Let the trial begins. Can I jump back to the Android world again? #JumpShipTest #PlusOne #MinusOne #NotPlusOne #NotMinusOne
A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed to be given a week long opportunity to try out the new Sony Mobile flagship product, Xperia Z2. During the trial, I have been “tweeting” about my experience in Instagram (when I have something visual to talk about!), Tweeter (when my takeaway was just 120 characters long!) and Facebook (when I can’t tweet via Instagram nor Tweeter!). Here’s a consolidation of the experience tweets;
First Un-boxing Experience
Z2 retains the DNA of Xperia with the dial like power button, and a dedicated camera button which you can activate the camera function even if your phone is pin locked. Something that I had silently wished for in first Z generation. #PlusOne
Setting up is a breeze. Android has come a long way, but Sony plays a part here #PlusOne
My first gripe of the phone: Z2 uses micro SIM instead of nano. Now I need to buy the adaptor! #MinusOne
I talked about how the dial like power button is Sony DNA, but I didn’t like the lack of tactile feel. #NotPlusOne #NotMinusOne
Sony Mobile has definitely come a long way to make Android phone an end user phone. No doubt Andorid itself, and the likes of Cyanogen, have progressed by leaps and bounds to make the experience less intimidating to technically less inclined end users. Sony Mobile just completes the last piece of the experience puzzle through its layman friendly setup process, simplified but very functional home application and polished applications in Gallery, Video, Mail, Calendar, etc.
Z1, Z2 … more than just different codes
Same but not same #NotMinusOne
On first look, it is not easy to idenitfy which is Z1 and which is Z2. My wife complained that I took her Z1 when I was holding a Z2. There are some subtle differences but generally, its slightly (very very marginal!) lighter, thinner and cleaner (in its design).
The Z2 is clear a winner over Z1, once you look beyond its cosmetic appearance. The screen is a good example. I always feel Xperia Z1 screen is washed out, especially when you place it beside a phone with great display (like the Lumias) and the following photo just proves my point. Good news is Sony had fixed it in Xperia Z2 but that means Xperia Z1 owners would feel shortchanged.
This is how the two screens compare up. No prize for guessing which is Z1 and which is Z2.#PlusOne
Bigger Lumia 1520 vs Better Xperia Z2?
The screen maybe smaller than my 6″ Lumia 1520, but the qwerty keyboard remains functional, even though the keys looks too tiny for my fat thumbs.#PlusOne
I was talking about how the smaller screen in Xperia Z2 remains functional, coming from big screen Lumia 1520. Turns out it’s because of the enhanced autocorrect capability implemented in Xperia Z2. I estimated I have at least 50% of typo mistakes, all thanks to a smaller screen (despite sporting a 5.2″ screen) and my big fat thumbs. Out of which, I estimated 90% of them are auto corrected correctly, even with local terms like kns, wahlao and Tampines! The autocorrect function in Xperia Z2 has this learning feature to learn my past spellings from various sources, including Facebook, Tweeter, Text message and Gmail. Which means you do not need to worry that your Xperia is a strict British English teacher since it can also understand your Singlish lingo. The only gripe I have now is the space bar is too close to the last row of qwerty keys, so I always end up with “v” instead of space. No way the autocorrect function can understand ehatvivwanrvtyped, can it?
Lumia vs Xperia photo shootout #NotPlusOne #NotMinusOne
Xperia Z2, with its exmor lens sensor continues to demonstrate its prowess when taking shot in low light condition. Lumia seems to be under exposed although I would say Xperia overcompensate the dim lighting condition. The former still captures all the details and with its ability to have full control over all the camera settings, from shutter speed to white balance, Lumia 1520 remains comparable if not better than Xperia Z2.
Is this the moment to join the dark side?
