Sony hasn’t had the strongest impact on the smartphone market in a while, but it looks like they could soon follow suit to the Samsungs, LGs, Motorolas, and HTCs of the world if their newest phones go over well with consumers. Today at MWC 2018, the company took the wraps off their latest flagship smartphones for 2018, the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. The handsets offer a redesign from Sony’s past in which it provides a more modern take on an Android device while still retaining a similar look and feel to a Sony phone.
You’ll immediately notice just how different the XZ2 is from its predecessors simply by looking at the front of it. The 5.7-inch Full HD+ display brings an 18:9 aspect ratio to the table along with HDR compatibility for certain content. Meanwhile, the XZ2 Compact opts for a smaller 5-inch panel but with the same resolution, aspect ratio, and HDR compatibility. Both have significantly smaller bezels despite retaining some sizeable borders on the top and bottom, but they nonetheless look a lot more modern than what Sony’s lineup of smartphones used to look like.
For the builds, Sony uses 3D glass built out of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 with a metal frame for the XZ2 and mainly plastic for the XZ2 Compact. They don’t look half bad, especially in their Liquid Black color. They’re also available in Liquid Silver, Deep Green, and Ash Pink. Additionally, the devices sport IP65 and IP68 certifications for water and dust resistance. From the front to the back, there’s no denying these phones look good.
The devices also have rear-mounted fingerprint scanners. Previously, Sony would build the sensor into a side-mounted power button, but for some odd reason disabled the feature in all U.S. models of its phones. Now, with the XZ2, all users of Sony’s flagships get a fingerprint sensor.
As for specs, you’re getting a Snapdragon 845 under the hood with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a microSD card slot with support for up to 400GB of extra storage, Android 8.0 Oreo, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB-C port. This goes for both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Where the devices differ is in the battery department, whereas the XZ2 opts for a 3180mAh cell while the XZ2 Compact gets a 2970mAh cell. The former also has wireless charging, whereas the latter doesn’t. Still, you’ve got Quick Charge 3.0 on both so things balance themselves out.
As for cameras, both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact use Sony’s 19MP sensor from last year’s XZ Premium. It’s capable of recording 4K HDR videos and 1080p slow-motion shots at 960 frames per second. It’s worth noting the new Samsung Galaxy S9 can’t record 960 fps in 1080p, but in 720p instead. It also supports taking HDR photos. For selfies, Sony includes a 5MP shooter on the front.
For speakers, Sony includes front-facing stereo speakers powered by its Hi-Resolution Audio technology. Exclusively on the XZ2, Sony also lets you literally feel the music you play. When playing music (or any audio, for that matter), the phone will vibrate slightly thanks to the vibration motor the company built into the device. I know, I know, it sounds kind of gimmicky, so you’ll be happy to know you can turn it off if you want.
Of course, if you don’t wanna use the speakers to play your music, you’ll want your headphones. And unfortunately, Sony has opted to remove the headphone jack from the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. There is a dongle in the box, but if you hate having to use an adapter to listen to your tunes, you won’t hate the XZ2’s experience any less.
All in all, both phones look pretty promising. While still remaining true to the Sony name, the XZ2 takes steps to better compete with phones on the market which, clearly, is a step Sony doesn’t take very frequently. Here’s to hoping these new devices sell a bit better than other Xperias in the past.
According to Sony, the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact will launch this March, but we don’t know how much they’ll cost. We’ll let you know when we get that information.