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Friday 19 September 2014

Tech Insider: Sony Xperia Z2 a hands-on test drive

Jessica Kelly

Published 09/05/2014 | 02:30

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Sony Xperia Z2

After discussing the availability of Sony's new flagship phone in last week's Insider Tech, an Xperia Z2 arrived into the office.

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A demo version of the phone was on display at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, but it was great to finally get my hands on the device.

For some reason, Sony don't seem to have championed the high-end smartphone market in the same way HTC, Samsung and Apple have.

The company's devices are stunning and come loaded with great features, but Sony is rarely the answer I give to the question I'm asked 50 times a week: "What's the best phone on the market?"

The Z2 doesn't look massively different to the Z1, but is more powerful, runs Android KitKat and some really great features. With a 5.2-inch screen, the Z2 is a large phone but the slick Sony design removes any clunkiness when in the hand. The glass unibody design is stunning but is by no means fragile. Sony is also great for putting extra screen protection films on its phones.

Internally the Z2 is packed with a 2.3GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor meaning the power is noticeable from the get go. One of the key features of this device is the camera and video capture abilities. The rear camera has 20.7MP and captures 4k video. It also has a 2.2MP 1080P front camera.

Sony has added a ton of camera features onto the phone. This takes away the need for Instagram and other photo filter services. Many of the options, however, are just "stuff"; features that very few people will ever use.

One thing that is quite cool, but an utter gimmick is the augmented reality option. With the tap of a button users can have dinosaurs running around their living room instantly – and who wouldn't want that?

One thing that Sony has over any other phone on the market is the stunning screen clarity.

From the initial powering on of the phone, the quality is evident. Colours pop on the screen and even normal definition video looks good. The screen size makes watching movies and videos comfortable.

The battery life is also impressive for such a power house.

Best on the market?

And so we move to that killer question: what is the best phone on the market?

It's a tricky one to answer because not everyone has the same usage requirements. For users just looking for a phone to do the basics, there is no need to part with more than €300 on pay as you go.

Anyone looking for a high-powered, top end phone – the main players are HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and the iPhone 5S. Every one of those phones is powerful. Camera lovers should check out the HTC and the Sony options because both have impressive cameras with multiple point and shoot options.

Those who demand a lot from a phone should go with the Samsung Galaxy S5. It's packs more punch than any other, but is still a great phone. For anyone afraid of non-Apple products – the 5S is the way to go.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday’s Irish Independent

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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