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In Battle of Android Phones, Sony Xperia Z2 Touts Better Display, 4K Video

But can it beat Samsung?


Mobile World Congress is officially under way, and Sony kicked things off today by adding three new devices to its mobile portfolio: The Xperia Z2 smartphone and tablet and the mid-range Xperia M2.

The most anticipated product of the bunch is the Xperia Z2 smartphone. It serves as Sony’s latest flagship Android phone, and it will go toe-to-toe with a couple of other big-name devices that are making their debut here in Barcelona. Namely, the LG G Pro 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, which is expected to be announced later today.

How does Sony plan on beating out its competitors? By largely sticking to the same sales pitch it has used with its past phones and focusing on the design and camera.

Compared to its predecessor, the Xperia Z1s, the Xperia Z2 has a slightly larger 5.2-inch full HD touchscreen that borrows technology from Sony’s TV line to help produce richer colors and capture more detail. (Hopefully this is true, since I found the Xperia Z1s’s display to be a bit washed out.) Using a new aluminum frame, Sony also managed to make the Xperia Z2 slightly slimmer than its predecessor, and the smartphone is waterproof.

On the imaging side, the Xperia Z2’s 20.7-megapixel camera can now record 4K video, which offers four times the detail of full-HD clips. There are other advanced features, like image stabilization and a new Movie Creator app for editing and adding effects like slow motion to your video.

But at the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer, I should note that the number of devices on which you can actually watch 4K video is limited at this time (not to mention expensive). Plus, Sony isn’t the first to offer this capability. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also does 4K video, as does the new LG G Pro 2.

Still, Sony is hoping some of the improvements and enhancements like the faster Qualcomm quad-core processor will convince consumers to give the Xperia Z2 a go. Sony also touts the phone’s digital noise-canceling technology, claiming it can help reduce ambient noise by up to 98 percent — when used with a specific Sony headset.

Meanwhile, the Xperia Z2 Tablet can be seen as a larger version of its smartphone sibling, since they share a number of similarities. The Android tablet has the same computing and graphics processors, and its 10.1-inch display uses the same screen technology to help deliver sharp images and natural color.

There’s an 8.1-megapixel on back, and a 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. The Xperia Z2 Tablet will come in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions. At 0.25 inch thick and 15 ounces for the Wi-Fi version (the 4G/3G model weighs 15.5 ounces), Sony claims that the Xperia Z2 is “the world’s lightest and slimmest waterproof tablet.”

Last but not least, the Xperia M2 is Sony’s effort to offer some of the experiences of its flagship devices in a more affordable package. Its features include a 4.8-inch quarter HD touchscreen, an eight megapixel camera, 4G connectivity and NFC. Sony, however, did not announce pricing at this time, though it said it will fall in the middle of the price spectrum. No word yet on pricing for either of the Xperia Z2 devices.

The Xperia M2 will ship in April, while the Xperia Z2 smartphone and tablet will be available globally starting in March.

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