A Glass Act – the Sony Xperia Z2 Shines Bright.

The new Sony Xperia Z2 is a high end smartphone with almost as much glass fronting it as a modernist office block.

It’s a slab of super smart tech wrapped in a minimalist, buttoned-down, waterproof and dustproof housing.

The sheer glass panels on the front and back scream out several things including “quality”, “premium” and “expensive”.

Interestingly, the screen – the massive 5.2 inch screen – is not this phone’s main selling point.  Instead Sony describes the Z2 as the world’s best camera and camcorder in the body of a smartphone.  By saying that, they are drawing your attention to the 20.7 megapixel camera which can capture video in full 4k resolution, four times greater than the 1080p HD of the Xperia Z1.

The Z2 is looking to compete in the rarefied atmosphere at the high end market and it needs that imaging advantage to differentiate itself from the iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8.

I’m not a fan of the term phablet (a cross between a phone and a tablet) but that may well be the best term to describe the Z2.  Its 5.2 inch screen is large for a phone and it is knocking on the door of tablet territory. Despite its size, it’s not actually that heavy, which is just as well because no one likes a phone that makes their suit pockets sag.

For my money, the standout feature is the HD IPS LCD screen.  Photos are awesomely sharp and detailed and the colours are eye popping.  It’s a big improvement on the previous TFT screen from the Xperia Z1.

The proposition: “The Xperia  Z2 combines the best of Sony’s waterproof design, display, sound, camera and camcorder experience and a growing ecosystem of companion products.”

The verdict: If you’re in the market for a high end phone with superior audio and video smarts, the Z2 demands your attention.
Hardware and Software Features:

  • Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) operating system.
  • 5.78 inch tall with a 5.2 inch display.
  • Water and dust resistant (ip78).
  • IPS LCD 1080 x 1920 resolution display.
  • Faster processor.
  • 16 GB built in storage.
  • Micro SD card slot.
  • NFC capable.
  • Magnetic recharging with optional extra charging stand.
  • Noise cancellation (with compatible headphones).

The Xperia Z2 is available in black and in white through Vodafone stores nationwide from Monday 19 May. RRP $1049 or $0 on Vodafone Red 129 – includes 2.5GB data, plus unlimited talk and TXT to standard New Zealand and Australia numbers.

Scroll down for photos and links to YouTube feature videos.

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The Z2 – requires adult sized hands to hold it, but just look at those lovely colours.

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Fun effects: The AR effect allows you to superimpose scenes over your chosen victim/photo subject.

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Youtube Clips Explaining the main features of the phone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sl02KinSr8&list=PL7CrlqRu8QgSE1oB-nXvAXp8RYTX8sD2A – Xperia Z2 Overview.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYsuFWBIf3g&list=PL7CrlqRu8QgRGoKpUrIHsliuYQ9Yd9QdX – Waterproofing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbW-4Ui0z6U&list=PL7CrlqRu8QgSE1oB-nXvAXp8RYTX8sD2A – 4k recording capabilities

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56HvMdYoc7c&list=PL7CrlqRu8QgSE1oB-nXvAXp8RYTX8sD2A – Creative effects with the Xperia Z2

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One very attractive family – the full Sony range for 2013/14

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been virtually drowning in Sony goodness.  The Japanese electronics giant not only released the smooth and shiny Tablet Z for review, they also threw in the new NEX-6 compact system camera to record it on.  Then the mobile division managed to provide some “hot off the press” units of the new Xperia Z1 smartphone which had just been announced at IFA 2013.

As if all that weren’t enough, Sony NZ then held an open house and showcased their upcoming products, from 4K TV’s, through portable boom boxes, action video cameras and head mounted 3D viewing screens all the way through to the unique and innovative QX100 lens cameras. Phew!

All of this goes to show one thing, Sony is not sitting back in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Samsung and Apple.  They have upped their game with some very desirable technology and applied some much needed consistency to their product family.

We don’t have time to cover off all of the above so in this post I’ve included two video reviews (for the tablet and new smartphone) and a few images from the open home event.  Hopefully this gives you a taste of what you’ll find in your local Sony store (or in leading electronics shops nationwide) and I encourage you to go in and have some hands on time with any of the products that take your fancy.

This photo: If you want to show people how loud your car stereo is, this is the perfect venue. (Sony Open Home at Orams Marine Village, Auckland)

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Photo: A first hands on with the innovative QX100 lens camera. Yes that’s an Xperia Z1 Android phone, and that zoom lens on the front? Well yes that is the lens camera which transmits the photo to the phone by wifi direct.

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(more photos after the jump).

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Handheld gaming war heats up as Sony announces NGP

Originally Published 30th January 2011 on TVNZ.co.nz

Sony PlayStation has announced details of its next generation portable gaming console in a move it hopes will help increase market share in the lucrative portable gaming market.

The new device, codenamed NGP, will replace the PlayStation Portable (PSP) but consumers won’t be able to get their hands on it until it is released in late 2011.

Details released by Sony show a stylish machine packed with high-end technology and the reaction from mobile gaming fans has been mostly positive.

Twitter comments have been running steadily overnight with discussion about the so-called PSP2. One of the key questions asked is “how much will it cost?” Sony has not released pricing details but with such advanced technology it is unlikely to be cheap. There were also brickbats for Sony’s decision to create a new proprietary media format for games on the NGP. Users will have to buy game titles on a dedicated flash card. Twitter user @tnkgrl tweeted “Can’t believe the #PSP2 is using yet another new type of card, from the looks of it. Seriously, Sony are you kidding us?”

Despite that, the machines spec’s are impressive.

The NGP will have a high-performance processor and graphics engine, allowing it to run visually stunning images on a super-bright 5 inch OLED screen. It will connect to networks via wi-fi and GPS, allowing users to connect with fellow game-players from a variety of locations.

It will also come equipped with two cameras, one front and one rear facing, as well as three motion sensors, a gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass.

Sony hope to encourage social gaming by equipping every game title for the NGP with a space called LiveArea. NGP users will be able to view an activity log that is constantly updated with accomplishments from users who are playing the same game, which in turn can trigger active real-time communication among users.

For Sony, this could be a make or break product after disappointing sales of its recent PSP Go and increased competition in the segment. Market leader Nintendo, who launched the ground breaking GameBoy system in 1989, will roll out a 3D version of their successful DS system this March. Meanwhile Apple, who don’t have a dedicated games console, continue to promote their iPod touch as “the most popular portable game player in the world.” Apple sell large volumes of games such as Angry Birds and Assassins Creed through their online App Store.