back to article Sony Xperia XZ2: High-res audio but no headphone jack

Sony launched the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 compact at an early morning press event as Mobile World Congress opened in Barcelona. A key feature in the Samsung S9, super slow-mo video enabled by a 960fps camera (for short 0.2 second bursts), was already a feature in last year's Xperia XZ1, Sony reminded those present. Unlike Samsung …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    If you say no

    on initial install to all the Sony "improving your user experience" junk it wants to add / enable then they are not too obtrusive on the cruft front & are not the worst in providing software updates. They are one of the "named" brands I recommend to relatives who don't fancy the idea of a generic / obscure (to them) brand of phone - many of their models having OKish waterproofing no bad thing either

    The Sony Xperia lower end phones are good enough for most peoples basic use requirements these days - all the higher end phones (of whatever brand) are slugging it out for a tiny market.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: If you say no

      The Sony Xperia lower end phones are good enough for most peoples basic use requirements these days

      Bingo. They are also significantly sturdier and more reliable than anything else in the same bracket. Based on the experience of running a 100% Xperia fleet for 5 years straight (2 adults, 2 children, 1 OAP), they usually live to the date when you need to upgrade them because the hardware is too old for modern apps, not because the user has destroyed them.

      I really do not see a use case for the XZ2. A XA does practically everything you may need from a phone, going beyond that is rather pointless.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: If you say no

      The Sony Xperia lower end phones are good enough for most peoples basic use requirements these days

      Unless one of their criteria is a decent battery life..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you say no

        Xperias generally have best in class battery life. I get 2 days decent use out of my XZ1. That's a day longer than most smartphones.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

    We used to mock unusably-large phones.

    Now they are the default, the sheeple don't see how ridiculous they are and they keep buying - and smashing and buying again - the thin, fragile phablets.

    Now even Sony have made their "Compact" phone 5 bloody inches and there are almost NO reasonably-sized, reasonably-specced phones left for the few users who see beyond fashion and the manufacturers' desire to force thin, fragile phablets on us all.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      I'm glad I didn't wait and got a XZ1 compact a little while ago.

      XZ1: 5.2", XZ1 compact: 4.6", XZ2 "compact": 5.0". I wonder if this has anything to do with the reviewers looking at raw pixel counts and then complaining about the compact screen not having the same resolution as 6" phablets. And they still managed to find room for a headphone jack.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

        Ah, but what're the dimensions of the phone? Screens have got bigger as bezels have shrunk.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

          @Aladdin Sane

          I'm glad to see someone is actually using their brain. Yep, this generation of Xperia Compact is the same width as previous versions - partly because if the reduced bezel size (something Sony were knocked for not adopting last year) and because the screen's aspect ratio is different.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

            I would actually prefer smaller bezels = smaller phone, not reason to keep phone the same size and make the screen bigger.

            Edit: I also don't see where the XZ2 compact dimensions are in the article either, or a link to fuller information, and the XZ2 dimensions are given and larger than the XZ1. So concluding the compact has also got bigger doesn't seem a particularly foolish thing to do.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

              > Edit: I also don't see where the XZ2 compact dimensions are in the article either, or a link to fuller information,

              Upvoted for stating your reasoning. I'd already read elsewhere that the new Sony phones were getting smaller bezels and the taller (2:1) aspect ratio that has been in vogue this last year - so a quick Google search confirmed that the XZ2 Compact is only 0.5mm wider than previous versions.

              I had the Z3 Compact and liked the size, both in the pocket and with regards to reaching almost all of the screen with my thumb. However, I still believe that the OP's alarm at Sony not making a truly compact phone to be premature. Don't panic!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Paris Hilton

                Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

                OP here.

                Smaller bezels should not be a chance to keep "compact" phones the same size with an even bigger screen - THE SCREEN WAS FINE BEFORE - but to SHRINK phones back to decent sizes we had before the rise of the phablets, and give us normal phones that are rugged enough for normal life.

