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Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 Devices Getting Lollipop In More Countries

Xperia Z2

Sony has been busy lately rolling out Lollipop to many devices across a number of regions and today that list is expanding. Starting today, in more regions, users of the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet will be able to download Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Unfortunately, Sony has not detailed where customers will be able to download the update so you will need to just try your luck. The good news is that over the next few weeks, more devices will be getting Lollipop including the Z3 Dual, Z1, Z1 Compact and Z Ultra. Those devices will get the update next week, after which the Xperia T2 Ultra & Xperia C3 will get Lollipop.

So if you have any of these devices, make sure to check and see if you have Lollipop once the updates begin to rollout to your region. Let us know what region you are in and if you are seeing the update in the comments below.

Source: Sony (1), (2) via Android Central

Best water-resistant and waterproof Android smartphones money can buy

For the first time in many years, mobile consumers seem to overwhelmingly approve of a next-gen Samsung flagship. The Galaxy S6 and particularly the S6 Edge are (almost) all they could have been, with metal frames (finally!), robust Gorilla Glass back covers, uber-crisp displays, powerful yet frugal processors, highly competent OIS cameras and smoother than ever software.

Android water

Still, haters gonna hate. Fueling the muffled criticism, Sammy removed external storage support, shrunk down battery capacity and, above all, “forgot” water protection. There’s no word on an “Active” variant on the horizon either, at least not yet, so if toilet bowl slips are your worst fear, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Luckily, respectable, “mainstream” liquid-proof Androids can be easily found on Amazon these days. Thanks chiefly to Sony, but also Samsung, they’re not as restrictive, rare and, well, crappy as a few years back.

water splash with bubbles isolated on white

In fact, believe it or not, we had trouble narrowing down our selections for today’s list. And because the final drafts are too different, we’ll give them to you in no particular order. Here are the best water-resistant Android smartphones money can buy in March 2015:

Sony Xperia Z3 – $534 unlocked international; $70 and up on Verizon

If your gadgets keep collapsing after accidental dives into pools and, ahem, restroom commodities, who you gonna call? The veteran water-busters from Sony, clearly. The Japanese have been dishing out semi-rugged mobile products in their homeland for many years, only recently getting the idea to transport some of the magic across the borders. And it worked.

Sony Xperia Z3

Now, a slew of Western Xperias offer various degrees of shelter, and cover different price ranges and performance classes. Probably the most advanced, in every aspect, is this 5.2-inch bad boy, what with its Full HD screen resolution, quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, 3 GB RAM, 20.7 MP rear camera and IP68 certification.

IP68, for those of you not fluent in Ingress Protection code, essentially means the Xperia Z3 is “dust tight” (6), and all guarded against “continuous immersion” in water beyond 1 meter and 30 minutes (8).

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact – starting at $420 unlocked

As the name suggests, the only difference between this and the “full-sized” Z3 is the footprint. Well, that, and display clarity, RAM count, and battery capacity. But what you should take into account first and foremost is the 4.6-inch 720p Z3 Compact also carries an IP68 stamp of approval. Meaning it too can theoretically lie in a body of water for hours and hours without cracking.

Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z2 – $403 free of contractual obligations

Another Sony Xperia? What can we tell you, they’re the best of the best at this. And incredibly enough, the one year-old Z2 doesn’t show signs of aging. The familiar-looking 5.2 incher (the Z3 is a near-identical copy on the outside) is IP58 licensed.

Xperia Z2

That may sound vastly inferior to the IP68 credentials, but it’s actually the same thing as far as liquid contact is concerned. Remember, the 8 designates resistance under 1 m and above 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the 5 refers to dust “collision”, and entails partial protection. In other words, you’ll want to keep the Z2 out of harm’s way when traveling the Sahara Desert by foot.

The good news is, with the Z4 close by, you can probably expect massive Z2 discounts. And at, say, $300, the 1,080p panel, quad-core S801 CPU, 3 GB RAM and 20.7 MP camera will get really hard to turn down.

Samsung Galaxy S5, S5 Active and Sport

Samsung-Galaxy-S5

How could Samsung abandon rugged and semi-rugged functions after so much effort put in the GS5 family? It boggles the mind, but maybe it’s not over yet. For the time being, your choice of a waterproof top-tier Galaxy is between the conventionally designed S5, the slightly quirkier Sport and uber-muscular Active.

