Sony announces the Z2, Z2 Tablet and M2 at MWC 2014

Today, Sony Mobile revealed to the world three poorly kept secrets – the Xperia Z2, Z2 Tablet and budget device M2. The Z2 is an extremely early announcement – the Z1 was announced just 5 months ago. The Z2 Tablet however, is a much needed update of the Tablet Z, which ran on a Snapdragon S4 Pro, and was not very fast.

Let’s have a closer look at each device, shall we?

Xperia Z2

0_Xperia_Z2_Black_Front_ColorrangeSony has just announced the Xperia Z2, which is the direct successor to the Xperia Z1 that released in the fall. While quite a bit stays the same, there’s also quite a bit that has changed. The differences are as below:

Sony Xperia Z1 Sony Xperia Z2
Display 5”, 1080p “Triluminos” TN LCD display 5.2”, 1080p “Triluminos” IPS LCD display
Video Recording 1080p 2160p/4K
Processor MSM8974, 2.15 GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM8974AB 2.26GHz Snapdragon 801
RAM 2 GB 3GB
Speakers Single speaker, downward-facing Stereo speakers, front-facing “S-Force Front Surround”
Battery 3000 mAh 3200 mAh

The device is large, as leaks had revealed, with a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS LCD display. It is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset (2.3GHz quad-core processor), the Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB RAM. It will also come with a 3200mAh battery and is IP55/IP58 water resistant.

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The main press release has the standard buzzwords that you see, but the truth is, the changes are all in the specs. For someone with a Z1, the upgrade is minimal and not worth it, however, for others considering the Z2 or Z1, here’s what has changed.

The battery has become larger to compensate for the larger display, Sony has added the ability to record in 4K/2160p, the SoC is a minor bump from improved yields, and the RAM goes up to compete with Samsung’s Note 3 and presumably a future Galaxy Note phone as well.

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As an Xperia Z1 owner, I have a good idea of the various issues that seem to be consistently repeated by Sony in their Xperia lineup. Probably the biggest question there is is whether the Xperia Z2 truly has a better display than the Xperia Z1.While the press release has the following statement,

TRILUMINOS Display for mobile with brand new Live Colour LED uses red & green phosphor with blue LEDs and customised colour filters to produce a brighter and more uniform light. The result is richer colours on the screen for all of your smartphone viewing without the risk of saturation,

I am not too sure it will translate to a better display. While it’s too early to judge whether display has truly changed from the Z1’s display with poor calibration and worse viewing angles, I do believe there has been a significant improvement, mainly due to the change from the older TFT LCD technology to the newer and better IPS LCD tech.

As for the Snapdragon 801, this is just a slightly higher clocked and more efficient variant of the Snapdragon 800 powering the Z1, LG G2, Galaxy Note 3 and Google LG Nexus 5. Xiaomi has already included the processor in their Mi-3, but truly, the differences are so minor, you won’t notice any difference.

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The final change of note in the Xperia Z2 are the stereo front facing speakers, which are finally in a phone that doesn’t start with One or Butterfly in the model name. While there aren’t many details on the quality of the speakers, just putting them on the front is great. However, just like with HTC devices, it seems that the speakers have added a great deal of bezel to the front of the device. While some may not mind the difference, there are definitely a great deal of people that voice their complaints over the size of bezels in phones.

Outside of hardware, it should be noted that Sony is advertising a “built-in noise cancelation feature with certain earbuds. These would use two microphones located on the earbuds and leverage the smartphone for the noise cancellation processing.

The Xperia Z2 is available for pre-order from Sony Mobile’s own site. All country-specific sites we tried promise a delivery in April, but prices vary quite a bit.

In the UK, it’s £600 (€730), but Clove UK lists it at £564 with the first stock expected in April. This website does have a note, saying the official price and availability are yet to be confirmed.

In Germany, Sony’s web store offers the Z2 at €600 and there are also several other online retailers, who have it at the same price.

In the Netherlands the phone is €650 and PLN 2,800 (€675) in Poland. That’s still better than France, Italy and Spain where the Xperia Z2 flagship is €700. In Sweden, it’s SEK 6,000 – €810!

In the US, the Sony Xperia Z2 should be available commitment-free from T-Mobile at $600.

Do watch out for our piece comparing the Z2 and Z1, whether you should upgrade, and what Sony’s 6 month release cycle means for us consumers.

We’ll also be pitting the Z2 head-to-head with the S5 in due course, so keep refreshing til then.

Xperia Z2 Tablet

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Following up Sony’s launch of the Xperia Z2, they’ve also launched the Xperia Z2 tablet, which fits the name well, as it is effectively has the same internals as the Xperia Z2, only made into a tablet, which means removing the data/voice modem for the Wi-Fi variant, increasing the screen size to 10.1”, and changing the camera from the 20.7MP, 1/2.3” sensor found in the Xperia Z2 to an 8.1MP unit on the back, likely of either 1/4” or 1/3” format. There are some changes to battery size, thickness, and weight, but everything else is carried over, such as the FHD Triluminos display, IP55/58 rating and the front-facing stereo speakers.

The rest of the specs and the press release can be seen below:

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Display 10.1”, 1080p “Triluminos” display
Processor MSM8974AB, 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 801
RAM 3 GB
Rear Camera 8.1MP, Exmor RS for Mobile
Front Camera 2.2MP
Thickness 6.4mm
Weight 426g (Wi-Fi), 439g (LTE/3G)

Xperia M2

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Finally, Sony launched the Xperia M2, a mid-range device that seems to directly target the Moto G based upon its platform and spec. I say this because the SoC is the Snapdragon 400 with quad core Cortex A7s at 1.2 GHz. The one major difference is that this phone has LTE. This means that it’s probably the MSM8926 running inside, unless Sony is packaging a separate modem to enable LTE, which is rather unlikely. Of course, specs always form the foundation of experience for a device, which can be seen below.

Sony Xperia M2 Moto G
Display 4.8″ qHD (960 x 540 pixels) IPS LCD 4.5″ 720p IPS LCD
Processor MSM8926, Quad Core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 MSM8226, Quad Core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7
RAM 1 GB 1 GB
Rear Camera 8MP, Exmor RS for Mobile 5MP
Storage 8 GB 8/16 GB
Thickness 8.6mm 6-11.6mm

This is an interesting device because it’s not a simple refresh. The display is likely to not be competitive with the Moto G unless its calibration is much better, but Sony has also introduced LTE into their device. The camera could be noticeably better, as the 5MP camera in the Moto G is certainly not targeted at anyone that intends to use their phone as a primary camera of any kind.

The Xperia M2 also has a dual-SIM variant, although that device won’t have LTE. While the press release doesn’t have any indication of whether or not the Xperia M2 will have microSD, it should be a relatively safe bet to say that it will, based upon Sony’s continued inclusion of microSD even at the high end of the market. Overall, depending upon price, this will be competitive with the Moto G, as they trade blows in specifications.

Coming Up Soon!

Do watch out for our piece comparing the Z2 and Z1, whether you should upgrade, and what Sony’s 6 month release cycle means for us consumers.

We’ll also be having a closer look at how the M2 stacks up against the Moto G and Xiaomi Redmi, the latter two which we just recently compared here.

Finally, we’ll also have an article discussing the prowess of the Z2 Tablet against its competitors such as the Google Samsung Nexus 10, and Samsung Galaxy Note/Tab Pro.

Photo Credit: Sony Mobile, Anandtech and Xperia Blog.

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