One of the most impressive performances at this year’s IFA show came from Sony, whose smartphone line was in the limelight with the debuts of the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact. The former is Sony’s latest flagship, and it’s coming just 6 months after its predecessor, the Xperia Z2, was revealed at the MWC in Barcelona.
Apparently not content with how its last release fared next to competitors from HTC, Samsung and LG, Sony is is hoping that the quick do over will bring it a boost in momentum. The Xperia Z3 differs only slightly from its senior of a half-year, but these nuances are sufficient to make it perhaps more attractive than other flagship phones.
The basic specifications have remained the same: The Xperia Z3 still comes with a Full HD 5.2-inch display (1080p) and Snapdragon 801, the only difference being that this chipset now runs a slightly greater clock of 2.5 GHz. The phone is equipped with a hefty 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of memory storage, while its battery is 100mAh smaller to help facilitate its slightly slimmer body. Still, Sony representatives reassure us that Xperia Z3 has significantly better battery life compared to Xperia Z2, due not only to the upgraded chip, but the fact that the screen now has its own allotment of RAM. According to company reps, Xperia Z3 can last 2 full days of usage without recharging.
There are noticeable differences between this display and the one on the Z2, as the new version has improved brightness and contrast. Concerning the latter, whites are (finally) completely white, not ‘dirty’ like on Xperia Z2. Still, viewing angle problems appear to remain, as colors fade and lighter and darker tones tend close in on each other when looking at the phone from the side.
However, the Xperia Z3’s biggest deal-maker, its camera, looks to have been improved. It’s still a whopping 20.7-megapixel unit, but it now offers ISO up to 12.800, and its design has also been polished; now, the aluminum border between the front and the back of its glass surface has a nylon layer around the edges to protect the device from any damaged caused by falls. Taken together, the changes here are evolutionary in nature. They won’t convince Xperia users to trade in their current phones for the new model, but they’ll make the Z3 a more appealing option for those on the fence about picking up a Sony phone.
The Xperia Z3 Compact, meanwhile, is almost entirely identical to the big Xperia Z3, apart from having a smaller screen with a lower resolution. The 4.6-inch phone has a 720p resolution, but it’s really the only “mini” smartphone out there that offers the specs and features of a modern flagship. Its improved SoC and camera undoubtedly make it a massive improvement over the Z1 Compact (there was no Z2 Compact).
Generally speaking, all the impressions about the Xperia Z3 apply to the Z3 Compact as well: The camera and overall design are excellent, and the possible concerns regarding the display still remain. There isn’t much new going on for either phone when it comes to software, as they still run Sony’s own Android skin, but one interesting novelty is a new PS4 Remote Play feature, which allows you to play PlayStation 4 games on their smartphones through Wi-Fi. What’s more, you can hook up a DualShock 4 controller to either device and turn them into makeshift mobile consoles.
Sony hasn’t disclosed any hard release details for the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact in the US, but T-Mobile has already confirmed that it’ll carry the former, and both devices are currently available for pre-order on the company’s website.
If it’s any hint, the Z3 will cost €649,00 or £549 in Europe, while the Z3 Compact will run you €499 or £429. Sony only says that the devices will be available sometime this fall.