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Sony Xperia XZ2 & XZ2 Compact: First Impressions

The Sony Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact have finally arrived in Singapore! First announced at MWC back in February, the XZ2, along with the XZ2 Compact, will replace the XZ1 and XZ1 Compact as flagships at the top of Sony’s Xperia line-up. VR Zone got to try out both phones at a hands-on session last week, and we came away impressed with many of the new features Sony has implemented.

New Design

The XZ2 (left) next to the XZ2 Compact (right)

For the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, Sony has moved away from its OmniBalance design to a new design approached called Ambient Flow. Gone is the monolithic rectangular shape and large top and bottom bezels. The new phones sport a 18:9 aspect ratio screen and thinner bezels, though they are not nearly as thin as you would find on competitors like the Samsung’s Galaxy S9. This, however, is to accomodate the twin front-firing stereo speakers – one of the few phones that still sport such an appealing feature for those who game or watch videos regularly.

Around the back, you will find a single rear camera and fingerprint sensor. Unlike most other brands, Sony has chosen to stick with a single shooter, while honing it with the latest camera technology.

Screen

Default Lockscreen of the XZ2.

Apart from the new screen size and ration, Sony has improved the quality of HDR technology implemented in the display. It is now able to up-convert any content to HDR, allowing you to harness the full range of colours that its screen is able to display. We did a quick comparison with two of Sony’s previous generation phones, and the differences stand out immediately. Displaying the same photo across all three devices, we were able to see additional details that we could not see on the older phones.

Camera

A shot from the XZ2’s camera. Noteworthy is the amount of detail in the leather jacket in the foreground. Black and in the shadows, we can make out the texture of the surface, even as details in the background are reasonably exposed.

Moving on to the camera, we were really impressed with what Sony was able to achieve with its single rear camera. Photos were able to capture a greater dynamic range, and in our test shot on a backlit scene, the camera handled the exposure perfectly. The darker subject was properly compensated for, and the background was not overexposed as well.

Additionally, in video mode, its slow-motion feature was fun and intuitive to use.

First Impressions

The VR Team had many positive impressions from our short time playing around with the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. With the new Ambient Flow design, it feels like Sony has finally caught up with what other manufacturers have been doing for the past year.

Front view of the XZ2.

In the hand, the curved back of the phone fits snugly and feels comfortable to hold for long periods. This is a far cry from the old OmniBalance design, where the flat sides and rear make the phone unergonomic, though it fared better better when placed on the table. The curved back of the new design means it is not as stable lying flat on the table, where it is more prone to spinning and sliding.

The phones come with the latest version of Android, Oreo, with Sony’s skin implemented on top of it. Sony keeps the tweaking to a minimum, the phone feels fast and it comes with very little bloatware pre-installed.

Rear of the XZ2. Notice the low positioning of the fingerprint sensor.

One gripe we had with the phone was the placement of the fingerprint sensor. It is lower than where your finger usually rests, and in my short time with the phone, I find myself touching the camera more often than the sensor. Sony claims that this is a more ergonomic placement based on surveys and market research, and in our full review we would be looking at whether it is indeed a better position when using the phone day to day.

The 3 available colours of the XZ2.

Stay tuned for our full in-depth review of the phone in the coming weeks. The Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact will go on sale in Singapore from the middle of April.

Daniel Adi.
Daniel is a Senior Writer and the Chief Phone Screen Polisher at VRZone. A student in Economics and Computer Science, Daniel is as interested in the policies of Merkel and Largarde as he is in the musings of Alexa and Cortana. Always itching to take things apart, Daniel prefers to dwell on the more technical side of technology.

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