Xperia Z2 tested in audio comparison with HTC One and Xperia Z1

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 10, 2014
Sony Xperia Z2 walkman

Superior sound quality is one of the main features that Sony promotes when it comes to the new Xperia Z2. According to the company, the Xperia Z2 delivers “a crisp and clear audio experience,” with its stereo speakers that offer “a more dynamic sound with a depth that replicates real, natural hearing.” But how good is the device compared to the incumbent king of sound quality, the HTC One?

Folks at set out to find out in a quick test that compared audio quality on the Xperia Z2 and the HTC One across several musical genres.

HTC One’s BoomSound speakers output slightly clearer sound, but the Xperia Z2 takes the lead when it comes to volume and richness. Sony’s flagship especially shines when it comes to pop and hip-hop music, while the One is better suited for classical and other genres where clarity is more important than richness.

Holding your own against the HTC One is no mean feat, so what makes the magic happen? Besides moving the stereo speakers to the front, Sony packed a set of technologies it calls ClearAudio+ on the Xperia Z2, comprised of Clear Stereo, Clear Bass, and Clear Phase. Details are scarce, but the end result should be, in Sony’s words, “legendary sound”. There’s also built-in noise cancellation, which, combined with Sony’s MDR-NC31EM headphones, should cut out ambient noise by up to 98 percent.

The jump in sound quality compared to the Xperia Z1 (still less than six months old!) can be clearly heard in this video from ePrice.

We look forward to seeing what HTC is preparing for the speakers of the All New HTC One, coming March 25. Meanwhile, tell us, how important is sound quality for you when you pick up a smartphone?

  • Joe Barkho

    If the rumors are true, the new One will best both of these phones in sound.

    • KingofPing

      Can’t wait to try it out. Plan to be in-store on release-day. Hopefully we’ll find out when that may be on the 25th.

      Got my One paid off and am looking forward to seeing Sense 6 and the camera. Not 100% sold on it yet, but if it’s impressive enough of an upgrade form the One (and the GPe rumor pans out), I’ll likely be all over it.

      Not using GPe currently on my One because I *really* like the Sense 5.5 Quick Settings tiles, but I do like having the option and have done the full-conversion (including receiving OTAs) in the past. Having that ability, whether I ever use it or not, is now a major determining factor in my phone purchases going forward.

      • Joe Barkho

        But those bezels… The only thing I hate about it honestly. The moto x is much smaller than the one and they’re both the same screen size. Maybe the boom sound takes up a lot more space, but those bezels are pushing it!

        • KingofPing

          The “bezel” issue has never even fallen on my radar. Not a factor at all for me.

          In short: Pfft….

          • Castor

            although i’m quite sure somehow you would want a device similar to this one from sharp:


          • KingofPing

            Nope. Both looks very ugly to me.

            ..could be that I dislike black phones.


          • cellabonez

            does the sharp has a front facing camera

          • Castor

            yes. it has everything the xz1 has except the loud speakers. it even has an f/1.9 16MP camera.

            i’m not showing this because i like the sharp design. i just want to show that it’s possible to cut down the bezels to make the device look smaller by sacrificing the thickness.

            also, as the sharp device shows, it can be water-resistant without having those thick bezels.

            the sharp phone is 10mm thick.

          • Qu Hao

            actually, the unbalanced(uneven design top/bottom) is problematic when you want to use phone horizontally.

          • kirakira

            yes. at the bottom. so you have to be careful in showing your nostrils and boogers.

    • K

      I have yet to hear any rumors about the All New One’s speaker performance. Based on the long video leak that came out last week, the old One appeared to have the better sound compared to the All New One. Granted it was a test unit so that could be a reason.

  • Doug Baker

    I would rather find out how good and loud it is with headphones.

  • Ruz

    Does it have built-in Wolf* DAC??
    If no, then its pointless for me

    • K

      Qualcomm chip devices use their DAC. Don’t expect to find Wolfson accompanying their processors.

      • Ruz

        Wolfson has better DAC and it is considered to be advanced HiFi

    • chaki-

      Whyyyyy? Whyyyyy? Whats with the WDAC……fanboyism? You can have the best DAC in the world but it is the software and the tweaking that matters.

      • Mike Reid

        Software without good hardware to run on is useless.

        Hardware comes first.

        For the more audio purists, Wolfson on the GS1 and GS3/Note2 set the standard.

        But article talks about HTC One ? Because the speakers ? IMO headset quality more important for most audio purists.

        • Castor

          but then will audio purists want to enjoy music through smartphone speakers?

          • Ruz

            A big NO is the answer

      • Ruz

        Would u drive a race with BMW3 or BMW7? Its the hardware that matters the most difference and software only supports it my dear

        • Ruz

          ohh that bmw example was in context to win the race

  • Brendon Brown

    I’d take the Z2. Since I don’t listen to classic… XD

  • Grant Henry

    I use my smartphone on hands free most of the time for business so sound clarity is vitally important.. I’m amazed others do not do twin speakers I’m probably going to trade in my Samsung s3 for the new HTC..

  • Cao Meo

    HTC says new One will have better sound, this is the rival to Z2, not last year HTC One

  • Brian Bendorff Geertsen

    Z2 vs S5 ? Anyone

  • Brian Bendorff Geertsen

    Z2 vs S5 ? Anyone ?

    • Hariton

      Z2 for me

    • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

      The Z2 wins by a mile.

  • I wonder how good the X2 sounds with high end headphones. The One’s built-in headphone amp does a terrific job with quality and loudness. I hope the All-new One has an amp too.

  • fredphoesh

    Another completely IRRELEVANT test!
    1/ the mic on the Z2 is NOT in front of the phone, and testing it at this angle, an angle you would NEVER watch a video from, is giving distinct advantage to the Z2. The HTC speaker is now facing up, away from the camera.
    2/ What kind of mic did you use on the camera, the crap mic that is on a DSLR? If so, this is bogus anyway. You have to use a full frequency mic to have a relevant test.

    • Gary Ohanian

      A completely IRRELEVANT comment. I think you need to do some research before commenting.

      1. Sound comes from speakers, not mic (I’m assuming you meant speaker and it’s a typo).
      2. The Z1 has dual FRONT FACING speakers. Hence the comparison. Z1 did not.

      3. Whatever microphone was used in the video is relevant. But it also has the authors opinion who was in the room using his ears. You can either trust him or no, that’s up to you. If you don’t trust him, don’t read the article.

      If you have a HTC One, then enjoy it. Don’t be upset just because there’s another phone out there that may do some things equally as good or in some cases better. Life’s to short to get heated over a comparison

    • Castor

      if you happened to got to the youtube vid’s comments section, the authors answered that issue. they used three microphones to record the whole thing. to give ll of them equal opportunity to be heard.

  • apianist16

    Sorry, but I would much rather have a clear sound than really rich, fuzzy, and loud sound. How do you enjoy the music if you can’t hear it clearly? Classical music FTW, BTW. :)

    • Castor

      for mobile phones, loudness is more preferable. do you seriously listen to music from your phone’s speakers? that’s rather doltish. if you really want to enjoy good music, you use earphones or decent speakers.

  • fran farrell

    Now that the speakers are up front maybe they could beamform sound toward where the camera says your ears are. Or .. beamform mics on where your mouth is.

  • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

    This comparison doesn’t include Rock and Metal….

  • Lubo Hr.

    I love my HTC One and I hope the new one will be the phone on a year again.Thank you HTC you make me feel N1

  • Austin

    I’d pick the Z2 I’ve always been a fan of xperia. I’ve tried the HTC one and I’m very satisfied with it until the purple tint appeared on the camera then I was very disappointed with htc.