Sony Xperia Z3 Hands-on, First Impressions: Substance Over Style

Sony Xperia Z3 Hands-on, First Impressions: Substance Over Style


We go hands-on with Sony’s newest flagship

While other companies devote inordinate amounts of time on their flagship lines, Sony has chosen instead to go the other way. The company is dead-set at releasing brand new flagship smartphones every six months, a promise that they’ve somehow kept with the Xperia Z2 and the Z3. Trying to stick to that strict timetable means that you’re looking at incremental improvements in the design, producing products that closely resemble their previous iterations. That’s the case for Sony’s newest flagship, the Xperia Z3, and the question now is if the company managed to change enough in the device to warrant an upgrade from the Z2.

Sony Xperia Z3 specs

  • 2.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 5.2-inch IPS Full HD display with tempered glass panel, Triluminos display and X-Reality Engine, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16/32GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • 20.7-megapixel rear camera, 1/2.3-inch sensor size, AF, image stabilization
  • 2.2-megapixel front facing camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, USB OTG
  • 3G, LTE
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 3100mAh battery
  • 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm


Hands-on, first impressions: impeccable build quality and features, but is it enough?

If you put the Xperia Z2 and Z3 together, it’ll be hard to tell both apart if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In Sony’s defense, while the changes in the design are minimal, it’s all for the better – the corners of the device are now rounded and made out of tough plastic (we think nylon) that’s the same color of the main body to better resist drops on the fragile corners, which used to shatter the glass panels of the Z2. The Z3 is one mm thinner too, which makes it easier to hold in the hands. Aside from that, nothing has changed too much externally – the Z3 still adheres to Sony’s OmniBalance design mantra, which isn’t a bad thing – the Xperia Z series of phones have always been extremely pretty to look at, and the Z3 is no exception.

Sony Xperia Z3 02

Sony’s also given the Xperia Z3 a higher IP rating, now standing at IP65/68. In theory this makes the Xperia Z3 more resistant to both dust and water, but in practice it’s just a marketing ploy – unless you’re a diver or a frequent visitor to Atlantis (in that case say hi to Aquaman for us) the higher water resistance won’t really come into play in your day-to-day life.

Sony Xperia Z3 01

As far as screen resolutions go, the Xperia Z3 is relatively tame, going for a 5.2-inch full HD panel instead of the QHD resolutions of other brands. While this may look strange at first, there’s a method to the madness – Sony claims over two days of useful battery life with the Xperia Z3, which makes the device one of the more longer lasting flagships to come out recently.


Under the hood you’re looking at a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU. We did not have a chance to run benchmarks of the device during the event, but we did feel that the phone was quick and zippy, which is typical of what you’d expect from a device with that hardware combination.

We’ll be receiving our review unit as soon as Sony sends it our way.



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