One very interesting tidbit is all three are IP67 authorized to deal with dirt no matter what and H2O in small doses. Specifically, up to 1 meter and half an hour. In addition to that however, the Sport rocks “Side Grip enhancements” for a better, stronger hold, and the Active survives transport and thermal shock, as well as solar radiation and vibration with ease.

galaxy-s5-active

Hardware-wise, they’re practically identical, featuring S801 chips, 2 GB RAM, 2,800 mAh batteries and 5.1-inch Full HD screens.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active – $420 factory unlocked

Let’s be sincere, the only reason this aging fellow may tickle your fancy over the S5 or S5 Active is the lower price. The thing is, it’s not low enough. IP67 certified and nothing else, the 5 incher carries a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor under the hood, alongside 2 gigs of RAM and a 2,600 mAh juicer. Yawn!

galaxy-s-4-active

Kyocera Brigadier – $100 with two-year Verizon contracts; $450 outright

A living legend and instant classic, the Brigadier shined in our best rugged handheld roundup back October, holding its own now despite the advanced age. With an almost extraterrestrial design language, both IP68 and MIL-STD-810G creds and respectable mid-end specs, this is so much more than a stellar waterproof smartphone.

Kyocera-Brigadier

It’s a powerhouse, it’s a fashion statement, and it’s a trend defier, looking like nothing else you’ve ever seen. In numbers, it’s 13 mm thick, tips the scales at a whopping 187 grams, measures 4.5 inches in diagonal, and features a 1,280 x 720 display pixel count, quad-core 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC, 2 GB RAM and 8 MP camera.

Kyocera Hydro Life – $99 for T-Mobile with no contract

Unusually cheap and more “classically” handsome than the Brigadier, the Hydro Life is drop-proof, shock-proof and waterproof up to 3 feet, courtesy of IP57 and MIL-STD-810G authorizations. Obviously, it’s no Galaxy S6 “killer”, but at $100 it delivers impressive value for money.

kyocera-hydro-life

The 4.5-inch IPS LCD screen is tolerable, at 960 x 540 pixels, the pre-loaded 4.3 Jelly Bean software… not that old, and the 1.5 GB RAM ideal for smooth multitasking.

HTC Desire Eye – $419 factory unlocked

Hold on, since when does HTC produce water-resistant gear? Since a few months ago, apparently, though you should probably not expect the world from the Desire Eye. The rookie stab here tends to miss the mark more often than not, and we’d call this 5.2 incher anything but robust-looking.

HTC Desire Eye

At the end of the day, it vows to withstand short immersions up to 1 meter deep, and it’s also KitKat-powered, Snapdragon 801-packing and 1,080p LCD-sporting. Not the worst deal you can make at 420 bucks.

Sony Xperia Z1 mod enables stereo sound output using the earpiece

Sony Xperia Z1 mod enables stereo sound output using the earpiece

The Sony Xperia Z2 brought a couple of upgrades over the Xperia Z1, and one of the most welcome ones are the stereo speakers on the front of the device. Xperia Z1 owners, while still owning a fairly capable device, have to make do with sound from a single small loudspeaker that produces rather muffled sound thanks to the phone’s waterproofing, but thanks to a new mod, Xperia Z1 users can now enable a second source of sound on their device.  (more…)

Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact rumor roundup and preview: more of the same?

Normally, we’d not even dare tackle potentially game-changing Android devices such as Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Z1 Compact sequels collectively, in just one preview post, sending the message they’re not really important as standalone products. No matter how little we know (as in truly know) about them, and how distant their releases may seem.

Xperia Z2 Z1 Compact

After all, the Z1 Compact remains to this day the single most disruptive mini-flagship the mobile world has ever seen, and the Z2… oh, if only Sony had launched it earlier. Wider. With stronger marketing.

But sadly, based on the fairly credible rumors floating around these past few months and increasing in intensity the last week or so, I’m afraid the Xperia makers are leaving us no choice. The purported Z3 and Z3 Compact look like the kind of pithy, unnecessary spin-offs that even Samsung head honchos would reject as way too similar to previous spearheads.

Sony Xperia Z3

More of the same? The clichéd idiom can’t begin to encompass the frustration and stupefaction Sony fans will feel if the Z3/Z3 Compact pair materializes in the form so far speculated and authenticated by a bundle of legit-looking live photos. But let’s start from the beginning:

Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact preview – the why

Look, I get times are a-changing and all, and rolling out a high-end bad boy every 12 months doesn’t cut it anymore. I understand the advertising angle, and once in a blue moon, a, say, six-month upgrading cycle makes sense from a development and innovation standpoint as well.

Xperia Z3

But we’ve reached a point where even Qualcomm, the king of swift updates, is hitting the brakes until the “next big thing” is here. As in, you know, 64-bit processing power, which will become available on a wide scale for Androids in the first half of 2015.

