About 18 months ago, Sony introduced the Xperia Z which debuted a new look for their phones. The Z had a minimalist look with surfaces which were sandwiched by glass, a power button which was located further down the side than normal. It was also dust and water resistant. Hereís the latest evolution in their Z line, the Z2.
Hardware-wise, itís belongs to the same generation of phones as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, LG G3 and One Plus One and is maybe a ľ of a generation ahead of the Sony Xperia Z1, Galaxy Note 3/LG G2.
What about the Galaxy S5?
The fact that the GS5 is from Samsung makes it the Z2ís biggest competitor. Compared to the GS5, the Z2ís strongest points are the side-mounted camera button, slightly louder speakers, 3GB of RAM (vs 2GB on the GS5), slightly better battery life, on-screen buttons and a glass back. The GS5 has a fingerprint reader for easier unlocking, a better looking screen and a removable battery.
There are other features I didnít mention (like the Z2ís slightly-bigger 5.2Ē display and the GS5ís heart-rate measurer) but either I donít think theyíre useful or theyíre a big enough deal to be worth mentioning. As for the cameras I prefer the GS5 but the difference is so small I wouldnít choose one over the other just because of this.
Between the 2, Iíd pick the GS5 for itís better, brighter display and for the ease of use the fingerprint reader brings. That said, watch out because the GS5 doesnít use on-screen menu buttons so handling it can be tricky unless you stick it in a case.
What about the LG G3?
The G3 brings a larger, higher resolution display, a slightly faster processor (2.5Ghz vs 2.3Ghz processor), itís clever knock-on features, 32GB of storage and a removable battery.
The Z2 counters with dust and water resistance, 3GB of RAM, a side mounted camera button and a body with glass on the front and back.
Without a doubt the G3ís main feature is itís mind blowing, 5.5Ē 2560x1440 display but the thing is, the difference in sharpness between it and the Z2ís 5.2Ē 1920x1080 display isnít noticeable when you use them side-by-side.
The higher resolution display also consumes more processor resources with no tangible benefit.
So between the two, Iíd probably pick the Z2 though itís weak speakerphone volume might make me think twice.
What about the HTC One M8?
The HTC One M8ís signature features are its metal body, and incredible sounding stereo speakers. The Z2 has water and dust resistance, 3GB of RAM, the side mounted camera button. I also think the Z2 camera is much better than the HTC One M8ís over-rated Ultrapixel camera.
Z2 wins easily here.
What about the One Plus One?
The 16GB One Plus is $299. After shipping, and customs brokerage (but not taxes) it works out to close to $350 which is about half what the Z2 costs if you buy it off contract.
Spec-wise theyíre quite similar. Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM and a 1920x1080 display. The Z2 has a slightly bigger battery (3200mAh vs 3100), dust and water resistance, a side mounted camera button, a 1/2.33Ē 20.7 megapixel camera, MicroSD and glass on the front and back.
The One Plus counters with exchangeable back covers, a 64GB option thatís only an extra $50 and a larger 5.5Ē display.
The big problem with the One Plus is that you canít buy one without an invite and that if you do get an invite you canít walk into a store to pick one up. That said, the fact that you need an invite to buy the One Plus really gives owning it a Ďvelvet ropeí effect.
Iíll be honest, while the One Plus is a great deal, itís display lags behind the Z2 (and all the Z2 competitors I mentioned here). Itís big and sharp, but it has a noticeable red cast to it plus it gets milky when you look at it off-angle.
Still, if youíre looking to buy a phone off contract, then you canít ignore the One Plus One. The Xperia Z2 may be a better phone but itís not worth paying double for it.
If youíre looking for a phone on contract the choice is easy but if youíre paying full price for the phone I say save your money and get the One Plus. The small compromises you make with the One Plus donít outweigh the extra money youíll have in your pocket.