Sony Xperia Z3 ReviewSony Xperia Z3 8.5
"Oops, we did it again" should be Sony's slogan for the new Xperia Z3, as barely have six months passed since the Z2 introduction, and now we are getting a successor. The Xperia Z3 upgrades only slightly on the Z2, but exactly where it counts. Its screen brightness and processing power now rival or surpass those of the direct competitors, while its pretty unibody glass chassis is made even thinner, still keeping the high waterproof rating.
Granted, the phone is not as futureproof as, say, the Note 4, which has a Snapdragon 805 processor, and a QHD display, but it doesn't have to be. Its main rivals will still be the spring crop of flagships, like the Galaxy S5, or the HTC One (M8). Lets' see how it stacks up...
In the box:
- In-ear stereo headphones in select markets
- Wall charger and USB cable
- Warranty and information leaflets
Z3 is the most comfortable and premium Sony Xperia flagship so far.
The Z3's dimensions are actually the biggest change from the Z2, at least on the surface, as the phone is measures 5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29” (146 x 72 x 7.3 mm), making it slightly shorter, narrower, and much slimmer than the Z2. Thus, the Z3 remains rather tall for its 5.2” screen diagonal, but less wide, so the phone's one-handed operability is decent, unlike its pocket-friendliness. The OmniBalance design language of the Xperia series here is stuffed in a very sleek tempered metal-and-glass unibody. In fact, with its tapered edges and rounded corners, the Xperia Z3 is the most comfortable Xperia flagship we've held so far. The white version we have doesn't stain with any visible fingerprints, but we'd wager to say that the darker variations might have issues in that regard, considering the all-glass back. The only design gripe is that the metal power/lock is again with a bit shallow feedback, and feels wobbly under your finger. The volume rocker is also thinner than what's comfortable to feel and press without looking.
On top of all that chassis premiumness, the Xperia Z3 sports a higher – IP65/68 - waterproof rating than, say, the Galaxy S5, allowing it to last for more than an hour in up to five feet deep in water. Furthermore, Sony provides two stereo speakers at the front, something you don't see every day. To ensure the waterproofing of the microUSB port on the left, and the microSD and micro SIM slots on the right, Sony covered them with protective flaps, painted in the color of the metal rim surrounding the sides. Unlike the Z2 flaps, these are pretty easy to pry open, and then close again firmly.
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)
Excellent outdoor visibility gets marred by cold, out-of-whack colors.
The Z3 screen remains a 5.2" 1080x1920 pixels Triluminos display, but Sony is now touting its ability to hit 600 nits of peak brightness. We can confirm that this is indeed the case, and even measured it to hit peak 713 nits, which ensures great outdoor visibility, as the screen reflection coating does a good job, too. The minimum brightness is also excellent, at just 4 nits, allowing for comfortable reading in bed..
When it comes to color representation, in the gallery and video player the colors could look as gaudy as with AMOLED panels, due to Sony's proprietary X-Reality engine, which boosts saturation and contrast over the top there automatically. In the Z3, however, those are now turned off by default, though you can bring them back from the display settings. Here we arrive to the Xperia Z3's screen biggest drawback. Our measurements showed the whopping 10324 Kelvins, which is very far from the reference 6500K white point, making the screen look very, very cold, with abundant blueish or greenish overcast. You can change the screen's white balance from the display settings menu, and Sony argues that the coldness is deliberate, throwing in some stats about people's perception of cold screens as brighter, but the fact is that the Xperia Z3 is off the reference white mark by default, and significantly at that. Moreover, the greens and reds are somewhat oversaturated, and all colors are widely off the reference marks for the standard RGB gamut, as you can see if you look at our color chart.It is really disappointing, especially when you know that the older Z2 offers much better color fidelity.
Viewing angles are decent, compared to some previous Xperias (looking at you, Z and Z1), though contrast and colors shift a bit more than what we've observed with the best IPS-LCD displays. The screen has a super-sensitive mode, that allows you to operate it with gloves on, should someone ring you while on the ski lift.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Sony Xperia Z3||713
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|Sony Xperia Z3||81.8%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
2. DogeShibe (Posts: 1113; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)
Its good but kinds makes me feel like same old honestly.
Come on sony.
A new design is what i wish to see.
45. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
oh samsung does for 3 years and still gets 9 or above . this gets 8.5 ? not fair
70. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Samsung's reboots are hardcore as hell.
For example, the Galaxy S5 LTE A has QHD, SD805, LTE A etc.Plus its Korea only.
This uses the SD801 and that's about it and is being released worldwide. No one could get two shots at their flagship for the year. That's cheating, hence the 8.5.
126. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4837; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Where is the video review? STILL, STILL waiting on it...
PhoneArena.com you guys are really dropping the ball here!!!