Even though speed could deteriorate over times with an overloaded phone, it’s nevertheless a refreshing to experience the fast navigation in Android over Windows Phone. I have to say the useless application animation has to be one of, if not main, culprit in the latter for giving that lag experience. You don’t really feel it’s slow until you get to see a fast one. Just as you think your Honda is fast until you sit in a Ferrari. #PlusOne
The moment one steps into Android world, it’s like as if a kid has walked into a toy megastore, surrounded by all the goodies. You never know how much you have missed out until you experience the richness of apps again, the likes of #smugmug #plex #blackvue #obd2 #PlusOne
So much has been said about the lack of apps in Windows Phone world. I used to think that app is a nice to have if the phone/phone OS maker takes care of the essential functions like PIM, social media like Facebook and Twitter, and a good internet browser that can make up for the lack of internet-based apps. However, doing so implies one is essentially restricted to what the phone maker has to offer. Your phone is as smart as the phone maker is, duh! The lack of apps problem however is probably less a concern to business users, so one man’s meat is another man’s poison!
First test on work productivity passed with flying colours. Exchange email implementation is very seamless as I could access EAL (Enterprise Address List) instantaneously, presumably because of a local instance of the EAL. The experience in fact is much better than Windows Phone for various reasons. Sony must be credited for this as I believe this is not an Android experience. #PlusOne
Second test on work productivity passed! At least for now. PowerPoint can now be viewed without format loss, particular on those that uses complex slide objects or slide animation that are found in newer Office 2013. #PlusOne
My biggest complaint about Android phones in the past has been its amateurish functionality in its office productivity tools such as powerpoint or excel. Even Exchange email and calendar clients were half baked; incomplete or missing Enterprise address lookup feature, calendar appointment sync issue, inability to initiate an invite, etc. Sony Mobile seems to have all these fixed. NB: I stand corrected if these are also fixed in pure Android phones.
No more issues sending an email to an US-based colleague without having to remember his or her name. In Windows Phone, you need to follow the last name first name format in order for the Windows Phone lookup to be able to find the matching contact, but not necessary in case of Xperia Z2. When there are multiple contacts having similar name in the Enterprise Directory, you can’t tell the difference in Windows Phone. In Xperia Z2, I was surprisingly impressed that it could. The other big, if not biggest deal breaker in the past has been Microsoft Office compatibility. I have tried all the Office apps, from Google Office to QuickOffice, but none of them was able to display slides or spreadsheet without format and/or content loss. Miraculously, Microsoft decides to port the their jewel app to Android and iOS recently. This, I think, has to be the key to unlock the door to the dark side!
I had always thought Windows Phone is less efficient in its network data operation, but this video shows otherwise. Again, I think the cursor animation in Wp8 might have created that slow perception. On the otherhand, Microsoft has done a great job in creating that fast experience, probably through a lower resolution thumbnail and caching implementation. #MinusOne
Readability under direct sunlight is next to zero. Disappointing or does anybody knows it’s not turned on? #MinusOne
Z2 haptic feedback still has the same issue as its predecessors, i.e. Z and Z1. I observed that their haptic feedback mechanism is less superior than other makers. As you hit the screen, the vibration effect is not “firm” and “controlled”, as in you feel like the entire screen is vibrating (alittle exaggerating but I hope you get my drift). Its even more obvious if you hit a qwerty key repeatedly. In some instances, such as the lockscreen, it makes input appears to be less responsive. I have to turn off haptic feedback in the lockscreen setting to eliminate the lag. #MinusOne
Had a first significant concern after all the raves and positive experiences so far. The screen was not responsive yesterday, and it was displaying the animated wallpaper. Thinking that the unit must have hung, I instinctively reset the phone by pressing and holding on to the power button (a practice that I always do when Lumia hangs on me). Then the phone restarts, as expected but what follows surprised me. The phone was actually hard reset-ed. All the settings and configurations were lost, and photos and personal files were erased. Something must have happened to cause a system panic and result in a factory reset. Hopefully it’s an isolated case because I have been liking what I had experienced so far till this incident happened. #MinusOne
Xperia Z2 has its quirks, so don’t get away with the impression it is a perfect phone. I have yet to come across one, and this certainly is not. Save the last incident, which I hope its truly an isolated one, those imperfections may not be an issue for those who are not really affected by them, e.g. you don’t use your phone under the sun. In today’s market, this is probably one of the very rare few I would consider if I have to switch over to Android now. The fact that I am ready to jump after a week trial, sums up my favorable opinions about this gem. The only reason why I am holding my move? No it’s not XiaoMi. It has got to be something that #PlusOne, anybody?