Sony Xperia Z2 & Sony Xperia M2: Xperia M2 Comes To The UK

News James Peckham Paul Briden 16:59, 15 May 2014

Sony has announced the Xperia A2 in Japan. Could this be the Xperia Z2 Compact?

The rumours were true, Sony was indeed prepping an Xperia Z2 smartphone flagship and a tablet running under the same name – the company has just announced both devices, plus an Xperia M2 smartphone, at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

Sony Xperia Z2 "Sirius"

The Xperia Z2 is the successor to last year’s Xperia Z1 flagship, coming in less than six months since the launch of its predecessor, a rapid turn-around to be sure.

Sony claims the handset has the “best ever display”, it boasts a return of the company’s signature waterproofing certification and features 4K video recording.

As per earlier rumours the display has been enlarged to 5.2-inches and sees a return of Sony’s Triluminos technology. Sony’s release says it’s the company’s “brightest and most vivid viewing experience ever” with a full HD (1920x1080 pixels) resolution and “Live Colour LED” tech, paired with Sony’s X-Reality Engine. The idea here is natural colour, great contrast and a screen which adapts to offer the best picture quality – quite how that works out in reality remains to be seen. The pixel density is a little lower than its predecessor at 424 pixels-per-inch (ppi) but that’s still pretty damn sharp.

While the screen has enlarged, the phone itself is not much bigger than the Xperia Z1 and the overall design is very similar indeed. The aluminium surround makes a return, this time with the panelled detailing highlighted more prominently for a slightly more striking appearance. Dragontrail glass sits on both front and rear panels and the phone is reportedly taller, narrower, slightly slimmer (8.2mm) and lighter (158g) than the Xperia Z1.

Sony Xperia Z2 Review Round Up

Sony’s Xperia Z2 is going down really well all over the globe. We’ve got a handset and want to give a real thorough review so in the meantime here’s a bunch of verdicts from the sites we trust.

TechRadar - "The Xperia Z2 is an excellent smartphone with all the components you'd expect from a flagship device, providing a pleasing user experience. The trouble is, it doesn't excite me."

Stuff – “Classy, clever and with talent in spades, if the Z2 was easier to live with it would be unstoppable”

CNET – “Its impressive performance rivals the Samsung Galaxy S5 for smartphone top dog, but the Z2's slick glass and metal design trumps the S5's plastic body. If you're looking for both style and substance from a phone, you've come to the right place.”

Intriguingly, Sony has implemented a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core chip clocked at 2.3GHz, but crucially the RAM has been bumped up to 3GB from the Xperia Z1’s 2GB, while the battery has been enlarged from 3,000mAh to 3,200mAh. Sony is also making quite a fuss over the implementation of Digital Noise Cancelling Technology which works in tandem with a Sony headset packaged with the phone – allegedly this can cancel out up to 98% of background noise during calls, music or film playback. The Xperia Z2 also features stereo front-facing speakers with S-Force Front Surround technology.

As with the Xperia Z1, the Xperia Z2 has 16GB of onboard storage, microSD support for cards up to 64GB, full 4G LTE and 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi (Direct & Hotspot), Bluetooth, DLNA, NFC, microUSB, GPS and MHL TV-Out.

The camera uses the same sensor as before – one of Sony’s own Exmor RS back-illuminated (BSI) deals with an LED flash and rated at 20.7-megapixels. Also making a return is Sony’s G-Lens and BIONZ dedicated image processor. Sony has unlocked 4K video recording capability this time round.

Onboard software is Android 4.4 KitKat with Sony’s own UI layer on top, this is pretty much exactly as previous leaks portrayed – it looks much like the previous Sony UI build but with KitKat’s flashy stuff like transparent notification and navigation bars with white icons – overall it’s a much cleaner look, but still carries Sony’s visual style which is a bit fussy and may not be to everyone’s tastes.

The only major change is the additions of the What’s New feature previously leaked. It’s presented as a second option when accessing Google Now via a long press of the Home key, and it’s a tile-based feed (similar to HTC’s Blinkfeed) of Sony content.

