Sony took the wraps off its freshly-redesigned smartphones, the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact, at Mobile World Congress 2018. The company hasn’t changed its design language for quite a few years, so it’s refreshing to see something new. Both devices feature top-of-the-line hardware, as well as some camera features you won’t find on any other phone.
Here’s everything you need to know about the two phones. You can read our Sony Xperia XZ2 review for more.
Sony Xperia XZ2
The flagship device, called the Xperia XZ2, has more features over the XZ2 Compact — and much of that has to do with the phone’s design. Sony calls its new design style “Ambient Flow,” and it involves the use of more rounded corners, as opposed to the angular design of previous Xperia phones. The Xperia XZ2 also features a metal frame that holds together panels of Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back — which in turn helps enables wireless charging.
The 5.7-inch screen has a 2,160 x 1,080 pixel resolution with an 18:9 aspect ratio, but it’s not as edge-to-edge as say, Samsung’s Galaxy S9. You’ll find a chin and forehead on the phone, but it’s still markedly smaller than the bezels on Sony’s previous smartphones. That space does give way to stereo speakers that Sony says are 20 percent louder than the speakers on the original Xperia XZ1.
On the back, there’s a camera with a few sensors above it, along with a fingerprint sensor underneath. Around the edge of the phone, you’ll find standard buttons like a power button and volume rocker, but you’ll also get a dedicated camera button, as is often the case on Sony phones. There is one feature missing from the outside of the phone, and that’s a headphone jack. Thankfully, the phone does come with an adapter, and it also supports Bluetooth 5.0 for an improved wireless connection.
Like most flagship phones, the Xperia XZ2 is water resistant with an IP68 rating, meaning it’ll withstand submersion up to 1.5 meters of water for about 30 minutes.
The XZ2 features all the high-end specifications you’d expect from a flagship smartphone in 2018. Namely, it’s powered by the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, which is the latest and greatest chip from the chipset manufacturer. The processor is coupled with 4GB of RAM and comes with 64GB of storage. You’ll also get a MicroSD card slot, allowing you to expand that storage if you so choose. That Snapdragon 845 enables a range of nice features, including Qualcomm’s low-power hot word, which lets the phone recognize the “OK Google” hot word even when the display is off, without using much battery.
Powering the whole thing is a 3,180mAh battery, which isn’t huge but should at least get you through the day.
Then there’s the camera. The 19-megapixel rear-facing camera is capable of recording 4K HDR content, which Sony says is a world first. As is the case with previous Sony phones, you’ll also get some super slow-motion recording capabilities. The camera can record up to 960 frames per second, just like the Galaxy S9, but the improvement Sony has made is the video quality hits 1080p. Sony’s previous devices were limited to recording 960fps slow motion at 720p, and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 can’t do 1080p either. There is a trade-off, though. While the XZ Premium could record up to 6 seconds in 960fps in 720p, the increased resolution means slow motion videos will only offer up to 3 seconds of playback.
The Xperia XZ2 also features Sony’s new “Dynamic Vibration System,” which is aimed at vibrating the phone in sync with audio outputting from the device, in an attempt to help you “feel” the music, game, and movie. You can turn this feature off if you want.
Pricing and availability
The Xperia XZ2 costs $800, and it’s available now from various retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, externally, is actually quite different than the Xperia XZ2. For starters, while the phone looks shares curves like its bigger sibling, it’s much thicker and tinier — as the name suggests. There are some feature changes as well, such as how there’s no glass on the back so there’s no wireless charging available. The XZ2 Compact has a 5-inch display, but it still maintains a Full HD screen resolution.
The camera sensor and fingerprint sensor sit on the back, and the front bezels are smaller than previous Compact phones. The XZ2 Compact also doesn’t have a headphone jack.
Under the hood, the phone is pretty much the same as the standard Xperia XZ2. You’ll still get the Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, the same camera features, and so on. What’s missing is Sony’s Dynamic Vibration System. The phone also has a smaller battery, which comes in at 2,780mAh.
Price and availability
The Xperia XZ2 Compact will set you back $650, though now the price has been reduced to around $600 from retailers like Best Buy and Amazon. Both the Xperia XZ2 Compact and XZ2 work on Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, but they won’t work on Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile.
Sony has been publicly working on a pair of so-called “open-ear” earbuds, and the concept for those was first unveiled last year. Now, the device is exiting development, and will release soon this year. The official name for the earbuds, which are meant to let you to hear surroundings while you listen to music, is Ear Duo.
According to Sony, the earbuds are powered by the company’s “Spritzer” chip, which is aimed at offering contextual sensing and activity recognition — meaning they can change volume depending on what you’re doing. On top of that, Sony said Ear Duo will offer contextual information throughout the day, using the digital assistant of your choice. For example, when you get to your office, you could hear a run-down of meetings you have for the day. They can also react to hand gestures.
Ear Duo costs $280, and it’s available now. You can read our Xperia Ear Duo review for more details.