Sony Xperia Z3 Review


The Sony Xperia Z3 shows no real weaknesses in the test. Highlights are the high quality and waterproof case, the extremely bright display, the solid battery life and the great performance. PS4 remote play and a current Android system are strong three inputs.


Beautiful IP68 protected housing
top performance
Good 20MP camera with 4K camcorder
Very bright Full HD display
LTE Cat4, WLAN-ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD slot
Android 4.4.4 with Sony UI


Little new compared to its still young predecessor

Note: This smartphone has been re-tested according to the new mobile phone test procedure of July 2016, the test report has been adapted.

Sony Xperia Z3: All good things…

Just a few months after the release of the Xperia Z2, Sony is launching its successor: the Xperia Z3, the latest Z being the fourth model in the Xperia Z series. The optimizations on the Z3 already start with the housing: It looks one track rounder and is therefore more comfortable to operate than its predecessor. The elegant housing is also protected according to IP Standard 68, making the Z3 completely dustproof and resistant to “permanent immersion”. The flaps for microSD, Nano-SIM and microUSB close and open smoothly, stereo speakers on the front ensure better sound. The Z3 is lighter and slightly smaller than its predecessor Z2 with the same display size, but despite all these improvements – precisely because it will be on the market shortly after the Z2 – the Z3 is not a huge leap forward and the price is set at around 510 euros, even for re-testing.

Sony Xperia Z3: Extremely bright

The 5.2-inch screen made for big eyes in the test lab – literally! The crisp Full HD display brings it up to a full 650.3 cd/m² brightness without ambient light. This makes it easy to read even in direct sunlight. The only point of criticism on the LCD screen is the bluish white point.

Sony Xperia Z3: 20 megapixel photos and 4K video

The camera of the Xperia Z3 shoots with a maximum of 5,248 x 3,936 pixels and films with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, i.e. in 4K. This means that the camera units of Z3 and Z3 Compact are identical. In terms of quality, the cam with continuous shooting, panorama and automatic mode is currently one of the best smartphone snaps. In the test, it shoots extremely sharp images that appear bright even in dark environments. In low light conditions, partly oversaturated colors and a clear noise (2.3 VN1) cloud the impression a little, but overall the images remain good.

Sony Xperia Z3: Android version and CPU

Although Sony is producing new smartphones at high speed, the Japanese manufacturer is keeping most older devices up to date. So it comes as no surprise that the Z3 comes directly with the latest Android version 4.4.4 on the market. In addition there is the Sony UI, which adds some DeepL accesses, Sony’s services like Video- and Music-Unlimited and the PS4-Remote-Play. If you have a PS4, you can stream its image to your smartphone via WLAN and play without a TV. The Playstation’s Dualshock 4 controller is supported as an input device. Individualization is also very important: Downloadable designs let you completely change the look of your user interface in just a few steps. Thanks to Sony’s numerous film licenses, home screens in Spiderman or Ghostbusters look are possible. Android runs very smoothly and stable. Although the Japanese do not yet use the latest Snapdragon with the code number 805, the S801 with four cores and 2.5 GHz drives the smartphone first-class. It runs significantly faster than its somewhat sluggish predecessor at the time of testing. The 3 GB RAM obviously pays off. The Qualcomm processor also enables LTE Cat4, which means maximum surfing speeds of 150 Mbps.

Sony Xperia Z3: Acoustics & Connectivity

The chic Japanese has a strong sound. The pre-installed Walkman app offers numerous equalizer settings so you can get the perfect sound out of your phone. Even when you’re on the phone, the other person you’re talking to is always easy to understand and the sound and volume are always right. This also applies to the speakerphone, which is useful in contrast to that of many competitors. The suppression of background noise is usually fine. As already mentioned, the Z3 offers a microSD slot. It swallows cards with up to 128 GByte of storage space. This makes it easy to expand the 16 GByte internal storage space (around 11 GByte free). An NFC chip that can be used for all common functions, Bluetooth 4.0, lots of streaming options and WLAN-ac round off the complete package.

Sony Xperia Z3: Alternative

The alternative to Sony’s current Z3 is of course the hardly weaker Z2, the Sony Xperia Z2, which is not quite as sleek as its successor. Very good battery life, an equally powerful camera and the latest Android available as an update are the strengths of the Z2, the biggest advantage over the Z3 being its much lower price. Of course, the current Z top model is stronger, but the equally great predecessor is currently available in online shops for around 310 euros.


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