Sony’s new XZ2 Compact offers 95 percent of the experience touted by its larger sibling in a more pocketable package and we’re going to take you through some of the key features worth fiddling around with.
If you’re new to the world of Sony’s smartphones, the Xperia Assist feature is always the best place to start, and on the XZ2 Compact, it’s received a considerable revamp.
Tap the icon that sits front and centre of your default home screen or dive into the settings menu and look for ‘Xperia Assist’ to get started. Once you’ve plugged your name in, the new chat-style interface makes it easy to find out what your phone can do and any tips it pushes your way are then logged under the inbox tab so you can refer back to them whenever you want.
The XZ2 Compact may pack in a sizeable 5-inch display but the new 18:9 aspect ratio means it’s really just taller than its predecessor but no wider. Aside from bringing the design up to date, that does also mean that reaching the top of the interface with a single mitt is even trickier than before.
Luckily Sony has finally implemented a proper one-handed mode in a similar style to that of Huawei. It should be enabled by default but if not, you’ll find the option to switch it on within the ‘Interaction’ section of the phone’s display settings. Once enabled you simply have to swipe across the navigation keys to shrink the UI down for more manageable interaction.
Whilst shrunk you can tap the arrow key to switch which side the UI is justified against, drag the chevrons at the corner to resize it or grab the parallel handles to move it up and down. Then just tap on any blank black space when you’re done, to scale everything back up again.
Customising the display
This is the first Compact phone to boast HDR visuals and the 2160×1080 Triluminos display really is a thing of beauty. If you don’t like exactly what you see though, Sony has afforded users a ton of controls to tweak the viewing experience on the XZ2 to your preference.
Head to ‘Display’ in the settings menu and you’ll find a host of options worth tinkering with. ‘Smart backlight control’ ensures the screen stays on when the phone detects that you’re looking at it, ‘Night Light’ turns your screen amber to make late night or low light viewing easier on the eyes and can be set to a custom schedule or sunrise and sunset, whilst the ‘Quality’ section of the display settings covers everything from colour and white balance to video enhancement.
Just swipe around in there until you’re happy with how the XZ2 Compact displays the content you love.
Depending on the market you pick your XZ2 Compact up in you might run into some preloaded bloatware in the form of apps from other brands or companies you simply don’t plan on using.
Thankfully, getting rid of said apps is just as easy as uninstalling any program downloaded from the Play Store. Long-press on the app you want to remove and you should see the option to disable it.
Disabling an app wipes any local data tied to it and stops it from operating on your device. It disappears from your apps drawer too, so should you want to enable it again, you can either search for it on the Play Store and tab ‘Enable’ or jump into the ‘Apps & notifications’ section of your phone’s settings menu, tap ‘App info’ and then filter by disabled apps. You’ll then see any apps that you’ve previously locked down and find the option to enable them again with a single tap.
Another part of the Xperia Assist experience that we haven’t mentioned is Xperia Actions. Found at the top of the tools section, Sony has laid out a series of potential situations where you might want your phone to behave a little differently to usual.
You can simply toggle them on if the description of what each does sounds like the right fit, or tap on them to see the individual changes that enabling each action will make. You can then tick the changes you want to occur, whilst leaving the ones you don’t blank.
Some actions also let you program in their activity based on time of day or location.
Customising quick settings
Underpinned by 8.0 Oreo means some actions, like customising the Compact’s quick settings should feel familiar to users coming from other Android devices. Just swipe down from the top of the screen twice to unfurl the full quick settings menu and then tap the pencil icon at the bottom.
From here, just drag and drop the features you want accessible where you want them and then tap the back or home button when you’re done.
Worried your mates might try and nosy about elsewhere on your phone when you hand it over to them to show them something? That’s where screen-pinning comes in handy.
Found at the bottom of the ‘Lock screen & security’ section of the settings menu, ‘Screen-pinning’ lets you lock apps on-screen from the app switcher. To unlock them again tap both the back and app switching keys at the same time. Depending on how you set it up, the Compact will also ask for your PIN, pattern or fingerprint to confirm the unlock.
Customising News Suite notifications
Sony’s own News Suite app comes pre-loaded on the XZ2 Compact and in truth it’s a decent news reader, breaking content down into headline stories followed by a host of other categories, including entertainment, sports, politics and more.
By default, it also places the biggest and breaking stories on both your lock screen and within your notifications pane, which for some may be useful but for others an annoyance. To disable these avenues of news delivery without disabling notifications for the app outright, open the News Suite app found within the apps drawer and swipe right or tap the icon in the top left to access the app’s specific settings menu.
Under ‘Settings’ you’ll see a section marked ‘Notifications’ in which lies an option called ‘Scheduled feed notifications’. Untick any pre-scheduled notifications, tap ‘OK’ and then you shouldn’t be disturbed by News Suite anymore.