Of course, speed and performance isn’t all about chips, however we’re not seeing worthwhile improvements in the display, camera, battery or memory departments on the horizon either. Unless you count Quad HD screen resolution as a worthwhile improvement. Which is not.

Xperia-Z3-slim

Bottom line, the why of the equation, the logic of Sony’s haste to replace the Z3 and Z3 Compact with something (barely) better is hard to find. Wait, I got it. Everyone else is following the same strategy, so why not Sony? Yeah, no, that ain’t going to boost profits and prominence in the long haul.

Z3/Z3 Compact rumor roundup – the when

In a nutshell, timing is the least mysterious thing about an overall perplexing duo of top-notch smartphones. There’s no smoke without fire, no churning of the rumor mill sans reason, and the magic 8-ball says September. 2014. Full stop.

Xperia Z2 introduction

Both for the Z3 and Z3 Compact. Both for their formal announcements and commercial rollouts. Makes little to no sense, but let’s just go with it, mmkay?

Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact – the how and the what

Close your eyes, free your mind, and let’s play a little word association game. I’m going to spit out a few specs, and you’ll write down the first gizmo that pops up in your brain. Quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3 GB RAM, Full HD display, 20.7 MP rear-facing camera. Got it? How many of you have the Z2? Everybody?

That was to be expected, yet I was actually thinking of the Xperia Z3. And in case you’re wondering how it is any different from the Z2, well, the S801 inside the “next-gen flagship” is clocked at 2.5 GHz, not 2.3. Are… you… frigging… kidding us, Sony? That’s it? A whole 0.2 GHz upgrade just for us? No extra megapixels, no 4 GB RAM, not even a gimmicky boost to a 2,560 x 1,440 pix res panel? Forget it, no one will be buying.

Xperia Z3 system

To add insult to injury, the exterior is refined at best, with slightly slimmer bezels, more rounded corners (though you need a magnifying glass to see the contrast), and dual front-facing speakers. No one knows for sure how large the screen will be, but my guess is it’s going to be a 5.5 incher capable of fitting in the old chassis that only allowed a 5.2-inch usable piece of glass inside. Big whoop.

Now, granted, we don’t have the full picture yet, and key pieces of the puzzle (battery, storage, sensors) are missing. But by the looks of it, Sony needs an entirely new puzzle.

Xperia Z1 Compact

The Z3 Compact? Despite what the name suggests (a two-generation step forward compared to the outstanding Z1 Compact), the “unapologetic” high-end midget rumored at this time is an upgrade just as disappointing as the full-sized Z3.

Namely, we’re allegedly looking at a 4.5 incher with 720p display res, quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC, 2 GB RAM, 20.7 MP main photographic unit and, of course, Android 4.4 KitKat running the software show. Sooo, a slightly larger Z1 Compact with an infinitesimal speed bump and, likely, a wee bit of added battery juice. Facepalms, facepalms everywhere.

The what the f…, Sony?

I can’t stress enough we might be getting worked up over nothing, and the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact could end up as the game-changing phones we once envisioned. Or they may simply not be real. Not like this, and not headed for market this fall.

Xperia Z2 G Lens

But if they are all the tipsters claim, then Sony has some serious soul-searching to do. Question one on the agenda: are we in this business to mindlessly mimic others or set the pace at which others will follow? Food for thought, eh?

Unlocked Sony Xperia Z2 Just $672 On eBay

sony-xperia-z2-deal

Despite an image of the Sony Xperia Z2 appearing a few months ago, it doesn’t look like the device will actually be launching in the US soon. So you need to either import the device or buy it from a reseller. Those can be costly options, but now a deal has surfaced on eBay.

Currently the Xperia Z2 deal on eBay will cost you only $672.98 and you can get it with free expedited shipping. This is a lot less than through other resellers, some of which sell the device for north of $700.

This deal might be better than what Sony themselves will charge later this summer. The listing appears to indicate that the Z2 they are selling will work with AT&T’s LTE network. So if you want an Xperia Z2, you should buy this while it lasts.

Source: eBay via Droid Life

New Evidence Of A Verizon Branded Sony Xperia Z2 Appears Online

Which US based carrier is going to carry Sony’s latest flagship smartphone? A new photo leaked online shows that Verizon may be carrying the Sony Xperia Z2. This gives further strength to the rumors that started last March saying that the device will arrive in the US as a Verizon exclusive.

Verizon Xperia Z2

This isn’t the first photo of the device spotted with a Verizon logo on it. Last May a photo of the Xperia Z2 appeared at the official Sony Xperia Google+ page that clearly showed the Verizon logo on top of the device. The photo appeared only for a short while before it was removed, but not before a screen grab of it was made.

xperia z2

With two photos already released, one coming from an official source, it’s very likely that the Sony Xperia Z2 is headed to Verizon. This seems pretty strange as it was T-Mobile that exclusively carried the Xperia Z and the Xperia Z1. As to when this device will become available at Verizon we still don’t have that information.

