The Sony Xperia Z3 was my pocket companion for some time now. The Z3 was released only 6 months after its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z2 (No idea why Sony decided to wait only 6 months). Because there is no such thing as the perfect phone (hopefully Google’s Project Ara will fix that), there things I like and there are things I don’t like.
First things first, the Sony Xperia Z3 sports a 5.2 inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels which is about 424 ppi pixel density. Needless to say, the screen looks beautiful and can get really bright. Sitting behind the screen is a Snapdragon 801 processor and an Adreno 330 GPU coupled with 3GB of RAM. The Sony Xperia Z3 comes with 16GB or 32GB onboard memory and a 20.7MP rear facing camera. Sony allows you to expend the memory up to 128GB via Micro SD card. On the front the Z3 is rocking a 2.2 MP selfie camera which is decent. Powering this Z3 is beastly 3100 mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery which gives you juice for days (you’ll see what I mean later)!
This device is waterproof and dust proof (provided you keep the USB and the Sim flaps closed. I didn’t test this because I don’t see a need to purposely put my phone in water. I’m sure it works though, just make sure all the flaps are closed properly before you decide to go swimming with the phone.
Look and Feel
The Sony Xperia Z3 is made of glass on both sides stitched together with metal framing all around. You’re able to get the phone in black, white, copper, silver green, and purple. The design of the phone screams elegance. The rounded edges make the phone a delight to hold in your hand and makes one-handed use easier.
The Xperia Z3 feels premium built however, the device is slippery. I often felt like I would accidentally drop it, which of course is not a nice feeling. I would like to have confidence when I’m holding any device. Nonetheless, the device is absolutely beautiful and it’s defiantly a neck breaker. Virtual high-five to Sony for the design of the Z3.
The Xperia Z3 features a stereo front facing speakers which can get pretty loud and the speakers is pretty clear. More manufactures need to start doing that *cough* Samsung *cough*.
The Xperia Z3 ships with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, planned upgrade to Lollipop in a few weeks. I didn’t receive Lollipop on my Z3 yet. Of course, the device is skinned with Sony’s UI, which isn’t too bad, I was able to get used to it pretty fast. It’s close to Stock Android when it comes to looks, but features are a whole another story. I did however, was a bit overwhelmed with the home screen setup when I powered on my device. Sony, by default puts a whole bunch of apps and widgets on the home screen which annoyed me. I quickly deleted all of them and set up my phone the way I like.
Sony’s UI did feel a little dated to me since they really never changed any of their icons in years. I hope that changes when Android Lollipop starts to roll out.
Sony allows you to customize a lot of the phone to your liking, which is nice. You can customize the quick settings menu, the status bar, you can choose which apps can display notifications in your notification tray. There are few neat built in themes that you can apply to your device to change the look and feel of the software experience. If you don’t like the built in ones, Sony allows you to download themes as well.
Smart call handling is an amazing and useful feature that Sony implemented on the Xperia Z3. This feature allows you to answer incoming calls just by lifting your device to your ears. Reject calls by giving your phone a little shake. Also, placing the device face down will silence the ring tone.
Under the display settings you have the “tap to wake up” option which allows you to double tap the screen twice to wake your device up. I found myself using this feature every day however, this feature is not enabled by default. Sony really does give you control over how you want your screen to look, you can adjust the white balance and choose between one of two image enhancement modes Sony has built in. My favourite screen feature is the glove mode feature which allows you to use the phone with normal gloves on. You don’t need to spend your dough on a touchscreen gloves if you have this phone or if you’re planning to get it.
Small apps are another great addition to the software but I didn’t find myself using them but you may. This feature essentially lets you pick some apps that you can use on your screen like windows on a PC. You are able to re-size the apps and interact with the window. It’s cool feature but finding real usability for it is hard. There are over 200 small apps that you can download for your Xperia Z3 from the Play Store.
Last but not least, my absolute favourite software feature of the Sony Xperia Z3 is the built in voice mail feature. If you’re like me, and don’t pay for a voice mail plan, this phone can act as a voice mail. You can configure the phone to pick up your calls after a few rings and your caller will be able to record a message. This is by far the most useful feature for me.
It’s time to talk about that huge 20.7MP shooter at the back of the device. The Z3 takes beautiful pictures, it really does sometimes look like a picture you took with a DSLR. The camera works beautifully in well-lit places but when it comes to low light shots, the Xperia Z3 struggles. The low light performance of this camera has been a disappointment for me.
Sony’s camera software is filled with so many features which I cannot list here. Seriously, there are SO many! And not only that, you can download more and more add-ons for the camera if you’re not satisfied. Some of the build in features are very neat and useful, like the background blur feature. There’s a portrait mode on the Xperia Z3 which allows you to take a picture just by tapping the back of the phone. This makes taking selfies painless; but, you can’t expect too much from Sony’s front camera. The front camera performance is just halfway decent. Here are some sample camera shots.
Performance and Battery Life
When it comes to performance, the Xperia Z3 gives it all it’s got. I didn’t experience any lags or crashes while I was using the device. Switching between apps was a breeze and the UI was surprisingly responsive. This is exactly what you would expect from a phone with the Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM.
This phone has the stamina to keep up with you for 2 days straight. The battery on the Z3 is amazing and works just as Sony advertised it. I was constantly getting 4-5 hours of screen on time every day. Keep in mind that I’m a heavy user and even then I was able to go a day and half with this phone. With light to moderate usage I’m sure you can get a full 2 day usage out of the phone.
When it comes to battery, Sony is not kidding around. You have several battery saving modes that you can use to further extend your battery life. So, if battery life is important to you (I imagine it is) then the Sony Xperia Z3 is a great phone to get.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is a great phone, I love the design and the feel. I just wish it wasn’t so damn slippery. Because the phone is slippery I would suggest that you get a case if you are planning on buying this device. The camera is amazing except when it comes to low light scenarios. Battery is beastly on the device and that is why on my scale this device is an 8/10.
Now, what are your thoughts on the Z3? Let me know below!