows:"

All other references I can find (Wikipedia, etc) omit that vital part about the assumed (but circumscribed) cumulative nature of the number codes.

Short version: Sony is correct.

PS.
"IP55 and IP58 certification. This means you can submerge the phone in water and it can take being pummeled with water jets."
TR would do better to re-sequence the word order to keep the two parts in respective order.

andyvan

April 16, 2014, 8:35 am

As this guide explains, our scores are not an average: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Simple facts. The S5 has by far and away the best screen of the three, which is it gets a 10 for that part, and (in our opinion) the screen is one of the most important parts of any phone.

As for the Z2, it's a very good phone but it's also the only one of three to show any cause for alarm RE: overheating. We didn't feel comfortable recommended the phone the phone outright for that reason. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect no such issues from a £550+ phone.

andyvan

April 16, 2014, 8:43 am

DXOMark hasn't even looked at the S5 or HTC One M8 yet, so I fail to see how it can be used as definitive source, and it isn't especially difficult to pick holes in their analysis, either.

I'm sorry if you're disappointed that the Z2 hasn't scored higher, but you're yet to actually make a specific point of why we're wrong that isn't some vague subjective assertion.

toboev

April 16, 2014, 8:44 am

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately I don't think it is correct, but thanks for wanting to help. In the meantime I have been able to track down a copy of the standard published by India which does explain the need for two ratings as applied by Sony. See above.

toboev

April 16, 2014, 9:38 am

Why should TR base their review on what any other reviewer says? I don't want, on TR, to read a re-hash of other published reviews - I'd rather read them first hand, thanks.

solpete

April 16, 2014, 9:48 am

At first I thought this review was great. But it was the complete opposite.

I don’t know why you are so alarmed by the occasional overheating. You write yourself that "However, in the several days following this incident, temperatures stayed within acceptable levels". So it was an isolated incident. You then continue to say that "And
we were unable to recreate the overheating message. It does happen, but it's rare and only caused by an unfortunate convergence of events." So it’s an unfortunate convergence of events; yet you highlight this as a big negative?

I would also like to comment on that you praise the S5 screen as the best by “far”. Isn’t the capability of taking low light pictures far more important than subtile screen differences? You didn’t compare low-light photography much – yet you devoted three pages to photography in your review of the S5.

Looping a video for 15 hours screen-on time which you find much better than the S5 and M8? Better water-proofing than S5. Glass and Aluminum vs plastic S5.

And you don’t even mention that you never have to open the micro-usb/sim area because the Z2 has an extra port which allows for a magnetic charging cable much like Apples invention. This is an investment of a few bucks which simply isn’t available to owners of the S5 or M8.

When I read the review I found it to be excellent in some areas, but as you see above, you have failed completely on judging the Z2. And you give the design a 7 – the same
as S5? I find that a joke, and the other 8 reviewers I’ve listened to join me
in my opinion.
I could continue with the fragile history on cracked Samsung screens or how the plastic frame on the current generation of Samsungs crumble within a year of use (check XDA threads). All in all one can begin to wonder if the personal preference of
the reviewer hasn’t gone too far. Presenting a review of 8 vs 5 pages, and 109 vs 63 photos, on the S5 vs Z2, respectively, really shows what a biased and bad review this is.

toboev

April 16, 2014, 11:02 am

You make some valid points. However, the assumption you make that all reviewers should agree with each other is wide of the mark - why should they? The whole point of reading more than one review is to get more than one opinion, not to get the same opinion repeated twice over.

munti

April 16, 2014, 11:06 am

first of all i don't buy phones i get them for free ,because of my work 2d of all you don't have to attack me because of you don't like what i said, 3d of all go and ask about Dxomark( DXOMark are specialist in photography) ,4th of all everybody knows that nokia cam is the best in the market and now the z2 is at the top(Dxomark, and we did test all mobiles of 2014 at work,inc htc m8 and s5), 4th off all i dont have the z2 neither i'm going to buy it so just take it easy and don't go personal

munti

April 16, 2014, 11:09 am

well DXOMark are specialist in photography so they are the most trusted in cam reviews only .

solpete

April 16, 2014, 11:10 am

Yes you are right, the fact that the reviewer don't seem to like the form-factor of the Z2 is up to him. Other than that, I just find the review to be very shallow. I expected more from Trusted.

munti

April 16, 2014, 11:11 am

by the way that was my opinion so no hard feelings ,

私たちの

April 16, 2014, 12:59 pm

hmmm.... doesn't make sense to me.

you don't use averages ... so what are those score breakdowns for then? just for fun? no matter how you put it, they have to mean something.

oh my bad...

just reposting somebody else's reasonable comment for a retort (in case you haven't seen it yet):

At first I thought this review was great. But it was the complete opposite.

I
don’t know why you are so alarmed by the occasional overheating. You
write yourself that "However, in the several days following this
incident, temperatures stayed within acceptable levels". So it was an
isolated incident. You then continue to say that "And
we were unable
to recreate the overheating message. It does happen, but it's rare and
only caused by an unfortunate convergence of events." So it’s an
unfortunate convergence of events; yet you highlight this as a big
negative?

I would also like to comment on that you praise the S5
screen as the best by “far”. Isn’t the capability of taking low light
pictures far more important than subtile screen differences? You didn’t
compare low-light photography much – yet you devoted three pages to
photography in your review of the S5.

Looping a video for 15
hours screen-on time which you find much better than the S5 and M8?
Better water-proofing than S5. Glass and Aluminum vs plastic S5.

And
you don’t even mention that you never have to open the micro-usb/sim
area because the Z2 has an extra port which allows for a magnetic
charging cable much like Apples invention. This is an investment of a
few bucks which simply isn’t available to owners of the S5 or M8.

When I read the review I found it to be excellent in some areas, but as
you see above, you have failed completely on judging the Z2. And you
give the design a 7 – the same
as S5? I find that a joke, and the other 8 reviewers I’ve listened to join me
in my opinion.
I
could continue with the fragile history on cracked Samsung screens or
how the plastic frame on the current generation of Samsungs crumble
within a year of use (check XDA threads). All in all one can begin to
wonder if the personal preference of
the reviewer hasn’t gone too
far. Presenting a review of 8 vs 5 pages, and 109 vs 63 photos, on the
S5 vs Z2, respectively, really shows what a biased and bad review this
is.

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