Sony Xperia XZ2 review

A great smartphone that's struggling to stand out

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Battery life

  • Lasts a day on a single charge, but not much more
  • Wireless charging enabled for easy top-ups (if you have a pad)

The 3,180mAh battery inside the Sony Xperia XZ2 will last you a whole day on a single charge with a moderate-to-high amount of use.

Taking the handset off charge at around 7am each morning, we generally found that it had gone into Stamina mode (which it does when the battery drops below 15%) by the time we got into bed at around 11pm.

Our day usually consisted of a couple of hours of Prime Video, a couple more hours of Spotify streaming, an hour or so of gaming, a few snaps from the camera and a healthy dose of social media, emails and phone calls.

One day we used the XZ2 as a sat nav, and did a two-hour round-trip with the phone, with some gaming, messaging and social media activity in between, and it still managed to make it to bedtime.

There was never enough left in the tank to give us a second day of usage, or even half a day, but we felt confident about taking the Xperia XZ2 out for the day, and even late into the night, in the knowledge that it wouldn’t require a top-up.

We ran our 90-minute HD video test on the XZ2, with screen brightness at max and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background. The result wasn’t great, with the phone losing 27% of its battery during the playback.

That’s significantly worse than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 (lost 17%) and iPhone X (10%), but you shouldn’t worry too much, as in normal day-to-day usage (with the screen set to auto brightness) we were getting a day of use from the phone.

If you’re going to really push this phone, with graphically intensive gameplay, a lot of 4K HDR video recording or HDR movie playback, then the battery will drain quicker, so make sure you keep a charger close by.

The USB-C port on the base of the handset allows for charging via a cable, but that’s not your only option here. The Sony Xperia XZ2 also supports wireless charging, although you’ll have to purchase a charging pad separately.

It does make charging the phone easier – but only if you line the handset up just right on your pad. The charging area on the XZ2 is located just below center on the rear of the device, which means if you sit the phone centrally on a charging pad it won’t pick up.

Instead you’ll need to carefully position it so that it’s sitting in the correct place – and it’s not always easy to get right first time. You’ll also want to invest in a few pads to make full use of the feature.

Sony offers a couple of power-saving modes on the Xperia XZ2 to help the battery last longer. There’s the standard Stamina Mode, which switches on automatically when you drop below 15%, although you can set it to kick in earlier if you want. This reduces background app activity, wireless connections and screen brightness to help preserve charge.

Depending on when you switch it on, this may give you an extra couple of hours or so, but for times when the going gets really tough you can turn to Ultra Stamina Mode.

When enabled, this mode strips down the interface to just basic apps: calls, messaging, web browser and the like, and defaults to a black and white color scheme. This can greatly extend the life of the handset, although of course you’ll only be able to do very little with it.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.