Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium review

Modern tech meets a dated design

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Like the previous Premium phones, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium is perhaps less disruptive than Sony hopes. That doesn’t mean it is not a good mobile, just that it struggles to compete against the other extremely impressive phones at the price.

All the bad parts of the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium sit on its surface like leaves on a swimming pool. The design is in parts dated, the price is pretty high and it’s bigger and heavier than others with no obvious functional benefits to make you forgive this.

To criticize the XZ2 Premium is to state the obvious. But it’s still an important thing to do when the phone costs so much.

However, there are some real bits of progress here. The XZ2 Premium’s camera is the best seen in an Xperia to date. And while it can’t match the best in all conditions, the quality of its low light video is particularly impressive.

Who's this for?

While there isn’t a super-distinct audience for the Xperia XZ2 Premium, it should appeal to the same sort of high-end buyers as those who might consider a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Huawei P20 Pro. These are people willing to spend big on their next phone.

Should you buy it?

This is a solid phone, but certain parts are odd considering how expensive the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium is. It needs to compete with the very best in the world, and it can’t in some key areas.

After some alternatives? Check out the following options:

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Big screen versus big screen. The Note 9 has a 6.4-inch display, but because it’s an ultra-long one the phone is actually slightly less wide than the Xperia XZ2 Premium. The Samsung is therefore easier to handle.

You also get more storage, a slightly more versatile camera and an OLED screen, which many like. Oh, and the great S-Pen, which gives the phone an entirely different side you won’t see in other phones.

We find the Note 9 an all-round less problematic phone. While the Sony gets close to it in some respects, we’d go for the Samsung.

iPhone X

Apple’s most expensive iPhone is far, far smaller than the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium. They both have 5.8-inch screens, but the iPhone X’s is less wide and a good bit taller. Many of you will find the iPhone easier to get on with, and to use day-to-day.

This comparison does show off the Sony’s low light camera skills, though. Despite having optical image stabilization, the iPhone is worse at capturing night images. However, you do get a zoom, which some of you may prefer anyway. And its background blur mode is much better too.

Sony Xperia XZ2

Normal versus Premium? When you take out all the XZ2 Premium’s excesses, you end up with the XZ2. Its 5.7-inch screen only sounds slightly smaller, but as it is an 18:9 display the phone is able to shrink down hugely.

Resolution is a much more normal 1080p too, although still looks sharp to us. The big win for the Premium is, again, the camera. The Premium can take much better ultra-low light photos than the standard XZ2. However, we do find the XZ2 easier to handle and use generally.

First reviewed: August 2018

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.