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Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact review

Small and powerful

Battery life

  • Acceptable stamina
  • Supports fast charging
  • But there’s no fast charger in the box

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has a 2,870mAh battery, just a little larger than the 2,700mAh cell of the XZ1 Compact.

We’ve found it fairly easy to get through an entire day day without charge running out before bed time. By 11pm it tends to have around 15% battery left, following plenty of WhatsApp and a few hours of podcast streaming sprinkled through the day.

Standby times are great on the XZ2 Compact meaning that if you don't use your phone frequently, it will last you much longer on a single charge. Following our testing, we pulled the SIM card out of the phone and left it on our desk and five days later, it still had 30% charge left.

Where the phone didn’t hold up that well is in our standard video test, though. We play a 90-minute video at maximum brightness and see how much the battery drains.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact lost 26% which is a lot more than the 17% lost by the XZ1 Compact. This phone’s higher-resolution screen could possibly be blamed for that.

While the phone supports fast charging, you don’t get a fast charger in the box. It’s a standard 5V, 1.5A plug, which isn’t fast by any standard. There’s also no wireless charging. The Sony Xperia XZ2 supports Qi, but this phone does not.

Camera

  • High resolution rear camera with decent night shooting
  • 4K HDR video capture
  • Just okay selfie camera

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has a rear 19MP camera, the same resolution as the Xperia XZ1 Compact.

Some improvements have been made, though, and this phone is a far better camera than Sony flagships from a couple of years back. At pixel level, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact’s images look a bit processed though. 

Sony has improved its Auto HDR algorithms, used to balance out bright skies and the foreground without blowing-out highlights. Is it a star? Not quite, however, performance is more consistent than previous years.

The Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact still lacks proper optical image stabilization. Instead it uses a gyro-based system that times the exposure to when your hands are at their stillest.

This isn’t the best night shooter around, but it is one of the best among phones without optical image stabilization. Detail retrieval in dimly lit conditions is surprisingly good, with a fair amount of fine detail visible even at ISO 800. This is the sort of sensitivity the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact might use for a street-lit night scene.

If there’s one thing for Sony to improve other than incorporating true optical stabilization, it is exposure metering. In certain day-lit scenes the Xperia XZ2 Compact ups the exposure a little too much, making photos look washed-out.

Sony has cut down the number of extra modes in its app. You get a manual mode, a selection of creative filters and panorama. The mountain of modes seen in older models, including adding AR dinosaurs to your pics, has disappeared. It’s about time.

Camera samples

There is a separate 3D-scanning app, though, called 3D Creator that was introduced last year. This lets you make 3D models of your face, your friends’ faces and objects, by slowly moving around them with the camera. It’s mostly for fun, but you can make these models into 'Live' wallpapers that turn as you flick between home screens.

You can shoot video at up to 4K resolution with HDR and software stabilization. There’s a little video judder with everything turned on. And for the smoothest results you’ll want to shoot at 1080p, 60 frames per second.

There’s also 960fps super slow motion and the XZ2 Compact lets you record that in 1080p resolution which is higher than what the Huawei P20 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S9 is capable of.

Around the front, the selfie camera is surprisingly basic. It has a 5MP sensor but with a very wide-angle lens, which makes taking group selfies with friends easy. However, it's not the sharpest of the cameras and doesn't capture facial details well.

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A regular sunny day in Dubai

A regular sunny day in Dubai

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The camera on the XZ2 Compact is fast to capture water

The camera on the XZ2 Compact is fast to capture water

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Where it isn't great is background blur- notice the blur on the wooden container

Where it isn't great is background blur- notice the blur on the wooden container

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Night time shots are pretty decent

Night time shots are pretty decent

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Zoomed in night time shots shows weakness

Zoomed in night time shots shows weakness

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Another night time shot that came out nicely

Another night time shot that came out nicely

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And a food shot- who can resist that

And a food shot- who can resist that

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Abbas has been living and breathing technology before phones became smart or clouds started storing data. He also has commitment issues towards mobile phones.

Driven by tech and passion, he has successfully negotiated into bringing the largest gaming and tech publications to the Middle East that include IGN, CNET and TechRadar.