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Sony Xperia Z3 Review: Number 3

Not long ago we saw the Sony Xperia Z2 earlier this year at MWC. The Xperia Z2 can be said as a short life flagship device because it turns out that Sony has announced the Xperia Z3, successor of Z2, just right after 6 months later at IFA showcase. The question is, what improvement Sony did in 6 months? We'll find out in the review of it.

Sony Xperia Z3 official photos

- Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
- Weight: 152 g
- Display: 5" Full HD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels) IPS LCD
- Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
- RAM: 3 GB
- Memory: 16 GB, microSD card slot
- Camera: 20.7 MP Camera, 4K video recording, 2.2 MP front
- Battery: 3,100 mAh
- OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Much like the rest of Xperia Z series, the Z3 has the same OmniBalance double glass design. The metal frame is now more rounded and it feels very premium.

Sony Xperia Z3 live photos

Our review unit is the Copper color one, which is what I really like it a lot. People might think that same design language looks boring, but for me it's getting better and better. One thing however I don't understand is the dual front-facing speakers at the front become smaller than the Z2. The body is slim but it feels very solid.

Sony Xperia Z3 handling

The Xperia Z3 retains the same 5.2" 1080p IPS display instead of QHD resolution like the flagship device now a day. Well for me it's okay as our human eyes can only differentiate below 300 ppi pixel density. Who needs high resolution display when your naked eyes can't even differentiate it?

The 5.2" display

The LiveColor technology was first introduced in the Z2, and the same technology goes to the Z3. With LiveColor technology and IPS panel, the display is brilliant and it is one of the best 1080p displays out there. Not to forget that its viewing angle is impressive too.

Just when Snapdragon 805 is the trending processing package for a flagship device, Sony chose to use a slightly better Snapdragon 801 processor compared to the Z2. Its clock speed has been upgraded to 2.5 GHz and Adreno 330 GPU will in charge on gaming.


Just as expected, Snapdragon 801 processor performs well and brings snappy gaming experience. The phone won't overheat fast unless you're recording 4K video or playing high graphics game for a long time.


Benchmarks wise, it scored 19,926 on Quadrant Standard and 41,273 on AnTuTu benchmark. Not an impressive result but I won't mind as I have no issue on using it.

The Android 4.4.4 KitKat running on Xperia UI is close to stock Android. Sony keeps it simple but comes with a few features.


Sony has brought a few customization on Xperia UI, you can download themes from Play Store. Besides themes, you can also download small apps, which can be found in the task manager. The screen record feature is my favorite, you can record the screen to show your friend as a guideline. What's New app recommends apps to users, long press the home button and you'll see it next to Google Now. The Xperia Z3 also features stream and play, all you need to do is connect the same Wi-Fi network as your PS4 then you can stream play those games on your Z3.

The camera optic is still the same 20.7 MP f/2.0 Sony G Lens with 1/2.3" sensor. The hardware is still same as the Z1 and Z2 but at least, the software enhancements have improved the image quality.

Camera interface

The camera settings are same overall, you can only shoot 8 MP images on Superior Auto mode. You can only shoot 20.7 MP images on Manual mode, which is not a big deal as most of the flagship phones do come with auto mode for full resolution image shooting.

Manual mode

Superior Auto mode

Its camera angle is wide and is good on macro shoot. Overall the image quality is quite impressive but the noise level is out of control. Low-light wise, Superior Auto mode is able to capture more light than Manual mode.

The Xperia Z3 packs a larger 3,100 mAh battery than its compact version. It comes with Stamina mode and Ultra Stamina mode.

Stamina mode | Ultra Stamina mode

Personally, I don't think the Ultra Stamina mode is useful because you are still able to open up camera app for photo shooting, and the camera app is the app that drains most battery.

Moderate usage is impressive, it has a 2 days battery life just as Sony promised. Heavy usage like playing Asphalt 8 and browsing web for a few hours would last for around 7 hours.

Final Words

The Sony Xperia Z3 is priced at RM 2,399. The pricing is relatively high but with its premium build quality, impressive performance, good camera and, water and dust resistance body, it's actually worth to pay. But for those who are thinking to get it just because the camera only, it is advise to get a DSLR. It's good to see Sony putting everything into the Xperia Z3.

- Premium build quality
- Snappy performance
- Impressive camera

- Not a big update from Xperia Z2
- Flaps all over the phone
- Ultra Stamina mode needed to improve

Written by: Charles

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