• Our Sony Xperia Z3 review


    Compared to to the older Z2, Sony has softened up the Z3 and made it friendlier to hold.

    The edges which were quite hard on the Z1 and softened up on the Z2 are now rounded on the Z3.

    Most of the sides are still made from metal but the corners are now plastic. Iím guessing this makes the corners more resilient when you drop the Z3.

    I donít know about you but it also makes them look much cheaper. It makes it look like itís actually plastic with metal paint that has chipped off in the corners.

    Instead of have one door on each side, each of which was roughly the same size, the door covering the MicroUSB connector is now much smaller than the door over the Nano SIM and MicroSD slots.

    Previously, I always got the 2 doors mixed up but now itís really obvious, the smaller door is the one you have to open to charger the Z3. This also makes the Z3 easier to plug in, at night so this is a big albeit belated improvement.

    The doors themselves are also an upgrade. They feel much more sturdy and feel more water tight when you close them.

    The volume buttons are further apart so that itís harder to confuse them.

    Once again, the back is covered with a piece of glass and once again, it not as durable as the glass on the front of the phone so it doesnít take too much to scratch.

    Size-wise the Z3 is slightly thinner and narrower than the Z2 though youíd never know unless you had them side by side.

    While both the Z2 and Z3 are water resistant, the Z3 has a higher water resistance rating (itís more waterproofer). This is probably due to the improved door design.

    Like previous iterations, the Z3 is one of the only phones on the market that a hole for a lanyard. Now you can dust off your sushi shaped phone charm.

    If opening a door every time you want to charge isnít your thing, thereís a proprietary connector on the side where you can connect a pogo plug. Sony is eager to sell you a dock that has this connector but I recommend you hit up eBay or Amazon and pick up a 3rd party cable with this connector.

    Why Sony just doesnít just ditch this connector and put a QI charging coil on the back is beyond me. It would fit in perfectly with the Z3ís waterproof message.

    While the corners look terrible and horribly cheap, overall, the Z3 body is a nice improvement over the Z2.

    MicroUSB port (behind door), charging plugs, lanyard connector.

    Shutter button, volume, power buttons, (MicroSIM, NanoSIM slots behind door).

    Headphone jack.

    Nothing on the bottom.


    Both the Z2 and Z3 have 5.2Ē displays. Before I tried the Z3, I assumed its display would be very similar to the Z2ís but itís actually very different. First off, itís noticeably brighter. Off angle performance has also improved dramatically. Thereís very little colour and contrast shift off angle, it also remains extremely bright.

    I could be wrong but the brightness comes at the loss of some contrast, sometimes the Z3 display looks slightly washed out next to the Z2.

    Sony has explained to me that triluminos displays are able to reproduce more colours. I donít know about you but to me, this is just a nice way of saying that a screen is capable reproducing oversaturated colours. Indeed, the Z3 is slightly oversaturated but not to the point that it found it annoying to look at.

    While the Z2 display is slightly warm the Z3 is much cooler which may explain why it seems so much brighter- I find cooler displays look brighter to me. Anyways, there are colour balance sliders (red, green and blue) which you can fiddle with if youíre not happy.

    Black levels arenít amazing, theyíre slightly milky looking. Fortunately, the Z3 is just so blindingly bright they donít seem that bad unless you look carefully.


    Both the Z2 and Z3 (and Z1) have 20.7 megapixel Ĺ.33 sized sensors. I took a bunch of test shots to compare both phones and I think Sony is using the same camera on both phones.

    By default, the Z3 captures 8 megapixel, 16:9 aspect ratio images. The only way to capture images at full resolution is to switch to manual mode, hit settings and change the resolution.

    When you do that, it captures 20.7MP 4:3 aspect ratio images, basically, the camera captures the same horizontal angle but it also captures more on the top and bottom.

    I think the reason why it normally captures 8MP and does everything it can to keep you from using the full resolution is hide the fact that the sensor is extremely noisy and because the Z3 needs to do a lot of image processing to get good looking photos.

    Sony calls the default mode ĎSuperior Autoí. Sometimes, it takes really great photos but other times it really screws thing up. For example, if thereís the tiniest bit of movement, it switches to sports mode which results in really noisy and grainy looking images.

    Still, a lot of the time I get really good results with Superior Auto on or I should say, a lot of the time I get really good results despite Superior Auto.

    Like the Z2, the Z3 can capture 4K video. While thereís no hard limit to how long 4K videos can be, theyíre limited by how hot the phone gets. Hereís where the Z3 really differentiates itself from the Z2. In my office, I can get about 7 mins of 4K video out of the Z2 before it overheats. The Z3 is able to go for over 14 min.

    Included are some next extras like an augmented reality mode. You can use it to superimpose moving 3D effects like elves into your pictures. Sure, itís probably something youíll only use once but itís still a lot of fun. Another cool effect is that you can connect 2 Z3ís and use them to record video simultaneously.

    As always, you can launch the camera by pressing and holding the shutter button on the right side.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Our Sony Xperia Z3 review started by howard View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Nice review, Howard
      While I like reading about the flagships phones out now, it just seems to me like they are all pretty much the same with one thing or another to set them apart from each other. The same processors, nearly the same size, great screens, good batteries(they all need to be better here for the price, though some are getting it like this here Sony). Even the prices are pretty similar. It really comes down to brand loyalty, really, and for the prices you have to pay for these phones, it really isn't enough for me anymore. The days of one really innovating and standing apart are all but over unfortunately. Just my 2 cent's on this one
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Wondering if the Z3 has that factory-applied screen protector... According to Android Central Sony ditched it mid-production in the Z2.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      Wondering if the Z3 has that factory-applied screen protector... According to Android Central Sony ditched it mid-production in the Z2.
      It doesn't have it.
    1. kwasnr's Avatar
      kwasnr -
      Bell website shows the Z3 as $79.95 on a two year contract...
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