Sony’s towering slab of Android goodness is hard to resist, but you’ll get more out of it if you try our Xperia Z2 tips. If you’re still shopping for a new smartphone, or you want to know what we thought about it in more depth, then check out our Sony Xperia Z2 review. As it sports glass front and back, our first tip is to peruse the best Xperia Z2 cases on the market and order one.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the earphones in the box with your new Xperia Z2 are not worth using. These are Sony MDR-NC31EM earphones with a microphone built into each earpiece facing out, which work in concert with the Z2’s noise-canceling technology. You can go to Settings > Sound > Audio accessories and choose the right profile to make sure you’re getting the benefit of the feature, or you can simply plug them in and pull down the notification shade.
How to improve the speaker sound
Sony has taken a leaf out of HTC’s book with the Z2’s dual front-facing speakers, but you don’t get the best sound out of them without diving into the settings. Go to Settings > Sound > Sound effects for more options to minimize volume changes and optimize the sound for music. Dig deeper into Sound enhancements and you’ll find the equalizer and some important options, including xLoud for boosting the volume.
How to customize your notifications
If you pull down the notification shade, you’ll see the Quick settings on the right tab. Tap Edit and choose the features you really want listed here, so that you can clear out the clutter. Don’t stop there – you can also go into Settings > Personalization to Manage notifications and Status bar icons. This will determine which apps send you notifications in the first place and dictate which icons you want to see in the notification bar.
We’ve discussed how to squeeze more out of your smartphone battery in a general sense before, but Sony has included some really handy options in this department. Take yourself into Settings > Power management and you’ll find Stamina mode and Low-battery mode. You can toggle them on or off, but the really nice thing here is the ability to fine tune what they do. Tap on it and Low-battery mode provides a simple list of checklist options, but Stamina mode is a little more involved. It can even turn off Wi-Fi and mobile data when you turn the screen off and restrict hardware performance, but you can add specific apps to an exception list if you want them to stay active. You can also choose exactly when the mode kicks in.
How to take great photos
For a start, you can hold down the dedicated camera button on the right spine to quickly bring the camera app up. You’ll know it’s working when the Z2 vibrates a little. Then, you can let go in preparation to snap a shot. Finally, hold down the button to take a photo or tap the big camera icon onscreen.
There are a couple of great features that make it easier to get good shots of fidgety kids, or adults, for that matter. If you tap the menu (three ellipses) at the bottom left, you’ll see Smile Shutter. Turn it on and then tap on a face onscreen and it will automatically snap a shot when they smile. You should also select Timeshift burst because it will capture a number of sequential shots and let you swipe through to select the best one.
How to capture better videos
The 4K video recording mode is a bit of a letdown. Unless you only want to capture short videos, it really heats the phone up and usually shuts itself down quite quickly. You can still capture great 1080p videos with the Z2, though. Head into the options and tap the video tab and you’ll find the same Smile Shutter option that the camera has. You’ll also find Steady Shot, which really helps to eradicate trembling. In the tools tab at the end, you’ll find a handy option, called Use Volume key as, that you can set to zoom or shutter.
If you load the Album app where your photos and videos are stored by default, you’ll find a PlayMemories Online option. This is a free service from Sony that can be used to automatically back up your photos and videos online. You can access them whenever you want on a computer or laptop, through your browser at PlayMemories Online, as well as on your Xperia Z2. You get 5GB for free that covers full-size photos and videos, but you can upload an unlimited number of photos scaled down to a 1920 pixel length.
If you want more space and need to back up other types of files, you can get 15GB for free with Google Drive and 2GB for free with Dropbox.
How to automate your Xperia Z2
The Smart Connect app is pre-installed on your Xperia Z2. If you fire it up, you’ll find that you can create events or device triggers. For example, you could set your phone to go silent between 11PM and 8AM so your sleep isn’t disturbed, or you could tell it to automatically load up Spotify when you plug your earphones in. The different combinations of rules available allow you to set up fairly complicated actions.
You’ll find the small apps when you tap the multitasking button. They are mini apps that sit on top of whatever else you are doing. Small apps are typically things like a calculator, notepad, browser, or timer. Tap the arrow at the bottom left and you get the option to change what’s listed. You can also tap the plus sign at the top and add more small apps from the Play Store or your own widget collection.
How to organize your apps
You can obviously tap and hold on an app icon to move it wherever you want on your home screens. You can also drop it on top of another icon to create a folder. In addition, Sony has included the option to edit the app drawer. If you want to quickly filter it, then just swipe left to right in the app drawer and you’ll see options to Search apps, set the order by Most used or Alphabetical, and the option to Uninstall. If you select Own order, you can actually edit the drawer to display your apps exactly the way you want.
That’s it for our Xperia Z2 tips and tricks roundup, but we’ll back with more in a while, so watch this space. If you’ve got any tips of your own, please do share them below.