As with the Xperia Z1, the Xperia Z2 will be available in black, white or purple.

Sony Xperia A2 Launches In Japan - Is This The Sony Xperia Z2 Compact?

Last year, Sony launched the Xperia Z1, then there were rumours of an Xperia Z1 Mini. Then, the company launched a smaller Xperia Z1 style handset in Japan - the Xperia Z1F, sparking much speculation that a re-branded version of this phone would appear in western markets as the Xperia Z1 Mini. Eventually, it launched at MWC 2014 as the Xperia Z1 Compact. The most striking thing about the phone was that unlike "Mini" devices from rival manufacturers, it did not scrimp on the premium spec despite being a smaller model. The only concessions were a 720p resolution display and a slightly smaller battery pack.

But enough of the history lesson, the point here today is that history appears to be repeating itself, as Sony has just launched an Xperia A2 model in Japan which bears a striking resemblance to the Xperia Z2 - but smaller.

As with the Xperia Z1F, it's an exclusive to Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, and the design certainly echoes the Xperia Z2 on the smaller scale. Interestingly, Sony appears to have paid attention to feedback on the Xperia Z1/Z1 Compact's glass back panel design and has now opted for a matte finish on the Z1F, meaning messy fingerprints are now a thing of the past. Whether this will stay the same for an international variant remains unclear.

However, while the Xperia Z2 upgraded to a Snapdragon 801 processor, the Xperia A1, if it is indeed a taste of what's to come with the Xperia Z2 Compact, carries the same 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 as its predecessor. It also has the same 2,300mAh battery. The camera remains the same 20-megapixel setup we've seen on the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact and Xperia Z2.

As with the Xperia Z1F and Xperia Z1 Compact, Sony has opted for some interesting colour choices, offering orange, and a dark pink/purple, as well as the usual black or white options.

Sonys Xperia Z2 Camera Is The Best Available

French DxOMark is famed for reviewing cameras on smartphones and it’s now taken the Sony Xperia Z2 for a ride. We knew the camera would be pretty good after experimenting with the Xperia Z1. The Xperia Z2 boasts a 20.7MP G Lens snapper which itself is impressive but how does it fare next to serious competition such as Nokia’s camera phones?

Here are the full results.

DxOMark has given the handset 77 points between still camera shots and video which puts it at the top of the smartphone camera list. It just beats the Nokia 808 which scored 76. The site hasn’t reviewed the HTC One M8 camera or the Samsung Galaxy S5 so Sony could be knocked off the top spot very soon but it’s unlikely considering Sony has the largest sensor.

Sony Xperia Z2 UK Release Date Changed To May 1

When Is It Coming To The US?

We all know Sony has been struggling to get the Sony Xperia Z2 onto shelves and in the hands of consumers; problems with suppliers has resulted in delayed release dates. We know when it’s launching in the UK – May 1, 2014 – but when will it be coming to the US?

Sony hasn’t confirmed anything yet but rumours are pointing toward a May 5release in the US. That means the UK will be getting the handset almost a full week before our friends in the States.

The Xperia Tablet Z2 will be launched in the States on May 4, too. So, if you're out and about on the 4th, and flush with cash, you can pick up both. 

We originally thought the Sony Xperia Z2 would be launched in the UK on April 10. Then there were rumours of some manufacturing problems where one supplier didn’t supply the materials on time. We had to wait for the release on May 1 but now that has been and gone we can now get our hands on the handset.

The release for May 1 was for all the main high street retailers and the official online site. If you want to get your hands on the device from April 14, you can buy it through Carphone Warehouse. You’ll have to be quick though, there’s only limited stock available according to the retailer.

Pre-ordering with Carphone Warehouse means you’ll receive £80 of goodies including the movies Django Unchained, Elysium and Captain Phillips. Contracts start at £42 a month but offer £100 cashback as part of the deal.

We’ve now heard from camp Sony that pre-orders will still be shipped on time in the UK. If you’ve already pre-ordered your handset, Sony will guarantee you’ll receive it at the same point next week as you should have. Still no specific dates though so it could be any time until Friday April 18.

