Sony Xperia XZ2 review

GSMArena team, 14 March 2018.

Display

Sony took a rather practical approach to display upgrades for the Xperia XZ2. The new, extra-tall aspect ratio is quickly becoming an industry standard, so ignoring it wouldn't be a wise marketing decision in 2018. The extremely polarizing notch trend, as well as some other traits, like curved edges, are a lot less uniformly accepted at this point, so we are really glad Sony steered clear of those.

Sony Xperia XZ2 review

The 5.7-inch panel on the XZ2 is also, arguably sensible in other ways, like the FullHD+ native resolution. Even at that diagonal, that still adds up to a perfectly sharp 424ppi.

Plus, Sony's LCD science has come a long way. Loyal brand fans still swear by their proprietary tech like the Triluminos display and the X-Reality Engine.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
Samsung Galaxy S9 (Max Auto) 0 658
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Max auto 0 647
Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Max Auto) 0 647
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra 0.404 631 1562
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (max auto vivid) 0 623
Sony Xperia XZ2 0.431 618 1434
LG V30 (Max Auto) 0.032 616 19250
Xiaomi Mi 6 0.462 603 1305
Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB) 0.48 576 1200
Sony Xperia XZ1 0.409 575 1406
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 0.463 573 1238
Sony Xperia XZs 0.461 564 1223
LG G6 max auto 0.277 564 2036
Motorola Moto Z2 Force (Max Auto) 0 559
Sony Xperia XA2 0.401 532 1327
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (Increased Contrast) 0.4 515 1287
Huawei Honor View 10 (Max Auto) 0.311 507 1629
LG G6 0.228 468 2053
Huawei Honor View 10 0.278 453 1629
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 0 442
Oppo R11s 0 441
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (vivid) 0 440
OnePlus 5T 0 437
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal) 0 422
Google Pixel 2 XL 0 420
LG V30 0.002 414 207000
Samsung Galaxy Note8 0 412
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 0.379 387 1020
Motorola Moto Z2 Force 0 376
Samsung Galaxy S9 0 370
HTC U11+ 0.19 309 1626

In keeping with Sony's strong display performance history, the Xperia XZ2 gets pretty bright, reaching a maximum of 618 nits. Blacks are still a bit brighter than we would like, which ultimately makes for a solid, but not impressive contrast ratio.

Sunlight legibility is nothing to phone home about either, but we never really felt like the XZ2 was struggling with outdoor light, so we guess it's fine as it is.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Archos Diamond Omega
    3.305
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • BlackBerry Motion
    2.494
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Vivo V7
    2.404
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Sony Xperia L2
    2.266
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • HTC U11+ (EU)
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001

But probably the biggest display upgrade on the XZ2 is the HDR support. The panel supports 10-bit colors and is certified for the BT.2020 standard. Frankly, determining how that correlates to other industry standards, like HDR10 video is a bit difficult and needlessly technical. In practical terms, all that really matters is whether content vendors, like Netflix, enable their HDR content for the XZ2. For now, the best way for early adopters to take advantage of the HDR panel is by watching the compatible 4K HDR clips captured by the phone itself.

Sony also offers an automatic upconversion system, as part of its "Advanced X-Reality for mobile" engine. It takes SDR video content and seamlessly tries to upconvert its colors to HDR levels during playback. If you've seen an HDR TV attempt to do the same, you probably already know that it looks great on cherry-picked demo videos. Real-world usefulness depends strongly on your content. You can probably expect to salvage some detail in shadows and fix some light smear in low-light shots, but it can't do miracles. If the data isn't there, it isn't there.

Sony Xperia XZ2 review

Since the SD to HDR system didn't trigger for our standard display test setup, we can't say how much colors would have improved as a result.

The LCD panel on the XZ2 is surprisingly well-calibrated against the DCI-P3 color space, which we typically test against.

The default Standard color mode gives an average deltaE of 4.4 and a maximum of 8.5. No matter how much we tried, whites and grays always retained a certain level of blue tint.

Switching to the professional color mode brings that down a bit, but it was only after fiddling with the custom white point adjustment that we managed to get an average deltaE of 2.9 and a maximum of 5.1. The settings we used are as follows.

Custom whitepoint calibration settings - Sony Xperia XZ2 review
Custom whitepoint calibration settings

Of course, not everybody strives for color accuracy on their phones. In fact, the vast majority of people seem to prefer punchy, vivid colors. If that is you too, go for the Super Vivid setting.

Battery Life

The Xperia XZ2 comes with a bigger battery than the Xperia XZ1. Still, we couldn't shake off the feeling they could have fitted an even bigger one.

After all, the recent Xperia XA2 measures 142 x 70 x 9.7 mm and gets a 3,300 mAh battery. The Xperia XZ2 is 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm and comes with a smaller 3,180 mAh battery in its belly (or rather under the hump on its back). And that's without even looking outside camp Sony. Sure, flagship internals come with their own size and heat design considerations. Still, all of here agreed that it's reasonable to expect a bigger battery from a chubby smartphone like the XZ2.

Still, like we've repeatedly said in the past, it's not about the amperes, but rather how well you make use of them. We have to hand it to Sony and the new, efficient, 10nm Snapdragon 845 chipset.

The combination of Android Oreo and the all-new 10nm Snapdragon 845 chipset has resulted in a great 88-hour endurance rating for the Xperia XZ2. This is especially impressive, considering the 3,180mAh battery capacity.

