The Sony Xperia Z2's IP-certified design, superior photography powers, super-fast performance and good battery life make it one of the best Android smartphones currently available.
Excellent camera, good battery, great performance, water and dust-resistant design
Screen can look dull, Android skin doesn't add anything useful
Processor: Quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Display: 5.2in, 1080x1920, 424ppi IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
Storage: 16GB upgradable via micro SD, 3GB RAM
Camera: 20.7MP UltraPixel rear, 2.2MP front
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G LTE
Operating system: Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sony skin
Sony made waves in the 2013 smartphone world when it released its original Xperia Z1 smartphone. With a number of top-end internal components, chief of which was its advanced 20.7MP rear camera, and being water and dust resistant, the Xperia Z1 was one of 2013's finest smartphones.
Having found a winning formula, Sony hasn't made too many changes with its 2014 flagship the Xperia Z2, and has instead chosen to address a few niggling flaws that plagued the original Z1, creating a handset that's set up to be one of the best Android smartphones ever made.
Design and build
The Xperia Z2 looks nearly identical to its predecessor, featuring the same angular, minimalist design. Like the Z1, the Xperia Z2 has metallic sides and Gorilla Glass front and back faces.
This is no bad thing as the design clearly differentiates the Xperia Z2 from the sea of curved, pebble-like Android handsets currently flooding the market. The Xperia Z2 is also fairly well built compared with many Android handsets, with Sony designing it to meet IP58 and IP55 certification standards.
The certifications mean, as well as being fairly scratch and dust resistant, thanks to the physical plugs covering its ports, the Sony Xperia Z2 is also able to survive the odd accidental submersion in water. Specifically Sony claims the certification means the Xperia Z2 can survive depths of up to one metre for up to 30 minutes. Testing the claim by dropping the Xperia Z2 into a kitchen sink full of water and leaving it for the full 30 minutes, Sony's claim rang true and it survived our attempted drowning trauma free.
The one negative consequence of the Xperia Z2's robust design is that it is fairly heavy compared with most handsets in its 147x73x8.2mm size bracket, weighing 163g. By comparison the similarly sized Samsung Galaxy S5 weighs 145g.
The Xperia Z2's weight, combined with its hard edges, mean the handset may feel slightly unwieldy to anyone used to a smaller handset, such as the Apple iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C or Sony's Z1 Compact. But for those used to the Android ecosystem where large handsets are the norm, the Xperia Z2 will feel fairly comfortable to hold and in general we never had any issues using it.
Next: Display and operating system