We tried the new Xperia XZ2: Sony has finally returned to making a smartphone that is worth the price

All photos: Sam Rutherford

Not long ago, Sony was a power in the world of smartphones thanks to devices such as the first Xperia Z and the innovative Xperia Play , in addition to being a pioneer in some features that we consider basic today, such as water resistance. Everything changed from the days of Z3 and Z3V (which had the ability to stream PS4 games): the latest Sony phones have been boring.

However, with the Xperia XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact it seems that Sony has finally returned to take smartphones seriously. In fact, during our test with the new devices, the director of communications of Sony Mobile for the United States said that “[the XZ2] feels like a restart.” And yes, it has a strange name, but the XZ2 offers almost everything you want in a high-end mobile.

It comes equipped with a Snapdragon 845 processor along with 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage and microSD slot. A good camera? Also: the XZ2 has a 19MP camera, the first on a smartphone capable of recording video in 4K HDR. Sony worked closely with Qualcomm to ensure that the EXMOR image processing system, which includes Sony’s mirrorless cameras, will work seamlessly on the image signal processor of the Snapdragon 845.

In addition, like the XZ Premium, the XZ2 has an impressive way to record videos in slow motion at 960fps, along with Sony’s predictive focus technology that can track objects as they move. As you might expect, taking into account your camera, the 5.7 “screen and 18:9 format of the XZ2 is HDR, and is even able to convert videos into something similar to HDR with brighter colors and better contrast.
Although it seems that it has the same square chassis that we have seen in the Xperia of the past, Sony has created for the XZ2 something called “Environmental flow design”, with the intention of making its mobile more ergonomic. Inspired by liquids, bows and the control of DualShock 4 control of the PlayStation 4, Sony has created a mobile that looks rectangular but feels much more rounded. The back of the XZ2 has a curved glass that feels great in your hand.

The design improvements of the XZ2 are not only aesthetic. Moving the fingerprint reader to the center of the back makes it much easier to reach with your finger, and on its front the XZ2 has stereo speakers hidden in the headset from the top and in a small space below from the screen. Oh, and as expected, the Xperia XZ2 is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance.

Last but not least, we have the new haptic engine that Sony has included in the XZ2. Unlike other mobiles with small haptic motors that simply vibrate a little when you receive a message or notification, the one on the XZ2 works all the time. The engine is activated when you watch a movie, when you play and even when you listen to music. I tried it while watching an episode of the Bob Ross show and suddenly it was like I could “feel” what he was painting. It seems as if the vibration of a PlayStation controller was brought to the mobile, and I think I like it.

Another surprising thing is that the XZ2 standard is the XZ2 Compact. Recently, as mobile phones get bigger and bigger, almost all manufacturers have stopped being interested in making a small mobile but with high-end specifications. The XZ2 Compact, however, although it has a smaller screen and battery, has almost all the features of the larger version, with the exception of wireless charging, the haptic motor and the glass back (in the Compact is of plastic).

The only thing that worries me is that Sony seems not to be working directly with many telephony providers in the United States to take it to their stores, which could affect its popularity. The rest of the countries, including Spain and Mexico, should arrive without problem. They leave on April 6 for 599 and 799 €, both the XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact will arrive in four colors (black, silver, green and pink) sometime in spring.