Technical Specifications

  • Display: 5.2-inch 1920×1080 Full HD TRILUMINOS Display for mobile with X-Reality for mobile picture engine
  • OS: Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • RAM: 3gB
  • Internal Storage: 16GB expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • Rear Camera: 20.7 MP, 5248 х 3936 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Front Camera: 2.2 MP
  • Durability: Waterproof (IP55 and IP58), Dust-resistant (IP55)
  • Battery: 3200 mAh
  • Dimensions: 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

via phonearena

Sony Xperia Z2 Now Available In The US For $799

If you are living in the US and can’t wait for the official summer release of the Sony Xperia Z2 then there’s a way for you to get the latest flagship smartphone of the company as early as now. That is of course if you are willing to pay a lot for it from a third party retailer.

xperia z2

The unlocked Sony Xperia Z2 is currently available at GSM Nation for $799 which is quite high considering that an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 or an unlocked HTC One (M8) costs around $650 to $700. If it’s any consolation this price is lower compared to what it costs in some European countries.

The Sony Xperia Z2 being sold is compatible with either the AT&T or T-Mobile network and is able to take advantage both of their 4G LTE networks. Consumers who prefer to use Verizon, Sprint, or any other CDMA-based carrier won’t be able to use this device though.

Buyers will have three color choices to choose from ranging from white, black, or purple. There’s even a protection plan available which adds on to the price of the device. A one year protection plan costs an additional $75 while a two year protection plan costs an additional $135. The protection plan protects the device from accidental drops in case of accidental damage. It also protects the device from normal use mechanical or electrical failure such as touchscreen or battery issues.

If you really must have the Xperia Z2 then you might want to check the device over at GSM Nation however if you can wait for a few more months then you can get it cheaper at the official Sony online store.

Technical Specifications

  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Display: 5.2 inches IPS LCD, 1080 x 1920 pixels 424 ppi, Triluminos display, X-Reality Engine
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Rear Camera: 20.7 MP, LED flash, videos at  [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 2.2 MP, [email protected]
  • Internal Storage: 16GB expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • Durability: Waterproof (IP55 and IP58), Dust-resistant (IP55)
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3200 mAh

The Xperia Z2 is the latest flagship smartphone of Sony that’s packed with several outstanding features. It is made of a glass back panel with silver side panels making it have a premium feel to it. It has a water and dust protection feature making it able to withstand environments which is normally not suitable for mobile devices.

What’s probably the most interesting part about this device is its use of a 20.7 MP rear camera that uses a sensor that’s 30% larger than that being used by regular smartphones. This makes photos taken by the device at par with that taken by compact cameras.

via gsmnation

Sony Xperia Z2 available for pre-order in Canada unlocked and on contract

Xperia Z2 water

The Sony Xperia Z2 was announced to be exclusive to carrier Bell in Canada, something that might limit the device’s reach. However, this doesn’t mean that are on other carriers cannot buy Sony’s latest flagship, as the Japanese manufacturer has started taking pre-orders for the unlocked variant of the Z2 via its official website.  (more…)

Sony Xperia Z2 Owners Get $350 Worth Of Premium Content For Free

Here’s another good reason why you should be getting the Sony Xperia Z2. Sony has just announced that it is giving away for free premium content worth around $350 for its latest flagship smartphone. The Z2 already comes straight out of the box with 6 free movies straight, 30-day trial of the Music Unlimited service, 8 games from PlayStation Mobile and a free download of the upcoming Michael Jackson album, XSCAPE. The company is adding more to this.

xperia z2

From May 1 until July 31 owners of the Xperia Z2 will be able to download premium content for their device without any cost at all.

  • Garmin, Full Suite
  • OfficeSuite Pro Full version
  • Box 50GB for life
  • Evernote premium, 3 months
  • Bitcasa 1TB storage, 3 months
  • 10 Xperia themes
  • Social live premium, 1 month
  • Three additional games and apps

If you already own the Xperia Z2 all you have to do to avail of the premium content is to download the Xperia lounge App first from the Google Play Store. Once it is installed you will get the links to each of the premium app which you can click to download.

Sony announced that “We know that for our customers Xperia devices are more than just pretty pieces of portable technology. They’re a means to listen to their favorite tracks on Music Unlimited, play the latest PlayStation Mobile games, watch the season’s hottest blockbuster films, or just do some office work on the go. We want to offer our customers all the content they need to make their life as entertaining and portable as possible, and this latest experience pack is another part of our commitment to that.”

