IT Pro Verdict
Able to withstand the elements, the Xperia Z2 is unmatched in terms of durability for a high-end smartphone. Battery life is great and Android optimisations are not overdone.
Ultra durable; Great battery life; Good camera; Subtle Android optimisations
Big size isn't for everyone; Not enough to differentiate it from the six-month old Z1; Fiddly slots
How's this for a unique selling point: You can take the Xperia Z2 swimming (in freshwater) to a depth of 1.5 metres and take pictures. No expensive case is required and the only catch is Sony recommends 30 minutes of underwater usage at a time.
Granted you won't be doing this everyday, but it demonstrates the robustness of the Z2. The device has potential to be deployed to employees who need a high-performing semi-rugged device in the field.
Certified to an IP58 rating, the smartphone is dust protected and can be submerged beyond 1 metre of water. Using it in the pouring rain or dropping liquid on it won't pose any problems as long as the two flaps guarding the micro SD and micro SIM cards are sealed.
The Xperia Z2 is not designed to the MIL-STD specification, but it does share characteristics with fully rugged devices such as the Panasonic ToughPad FZ-M1. The bezel around both devices is slightly raised protecting the glass from direct impact when dropped. It's a simple yet effective design choice.
Durability isn't the only unique area of the Z2. The Japanese manufacturer has gone big in the all the key areas like display (5.2in), camera (20.7-megapixel) and battery (3200mAh).
Design and Display
Of course, this size of the Z2 is reflected in the weight. At 163g, it's heavier than all competitors from the iPhone 5s (112g) through the Galaxy S5 (145g). But Sony's device is comfortable to hold as there are no sharp edges and and it's easy to wrap your paw around the 8.2mm chassis.
At the heart of the Z2's chassis is a solid aluminum frame. This is sandwiched by tempered glass, Sony declined to confirm whether it was Dragon Tail or Gorilla Glass when asked.
We were concerned about the use of glass panels on back, but we needn't have been. Our Z2 unit survived a handful of drops onto tiled surfaces without exhibiting any negative effects. The white colour device also masked fingerprints and it looks better than the coloured alternatives.
We measured a maximum brightness of 415 cd/m2, higher than the Galaxy S5 (360 cd/m2). However, the iPhone 5s remains the brightest phone we've tested with a retina searing maximum of 515cd/m2.
Sony's smartphone panel includes technology from the firm's Bravia TV range. This come in two forms: Sony's bespoke Triluminos hardware claims to show more colours in the spectrum to give more vibrant images.
Meanwhile, the X-Reality software engine adds in missing pixels to low quality images and improves contrast ratio. This comes into its own when you're watching low quality YouTube videos.
Sony's technology does provide a noticeable difference compared to other smartphones. You'll notice colours are realistic in videos compared to a Super Amoled screens from Samsung. In pictures you'll also notice a wider range of colours.