Sony Xperia Z2 review
Sony Xperia Z2 review: camera performance
Sony has retained the same Exmor RS 20.7-megapixel sensor as found in the Xperia Z1, but given the front camera a little resolution bump from 2 megapixels to 2.2 megapixels. The Xperia Z2 also adds a couple of new features to the list. Optical image stabilisation now makes the grade courtesy of Sony’s SteadyShot technology, and video recording is now supplemented by high-frame-rate 720p 120fps and 30fps 4K modes.
The Xperia Z2’s Superior Auto mode drops the resolution down to 8 megapixels, but it does a good job of taking shots in most situations. And it doesn’t just dump the extra pixels –it uses oversampling to combine the light-gathering power of multiple pixels. As a result, colours are realistic without veering towards undersaturation, and there’s plenty of detail. Once the lights go down, the large 1/2.3in sensor and oversampling do their bit to keep images from becoming too noisy. There are some ugly, smeary compression artefacts once you zoom right in to pixel level, though – something that becomes even more noticeable once you flick on Manual mode and start poring over the 20.7-megapixel shots.
Still photos aren’t quite the match of the best phones out there, however. Low-light shots are a little soft and lacking in fine detail compared to Nokia’s Lumia 1020 or Samsung Galaxy S5, and the Galaxy S5 easily trumps the Xperia Z2 in brighter scenes, delivering noticeably more detailed, tightly focused pictures across the frame.
Sony has packed in a variety of other features, too, such as picture-tweaking filters, a Vine video mode, and a background-defocus mode for introducing artificial bokeh, but they’re little more than novelties. The background-defocus mode is particularly disappointing; the processing smears the edges of in-focus items to make for messy, unrefined results. The Timeshift burst mode is by far the best of the bunch. Capturing 61 images in two seconds, it’s a boon for capturing tricky action shots.
Video is a strong point. The constant refocusing can prove distracting, but 4K video is teeming with detail, even in low light. The Timeshift video mode works well, too, capturing 720p video at 120fps, then allowing you to quickly click and drag an onscreen slider to select which part of the clip you want to slow down. Neatly, both the edited and the original video are saved separately – you can go back and edit the original footage on a PC later.
Sony Xperia Z2 review: verdict
There’s no shortage of quality handsets out there right now, but the Sony Xperia Z2 does just enough to distinguish itself. Great performance and excellent battery life are sealed inside a beautifully crafted handset, which in terms of style only the HTC One M8 can match. Camera quality admittedly isn’t quite up there with the very best, but taken as a whole, the Sony Xperia Z2 simply has to be on your shortlist.
|Contract monthly charge||£33.00|
|Contract period||24 months|
|Dimensions||147 x 8.2 x 73mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||20.7mp|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920|