                People complain that all phones are the same now, and they are so pathetically fragile - "gorilla" glass FFS - so why don't ANY manufacturers make a SMALL (4" or even less), THICK ONE with good specs and a big battery ?

                Although you are correct, I didn't take smaller bezels into account.

                Not blonde, female or even stupid, but I'll take the icon.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      > Now even Sony have made their "Compact" phone 5 bloody inches

      Calm down and think, FFS.

      The XZ2 Compact is the SAME WIDTH as previous Xperia Compact phones - 65mm. You do know that a x" 2:1 screen is narrower than an X" 16:9 screen don't you? And did you not notice that with this generation Sony have reduced the bezel sizes? Previous Xperia Compact phones were fragile to knocks against the screen edge on account of having ABS plastic bezels, so get a case and it'll be no more fragile than previous generations.

    3. Duffy Moon

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      "thin, fragile phablets"

      You could always get a CAT phone. I fancy the S60 with FLIR

    4. Chemical Bob
      Trollface

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      "We used to mock unusably-large phones."

      Whaddaya mean "unusably-large"?

      http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/20000/velka/old-phone.jpg

      1. onefang

        Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

        'Whaddaya mean "unusably-large"?

        http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/20000/velka/old-phone.jpg

        You didn't have to lug those phones around, or hold the entire thing up to your face. Have an up vote for the giggle anyway.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      Tastes change. I remember when the iPhone came out I thought it was ridiculously huge. The phones I'd owned before - Nokia 8860, 8260 and KRZR - were all chosen because they were very small. Now almost everyone (myself included) would think a 3.5" screen is ridiculously small.

      Though if you think about it, if you gave that original iPhone an edge to edge display like the X it would be over 5" which many would find just right...

    6. src

      Re: What's gone wrong ? IT'S BIGGER !

      My eyesight is shit these days. The bigger the better.

  3. iromko
    Go

    Price as a competitive advantage

    I wonder why the prices of these handsets aren't touted as a competitive advantage.

    £549 and £449 for top-of-the-line handsets may have been a lot 3-4 years ago, but now, when the flagships go for 800-900, the Sony top brass starts looking pretty cheap, considering the characteristics and top brand.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Don't encourage them !

      It's a bloody phone. Anything above €200 is expensive.

      1. BrixtonChris

        No it's not just a phone, not for me and I suspect many others.

        It's a SatNav, internet browser, email client, word processor, video phone, photo viewer, stills camera, video camera, clock, calendar, games console, music player, weather forecaster, newspaper, and much more. And yes, it can also make phone calls if that's something you still do.

        So, for those of us who want to use it as a portable computer, paying above two hundred quid is not necessarily that bad value.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The thing is, you can do all of that with a £200 phone. The more expensive ones get you a fancy, but ultimately pointless screen and a decent camera. If the latter isn't fantastic then the phone isn't worth the money.

          Others think differently and have their own priorities. If people want to spend money on something they enjoy then there's nothing wrong with that. I enjoy decent food and nice holidays and that's where I spend my dosh. I'm off skiing next week and will have my £150 phone in my pocket. If it breaks when I fall over (and I will fall over) I'll buy another one.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I prefer the Sony look. Bezel less designs are horrible to use, your hands obscure the display.

      As for headphone jacks, good riddance, the DAC in even an £10 usb-c adapter sounds massively better than the build in DAC, and is upgradable

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Component cost of a built in DAC in pretty much every phone on the market (including fruity phones) is less than 10p

        I'm thankful they got rid of the headphone jack, let me buy a superior DAC that makes music from mobile sound awesome

        1. David Nash

          DACs

          Yeah dongles dangling from our phones, that's what we need!

          I remember when I had a Sony phone with an extra add-on camera.

