Sony unveils its new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact flagship phones

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Sony took the wrapper off its latest flagship pair at the Barcelona , turning quite a few heads in the process. The Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact represent a brand new look for Sony’s mobile line and a pretty bold one at that.

Curved sides, arching backs and 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 fronts are at the core of what Sony is calling its “Ambient Flow” design. Symmetry is still a central part of it all, but gone are the sharper corners and edgy forms of the past, replaced by what the Japanese giant believes to be a naturally fitting shape for the human hand. The fingerprint reader is now mounted on the back and comes with the promise of no more legal issues in the US.

Both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact feature a Gorilla Glass 5 front, an anti-twist metal frame and bezel underneath and IP65/68 rating. The back on the bigger one is also Gorilla Glass 5, making for an interesting reflective, but quite slippery and fingerprint-friendly surface. The Compact substitutes that for a polycarbonate blend, with a mat and significantly easier to clean surface.

 

And the potentially polarizing changes don’t stop there. Both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact come with trendy new, extra-tall, 18:9 displays – 5.7-inch and 5.0-inch diagonals, respectively. Both pushing pixels at a native FullHD+ resolution, which represents a step up for the Compact, over its XZ1 Compact predecessor. Sony’s new panels are also HDR certified and support the BT.2020 standard, which their cameras can now record in as well.

That camera in question is the same 19MP, Motion Eye, 1/2.3″ Sony IMX400, f/2.0 unit from the Xperia XZ1 generation, complete with all the familiar added features, like 5-axis stabilization, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, burst AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key. However, through collaboration with Qualcomm on the Snapdragon 845 ISP and the software to go with it, the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact offer a new generation BIONZ image processing algorithm/architecture. It is said to help with overall color rendition, as well as detail reproduction and noise handling in low-light environments.

 

As for new camera features, both phones can record 4K HDR video – potentially a world first on the smatphone scene. It uses the same BT.2020 color standard, in a HEVC 10-bit container – ideal for watching on Sony’s new HDR panels. Slow-motion video has seen a bump up in resolution as well and can now be recorded in 1080p@960fps, as well. The only caveat being that the size of Sony’s custom ISP RAM buffer hasn’t grown, so you can only record 1080p slow-mo for half the duration of 720p.

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