Aside from being available for the Xperia Z2 this free premium content is also available for the Z1, Z1s subject to market availability.

Technical Specifications

  • Display: 5.2 inches IPS LCD, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424ppi), Triluminos, X-Reality Engine, up to up to 10 fingers multitouch
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Internal storage: 16GB expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • Rear camera: 20.7MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3200 mAh Li-Ion

The Sony Xperia Z2 has already been released in several international markets however it hasn’t officially been released in the U.S. market yet. The company announced that the device will be making its way at the Sony online store this coming summer. A recent leak also shows that Verizon may be carrying this device.

via sonymobile

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom vs Galaxy S4 Zoom – Specs comparison

Apparently unwilling to dilute the Galaxy S brand anymore, Samsung took the wraps off an S5 subspecies called Galaxy K Zoom. I’ll be damned. But look, Sammy, just because you label a light bulb some fancy other way, it doesn’t mean we’ll view it any differently.

samsung-galaxy-k-zoom

If it glows as a result of electric current passing through it, it’s a light bulb, and likewise, if the K Zoom is a logical follow-up to last year’s Galaxy S4 Zoom with a design overhaul making it look like the GS5, it’s a Galaxy S5 Zoom.

At the end of the day though, we couldn’t care less about branding strategies and marketing mumbo-jumbo. What we want is for this Galaxy S5 K Zoom to improve on an intriguing but poorly executed concept. Well, does it? Are we any closer to ditching conventional point-and-shoot cams in favor of a smartphone/camera hybrid that can do it all?

Galaxy K Zoom vs S4 Zoom

Only one way to find out – take the K Zoom and pit it against the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Here it goes:

Design and build quality comparison

However smart it may be, whatever tricks it might have up its sleeve, no one wants to carry around a brick. As such, it was back to the drawing board for Samsung after botching up S4 Zoom’s aesthetics.

Now, sure, the K Zoom shares quite a few common points with its predecessor (after all, the Koreans couldn’t have possibly reinvented the wheel), but make no mistake, the designers started from scratch. And they (mostly) pulled it off.

Galaxy K Zoom

The K Zoom sports a much larger display (0.5 inch larger, to be exact), yet it’s 8 grams lighter. It’s also reasonably thin, measuring 20.2 mm at its thickest point. Most importantly, it doesn’t feel like Samsung conceived two separate gizmos, then blended them together with little sense anymore.

The K Zoom really gives off the vibe of a cohesive, close-knit crossbreed. Bottom line, you won’t feel bad when whipping the big guy out of your pocket and using it as a phone. As for the perforated pattern on the device’s back, it oddly works.

Galaxy S4 Zoom

Build quality? Since the GS5 is sturdier, more robust than the S4, we expect the K Zoom to trump the S4 Zoom too.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom vs Galaxy S4 Zoom – camera face-off

We clearly need to wait for real-life comparisons with Nokia’s PureView monsters and Sony’s 20.7 MP snapper-toting Xperia Z2 before concluding the K Zoom is the all-around best camera phone. For the moment, we can definitely assume it’s better than the S4 Zoom.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-2

Both photographic powerhouses pack 10x optical zoom, Xenon flash and optical image stabilization and the sensor size is the same: 1/2.3″. Then again, the K Zoom ups the megapixel ante from 16 to 20.7 and adds a bundle of special, nifty features in the mix.

You’ve got AF/AE Separation, a Pro Suggest smart mode, Object tracking and Studio, plus better response times and 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second. Face, smile and blink detection, panorama, HDR, geo-tagging, Kids shot, Expert Mode, Beauty face, Virtual tour, Continuous shot, Selfie alarm, Landscape, these are all add-ons the S4 Zoom introduced and, presumably, the K Zoom revises and upgrades.

Display duel

Enough about the camera part of the hybrid, let’s talk smartphone specs. Granted, K Zoom’s screen isn’t exactly spectacular. But when compared to S4 Zoom’s panel, it’s leaps and bounds ahead. Not only is it bigger and thus more comfortable for video playing and whatnot, it boasts 1,280 x 720 pixels resolution for a 306 ppi pixel density.

Galaxy K zoom_Electric Blue

The poor, raggedy old S4 Zoom, meanwhile, comes with a shoddy 960 x 540 pixel count in tow and crappy 256 ppi. No extra comment necessary.

Processing speed, RAM and battery life

Once again, the K Zoom isn’t breathtaking when evaluated on its own. It’s no high-end contender, that much is obvious. But its on-board CPU has three times as many cores as S4 Zoom’s. Six in total, four of the Cortex A7 line and clocked at 1.3 GHz and a couple 1.7 GHz Cortex A15s.

