“The more things change, the more they remain the same…” was a refrain that was being heard rather often when Sony launched a flagship phone. The reason was simple – the Japanese giant seemed to persist with a certain design language, even though it blended it with new hardware. However, at the Mobile World Congress this time, Sony seems to have turned the design page with the Sony Xperia XZ2 being unlike any of its predecessors in terms of both externals and innards. But just how deep is this change? We compared the Xperia XZ2 with the XZ1 and discovered the following seven major changes that have been made in the new flagship as compared to its predecessor:
Goodbye, boxy design
Perhaps the biggest change in the Xperia XZ2 as compared to its predecessor is the design. The Xperia flagships had been stuck in a flat, boxy design (OmniBalance, remember?) rut for a while, but with the XZ2, they come out of it. The XZ2 has a more contemporary design with a curved rear and a display that looks taller and follows the 18:9 aspect ratio trend (more on that in the next point). It has Gorilla Glass on the front and back with a metal frame in the middle, but at 198 grams ends up being a little on the heavy side. At 11.1 millimeters, it also seems unusually bulky in this era of super slim devices. New age purists will also frown at the relatively large bezels around the display, which make it a much larger proposition than the XZ1 even though it does have a larger display – at 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm, it is actually larger, wider and thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S9 which has a larger 5.8 inch display. That said, the XZ2 retains the Xperia flagship trend of being water and dust resistant with an IP68 rating.
The display goes bigger and 18:9
The display of the new Xperia flagship gets a boost, going from 5.2 inches on the XZ1 to a larger 5.7 inches on the XZ2. More significantly, the XZ2 also sees Sony get into the 18:9 aspect ratio territory that is the rage these days. The resolution has also been bumped up from 1920 x 1080 (full HD) on the XZ to 2160 x 1080 (full HD+) on the XZ2. Both are Triluminos LCD displays powered by what Sony calls the X-Reality engine – no AMOLED here yet.
A new flagship processor
In terms of hardware, the biggest distinguishing point between the Xperia XZ2 and the XZ1 is the processor. While the XZ1 was launched with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (which at that time was slowly fading into the background), the XZ2 comes with the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. RAM and storage remain the same at 4 GB and 64 GB (expandable), which might disappoint some, but that processor is the stuff of which 2018 Android flagships are made. The phone still is powered by Android 8.0 with Sony’s UI layer over it, so it remains in Oreoland, which is a good place to be.
Going back for the fingerprint scanner
Sony had been one of the few companies to have stubbornly stuck to placing the fingerprint scanner on the right side of the display, where it also doubled up as a power/display button. However, it had been moving the scanner to a more conventional place on the back in some of its mid-segment devices and with the XZ2, the fingerprint scanner moves to the back on its flagship too, right below the camera. A more conventional location, most people would say.
Forget the megapixels, we have 4K HDR and full HD slow mo
On the surface, the Xperia XZ2 seems to have the same rear camera that the XZ1 did – 19 megapixels with f/2.0 aperture and 1.22-micrometre pixels. But do not get taken in by the numbers here. The rear camera is the first in a smartphone to offer 4K HDR video capture, and also has upped the slow-motion game of the XZ1 from 960 fps at 720p to 960 fps at full HD – that is something even the Samsung S9+ cannot manage. Mind you, we are puzzled by the XZ2 having only a 5.0-megapixel front facing camera as compared to the 13.0-megapixel one on the XZ1. Video killed the selfie star? We wonder…
The sound and good vibrations
Like the XZ1, the XZ2 too has stereo speakers, but Sony claims that they deliver much louder sound. There is also something called Sony Dynamic Vibration System which Sony claims will deliver more signification vibrations for alerts and during gaming, basically making your gaming experience more immersive.
A bigger battery
With larger frames come larger batteries in most cases, and the Xperia XZ2 is fortunately not an exception to this. The XZ1 had a relatively modest 2700 mAh battery. The XZ2 takes it up a notch into proper flagship territory with a 3180 mAh battery and support not just for Quick Charge 3.0, but also for wireless charging, courtesy, that glass back.