Monday, April 13, 2015

Sony xperia Z3 review

Sony's only gone and done it again. Made a phone, let the paint dry, sell it to the masses, then make another one. The Z followed instantly by the Z1, which was shadowed by the Z2 a few months later at MWC... and now, in what feels like three sleeps later, the Z3 is here.
But, apart from the fact it's going to confuse consumers and annoy those that finally decided to make the jump to the Z2, only to find it's been usurped as the best Sony phone around, the Xperia Z3 is actually pretty darned impressive.
Don't take that to mean it's amazing. It's doesn't feel special, but that's because it's once again an iterative update on a phone I've seen three times already.
Sony Xperia Z3 review


The design of the phone is unquestionably familiar - it looks the same as the previous devices at first glance, thanks to the chunky bezel above and below the screen, which Sony is inexplicably hell bent on using every time.
But the bezel on the sides is virtually gone, meaning the phone is a lot slimmer and sleeker in the hand, despite maintaining the same 5.2-inch screen.The overall design compared to the Xperia Z2 is really impressive, as it's now shorn the sharp glass edges in favour of the (still glass) rounded frame. The edges are a dull metal, and the corners covered in a hard nylon covering which, according to Sony, is due to the fact users will traditionally drop their phone that way and dent the metal.

Sony Xperia Z3 review
The effect is more pronounced than you'd think, especially when held side by side with the Z2. The 10g of weight shaved off is noticeable, and the rounded edges are pleasant to feel.
The ports, which keep the phone waterproof, are also more snug - but this does mean they're hard to push back in, so you'll need to watch that when you're messing about watching videos in the shower.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is IP65/68 rated, making it more waterproof than ever before. Why this is important is beyond me, apart from a marketing gimmick, as in reality all we need from our phones is the ability to survive spills and the like. But it makes users feel safer, so it's probably warranted.
Sony Xperia Z3 review

The Sony Xperia Z3 will come in four colours at launch: black, white, copper brown and a silver/green shade 

Sony Xperia Z3 review

PS4 compatibility

Given the evolutionary nature of this phone, it's hard to say what the real USP is, meaning it's a phone without a real headline spec.
However, the most impressive upgrade is probably the fact the Sony Xperia Z3 (and Z3 compact) can now repeat the trick first seen on the PS Vita and play games from your main console wirelessly.
Sony Xperia Z3 review

The idea is simple: you turn on the PS4, the phone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you boot up the app and your phone takes over as the screen for the gaming experience.
In order to play you'll need to have a PS4 controller, and ideally the connector shown (although you don't need to - you can just prop the phone up and play normally as the controller and phone are connected via Bluetooth).
The even better news is that this doesn't need some weird cable that Sony doesn't sell to work - the PlayStation Mobile experience before was marred by the ability to play using a PS3 controller, but only if you had this mythical connection.
Sony Xperia Z3 review


The other bold claim Sony is making with the Xperia Z3 is the ability to last two days on a single charge - and that's not even with the power-saving Stamina Mode activated.
It's a really rather startling claim, as both the Z3 and Z2 have a Snapdragon 801 chipset from Qualcomm, meaning it's hard to see where the longer battery life will come from, given the newer model has a slightly lower-capacity power pack.
Sony Xperia Z3 review


Sony's not done a huge amount to improve the camera on the Xperia Z3, keeping the resolution at 20.7MP and using the G Lens technology again. The Bionz engine is again in effect, along with the Exmor RS sensor, so the full gamut of Sony Buzzwords is on show here.
There are some tweaks though: the ISO capabilities of the Xperia Z3 have been pushed to a whopping 12800, which the brand reckons will get rid of all the noise that so tarnishes its current crop of phones at low light.
The other change is the G Lens is now a wider 25mm, which allows more of the what you're snapping to get into the picture - it's not a big change, but it will make a big difference for that landscape you just want to smoosh into your head.

High res audio

Another addition to the party is high-res audio, which allows the use of both hi-fi quality files and the upscaling of normal tracks.
The latter, through a technology called DCEE HX, seems to work pretty well, but it was really hard to say definitively whether it made that much of a difference, as each change to the setting was followed by a two second pause.
Sony Xperia Z3 review