          "Who wants a camera on their phone?", I thought.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Not either/or

          I'm thankful they got rid of the headphone jack, let me buy a superior DAC that makes music from mobile sound awesome

          You can use USB headphones with their own DAC even on a phone that has a headphone, jack, you know. Removing the jack just removes user choice.

  5. PerlyKing Silver badge
    Meh

    Middle age spread?

    I'm not after the thinnest and lightest phone, but the XZ2 Compact is around 50% thicker and 30% heavier than my ageing Z3 Compact!

    With no FM radio either, the Huaweis are looking more and more appealing.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Middle age spread?

      I'll stick with my Z1. Fits small jacket pocket, fantastic FM radio, Headphone jack and also micro HDMI socket. Replaceable battery, Micro SD card slot, regular SIM.

      I'd buy a slightly fatter one with longer battery life. I don't want a smaller bezel. Makes screen too fragile and leaves nowhere to hold the phone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Middle age spread?

      Why do you care how thick your phone is ?

      Serious question, because I want a small, sturdy phone with a good battery and the thickness does not matter to me.

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: Why do you care how thick your phone is?

        @Bahboh

        Because I carry it in my trouser pocket and I don't like the look (or feel) of carrying a brick in there ;-)

        It's bad enough that phones are getting bigger, at least up until now they seemed to be getting thinner as well.

        Geek that I am, I've been keeping an eye on possible replacement phones and comparing various attributes in a spreadsheet. One of the things I keep track of is the volume (WxHxD, not dB ;-), and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact has the highest volume of all. Comparing by volume, it's bigger than a Samsung Galaxy Note 7!

    3. sopcannon39

      Re: Middle age spread?

      I prefer xiaomi. I have the MI5 at the moment and it does what I want it to do and I only charge 2-3 times a week.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have experience repairing

    Sony handsets for close relatives and they are possibly the worst designed that I have ever seen for general users. Use of glue on heat sensitive components, using 0.5mm thick glass panels with no support behind them. Pretty screens, i'll give them that, but when you've sat peeling off the back of an xperia coated in glass shards for the third time in as many weeks you just want to scream GET SOMETHING PLASTICKY.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: I have experience repairing

      I have to agree, the quality of the Xperias is rather lacking. My other half was a staunch fan of Sony phones from the Ericsson days, but since Sony Ericsson split the quality has gone down. The only Xperia I owned had a nasty habit of not noticing when I took the headphones out and continued to pump sound out to the jack until I reset the thing (extremely annoying when you answer a call, don't hear anything and haven't figured out the bug yet). A factory reset cured the issue for a few months, but it then reappeared. Every Xperia phone that has been in the house has had it's screen cracked. My other half's phones began eating through battery life extremely quickly...

      I could go on, but the gist is that there were so many little bugs with the Xperias that we decided not to bother. I now have an HTC, and my other half went to Samsung.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: I have experience repairing

        My Xperia X10 had an issue where you couldn't unlock it sometimes without a reboot. 2 years later my friend had a newer Xperia and it had the same bug. Horrible quality control there

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have experience repairing

      My other half had a z5 compact. She broke the screen or glass back 4 times. The mobile insurance would no longer cover it so I tried to repair it. Managed to get it all apart but the new screen didn't stick properly (despite using the decent screens with a full sticky gasket. Tried to take it back off to after ordering some new gaskets and the screen shattered in the process.

      I bought a new screen and despite being ultra careful i couldn't get the screen to remain stuck down - the gasket is extremely sticky, so I just can't work out what the issue was (even piled some books on it overnight.

      However the phone was excellent, great battery life (waterproof - before it broke), nice size, great specs for a compact so I bought her an XZ1 to replace it, along with a screen protector and a slim silicone case. Has since been dropped and the screen protector shattered but the phone survived without a scratch.

    3. nkuk

      Re: I have experience repairing

      Agreed, the build quality of Sony phones is lacking. I've owned many brands of phones and by far the worst have been the Sony phones I've owned. The screens have a tendency to shatter far more than any other phone I've had. I wouldn't ever buy another.

