10 tempting tips for the Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 review front screen

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.

How to enjoy noise cancellation on your earphonesXperia_Z2_noice_canceling

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.

How to extend your battery lifeXperia_Z2_Stamina_mode

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.

How to backup photos and videos in the cloudXperia_Z2_PlayMemories_Online

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.

How to use small appsXperia_Z2_small_apps

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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Mobile

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.
Mobile

You forgot all about these 6 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.
Mobile

Why Honor’s new screen is the hole-y grail in quest to ditch the notch

Honor will release a smartphone with an in-screen camera in the new year, a trend which is gathering momentum in the industry. Honor said it has cracked the formula, and explains what's special about its All-View Display.
Mobile

T-Mobile is giving away free iPhone XRs and Galaxy S9s for the holidays

T-Mobile is celebrating the holiday season with a series of deals for customers who want an iPhone XR, Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6T, LG V40, or LG G7. There are terms and conditions to the deals, but they are still worth considering.
Smart Home

These activists are hacking housing problems in NYC using apps and data

There are 1.2 million people living in "deficient" housing in New York City and now these coders are making easy-to-use, intuitive apps designed to give tenants a fighting chance against unscrupulous landlords.
Mobile

Google Assistant will alert you if it thinks your flight will be delayed

Google Assistant will soon be able to alert you if your flight is delayed. Using historical flight status data and machine learning, the service can even predict a flight delay before it's been officially confirmed.
Mobile

Forget 3 being a crowd, 4 is the magic number on the Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei's sequel to the P20 Pro, the P30 Pro, has already started to leak ahead of its 2019 announcement and release. The company is likely to improve even further on the P20 Pro's excellent camera.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…
Mobile

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.