5 reasons to choose the Sony Xperia Z2 over the HTC One M8 & Galaxy S5

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Killian has already given you five reasons why you should choose the One M8 over the Galaxy S5, and vice versa. But while these devices were capturing all the media attention, I went ahead and got myself Sony’s latest flagship — the Xperia Z2.

I personally feel that the Xperia Z2 offers the right balance between the One M8′s design and Galaxy S5′s features — which makes it a better buy than both of them. In this piece, I’ll give you five reasons why you should spend your hard-earned cash on Sony’s latest flagship over any of its rivals.

Design

The Galaxy S5 comes with a plastic body but makes up for it with its IP67 certification. The HTC One M8 looks stunningly beautiful with its aluminum body but is only splash proof. The Xperia Z2, on the other hand, offers the best of both designed with its glass front and back and chamfered edges — and an IP58 certification.

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Unlike the Galaxy S5, the Z2 feels solid to hold and actually feels like a high-end smartphone worth $700+. While it doesn’t quite best the HTC One M8 in terms of build quality, it certainly makes up for it with its IP58 certification, which HTC’s flagship is sorely lacking.

Camera

The Xperia Z2 comes with a 20.7MP camera which is significantly higher than HTC’s 4MP UltraPixel camera and the Galaxy S5′s 16MP ISOCELL sensor. However, as most seasoned smartphone and camera users would know, megapixels hardly tell the whole story.

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An unedited sample shot taken on the Xperia Z2.

The Xperia Z2 camera is by no means better than the Galaxy S5, nor does if offer any of the unique effects present on the One M8. But I think its camera is a better all-rounder than these two devices.

The Galaxy S5 takes some breathtakingly beautiful shots in broad daylight, but it absolutely struggles in low-light, with a very high shot-to-shot time. The HTC One M8 with its 4MP UltraPixel camera is able to let in a lot of light, but it misses out on the details.

Again, the Xperia Z2 offers the best of both of these devices with its 20.7MP Exmor R sensor. It takes in a decent amount of light and captures excellent details during the day, as well as in low-light — which makes ideal for almost every situation.

A camera needs to be be usable in all situations, which is were both Galaxy S5 and One M8 fail.

In addition, the Xperia Z2 offers a certain degree of lossless digital zoom in its default Superior auto mode — something that neither handsets from Samsung or HTC offer.

Battery Life

The Galaxy S5 and the One M8 come with an extremely low power saving mode under which they can last for nearly 24 hours with as little as 10% of charge left. The Xperia Z2 does not come with any such feature but sports a massive 3,200mAh battery, trumping the M8 and Galaxy S5′s 2,600 and 2,800mAh batteries, respectively, in pure capacity.

The Xperia Z2 is the undisputed king in battery life… for now!

With regular usage, the Xperia Z2 has consistently lasted nearly 2 days in between charges, with a screen on time of nearly 6 hours and an HSPA+ network connection. On the other hand, the Galaxy S5 struggled to make it through a day for me, while the HTC One M8 topped out with around 4.5 hours of screen on usage over a span of 1.5 days.

Battery life is one thing consumers usually complain about the most, and this is where the Xperia Z2 is head and shoulders above its competition. At least for now.

Speakers

I love the front-facing BoomSound speakers on the HTC One M8. They are extremely loud and clear and deliver top-notch audio quality.

Sadly, they also take up some serious space, making the One M8 an awkwardly tall device that’s difficult to hold and use — especially with just one hand. The One M8 is taller than the Galaxy S5 and even the LG G2 and G3, all of which sport a larger screen.

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At the other end of the scale is the Galaxy S5 with its rear-facing, single mono speaker that is barely audible in noisy environments. It really is terrible. It makes your music and ringtones sound dreadfully dull, and your podcasts annoyingly tinny, and it’s a shame Samsung hasn’t done something about its speakers already.

The Xperia Z2 once again strikes a perfect balance between these two devices with its front-facing stereo speakers. While they are not as loud or as clear as the M8′s, they’re still great, and the Z2 makes up for it by having a slightly bigger display in the same dimensions.

Sony’s UI

I am a big fan of stock Android and absolutely detest Samsung’s TouchWiz skin. HTC’s Sense 6.0 looks gorgeous, though, and is, in some departments, is a step above stock Android — but in some places the UI behaves in a very different way than stock Android leading to poor usability.

Not to mention the fact that both the Galaxy S5 and the One M8 come with a huge number of bloatware pre-installed — the Galaxy S5 especially. In fact, if you buy a 16GB model, you only get to use about 8GB yourself; the rest is taken up by Samsung’s own content and services.

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Sony’s UI, on the other hand, is extremely simple. In many ways, it is like stock Android with just a different coat of paint over it. Even the bloatware that the device ships with is comparatively low, and they can all be easily disabled or uninstalled as well.

I must give a special mention to Sony’s own theme engine, which allows users to change the system colors and icons incredibly easily. Sony bundles in quite a few of them but users can always download more from the Play Store. While the HTC One M8 offers something similar, it does not allow users to download additional themes, which is a bummer.

As I said in the beginning of this article, the Xperia Z2 does not really excel over the Galaxy S5 or One M8 in all the departments — they all have their strengths and weaknesses. However, unlike the others, the Xperia Z2 does offer a perfect balance of everything, which is what makes it the best flagship to be released in the first half of 2014.

Don’t agree with my opinion? Drop in a comment and do let us know!