Sony‘s latest flagship device is still in the midst of rolling out to markets around the globe, and ours has landed on our doorstep – time for us to go hands-on with our unboxing and first impressions of the new Sony Xperia Z3.
Design and build quality
Our European version comes out of the box with a charger and cable, some documentation and a set of relatively standard headphones. Take the phone out of its little bag, then peel back the plastic protective stickers to reveal that Sony’s glass front and rear approach continues on the Xperia Z3, giving that premium black shine that many Xperia owners have come to love.
The front of the device brings minimal bezels on the sides, and good thumb-hold sized bezeling on the top and bottom, housing some newly designed speaker grills. A simply Sony label adorns that top bezel in the center, pushing the front facing camera sensor off to the right hand side. The clean look takes none of your attention away from that 5.2-inch display.
The edges of the Xperia Z3 have a pleasant rounded look and feel, that Joshua found much better than that of the Xperia Z1 or Z2 of old. You’ll find the silver power button just above center on the right hand edge, with the volume rocker just below that, providing easy thumb access for one-handed operation. A dedicated camera button sits in the very bottom right edge.
MicroSD and SIM card slots are also on the edge, underneath a waterproofing rubber plug.
The clean and simple approach continues on the rear of the Xperia Z3, with a tiny NFC indicator in the top third and the now iconic 20.7MP camera sensor with LED flash up in that top left corner. As the rear panel is all glass, it is non-removable, locking that 3100mAh battery inside.
We call it a 5.2-inch display, but the Sony Xperia Z3 actually packs a 5.15-inch panel with good old fashioned 1080p resolution. Where a lot of the competition has stepped it up to QHD resolution and 5.5-inch displays, Sony takes the safe approach,. keeping it elegant, but simple.
We won’t go into too much detail here, but Sony has really taken their display quality to the next level. Their triluminos technology brings greater brightness capabilities, but not at the expense of battery life.
Performance and Hardware
Although Sony likes to march to the beat of their own drums when it comes to the exterior, the inside of the Xperia Z3 is a relatively familiar story. Processing power is done through the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, clocked at 2.5GHz. 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU round out the familiar specs. 16GB of internal storage means you’ll be putting that external microSD slot to use.
A 2.1MP front camera won’t do much to elevate your selfie game, but that 20.7MP main camera with updated software is a contender for best camera on a smartphone out there today. Your images and 4K video capture at 30fps will be good and smooth thanks to Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization.
The Xperia Z3 brings Sony’s digital noise-cancelling technology to your audio experience. Connectivity includes 4G LTE and NFC and water and dust resistance is rated at IP68. Get all you see here in a 7mm thick housing that all weighs in at 152g.
As previously mentioned, under the hood is a 3100mAh battery, which is on par with the majority of flagships out there today. Where the Xperia Z3 excels is in the actual battery life. We recently reported that the Z3 will get you upwards of ten hours of screen-on time, which is in large part due to the display technology.
The Xperia Z3 runs the Xperia UI on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Performance is snappy, thanks in part to the simplicity of the UI, which offers only a few changes to the vanilla Android experience. Once again, Sony is keeping it simple, which keeps it fast.
You may not get to see the enhancements that Sony has included for their camera app and software, which we will explain in our full review or a feature focus at a later time, for now, expect the same great options list and great photos as you’d previously seen in the Xperia Z2.
On paper, the Sony Xperia Z3 is not a drastic update from the previous Xperia Z2, as should have been expected with Sony’s 6 month rapid release schedule. However, many refinements have gone into this device, resulting in the best that Sony has to offer and an experience that, so far, we think transcends the Z2 by more than the specs sheet can explain.
We look forward to getting you our full review of the Sony Xperia Z3, coming soon. We also look forward to Sony launching their flagship to more markets around the globe.
While Josh takes on the Sony Xperia Z3 as his daily driver, what do you think? Is this the phone for you?