    4. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: I have experience repairing

      "when you've sat peeling off the back of an xperia coated in glass shards for the third time in as many weeks"

      My experience of Xperia phones is that the back peels off quite nicely all by itself without any effort at all, or indeed any desire for it to do so. Which made their claims of waterproof rather laughable really. There's a reason I haven't bought a Sony phone since the Z1; the specs sound good on paper and the price isn't bad compared to similar phones, but the build quality is utter shit.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    High-res audio but no headphone jack

    What are they smoking. Wireless connection REDUCES the quality compared to Analogue jack (extra codecs) and means earphones need charged. Idiotic.

    "High-res audio" is fake snake oil. No-one outside a studio/mixing desk needs it. Idiotic.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

      "Wireless connection REDUCES the quality..."

      Good point, I thought the same thing when I saw the headline.

      ...except that the article mentions using a wired adapter to get one's wired headphone connected to the wired socket on the phone.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

        I'm not sure analogue automatically equals better; it surely depends on the chips involved.

        I have an iRig for using my iPad as a guitar amp modeller and the version that plugs into the iPad dock socket is much better than the one which plugs into the 3.5mm port.

        Isn't the other issue it aids in waterproofing and reduces size needed for components?

    2. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

      On the same point...

      My present Asus Zenfone 3 supposedly has "Hi Res" 24-bit/192kHz audio. What it doesn't seem to have is enough low-impedance oomph (current output) to drive my better headphones. When I switch from my $25 headphones (higher Z) to my $200 headphone (lower Z), the bass response gets worse. In spite of the better headphones being spec'ed to 3Hz.

      On my other gadgets, the expensive headphones are wonderful. For example, my several old iPhones had excellent analog outputs (and a headphone socket) and they could make the big headphone actually vibrate with the infrasonic bass.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

      Yes, I need a jack for the earphones on the rare occasion I do make a call, as 1) I'm always somewhere noisy and 2) it's a pain just hunting up the earphones, I sure as hell don't have time to keep them charged.

    4. King Jack
      Megaphone

      Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

      The finest snake oil. To sell HD video they misrepresent digital recording by showing graphs with 'stair steps' and missing data. The only thing a high bit-depth gives you is increased dynamic range. Unless you listen to music where the loudest sound is a rocket taking off (which could damage or kill you) and the quietest thing on the same recording is a cricket farting then 24bits is waste of space. There are many videos on YouTube showing the folly of 24 bits for consumer use. High sample rates give you sounds above and bellow 'every' human's hearing range. Including the deluded who think their ears rival animals like elephants, bats and dogs. Unless you work in a recording studio and mix music you don't and never will need it. Another side effect is huge file sizes compared to 16 bit and the bragging rights of being duped into buying something that has zero benefit to you.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: High-res audio but no headphone jack

      "Wireless connection REDUCES the quality compared to Analogue jack"

      Nope. The DAC Inside your phone is very small, very cheap and very nasty. Bluetooth using LDAC or APT-X HD and a decent DAC in your headphones is a far superior option, likewise wired headphones with and inline USB-C DAC will easilly outclass the size constrained built in chip.

      You should listen to some high res audio via some decent LDAC enabled headphones, and they will totally blow away anything wired, not because of the wired aspect, but because of the cheap and nasty DAC your phone will have built in, one that you cant change or upgrade...

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Nope

    I'll stick with my {mmmf} years old feature phone that has all I want.

    Voice

    Text

    Radio

    Time

    1. Kaltern

      Re: Nope

      You do that, while the rest of the world moves on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope

      That's all well and good, but there's parts of the world where an Electronic Thumb* and an ersatz Babel Fish are bloody useful. Not to mention a Guide to where the best local equivalents to a Gargleblaster are served.

