|+ Great battery life||- Weak camera|
|+ Preminum design||- Little in-built storage|
|+ Impressive camera||- Big bezels|
"The Sony Xperia Z3 seems a lot like the Z2 at first glance and that’s slightly disappointing, but look closer and you’ll see that it’s been refined to near perfection."
When rumours started pouring in about a device with almost identical specs to the Xperia Z2 it was hard to get excited, but there’s more to a phone than specs and Sony certainly realised that with the Xperia Z3, delivering a refined experience with meaningful new features. So do just how good is it? Read on to find out.
The screen is one of the least changed elements of the Sony Xperia Z3. It’s a 5.2 inch 1080 x 1920 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch, just like the Xperia Z2.
We have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand the Xperia Z2 already had a great screen and we think 5.2 inches is a good size, but with the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 now rocking QHD displays it’s a bit disappointing that Sony stuck with a 1080p one, though the noticeable difference is minor.
However while it’s the same size and resolution as the Z2’s it has improved in some ways. For one thing it can now reach 600 nits of brightness, making it the brightest smartphone display in its class. What does that mean in real terms? Well primarily it means that it will be a lot easier to see in bright sunlight, so no more squinting to try and read texts outside.
It’s also easier on the battery, as it contains technology which essentially helps it remember what was displayed so it doesn’t have to refresh as often.
When it comes to design the Xperia Z3 is all about refinement. The basics are the same as ever, it has a rectangular OmniBalance design with a metal frame and a glass back, but it’s smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Xperia Z2 at 146 x 72 x 7.3mm and 152g.
You might be wondering how it can be smaller when the screen is the same size, well it’s a simple case of shrinking the bezels at either side down to where they’re almost not there at all.
Not only has that made it smaller but it’s also just made it look better in itself, though for some reason Sony has insisted on keeping large bezels above and below the screen, which make the phone look a bit chunky.
Beyond appearance the Sony Xperia Z3 is also impressively durable as it’s IP65/68 certified, meaning it’s dust tight and can be placed up to 1.5 metres deep in water for up to 30 minutes.
The Sony Xperia Z3 has a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM, leaving it as not quite the most powerful phone around in the wake of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 but definitely a very capable handset.
We’ve reached the point where noticeable differences in power between high end handsets are almost non-existent anyway for now so expect this to exhibit faultless or near faultless performance.
Sony’s been packing its phones with good cameras for a while and the Xperia Z3 is the best yet. It’s still got a 20.7 megapixel lens, but this time it’s a 25mm wide-angle one, so you can capture more in each shot. It also has ISO 12800 sensitivity for the first time, which should lead to improved low light performance.
That’s especially important as that’s one of the things which Sony phones aren’t always great at.
4K video recording makes a return and there’s a 2.2 megapixel camera on the front, so it’s well equipped for photographers and film makers.
Beyond the core specs Sony has added a couple of innovative features to the Xperia Z3. First of all there’s PS4 Remote Play, which allows you to stream PlayStation 4 games to your Z3’s screen and play them on that. You still need a PlayStation 4 and the relevant games but it means you can play them on a smaller screen if someone else is using the TV or you just don’t want to be stuck on the sofa.
Then there’s the audio improvements Sony has made. Like the Z2 it has front-facing surround sound speakers for superior sound quality out of the phone, a lot like the HTC One M8 and it’s also got noise cancelling technology for a more pleasant experience when listening through headphones, but this time Sony has added support for High-Resolution audio, letting you listen to songs in a quality which most handsets don’t support.
And if your music collection isn’t in High-Resolution then the phone can ‘upscale’ tracks to near Hi-Res quality.
The Sony Xperia Z3 should have some seriously impressive battery life. The 3100 mAh unit inside it is actually marginally smaller than the one in the Z2, presumably so that Sony could shrink the phone down a little, but despite that Sony promises two days of life with normal use.
That’s far more than most handsets offer and while we haven’t been able to test that claim yet Sony has explained how it’s possible. For one thing the Xperia Z2 already had great battery life, but Sony has improved on that by using a newer, more power efficient version of the Snapdragon 801 and by using smart display technology. We touched on that in the screen section, but suffice to say it should make the display less battery hungry.
The Xperia Z3 comes with 16GB of built in storage along with a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 128GB and for connectivity there’s 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and NFC.
The Sony Xperia Z2 was a good all-rounder and with the improvements made here it looks like the Xperia Z3 will be a great all-rounder.
It might sport a similar design, screen and specs to the previous model but all of those things were already good and have been further improved and refined, on top of which Sony has added innovative new features such as PS4 Remote Play and support for High-Resolution audio for a substantially better experience overall.
Dimensions : 146 x 72 x 7.3mm
Weight: 152 grams
Screen size: 5.2” IPS LCD (1080 x 1920)
Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920 display resolution
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 424
Processor: 2.5GHz Quad core application processor
RAM: 3 GB
On-board Memory: 16GB (microSD card support)
Camera: 20.7MP (rear) (2.2 megapixel front-facing)
Operating system: Android 4.4.4
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes
Battery capacity: 3100mAh
Colours: Black, White, Copper, Silver Green
Launch Date: September