Sony Xperia Z2: Eight surprise benefits

Summary:I tested the new HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, but couldn't bring myself to buy either from my local T-Mobile store. Based upon many recommendations, I bought another device -- and quickly discovered eight additional benefits.

I have been itching for a new phone and was trying to decide between the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. After several endorsements from trusted friends in the mobile industry, I placed an order for a white Sony Xperia Z2 from Handtec on Saturday and the device arrived Tuesday morning.

There are many things I love about the device and I am very happy with my overseas purchase.

ZDNet's Sandra Vogel posted a review of the Sony Xperia Z2 last week while CNET had shared their review in April. Sandra gave the Z2 an 8.8 (scale of 10) while CNET had it at 4.5 (scale of 5). I strongly agree with these evaluations, and I may even bump it to a 9.5 when compared to existing smartphone options.

The Sony Xperia Z2 leapt to the top of my list of potential purchases because I read that Sony significantly improved the display over the Z1. The display is definitely much better on the Z2 and I personally find it better than the One (M8) and Galaxy S5. It's nice to see Sony finally earn the right to call the display something fancy like Triluminos. As I wrote in my Z1s review I wanted to buy that device, but the washed out display was so terrible there was no way I could stand using it on a daily basis. The water resistance, camera performance, microSD card slot, and premium design were also features I wanted in my new phone.

Even after just three days with the Xperia Z2, I found a few other things I like that I wasn't thinking of when I purchased it. These include:

  1. Included earbuds: Sony includes their digital noise-cancelling earbuds, model MDR-NC31EM, in the package. I don't usually pull out any included headsets when I buy my phones, but these looked interesting. I downloaded some music from the Google Play Store and started listening to the Z2 on a flight to Alaska. Wow! I was blown away by the noise-cancelling performance and fantastic audio quality of the Z2. This pair immediately became my favorite for music and podcasts.

  2. Double tap to wake: Nokia has had this capability for a while, LG added it with Knock On, and HTC put it into the new One (M8). I had no idea this was included in the Z2 and find it very convenient for turning on the display, even when it is resting flatly on a table.

  3. Physical camera capture button: All Windows Phone devices have this, but it is rare on Android devices. It has been very convenient to just press and hold this physical, well-constructed metal button and launch right into the camera. The shots I have taken so far have been great and the software is very powerful.

  4. Charging dock: I purchased the dock because I didn't want to have to pry open a door to charge up the phone daily. The dock is pretty basic, but it is great to pop it in the dock, see it start up a slideshow of photos I took, and have the device charged up quickly. I may need to get another one for the office, but if battery life continues to hold out,the Z2 may easily last me a full day.

  5. Multi-color LED: My old Nexus One had a multi-color LED trackball that I enjoyed customizing. I see the Z2 has a subtle LED up top and it lights up in different colors. I understand you can use 3rd party apps to customize the colors for different notifications and will be installing and testing these soon. It is handy to see a color for different people show up on the phone.

  6. Front-facing stereo speakers: I haven't found a device that can beat the BoomSound of the new HTC One (M8), but it is also rare to find a device with dual front-facing stereo speakers. I watched Pacific Rim on the Z2 and it honestly sounded quite good with the speakers. Then again, the included earbuds are so good I doubt I will use the speakers much anyway.

  7. Xperia Lounge freebies: Make sure to launch the Xperia Lounge app and get the six free movies, includes Captain Philips, new Total Recall, and American Hustle, and free games that include Spider-Man 2, Tiki Rush, and more. You also get a free month trial of Sony Music Unlimited.

  8. Support for external photo services: The HTC One (M7) used to support Facebook, Picasa, and Flickr photo services in the HTC Gallery app and I liked having a central repository to view photos on these services. HTC killed off that functionality on the M8 so I was quite pleased to see these services supported, in an even better manner too, on the Sony Xperia Z2.

Now that I own the Z2, I will continue putting it through its paces and am planning a camera shootout with the other latest and greatest smartphones. So far, the Galaxy S5 is a crowd favorite for photos and videos, but the Z2 may unseat the S5 if my early testing proves valid.

Please let me know if there is anything you want me to test out on the Z2.

BTW, I just searched Amazon and see I could have likely saved about $75 if I had looked there first instead of going right to my preferred overseas vendors.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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