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Sony's reason for dropping the Xperia XZ2 headphone jack is all kinds of lame

Official Sony FAQ claims new Ambient Flow design language to blame for the headphone jack's removal. We don't buy it.

Published onMarch 14, 2018

Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Sony has explained why it dropped the headphone jack from the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact.
  • In an official FAQ, Sony reasons that the new Ambient Flow design language forced it to drop the 3.5mm port.
  • Is that really a good enough excuse, though?

Up until the recent reveal of the Xperia XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact, Sony had been one of the last major holdouts on the industry-wide headphone jack cull. With its latest flagships, however, the Japanese giant has joined the likes of Google, Motorola, HTC, and many more in doing away with the beloved 3.5mm port.

We’ve already looked at both sides of this argument at great length in a pair of articles that you can check out here and here, but regardless of your viewpoint, there are plenty of consumers out there for whom the lack of a headphone jack is an absolute deal breaker.

We’ve heard plenty of different excuses from various manufacturers as to why they decided to ditch the headphone jack, and now Sony has revealed its own reasoning in an official FAQ (via XperiaBlog). Here’s the excerpt in question:

Why did you remove the headphone jack on XZ2 and XZ2 Compact?
This is part of the shift to our new Ambient Flow design language. In order to create the beautiful seamless design, our designers needed to remove the headphone jack. Plus, we’re aware of the major market trend toward wireless headphones over wired headphones.
But can I still use wired headphones with XZ2 or XZ2 Compact?
Yes absolutely, both new smartphones come boxed with an adaptor. This will also support Hi-Res Audio.

Let’s unpack that first answer, shall we? Sony says that its long-overdue design overhaul – one that many consider to still be far too safe – is to blame for the headphone jack’s removal.

The insinuation here is that there’s no way that a “seamless design” based on the concept of flowing water with limited bezels and glass construction could accommodate the traditional 3.5mm port. That’s why the recently-revealed Samsung Galaxy S9 with its water-inspired Infinity Display, limited bezels, and glass chassis doesn’t feature a… oh, it does.

Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact specs: Almost everything you might want

As for Sony’s claim that the market is trending towards wireless headphones, this is true to some extent. There’s evidence that the cost of headphones is rising, perhaps due to the higher price of wireless audio hardware, but solid figures are hard to come by.

What Sony isn’t taking into account are the millions of users who are quite happy with their existing headphones. That’s a lot of buyers that Sony could be losing, especially if you’re the type who hates dongles.

There are, of course, plenty of people out there who are quite happy to make the switch to wireless, and the lack of a headphone jack hasn’t stopped other devices from achieving impressive sales (hello, iPhone). That being said, Sony’s logic is more than a little flawed and it’s hard to escape the feeling that it isn’t being entirely honest.

What do you think of Sony’s decision to ditch the jack? Let us know in the comments.

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