Sony has finally set about reinventing its brands. Recent Xperia XZ2 releases have introduced a fresh design that differentiates the company’s efforts from those of its Android competitors. Lately, we’ve been seeing some of the most exciting products to bear the Xperia name in a long time.
Price and Availability
The Xperia XZ2 Premium begins shipping July 30 for $999 in only one configuration, with 64GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM. There are two colors on offer — Chrome Silver and Chrome Black — and the phone comes GSM unlocked, so it will work on networks like T-Mobile, AT&T, MetroPCS and Cricket. You can’t use it on CDMA networks like Sprint or Verizon.
The range-topping Xperia XZ2 Premium adds a 4K display and dual cameras to Sony’s formidable Android flagship, but the phone remains stuck in the past.
Design: Bold and hardly beautiful
Figuratively speaking, the Xperia XZ2 Premium is a phone stuck between times — a confluence of Sony’s penchant for stoic, imposing handsets and the company’s newfound ambition to follow market trends toward smaller bezels and more curvaceous forms.
Literally speaking, it’s a shiny brick, and it weighs a ton.
The weight is the very first thing you notice when you pick up the Xperia XZ2 Premium. At 8.3 ounces, the device tips the scales at an ounce heavier than the iPhone 8 Plus. It’s also significantly thicker, with a domed back panel crafted from Gorilla Glass 5 that arguably makes Sony’s big handset easier to hold in one hand than Apple’s, but at the expense of an extra two-tenths of an inch in its profile.
Display: 4K on a phone
The 5.8-inch, 3840 x 2160 LCD display on the Xperia XZ2 Premium may not seem very big on paper when more than a few phones from Sony’s competitors have crossed the 6-inch threshold. But remember: This is a 16:9 panel, rather than an 18:9 one — so it appears larger in person than the numbers indicate.
Camera: Comes alive at night
Besides its 4K display, the Xperia XZ2 Premium’s other standout features center on photography. The phone’s dual rear cameras are the first of their kind from Sony, and they’re unlike any we’ve seen before.
Performance: As fast as the rest
Armed with a Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB of RAM, the Xperia XZ2 Premium matches the specs of the Galaxy S9+ and the base model of the OnePlus 6.
Implementing the latest high-end Qualcomm silicon is table stakes for any Android flagship, especially one this expensive. You can rest assured that the XZ2 Premium is very snappy in day-to-day use, even in ways you might not expect. For example, I’ve noticed Sony sped up most of Android’s animations, including app opening and screen rotation. This isn’t rocket science — you can do the same with any Android phone via the Developer Options menu. But the fact that’s it’s been made the default behavior is a light touch that goes a long way.
Battery: Smart but not long-lasting
Big 4K displays are nice to look at, but the downside is that they draw a lot of power. It’s fortunate, then, that Sony took the opportunity to increase the size of the XZ2 Premium’s battery to 3,540 mAh, whereas the XZ2 made do with a 3,140-mAh power pack.
Yet something appears to be amiss. Because even with that larger battery, the XZ2 Premium mustered only 9 hours and 29 minutes of streaming web pages over T-Mobile’s LTE network. That’s more than 2 hours less than the $799 XZ2 managed and 19 minutes below the smartphone average.
We ran our battery test again just to rule out any contingencies, and the phone actually performed worse by about 20 minutes. Lackluster longevity aside, at least the XZ2 Premium supports Qi induction pads for wireless charging and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 protocol. There’s also Sony’s suite of battery-prolonging software, including the power-saving Stamina Mode, Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging.
Battery Care limits the amount of time the phone is fully charged, to prevent unnecessary stress while the device is plugged in. It monitors your charging habits and only tops off the final 10 percent of the battery right before it expects you to unplug it. Qnovo Adaptive Charging works more discreetly, adjusting power-delivery levels to prevent spikes that could damage the battery’s life span.