Devices News Sony Xperia, Android, gadgets, Mobile phones, Mobile World Congress, Photography, smartphones, Sony, Technology — February 25, 2014 17:24 — 0 Comments
Sony’s Xperia Z2 smartphone designed for a video generation
Sony’s new waterproof flagship Android smartphone has a bigger screen, more powerful processor and 4K video recording with image stabilisation and augmented reality fun
Sony’s new Xperia Z2 Android waterproof smartphone challenges Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with a 5.2in screen and 4K video capture.
Replacing the Xperia Z1, which was released just five months ago, the Xperia Z2 fits a larger screen, shaves 0.3mm from its frame and is formed out of a solid piece of aluminum with glass front and back.
Sony has also followed HTC’s lead by placing the smartphone’s speakers on the front of the device, either side of the screen, making watching videos with stereo sound a more compelling proposition on that 5.2in screen.
Shake-free Ultra HD 4K video
“The Xperia Z2 is the world’s best camera and camcorder in an Android smartphone, capable of capturing smooth 4K video thanks to our SteadyShot technology,” said Calum MacDougall head of mobile marketing at Sony talking to the Guardian.
Thinner and lighter, the Xperia Z2’s most prominent feature is its ability to capture video at 4K UHD resolution – four times the resolution of standard full HD. Sony has added image stabilisation to the 20.7-megapixel rear camera. It uses the software-powered SteadyShot technology from Sony’s long-standing Handycam camcorder range, which smoothes out shakes by using motion sensors and adjusting the video accordingly. A demonstration on vibrating plate showed the technology to be effective at reducing even extreme shaking.
UHD 4K video recording is more of a gimmick than a useful feature at this stage. TVs capable of displaying 4K content are expensive and few and far between, while Z2‘s screen is not capable of displaying the video at its full size.
Sony claims that recording in 4K is “future-proofing” your memories, which is arguably true, but it has integrated a video zoom function to make it more useful today with common full HD TVs.
Dinosaurs roaming free
Video recorded in 4K resolution can be zoomed in real time, picking out details and enlarging objects. The results are impressive, maintaining clarity and sharpness while magnifying parts of the video that would ordinarily have been missed. The video can also be output to a TV for larger viewing.
Sony has also expanded upon its fun camera applications, like its AR effect app that overlays virtual reality scenes like dinosaurs or masquerade ball masks into your photos in real time. The Z2 is capable of integrating these augmented reality scenes into videos complete with sound in real time, allowing fun video creations.
A TimeShift for video application also allows capture of video at up to 120 frames per second at 720p resolution, allowing users to create good-looking slow motion video effects with an intuitive timeline dial interface.
The Xperia Z2 is powered by Qualcomm’s new, powerful Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, and runs the latest version of Google’s Android 4.4.2 “KitKat” with some minor customisations, including some Sony applications and media subscription services. The smartphone was snappy and fluid, with apps loading instantly and no perceptible lag in testing.
The Z2 packs 16GB of storage, plus a micro SD card slot for adding up to 64GB of space for storing movies, music and photos, and will be available by the end of March in three colours: black, white and purple.
World’s first noise cancelling tech built into a smartphone
The new flagship smartphone has digital noise cancelling technology built directly into the phone – a world first according to Sony – meaning that by using the special bundled noise-cancelling headphones, users can block out up to 98% of noise like the drone of a plane or train without having to have a battery attached to their headphones.
In testing the headset performed well, blocking out noise and sounded rich, full and balanced; a step up from most earphones bundled in the box with smartphones.
Sony has packed the new Xperia Z2 with useful features and powerful hardware making it a worthy new flagship Android smartphone. It feels significantly lighter and thinner than Z1 while being sturdy with minimal flex in the body. However, with a 5.2in screen Sony is verging dangerously into the phablet space and it remains to be seen whether the smartphone is just too big for most users.
Xperia M2 along for the ride
Sony also unveiled a new mid-range Android smartphone called the Xperia M2, which Sony claims is the “world’s best smartphone technology in its class”.
The M2 features a similar omni-balance design as the flagship Z2, has LTE 4G and a microSD card slot, but lacks waterproofing and sports a smaller, lower resolution 4.8in screen.
Sony’s camera applications have made it to the M2, but the camera itself is just 8-megapixels compared to the Z2’s 20.7-megapixel sensor.
Both smartphones will be available on EE and other UK networks from around April.
• The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is essentially an Xperia Z1 strunk into a smaller, more manageable frame
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