Breaking down the numbers a bit, we can see that screen-on tasks are the weakest link in the equation. Still, 11 hours or so for Web browsing and local video playback are solid scores. Plus, there is only so much software optimization can do when the sizeable 5.7-inch, LCD of the XZ2 is shining away. Talk time also falls within expectations for a battery pack of such size.

The real secret sauce, so to say, is in the excellent standby endurance. Sony has a solid track record in this department, and the XZ2 does not disappoint. If you are a light user and your phone spends most of its days in a pocket or on a desk, you can easily expect to go a couple of days without a top-up, if not more.

Sony Xperia XZ2 review

The phone supports Quick Charge 3.0 and even though it doesn't come bundled with a fast charger in every market, using the fast charger we had brought the battery from 0% to about 45% in half an hour.

Unlike its little sibling, the XZ2 also supports QI wireless charging. That won't be nearly as fast, though, even though it uses the fastest possible 9W charging.

As on all its other phones, Sony has equipped the XZ2 with Qnovo Adaptive Charging and Battery care to help prolong the life of the built-in power pack by carefully controlling charging parameters.

Sony Xperia XZ2 review

While on the subject of charging, Sony promised it would bundle the XZ2 with one of its EC270 Y-type adapters, so users can charge and listen to music at the same time. While we didn't get one of those with our review unit, we can only assume Sony will be sticking to that promise for end users. So, it's only fair we point out that the adapter comes with a caveat - it doesn't support Quick Charge. On a different note, it is also not compatible with some older Sony noise-canceling headphones, like the MDR-NC31EM and MDR-NC750.

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Sony Xperia XZ2 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Loudspeaker

Like we already mentioned, Sony still managed to fit a good stereo setup inside the new XZ2 body design. In fact, it is one of the better ones we have seen.

Our tests can mostly confirm Sony's claim - the stereo speakers are about 20% louder than the XZ1.

The XZ2 isn't loud enough to get a last minute party going, but it is excellent for a shower sing-along (don't ask!)

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 62.9 65.2 71.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ1 (ClearAudio+) 64.5 67.6 67.7 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ1 65.4 68.0 69.1 Average
Samsung Galaxy Note8 67.8 69.5 71.5 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 (ClearAudio+) 66.0 71.6 76.4 Good
Google Pixel 2 XL 66.2 70.4 78.2 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 66.1 71.8 78.1 Good
Nokia 6 (Global version) 63.1 70.9 82.5 Good
Apple iPhone X 68.9 74.0 76.2 Very Good
Sony Xperia XA2 68.7 72.7 78.3 Very Good
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra 68.8 73.9 80.8 Very Good
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 70.1 73.8 84.2 Excellent
Google Pixel 2 70.0 77.0 81.1 Excellent
Razer Phone 69.3 75.0 90.5 Excellent
HTC U11+ (retail) 91.2 75.4 90.7 Excellent

But volume alone does not make for a great multimedia experience. For that, you need clarity, which the XZ2 has plenty of as well. Sony's S-Force system unsurprisingly falls short of the magical and kind of self-contradicting PR promise of "Front Surround," but it does make for a vibrant soundstage.

Then there is Sony's new Dynamic Vibration System. The name is pretty self-explanatory, and on the surface, it seems like a very obvious thing to do - pick up the low-frequency sounds and vibrate the phone accordingly. Still, it makes you wonder why other manufacturers have not implemented such a system yet.

Sony Xperia XZ2 review

Digging deeper into the matter, revealed that quite a bit of engineering effort has gine into making this possible. To make the haptic feeling convincing enough to be regarded as an actual experience-upgrade, rather than a vibration nuisance, disrupting your multimedia, an advanced vibration engine had to be developed. The actuator in question is not only quite powerful and beefy (probably why it is absent from the XZ2 Compact), but it can also actuate at frequencies all the way down to 100Hz, while most phones only go to 160Hz or so.

Dynamic Vibration System - Sony Xperia XZ2 review
Dynamic Vibration System

While we can't say with certainty that we can feel the extra Hz range in questing, what we can attest to is that the Dynamic Vibration System is no simple vibration.

The haptic feedback feels quite natural once you get used to the sensation. Bass-rich movie scenes become that little bit more exciting and your favorite tracks now cater to another sense.

The effect can be toggled on and off, as well as adjusted in intensity on a per-app basis, which is even better. Especially if you don't find it to your liking for multimedia. Then you can still leave it on for notifications, which Sony claims become more apparent.

Very good audio quality

The Xperia XZ2 represents a big step forward for Sony when it comes to audio output. In previous years the Japanese companyís flagships have been a step behind their rivals, but this time around we were treated to a performance worthy of a flagship. When hooked to an active external amplifier the XZ2 delivered above-average loudness and perfect clarity as befits its standing.

Plugging in a pair of headphones dropped the loudness to only average, but the accuracy of the output didnít get damaged. The hike in stereo crosstalk was well contained and while some intermodulation distortion did creep in, itís nothing you will notice without dedicated testing equipment. All in all, the Xperia XZ2 delivered a solid performance with no major weak points whatsoever.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Sony Xperia XZ2+0.02, -0.01-90.691.20.00200.0096-89.2
Sony Xperia XZ2 (headphones)+0.04, -0.26-89.491.90.00500.219-60.7
Samsung Galaxy S9+0.01, -0.03-93.493.50.00570.0074-93.9
Samsung Galaxy S9 (headphones)+0.02, -0.03-93.092.90.00380.048-75.5
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1

Sony Xperia XZ2 frequency response
Sony Xperia XZ2 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.