Want to get the Sony Xperia Z2? Well you can now buy it directly from the Sony Xperia Store if you live in the UK. You can get it in either black or white and it’ll cost £599.00. The site where you can buy it, you even get the brand new Michael Jackson album for free! There’s are a bunch of freebies which you can download once you get the handset.

Delivery choices range from either Standard or Express. If you pay a bit extra and go for Express it’ll take 1-2 working days otherwise it’ll take closer to a full working week.

To access the Sony store follow this link here where you can buy the handset right away.

You should also be able to get the handset from Clove UK which has the handset on pre-order for £540 with a free wireless Sony SRS-BTX300 speaker worth £119. You’ll also get £80 of digital content and some Sony MDR-NC31EM noise cancelling headphones. The catch is you’ll have to wait until mid-May until Clove can fulfil your order.

Sony Xperia Z2 Pricing

Sony has opened up pre-orders of the Xperia Z2 again on its UK site. It shut down the ability to pre-order the handset on its own website whilst it dealt with supply difficulties. Sony isn’t fully over the problems yet though, if you pre-order today on the website it won’t arrive until the beginning of May.

There’s no confirmation on an exact date either suggesting Sony may be unsure when it will be avaliable as well. The handset will cost £599 and you’ll get a free SRS-BTX300 NFC speaker as well.

Clove UK

SIM-free deals are being offered by a number of manufacturers. Clove UK has listed the Xperia Z2 handset for £540, cheaper than initial estimates.

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse has also updated its price for the handset on the pre-order page and it’ll cost a little extra at £549.95. The retailer also promises to get the smartphone to you faster than Clove and it should arrive on April 7.

Carphone Warehouse has announced its deals for contracts in the UK and there are tariffs on EE, O2 and Vodafone available. To get the handsets SIM free from the retailer it’ll cost £549.99

Vodafone

Vodafone is offering a contract at £47 a month which offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and a good chunk of 4G data, 3GB per month to be precise.

If you’re a heavy internet user Vodafone has got you covered with a 9GB data option for £52 a month.

O2

O2's deal offers 5GB of internet. You’ll get unlimited minutes and texts as well for £48 a month. You can decide which deal you want here.

EE

EE is offering the handset with a humungous 20GB of 4G internet but it’ll cost you a touch more. It’s £52.99 per month for the deal and you have to pay £99 upfront. It may be worth it though if you used a lot of data.

Three

Three is offering a number of different pay monthly contracts with an upfront cost of £49. For £38 you can get 600 minutes and 2GB of data per month. The most expensive contract is £44 a month, but that does give you unlimited data and unlimited minutes.

You can pre-order the handset now here. All the contracts are for 24 months.

The delay for those who hadn’t already pre-ordered the handset may mean some lost sales for Sony. Both the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5 are available already despite both being announced after Sony’s handset.

Are you planning to wait until early May to pick up an Xperia Z2? Let us know in the comments below.

Sony Xperia Z2 Coming To Verizon In US

Sony clearly didn’t want us to know but has slipped the news that the Sony Xperia Z2 will be coming to US network Verizon. It posted on the official Google+ page that it will be making its way for Verizon Wireless.

That was quickly removed from the site as soon as possible but as it’s the internet of course people caught a glimpse and saved the photo. Here is it below, note the Sony logo making its way to the bottom of the handset and the new logo on the top bezel.

If you’re in the US it looks like you are still going to have a bit of a wait for the Sony Xperia Z2 though, there’s no official release date.

There’s the rumour of a Xperia Z2 Unlocked edition in the works though. No confirmation from Sony yet so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet is a successor model to the Xperia Tablet Z and is pegged as the “world’s slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet”. Yup, you guessed it, it’s IP58 certified.

On the thinness stakes it is pushing boundaries, being even thinner than its predecessor at a mere 6.4mm. The rest of the design is more or less the same as before with the main change being those highlighted panel details as seen on the Xperia Z2 phone.

As with the Xperia Tablet Z, the back panel isn’t glass like Sony’s phones, instead a soft-touch polycarbonate offers better grip. Sony is also prepping a range of accessories including an NFC enabled keyboard dock for an ad-hoc laptop setup.

