REVIEW: Sony Xperia XZ3
If you’ve been keeping track of Sony’s Xperia series, you’ll know that each of their flagship devices usually have a short lifespan. Xperia XZ2 had just been released about six months ago, and now it already has a successor: the Xperia XZ3. Looking at its predecessor, Sony definitely made the right choice with the Xperia XZ2 when it scrapped the usual design for something more sleek and modern-looking, as well as improving the battery life and the overall software performance.
Now, with the Xperia XZ3, it seems that Sony finally has something to compete against the Samsung Galaxy S series, Apple’s iPhone and Huawei’s P and Mate range and a flagship it can be really proud of. Now, before we get into the details of the review, below are the key specs for the new Xperia XZ3:
- Chipset: Qulacomm Snapdragon 845; 4×2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver
- Memory: 64GB Storage, 4GB RAM, Micro SD slot up to 512GB
- Display: 6″ OLED 2,880 x 1,440 18:9
- Rear Camera: 19 MP, HDR, f/2.0, 25mm, 1.22µm pixel size, predictive PD+laser AF
- Front Camera: 13 MP, f/1.9, wide-angle, 1.12µm pixel size
- Video Capture: 4K@30fps, 720@960, 1080@60, 1080@30 w/advanced EIS
- OS Version: Android Pie 9.0
- Battery: 3,300 mAh
- Dimensions: 158 x 73 x 9.9 mm
At first glance, Sony’s new Xperia XZ3 seems to be similar to the Xperia XZ2, but it has some subtle changes that will greatly improve the mobile experience for its users.
A stunning display can make a difference in the whole experience with any handset. Sony seems to invest in that idea with their latest flagship and decided to concentrate on offering one of the best screens on any smartphone.
Xperia XZ3’s new screen technology, a 6″ QHD+ HDR OLED display, makes the smartphone even more appealing and takes it to a level ground with the best smartphones on the market today. Sony has definitely taken a big step forward with the Xperia XZ3 using this display technology.
Compared with the other upgrades done on the Xperia XZ3, the screen is definitely the key highlight and the core upgrade. It replaces the tired IPS LCD display tech that we’ve seen on most Sony smartphones.
As anyone who uses a top tier device with and OLED screen, you’ll know that it produces vivid video and images and makes a genuine impact; in fact, its QHD+ resolution alone is enough to make videos look great. When watching HDR content on the device, the peak brightness levels are some of the best we’ve seen on a smartphone and really highlights Sony’s prowess when it comes to implementing top notch display features into their latest flagship, its just a shame it took them so long to do so.
The Xperia XZ3 also features an ability called Side Sense, which allows its users to quickly open up apps on the phone by double tapping on the side of the display. This is a feature we tried to use as much as we could but found it more cumbersome than anything so weren’t long turning it off.
The Xperia XZ3 showcases a 3mm aluminum frame around the external of the phone, which is sandwiched and protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The Xperia XZ3 comes in four different colors: white silver, black, forest green, and Bordeaux red.
The bottom of the Xperia XZ3 includes a USB-C port, which is used primarily for charging. Unfortunately, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack on Xperia XZ3, so you’ll have to use USB Type-C earphones or Bluetooth headsets in order to privately listen to some audio. Alternatively, it also features the company’s impressive front facing stereo speakers.
Interestingly enough, the Xperia XZ3 is also IP68 dust and water-resistant, and so you won’t have to worry when you accidentally drop your phone in the bath or in a puddle of water.
One of the main issues we had with the Xperia XZ3 though is its fingerprint scanner and, more specifically, its placement. When picking up the phone, we found ourselves constantly tapping the camera lens on the rear of the device as that’s where our finger naturally landed, only to realise we had to shift the entire phone in our hand to position our finger lower down the back of the device to where the fingerprint scanner is actually located.
With the likes of Huawei now embedding the fingerprint scanner directly into the display of their latest Mate 20 Pro flagship device, we can only hope Sony follows suit with their next flagship so as to remove this ongoing pain point with their latest XZ range.
The Xperia XZ3 was the first phone to ship Android 9 Pie OS here in Ireland, even beating Google’s own Pixel line to the punch. Under the hood,there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and a 4GB of RAM which we found more than adequate and we didn’t have any lag or stuttering issues when using this phone for daily tasks. Gaming on this device was also very impressive with Gameloft’s Asphalt 9 looking particularly good on the HDR OLED display.
In terms of storage, the Xperia XZ3 has 64GB built in but it is extendable up to 512GB via Micro SD.
The Xperia XZ3 sports a 3,300mAh battery that will get you through the day owing to the new battery friendly OLED display, which is quite power-efficient compared to LCD. As for charging the Xperia XZ3, users have two options: using the USB-C slot or going wireless. Both of which get the job done but we do with there was faster charging options available, especially when charging with the pre-bundled cable.
Not one to follow smartphone trends, Sony has decided to stick with one singular 19MP rear facing camera and one 13MP front facing shooter also. The cameras on the Xperia XZ3 comes with all the top-end features including super slow motion at 960fps at full HD resolution, which is a highlight of Sony phones, and being able to film in 4K HDR. That is something that no other smartphone manufacturer can currently offer and quite the ‘feather in the hate’ for Sony when it comes to marketing their flagship handsets.
We were pleasantly surprised by the capabilities of Sony latest shooter and, having not actually got the chance to play with their ‘other’ flagship device, the Xperia XZ2 Premium, the camera capbilities of the XZ3 are some of the best we’ve seen in a Sony smartphone. Below are a selection of shots from the Xperia XZ3.
Testing out the digital zoom on the rear facing 19MP lens – quite impressive.
We were also impressed by the low light capabilities of the camera.
After spending some time with Sony’s latest flagship device, we can finally say that it’s able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best out there. Its new OLED display is absolutely gorgeous, its an beast when it comes to gaming and multitasking and the camera has some impressive bells and whistle to please even the most avid photographer or videographer.