Sony has an...interesting...position in the Android smartphone space. Sony produced some darn good phones in 2017, such as the Xperia XZ Premium and XZ1, but when compared to handsets like the Galaxy S8, Pixel 2, and even the OnePlus 5T, Sony's offerings fell flat in one area or another.
We've seen Sony's hand for 2018, and while this year's phones still won't keep everyone from jumping on the Samsung and Google bandwagons, they are compelling handsets that are at least worth checking out.
The phones that are still coming
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
In mid-April, Sony announced the Xperia XZ2 Premium. This is a bigger, badder, more expensive version of the regular XZ2 that's already been released, and while there's no denying its power, it's going to set you back a very pretty penny.
One of the main draws to the XZ2 Premium is its 5.8-inch 4K HDR display. That's the same resolution found on most premium TVs these days, and Sony says it's 30% brighter than the previous Xperia XZ Premium.
You'll also find dual 19MP + 12MP rear cameras, the Snapdragon 845, 6GB RAM, and a 3,540 mAh battery.
The Xperia XZ2 Premium costs $999.99, and pre-orders are open now at Amazon and Best Buy with shipments expected to start going out on July 30. Buying the phone from Amazon will let you get a free pair of Sony's Xperia Ear Duo earbuds that retail for $280, but even then, only die-hard Sony fans will likely give any serious thought to the phone with a price that big.
Sony Xperia R2/R2 Plus
Last October saw the release of the Xperia R1 and R1 Plus — two budget phones that offered rock-solid specs at seriously affordable price points.
The rumor mill on successors to these two phones is pretty quiet at the moment, but there's no reason to believe Sony won't kick out an R2 and R2 Plus before 2018 is over.
India was the target market for the R1 series, and assuming the we get an R2, that'll likely remain the same.
The phones that have already been released
Sony Xperia XA2 Plus
In January of this year, Sony announced the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra as its two midrange handsets for 2018. Fast forward to July, and we now have the Xperia XA2 Plus.
As the name suggests, the XA2 Plus is very similar to the other XA2 phones we already have. There's the Snapdragon 630 processor, an aluminum unibody design, the XA2 Ultra's 3,580 mAh battery, and Android Oreo.
Perhaps the biggest change with the XA2 Plus lies with its display. While the XA2 and XA2 Ultra use the older 16:9 aspect ratio, the XA2 Plus steps up to an 18:9 6-inch Full HD+ panel. There's also a single 8MP front-facing camera which is a step down from the XA2 Ultra's dual front-facing cameras. Lastly, the XA2 Plus will offer much better audio thanks to support for Sony's High-Resolution Audio platform.
The Xperia XA2 Plus goes on sale in late August with an unspecified price.
Sony Xperia XZ2
Sony's big flagship this year is the Xperia XZ2. The XZ2 is a successor to last year's XZ1 and features a completely new design language compared to other Xperia phones of the last few years. The glass back is super reflective with elegant curves, the fingerprint sensor is smack dab in the middle below the rear camera, and there's an 18:9 screen with slim bezels.
Under the hood, the XZ2 is packing all of the latest specs — including the Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM, 19MP/5MP rear/front cameras, IP68 dust/water resistance, and Android 8.0 Oreo. The phone costs $800 and is on sale now.
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
There's no denying that the XZ2 is a powerful phone, but what if you want all that horsepower in a phone that's considerably smaller and a bit cheaper? For you, Sony's got the Xperia XZ2 Compact.
The XZ2 Compact is mostly the same phone as the regular XZ2, save for a smaller battery, 5-inch screen, and a plastic back. Everything else, such as processor and cameras, are exactly the same.
It's not necessarily cheap at $649, but it's one of the few truly small phones that offers a no-compromises flagship experience.
Sony Xperia XA2/XA2 Ultra
During this past CES, Sony officially took the wraps off of the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra. Both phones are mid-rangers in Sony's lineup for the year, and while there's nothing particularly exciting about them, they do the basics really, really well while keeping costs low.
The XA2 offers a refreshingly small 5.2-inch display, and for those of you that prefer big phones, the XA2 Ultra should serve you just fne with a 6-inch screen size. Both come equipped with an LCD panel and resolution of 1920 x 1080, and for the first time ever, these two Sony phones have working fingerprint sensors in the United States 👏.
Each phone also shares NFC, Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, USB-C for charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Aside from the screen size, the only other big difference lies with the XA2's 3,300 mAh battery and the XA2 Ultra's 3,580 mAh unit.
The XA2 sells for a fair $349, and stepping up to the XA2 Ultra will cost you $449.
Sony Xperia L2
If you like what the XA2 and XA2 Ultra bring to the table but want to spend even less, Sony's Xperia L2 is for you.
The Xperia L2 has a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720, MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 3,300 mAh battery. As for the cameras, you'll find a 13MP sensor on the back and an 8MP one up front.
There's a working fingerprint sensor on the L2 and support for NFC just like on the XA2 and XA2 Ultra, but unlike those phones, the L2 ships with the older Android 7.1.1 Nougat.
You can buy the Xperia L2 in black, gold, and pink, and its price of $250 is more than manageable.
Updated July 11, 2018: Added the Xperia XA2 Plus to the list.
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