Sony Xperia XZ2 review

A great smartphone that's struggling to stand out

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The Sony Xperia XZ2 is an accomplished flagship smartphone, with a much-needed redesign breathing new life into the firm’s mobile line.

It’s not the major overhaul we were hoping for though, and the new features Sony has added to the Xperia XZ2 aren’t anything we’re inclined to really shout about.

We were hoping for a more radical redesign, even slimmer bezels and some new features that would help to set the phone apart from the competition.

Instead, Sony has given us a well-rounded smartphone that does everything well, but it doesn’t really excite. For the price we’d expect something showstopping – and while it does nothing badly, when you’re paying top dollar you want something you can show off to your friends.

It’s a funk that Sony’s flagship smartphones seem to have been stuck in for a while, and while the Xperia XZ2 makes positive steps it still feels a little behind the times.

Who’s it for?

Sony fans will no doubt love the new look, the increased screen ratio and the improved camera round the back. If you want the best Sony phone around, look no further.

If, however, you’re in the market for a top-end smartphone and you’re not swayed by a particular brand, then the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro make for more attractive propositions.

Its price puts the Xperia XZ2 in a slightly uncomfortable position too, as it’s more expensive than the likes of the OnePlus 5T, LG V30 and Google Pixel 2 XL, without offering a huge amount more.

Should I buy it?

You’re unlikely to be disappointed by the Sony Xperia XZ2 (as long as you’re not someone who likes to compare their latest smartphone purchase with competitive friends), as it’s a great all-round smartphone that can tackle any task you throw at it.

It may not be the most eye-catching, but it is functional. If shooting 4K HDR video or Hi-Res audio (albeit via a slightly clunky adapter) is your thing then the XZ2 will be a winner – but if you’re looking for the best bang for your many bucks then it’s worth shopping around.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 has some tough competition, and we’ve pulled together some of its biggest rivals for you to consider before pulling the purchase trigger.

Samsung Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the Sony Xperia XZ2’s big rival, with a similar price tag and an equally expansive spec sheet.

The Galaxy S9 offers a bigger screen, higher resolution, a smaller and lighter form factor, and more capable dual cameras on the rear, all of which give it an edge over the Xperia XZ2.

Taking everything into account the Galaxy S9 is the better all-rounder, and the fact that it’s cheaper than the Sony in some markets makes it an even more attractive proposition.

iPhone X

The likelihood is that if you’re thinking about buying the Sony Xperia XZ2 you’re not interested in what Apple has to offer – but the iPhone X is always worth mentioning.

It is more expensive than the XZ2, but it features a striking design with a whole lot of screen upfront, which is only broken up by the now infamous ‘notch’.

You get Apple’s own iOS operating system on screen, a dual-camera setup round the back, and Face ID biometrics rather than a fingerprint scanner.

OnePlus 5T

If the Sony, Samsung and iPhone are all a little rich for your blood, you can still pick yourself up a flagship phone for less.

The OnePlus 5T boasts a premium metal body, dual rear cameras and a huge amount of power under the hood to keep Android running smoothly.

A couple of corners have been cut, chiefly in the display department – like the XZ2 it’s ‘only’ Full HD – but it comes in significantly cheaper than the Sony. It is about to be replaced by the OnePlus 6 though, so you might want to keep an eye out for that phone.

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Google Pixel 2 XL may have launched towards the end of 2017, but it’s still a top buy and its price has since been reduced, making it cheaper than the Xperia XZ2.

It has one of the best smartphone snappers we’ve used, and a large 6-inch display with a QHD resolution. 

The Xperia XZ2 does have more up-to-date power under the hood though, giving it a slightly longer lifespan than the Pixel, plus it offers 4K HDR recording and a HDR-enabled display.

First reviewed: April 2018

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.