The hexa-core Exynos 5260 chipset is paired with a Mali-T624 GPU and 2 GB RAM, up from 1.5 GB in 2013. As a result, multitasking and overall hardware performance should considerably and noticeably progress.

Autonomy? That’s a touchy subject for the time being, as the K Zoom barely boosts battery capacity by 100 mAh (2,430 vs 2,330). And with a higher-res display and more power-demanding processor, it’s entirely possible you’re looking at a downgrade instead of an upgrade. Oh, well, at least you get S5’s Ultra Power Saving Mode to make the best of the ticker’s final units of juice.

Software, storage, connectivity and others

Pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat comes as no surprise for a Q2 2014 upper mid-range smartphone, but I must admit, I wasn’t expecting the K Zoom to incorporate so many of GS5’s TouchWiz-specific goodies. There’s S Health Lite, the uber-useful Kids mode and, I’m guessing, plenty of other features Sammy didn’t get a chance to detail.

Galaxy K zoom_White

Storage-wise, the K Zoom and S4 Zoom are identical twins, with 8 gigs of space built-in and an additional 64 available via microSD cards. Not much has changed in the connectivity department either, with Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi and optional 4G LTE across the board.

That’s pretty much everything worth noting and, since K Zoom pricing and availability continue to be kept under lock and key, I’m afraid we’ll need to give it some time before passing a verdict. So far, so good though. Anyone care to disagree? The comments section is all yours.

Sony Xperia Z2 Launches In The U.S. This Summer Through Sony’s Online Store

Here’s some bad news for fans of the Sony Xperia Z2 based in the U.S. The flagship smartphone of the company won’t be available until summer and it’s not going to be sold by any U.S. based carrier. Instead, it will be sold directly from the Sony online store unlocked. This means that aside from arriving late it will also be sold premium price since it won’t be getting any carrier subsidy.

xperia z2

While there is a chance that U.S. carriers will be carrying the Xperia Z2 Sony announced that it is still in negotiation with the various carriers and nothing has been finalized yet. What is definite is that it will be sold at the Sony online store.

Another blow to Sony Xperia fans is that the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact won’t be arriving in U.S. shores. Even the official Sony online store won’t be carrying the device.

The reason for the seemingly difficulty of getting the latest Xperia devices in the U.S. is that Sony is not focusing its marketing plans in the U.S. market. The company hasn’t had any success in the U.S. previously which is why it is focusing more in other markets such as Asia and Europe. The Xperia Z2 for example has already launched in several Asian markets since last March and is expected to become available in Canada this May.

Those who can’t wait to get their hands on the Z2 will have to rely on imports or wait for it to become available from Sony. The Xperia Z1 Compact is another story as those who want to own the device will have to rely on imports or the grey market.

Xperia Z2 technical Specifications

  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Network: 2G GSM, 3G HSDPA, 4G LTE
  • Display:  5.2 inches IPS LCD Triluminos  display, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi),  X-Reality Engine
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Internal Storage: 16GB expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • Rear Camera: 20.7 MP, autofocus, LED flash, videos at  [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]
  • Front Camera: 2.2MP, videos at [email protected]
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3200 mAh

Xperia Z1 Compact Technical Specifications

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; 3G with 42Mbps HSPA; 150Mbps LTE
  • 4.3″ 16M-color 720p capacitive touchscreen Triluminos display (342pixel density); X-Reality engine; shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset
  • Quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage; microSD card slot
  • 20.7MP autofocus camera with a 1/2.3″ Exmor RS sensor and F/2.0 Sony G Lens; Info-eye, AR effects, 1080p video recording @ 30fps
  • 2MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • IP58 certification, dust- and waterproof
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 2,300mAh Li-Ion battery

via techcrunch

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet swings by FCC with Verizon-friendly LTE bands

Plagued by component shortages and thus unable to commercially launch the Xperia Z2 smartphone as swiftly as they’d have liked, Sony seems to be taking up the backup strategy to its 2014 world domination plan.

Sony-Xperia-Z2-Tablet

Namely, the Japanese have their sights set on making Z2’s big brother, the aptly named Xperia Z2 Tablet, available on a pretty wide scale stateside before long. A version ideal for AT&T’s LTE network got FCC’s stamp of approval last month, and mere hours ago, a Verizon-bound model was also blessed by the federal regulatory agency.

The slate’s model number doesn’t exactly make it clear this is headed to Big Red, but the certification docs list on-board connectivity options as Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and, wait for it, bands 2, 4, 7 and 13 LTE.