Unsurprisingly, the slate shares many features with the Xperia Z2 smartphone, including that Live Colour LED  and Triluminos tech, together with the X-Reality Engine. Of course, here it’s on the 10.1-inch scale at 1920x1200 pixels and 224ppi.

Audio hasn’t been ignored either and here you have Sony Front Surround speaker tech and it packs the same Digital Noise Cancelling as its phone counterpart, for use with those Sony branded headphones.

The processor is exactly the same setup as the Xperia Z2 smartphone – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM. Connectivity and storage is also the same deal – 16GB onboard, microSD up to 64GB, a full Wi-Fi suite, Bluetooth, NFC and all that other stuff. The battery is a sizeable 6,000mAh unit and there is a 4G LTE/3G capable variant.

Sony Xperia M2

Lastly, there’s the Xperia M2 smartphone, arriving a little later than its launch-mates in May. This is a more mid-range offering – it doesn’t feature waterproofing and the 4.8-inch display has a 960x540 pixel resolution at 229ppi.

Sony’s emphasising the thinness of the handset, which measures in at 8.6mm from front to back and weighs in at 148g. There’s 8GB of onboard storage and microSD support for cards up to 32GB, while the processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core chip clocked at 1.2GHz, with 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 305 graphics processing unit (GPU). Connectivity wise, the handset still boasts 4G LTE mobile data capabilities, plus Wi-Fi (Direct, Hotspot) DLNA, Bluetooth and NFC.

There’s a 2,300mAh battery inside along with an 8MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video on the rear. The phone is available in black, white or purple and comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Sony’s own UI on top, although not being KitKat it doesn’t have the fancy pants changes seen on the other two devices announced at MWC.

The freebies include three Sony Picture movie downloads and a month free of the company’s Music Unlimited streaming service. The movies you can download are set and vary from country to country. It’s clear though UK customers will get three set blockbuster movies to download likely to include Captain Phillips.

Meanwhile Sony’s Music Unlimited service gives you access to have over 25 million songs. 

Sony Xperia M2 Now Available In The UK

The Sony Xperia M2 is now available in the UK. You can pick it up SIM-free from various retailers or on EE. The network is offering deals starting at £24 a month with a free handset. That includes 500MB of LTE data, 500 minutes and of course unlimited texts.

You’ll be able to get it in either black or white in all EE outlets. It’s also available online but shipping will take a day or two.

Clove also has it available SIM-free for £210 plus VAT. Carphone Warehouse has the phone listed on EE as well as Vodafone and TalkMobile. That’ll start shipping from tomorrow. Still no word on when the handset will be available  in the US though.

Will you be picking up the Sony Xperia M2? Let us know in the comments below.

Sony Xperia Z2 signals start of six-month flagship product cycle

Sony launched the Xperia Z2 flagship at Mobile World Congress this February just under six months after the launch of its Xperia Z1 in September 2013 – for some this was a bit of a surprise, but now it seems it's part of Sony’s strategy which will see a repeated six-month flagship product cycle.

Sony chief Yoshiro Kurozumi, a man with many responsibilities as Creative Director of the company’s mobile division, Director of product planning and General Manager of Sony’s UI/UX team, spoke to Japanese tech publication K-Tai.Impress. He explained that Sony views a six-month cycle as more appropriate to the fast pace of the mobile market.

“In order to maintain a flagship, you must update at this frequency,” Kurozumi said. He also confirmed the Xperia Z2 would be the company flagship for the 2014’s first half, so expect another replacement in another six months time.

Kurozumi hinted that a six-month cycle gives Sony the best possible competitive edge and that the company cannot effectively close the gap with rivals on a 12-month cycle.

Despite Sony’s focus on its new “One Sony” brand, complete with the distinctive “OmniBalance” design ethos, Kurozumi said the company does “not want to stick to a single design”. We don’t know whether that will mean a second style emerging alongside OmniBalance or a replacement of that aesthetic and build altogether.

Click over to PAGE 2 to read the entire backstory of the Sony Xperia Z2

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