      (I'm just back from Saigon and the traffic congestion is bad. The quickest way around is to ride in the back of a scooter. These can't be flagged down on the street but must be hailed from an app on a phone, a la Uber.)

      *Electronic Thumb. This was a feature described as being bolted onto a connected information device, primarily marketed at interstellar travelers on a budget.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    There's a hole in my headset... thank goodness

    Earplugs are great for listening to music with any noise around as they tend to offer decent sound cancelling even at £15 BUT I cannot abide taking a call when I cannot hear myself. You end up shouting or just feeling really self-conscious. Feeding your mic back into the earphones would be ideal but this seems good too - though a way to turn it on/off would be even better.

    1. onefang

      Re: There's a hole in my headset... thank goodness

      "BUT I cannot abide taking a call when I cannot hear myself. You end up shouting or just feeling really self-conscious."

      Back in the Dark Ages, before every one was doing it, I bought an in ear head set for my mobile phone. I have a big bushy beard, and the wires on the head set matched it's colour. I plugged them in at the shop, listening to some music as I walk out of the shopping centre. Naturally the very first phone call I get while using them is at the busy bus stop outside the major shopping centre, from my mother. So in front of a very large crowd, that can't see the headphones, or the wires hidden in my beard, and are not used to such things, I'm explaining to my mother about all the weird looks I'm getting from the crowd, as I speak to my mother that isn't there, without holding a phone up to my ear.

  10. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Megaphone

    I typically use BT headsets with my phone, especially if I'm acting as "Smart Hands" in a server room with lots of AC & fan noise, while trying to talk to someone, while patching\tracing cables at the same time or if I'm traveling by plane.

    In those enviroments I'm not bothered to much by the sound quality as long as I can hear what needs to be heard.

  11. Krack73

    Not for me

    I liked my Sony phone looking like a Monolithic slab. Now the new Sony looks like it merged with HTC or Samsung, looks plastic and bland. Well done Sony. Also thanks for make my wired headphones redundant. Use an adapter what do you think you are Apple. Looks like my next phone will not be this plastic tat of a phone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony doesn't care about mobile phones

    It makes all its money from games, movies, camera sensors, accessories etc.

    Also, Sony phones are chock filled with crapware. Not as bad as Samsung but it's still bad.

    To add insult to injury, the XZ2 is 11.1mm thick and weighs 198g. Are we back to the mid 2000s? And the thick phone doesn't even have a big battery: only a measly 3180mAh. Makes you wonder what that extra thickness is holding...

    Prediction: Xperia will be sold off like VAIO after a few more lucklustre years. The very few hardcore Sony fanboys out there

    1. PaulR79

      Re: Sony doesn't care about mobile phones

      A massive 11.1mm thick and weighing 198g! Those are not negatives to me. I like my phones to feel solid and the weight isn't going to cause me to slump to one side. How is 3180mAh measly?

  13. MT Field

    They've put the god-damn fingerprint sensor on the back FFS.

  14. onefang

    So a bit of movement reliably skips a track. Have Sony rereleased the Discman?

  15. Pat Att

    No headphone jack?

    It can piss right off.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battery life

    I bought a Nokia 5 a few weeks ago. It's currently saying it has 65% charge, expecting to last for another 7 days, after being fully charged 4 days ago. I have found that charging it once a week is fine.

    I've always found that wifi is a big battery hog, so I'm in the habit of turning it off if I'm not using it, but GPS, Bluetooth and 4G are permanently on.

  17. PaulR79

    Expensive? Compared to what?

    "Where is it going wrong? One of the issues is that the high-end Xperias are expensive for consumers"

    Judging by the prices shown for the previous year's phones I have to question how these are expensive when you have Samsung and Apple fighting to push the 'normal' flagship price to about £800. £550 is where most flagship phones have been for a few years now.

    Is it expensive? In general and compared to a mid-range phone or a little known brand yes but for a top-tier well known brand it's priced around what I'd consider reasonable.

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