Verizon’s 4G speeds are achieved on bands 4 and 13, so putting two and two together, we can safely assume this is indeed a Z2 Tablet designed specifically for America’s most popular carrier. Theoretically, the 10 incher could also work on T-Mobile, however the UnCarrier only uses 4G LTE on band 4, so let’s stick to our first assumption.

Sony-Xperia-Z2-Tablet-2

Of course, an ETA and exact price tag are hard to guess at the moment, though with Verizon’s tablet portfolio so vast nowadays, we just need to find Z2 Tablet’s niche to crack the cost enigma. Okay, I got it. $700 with pacts and $600 off-contract, exactly like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Give or take 50 bucks.

Release date? Don’t ask me that, it’s Sony we’re talking about here, and the company’s motto might as well be “the future’s bright, the future’s unpredictable”.

Spec-wise, the Verizon Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet should run Android 4.4 KitKat on the software side of things, and knock your socks off with top-notch hardware such as quad-core Snapdragon 801 power, 3 GB RAM, 1,900 x 1,200 pixels resolution display, 8.1 MP rear-facing camera and 6,000 mAh battery. Oh, if only the Z2 handheld would get the backing of two major US mobile operators. Heck, at this point, we’d probably even settle for one. Understood, Verizon? T-Mobile? AT&T? Sprint? Anyone?

Via [FCC]

Sony Xperia Z2 Owners Complain About Gaps In Chassis, Overheating With 4K Videos

Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z2, is one of the best Android phones out in the market today. Among its impressive hardware specifications include a Snapdragon 801 quad core processor, 3GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch shatter and scratch proof display, and a 20.7MP rear camera. While it may seem like it is the perfect device some problems are being reported by several users which are now being investigated by Sony.

xperia z2

Customers in Singapore, where the Z2 was launched last week, have reported that they have noticed a small gap between the front panel and the aluminum frame. The gap is most visible in the upper right hand portion of the device. It is also more visible on white versions of the Z2. While this may seem like an issue that can be ignored it really can’t be since the device is supposed to be water-resistant. Owners of this model are concerned that water may seep into the gap and damage the internals of their smartphone.

One Hardwarezone forum member posted “Has anyone got the same misalignment of the front glass panel? If you see the top right, there is actually a gap which is not apparent present on the left side.”

Sony Singapore is already aware of this issue and has made an official statement regarding it.

“We are aware of some users’ concern on the waterproofing capability of the Xperia Z2 due to the presence of gap(s) and are currently looking into this issue. In the meantime, users who wish to [sic] may bring their Xperia Z2 to any service center to have our staff conduct a water resistant test.”

Another issue that owners of the Z2 are facing is that the device overheats whenever a 4K video is being shot. This results in the camera app to unexpectedly shut down when taking photos or videos.

Sony Singapore has also made a statement regarding this issue saying that “We are aware of some users encountering issues when shooting 4K video for extended periods. Shooting movies in high quality 4K resolution can make significant demands on your phone’s processor and battery life, as well as phone memory. Therefore for the best experience, we recommend you install a high capacity SD card (Xperia Z2 can take a card up to 128GB) and shoot 4K video in short bursts of no longer than a few minutes at a time.”

via hardwarezone

HTC One (M8) vs Sony Xperia Z2 – Specs Comparison

After comparing and contrasting Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with Sony’s Xperia Z2, the GS5 with last year’s S4, HTC’s One (M8) with the 2013 One and the S5 with the M8, it’s come down to this. The One (M8) against the Xperia Z2 for the final win.

HTC-One-M8-vs-Sony-Xperia-Z2

Two apparent dark horses for the top-shelf Android crown, but ultimately better, handsomer, sturdier, solider contenders than what everyone thought was the shoo-in heavyweight world champion candidate. Sorry, S5, you’re simply too gimmicky and underwhelming to stay in the race.

Make no mistake, Samsung’s marketing juggernaut will help its latest flagship device probably top M8 and Z2 sales… combined. Yet those that know better and want to own the best of the best regardless of whose advertising campaign proves the most aggressive shall pick their next weapon after careful consideration and a thorough scan of M8 and Z2’s gifts and flaws.

xperia-z2-htc-one-m8

But how about we do the heavy lifting for you, probing and scrutinizing the underdogs turned frontrunners, and you just pay the piper for whichever you end up liking more? Deal? Then let’s get cracking:

HTC One (M8) vs Sony Xperia Z2 – design and build quality comparison

To say both of these bad boys look amazing in their very personal own ways would likely be the understatement of the century. They’re born to live in the limelight, walk on the catwalk and prance around showing off their curves or, um, lack thereof.

sony-xperia-z2

But which one’s more pleasing to the eye? That’s a toughie. On the one hand, the Z2 is about as tall and heavy light as the M8 and actually thinner while also offering the larger usable screen real estate area. It’s less curvy too, with sharp edges rather than round ones, which at least in my book, helps its cause, sending a vibe of elegance and sophistication.

