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Sony Xperia Z2 Keeps Waterproof Design, Adds 4K Video Recording and Noise Cancelling

This morning, Sony Mobile took the wraps off of its update to its flagship, now the Xperia Z2. What sets this line apart from the rest, the Z2 is also dust-resistant and waterproof (IP55 & IP58). 

Xperia Z2 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.3 GHz quad-core Krait CPUs and 4G LTE along with the Adreno 330 GPU. Keeping it on is a large 3200 mAh battery, which along with Sony's Battery STAMINA mode should keep you charger-free for an entire day.

The first point Sony emphasized with the Z2 is its camera and camcorder that use the 20.7 megapixel 1/2.3-type Exmor RS for mobile CMOS image sensor, Sony's G Lens and intelligent BIONZ for mobile image processing engine. From a pure specs standpoint, this appears to be the same camera sensor as in the Xperia Z1 and Z1s, so we'll have to take a better look before we can make any calls on whether there are any improvements.

What we do know about the camera function, however, is that the software and firmware must be different as the Z2 can capture video in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels/30p), giving Sony the very specific title of boasting that it has "the world's best camcorder in a waterproof smartphone." All the other custom Sony features are there, including SteadyShot and the new Movie Creator video editor.

Sony's got a few other Xperia camera apps pre-loaded, which include:

·       Timeshift video: To relive every moment of the action in slow motion detail, the new Timeshift video mode lets you shoot in 120 frames per second and select scenes to slow the playback speed for dramatic slow motion effects exactly where you want, even underwater.

·       Creative effect: Use a range of new creative effects for your photos and videos. Available in real-time for video, these adjustments enhance your clips with a range of effects such as colors, image trails, mirror and motion effects.

·       Background defocus: This new camera app simulates a shallow depth of field. Capture two photos at different focus settings and blend together the different depths, leading to a blurred out background for more professional looking photos.

·       AR effect: Now available for video recording, have some fun with your photos and videos with new augmented reality animations, including sound effects for video.

·       Vine: Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see – all from your camera's viewfinder. Plus, using the dedicated camera button, you can capture Vine videos underwater as well.

The Xperia Z2 keeps the same design language as its predecessors with glass panels encased in a single aluminum frame with smoother edges. The screen is new too, at 5.2-inches, and boasts the usual BRAVIA TV. Sony says that its new 1080p TRILUMINOS display has a feature called Live Color LED that uses red and green phosphor with blue LEDs and customized color filters to produce a brighter and more uniform light. The result should be richer colors on the screen for all of your smartphone viewing without the risk of saturation. There's also the software-based X-Reality, which analyzes each image to optimize colors, sharpness and contrast while also reducing noise. Given some of the disappointing panels in recent Xperia Z phones, we hope this is a good one.

New in the Z2 are stereo speakers (should you ever want to share your music and jams... but please not on the bus) and digital noise cancelling technology. Sony tells us that its digital noise cancelling technology and dynamic sound in Xperia Z2 helps reduce up to 98 percent of ambient noise, when used with the compact in-ear MDR NC31EM Noise Cancelling Headset. We'll have to go hands-on and ears-on before we can tell you whether this is better than standard noise cancelling headphones.

Check out all our Mobile World Congress 2014 coverage here!

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Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.