Impressive Sony-made camera sensors are almost impossible to avoid when smartphone shopping, but Sony seems to be playing it safe with the XZ2. Much like its predecessor, the XZ2 packs a 19MP Motion Eye sensor around back, and yes, there's still only one of them. It'll be a little while before you can nab a Sony phone with a dual camera, but the company has suggested we'll hear a little more about those plans shortly. We'll be waiting. In the meantime, though, the results I squeezed out of the XZ2's camera were mostly impressive: lots of bright colors and sharp detail appeared, even with non-final software and drab New York weather throwing a wrench into things.
The actual sensor Sony used might not have changed, but it has picked up a few new tricks. Smartphone videographers can now shoot 960FPS, super-slow-motion video in full HD (up from 720p), and since there's a Snapdragon 845 tucked away inside, the XZ2 can capture 4K HDR video as well.
Meanwhile, a more modest 5-megapixel camera sits above the screen, but it captures more than standard selfies. The original Xperia XZ came with a 3D creator mode that let you "scan" objects with the phone's main camera to build 3D models for sharing on Facebook or printing. Sure, it was gimmicky; it was also a classic case of Sony being weird for reasons that are never really clear. In any case, the feature had one notable shortcoming: it was fine for scanning objects in front of you, but less than ideal for scanning your own head. Sony has finally fixed that tragic oversight — those scans can now be created using the front-facing camera, and while the process can be awkward (I was prompted to remove my glasses and do everything blind), the results can be surprisingly impressive. These 3D scans also get bonus points for being slightly less creepy than the Galaxy S9's AR emoji.