HTC-One-M8

On the other hand, you’d be nuts to call the 2014 HTC One ugly, and as far as build quality is concerned, aluminum trumps glass every day. More aluminum equals higher reliability, and the M8 is reportedly 90 percent (!!!) metal.

Verdict: It’s an overall tie

Display face-off

As all major Android players except for Oppo (who’s not really major yet) have chosen the safe route in this particular department, sticking to Full HD resolutions instead of gambling on 2K, there’s genuinely nothing to choose between M8 and Z2’s panels. On paper.

HTC-one-M8-vs.-Sony-Xperia-Z2

Hoping Sony didn’t botch Xperia Z2’s display (a la last year’s Xperia Z), and it doesn’t look that way based on hands-on previews, the sole difference here is size. Either you go for the smaller 5 incher with the higher ppi (441), or the larger 5.2 incher with inferior pixel density (424). Your choice.

Verdict: Ties galore

Processing speed, RAM and cameras

Accused of gaming benchmarks via a speed-boosting “High Performance Mode”, HTC can’t really hope to edge out Sony performance-wise (in real life), as M8’s 2 GB RAM comes one gig short of Z2’s memory. And since the chips packed by the two rivals in their “international” renditions are virtually identical, 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801, odds are you’ll feel the RAM gap right off the bat. Or, you know, as soon as you put some pressure on the handhelds, running a dozen or so different applications simultaneously.

htc-one-m8-high-performance-mode

The camera duel is, I’m afraid for HTC, even more disproportionate, as One’s UltraPixel rear snapper, complete with the gimmicky Dual Camera setup, is light years behind Xperia Z2’s state-of-the-art 20.7 MP main shooter, stuffed with goodies and add-ons like image stabilization, HDR, 4K video recording, video stabilization and so on and so forth.

Sony-Xperia-Z2_camera

Granted, selfie addicts find a more reliable partner in One’s manufacturer, as the 5-incher’s front cam carries a 5 MP sensor (vs. 2.2 megapixels), but at the end of the day, that’s surely not enough for a reversal of fortune.

Winner: Xperia Z2 by a landslide

HTC M8 vs Sony Xperia Z2 – software and battery life comparison

It’s weird, Z2’s user interface is clearly closer to stock Android, yet a bit laggy on occasion and, overall, not as sleek as HTC’s best Sense iteration ever, 6.0. And yes, you’re likely to get loads more pre-loaded bloatware on the M8, between BlinkFeed, Zoe, all the Kid Modes, Car Modes and fitness tracking Fitbit.

htc-one-m8-blinkfeed

But BlinkFeed and Zoe are actually cool, useful, neat little KitKat supplements. Meanwhile, I can’t think of one single beneficial Sony-specific app found on the Xperia Z2.

Android 4.4 KitKat is of course available out the box with both devices, and as far as battery is concerned, it’s still early to reach a verdict. Theoretically, we’d expect Sony to prevail with ease, thanks to a juicer capacity advantage of no less than 600 mAh (3,200 vs 2,600).

Xperia Z2 back

However, after seeing M8’s relatively tiny ticker tested and pitted against monsters such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, we’re not so sure anymore.

Winner: Undecided

Audio, storage, connectivity and others

Although the Xperia Z2 is certainly no pushover when it comes to playing loud, crisp, clear audio, it ultimately has nothing on M8’s breathtaking BoomSound stereo speakers. Storage? No way to set them apart there, as you get 16 GB built-in and up to 128 GB external from both.

htc-one-m8-music

Connectivity and ports-wise, they’re also evenly matched, with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE and microUSB 2.0 across the board, but one key “other” area where we can see a big difference is, let’s call it build quality supplements.

True, the One (M8) is probably more reliable in that it handles drops and whatnot better, but clumsy mobile users like myself often need a slab of silicon capable of withstanding a dunk in a bowl of water. You know the bowl I’m talking about. Well, the Z2 is obviously the king of the bathrooms, with IP58 certification for dust and water resistance.

Xperia Z2 water

Too bad you have to know a guy who knows a guy who knows Kazuo Hirai to score one of these water-shielded beauts by May. Meanwhile, the HTC One (M8) is up for grabs via three of the four major US carriers and a wide array of British retailers. Oh, decisions, decisions.