Sony seems to be taking a page from Samsung's book and releasing minor spins on its flagship. But while the Xperia Z2a that was just introduced in Taiwan closely resembles the Xperia Z2, it cuts corners on a few key spots that leaves the smartphone seem less appealing.
Deep inside, it would be easy to mistake the Xperia Z2a for the Xperia Z2. Both are powered by the exact same processor, the lower variant of the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 that runs at 2.3 GHz per core. It has 3 GB of RAM, admittedly quite high for most smartphones, and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. You also get the 20.7 megapixel 1/2.3 Exmor RS rear camera that is the pride and joy of Sony on its recent flagships. These specs pretty much match the Sony Xperia ZL2 that was announced also recently, but headed for the Japanese market instead.
The differences between this and the flagship, then, can mostly be seen from the outside, starting with the display. The Xperia Z2a has a smaller 5.0-inch screen and a correspondingly lower 720p resolution, compared to the 5.2-inch 1080p display of the Xperia Z2. Although Sony notes that the Xperia Z2a's screen also employs its proprietary display technologies such as BRAVIA and TRILUMINOS, the effects of that aren't so evident. In a side-by-side comparison between the two smartphones, the output of the Xperia Z2a appear faded and washed out when viewed at angles. When seen head on, however, the differences are less distinct.
The body design also differs greatly and resemble exactly that of the Japanese Xperia ZL2. Instead of the smooth and flat rear surface seen on the Xperia Z2, this Taiwanese smartphone sports a slightly raised and curved back, leaving a very visible rim around the edges. Tastes and opinions will definitely vary, but this design does make the Xperia Z2a look distinct but also rather cheap. But the biggest disappointment will be found in the front-facing camera. For reasons yet unknown, Sony has replaced the 2.2 megapixel camera there with a measly 0.3 megapixel shooter, definitely much to the distress of selfie fans or even those who live by video chats.
One thing going for this smartphone, at least in the Taiwanese market, is that it supports the country's full-band LTE, which could not be said the same of the Xperia Z2. Fortunately for those upset by this variant, Sony might not release the Xperia Z2a outside of Taiwan where the device is expected to go on sale next month. No price has yet been divulged, but, given the specs, it is highly likely that it will cost less than the flagship.