Using the Xperia Z2 Smartphone
After close to a month of using the Xperia Z2 as my daily driver, I fell in love. This is a hard thing for me to do, especially as I was so attached to my Nexus 5 for more than one reason. Firstly, I'm a big advocate of stock Android - I tend to hate tacked-on UIs, but Sony has approached the Xperia Z2 with gentle hands in the UI department.
Secondly, the design and feel of the Xperia Z2 is like nothing else. HTC gets all the praise when it comes to making great-feeling Android-powered smartphones, but I think Sony deserves big praise for their efforts on the Z2. The Z2 feels like a powerful phone. It looks like a powerful phone. It also performs like a powerful phone.
From first glance, to putting it back into its box after I'm finished writing this review, my time with the Xperia Z2 was great. I actually convinced a close friend of mine to grab the Z2 instead of the Galaxy S5, and he's over the moon with it. Some of the photos he took with the very powerful 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera came out very well from his family holiday.
I didn't care much about the performance of the Z2, as I experienced no slowdowns at all during my use. I was really pushing it up hill when using it too, with my Google Glass connected to it 50% of the time, and I was constantly taking photos and videos while doing a bunch of other things in between. Facebook, Gmail, Drive, backing up my photos and videos to Google Photos and so much more. The Z2 handled it all, without a single hiccup. To me, that speaks wonders on its performance.
Walking away from the Z2, I was heavily impressed with what Sony has crammed into the thin smartphone in what is the 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera. The ability to snap amazing photos from a smartphone is one thing, but shooting 4K video at 3840x2160 is another. For those with a 4K-capable TV or monitor, you'll want to shoot videos at Ultra HD. But be warned: you'll be chewing up your internal flash storage very quick, so grab yourself a 64-128GB microSD card for shooting at 4K.
This is one of my least favorite parts of writing a smartphone review, synthetic benchmarks. How the smartphone performs shouldn't make up any majority of your decision on the purchase, but we're still going to sit down and discuss this with you now.
Around my lab right now, I have some of the best smartphones on the market. The hardware inside of these devices doesn't do much for me, as I like to put more of my judgment into the actual physical feel, the OS, and the hardware side of things that matter - the feel of the phone, the camera, the display, etc. But, numbers have to be crunched somewhere, so this is where we'll do it. Let's begin benchmarking Sony's latest and greatest handset, the Xperia Z2.
We've changed up our benchmark lineup, which now has three tests from Basemark X, the usual 3DMark test, and a few from GFXBench. Starting with Basemark X, and its Gaming Performance score at both 1080p and 1080 w/8x AA.
We can see the Xperia Z2 kicking ass right out of the gate, beating out every other smartphone in our lineup. This includes the best from Samsung and LG's latest G3 smartphone. At 1080p without AA enabled, we have a score of 12,843 compared to the closest competitor, which is the Galaxy Note 3 from Samsung which scored 12,141.
Turning AA on didn't stop the Z2 in its tracks, reducing its overall score to 12,315. This is impressive, considering that the Galaxy Note 3 scored 11,646, while the G3 scored 12,123 and the Galaxy S5 scored 11,470. The Nexus 5 is getting a bit old in the tooth now, scoring 10,514.
For our second test, we are looking at the two gaming tests within Basemark X - both run at 1080p with 8x AA enabled.
As you can see, the Xperia Z2 leads again. Starting with the Hangar test where Sony scores 18.45 FPS, leading the pack with the LG G3 coming in second place with 18.13 FPS. Both of the Samsung smartphones come in at third and fourth place, with the Note 3 scoring 17.42 FPS and the Galaxy S5 with 17.5 FPS. The older, but still super cheap Nexus 5 scores 16.13 FPS.
Moving onto the Dunes test, the Z2 still kicks ass with 14.29 FPS. Compared to the just-released (and still not available in some markets) G3 from LG, which scored 14.09 FPS. The two Samsung devices fall into third and fourth position once again, with the Note 3 edging out the S5 with 13.29 FPS compared to 13.08 FPS. The Nexus 5 slides into last place with 12.62 FPS.
Running the Unlimited preset in 3DMark for Android, the Z2 loses its first benchmark to the two Samsung smartphones. Sony's Xperia Z2 scores 18,503, while the Galaxy Note 3 scored 18,910 and the Galaxy S5 wrote home with 18,566. The G3 came in last this time, which was really surprising, with a score of 16,932, leaving fourth place to the Nexus 5 with 17,883.
The first test we have done with GFXBench 3.0 is the 1080p Manhattan test, which saw the Z2 nearly hit first place, but lost to the Galaxy S5. The Z2 scored 27.5 FPS, while the Galaxy S5 scored 27.7 FPS - a difference of just 0.2 FPS. The Galaxy Note 3 was hot on the heels of both of these smartphones with 26.1 FPS, while the Nexus 5 found itself in fourth place with 22.8 FPS. This left LG's newest flagship smartphone, the G3, with just 17.5 FPS.
Moving onto the 1080p T-Rex benchmark, where the Z2 lost to the Galaxy S5 again, mirroring its loss of just 0.2 FPS. The Z2 took home a score of 11.5 FPS, while the S5 barely beat it with 11.7 FPS. The Galaxy Note 3 came in third place once again with 10.7 FPS, but this time the G3 slid into fourth place with 10.3 FPS, leaving last place to the Nexus 5 with 8.7 FPS.
Next up we have the Fill Rate 1080p benchmark, which tests out the Mtexels/s performance of our smartphones. The Sony Xperia Z2 takes first place once again, with a score of 4,015. Second place goes to the Galaxy S5 with 3,965, while its bigger brother scoring 3,850. The G3 comes in fourth with 3,558, leaving the Nexus 5 in fifth position with just 3,111.
Our last benchmark is GFXBench's ALU test. The Xperia Z2 barely took the win here, with 150 FPS, edging out Samsung's flagship Galaxy S5 which scored 148.9 FPS. The G3 took third place this time with 146.7 FPS, while the Galaxy Note 3 was burning against its back tires with 143.1 FPS. The Nexus 5 slips in this test, down to fifth place with 119.3 FPS.
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