139. MySchizoBuddy (Posts: 150; Member since: 23 Aug 2011)
totally. 0.5 points less. rubbish. lets burn phonearena. they are sony haters
48. akki20892 (Posts: 3901; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
This design is way better dude.....this design is just for their flagship. And for compact but little tweaks.
They will give some changes in Z4 for sure....
But any way Z3 is freaking gorgeous ....cant move my eyes from Z3.
53. DogeShibe (Posts: 1113; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)
In my opinion , the last most stunning looking phone to me was Lenovo K900.
I like this too...just wish that there were more vibrant colors and a NEW design.
54. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
Love the design of that sharp edged phone.
134. Outdoorluvr (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Sep 2014)
If the Z3 looks just like the Z2, I bet the waterproofing is just as bad. My Z2 died after less than a month following a 1/2 hr swim in a pool. IP58 my ***. And beware... Sony doesn't warranty ANYTHING!
4. lee480 (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)
iPhone 6 have a better camera?
when u have not reviewed him? what a fair statement. Clear Daniel have a (false) impression of iPhone that affected the integrity. of the score.
anyways, Daniel P is know for watering down Sony scores. Look how pathetic his list the nay factors. 'Hollow-sounding earpiece'? lol
7. GuitarPlayer (Posts: 36; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)
iPhone 6 now comes with a much larger display, thinner body, better camera THAN IPHONE 5S, correct this PA!!!
10. Pattyface (Posts: 1612; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
I've read many reviews on the 6 and all are praising the camera so far. We shall wait and see but apple has always done good if not great in this area.
9. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
I feel its edges should me more curved then flat. my score 9 / 10.
11. RuiBacelar (Posts: 153; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)
Just...How did the Z2 got 9.2 and Z3 8.5?
14. Pattyface (Posts: 1612; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Read the review rules my friend. The z2 came out 6 months ago and many phones since then so the rating will change. It's still a great score and shouldn't change anyone's opinion of this phone.
15. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)
I think it's because of the screen of the Z3,
23. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
yeah you know how they are picky with the display. i don't understand what happened to sony. they suddenly want a display that behaves like amoled.
if that's their goal they should have just shifted to amoled.
77. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
display is not sony's strength... display of Z was behind the competition... then display of Z1 was behind the competition.... finally they fixed it in Z2... but now again they are screwing it... when its LCD, let it be LCD... why try to make it punchy like SAmoled?
87. pyradark (Posts: 857; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)
Just wring calibration. Their is a setting where u can adjust that. White balance
98. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
I know that, I have the same calibration in my huawei phone... but still this calibration is not enough to make the display accurate... when you make the color temperature warm then the colors become greenish and when you make the color temperature cold then the colors become bluesh... white is not a perfect white with any adjustment
147. mohsen1231 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jul 2014)
thats right why z2 got 9.2 and z3 8.5 ?
why phonearena ?????
12. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)
That display is a mess except the brightness.
13. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)
Agreed. However, there is a dedicated setting to change the white balance.
16. RuiBacelar (Posts: 153; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)
Upon carefull reading of the review I get it. The display colours and the somewhat lack of real big differences from the Z2 earned the Z3 the 8.5?
That...makes sense actually. Some penalization for not being a worthy investment over the Z2.
Btw, Z2 is my daily driver.
67. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
no, there are differences
the close to accurate z2 display is now made to behave like a defective amoled in the z3
the inconscpicuous speaker slits near the sides are now made more prominent
the marketing is now as childish as others could get (trolling apple whenever there's the chance)
17. alexvv (Posts: 162; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)
And soon when they review the iphone 6 it will get almost 10/10. No logic at all. I have to admit though that the colour temperature is wayyy off. What were they thinking?
24. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
sony: look samsung's amoled display is being widely praised. let's make ours act like one and even brigther.
28. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)
They wanted to make an Amoled but failed.
18. Classique (Posts: 73; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)
Wow I love this phone is compelling I've been using WP for the past 2 years and it's my favorite OS (I've owned and used phones with the most recent phones for the Android and iOS) and unless something really compelling comes out from Microsoft by November this is my next phone
19. vuyonc (Posts: 1014; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)
Where the hell's the battery life test? They were bragging about it the whole time.
100. vuyonc (Posts: 1014; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)
Ah ok I see. Beat the larger Ascend Mate 7 and every other tested tablet :P
21. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
I am really confused with this phone, Sony has definitely waste their precious 6 months by bringing no real innovation. At least it should have Snapdragon 805 and better stereo speakers. I do However think that this should not be rated 8.5 as the competition (S5, G3, M8, some other Android flagships and iPhone 6) doesn't have anything that could possibly alter this phone's rating to 8.5. But I have to agree that they have improved the camera very well and the bezel build is very neat. I guess H2 2014 isn't the time when 'excellent smartphone party' is held.
25. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
Oh yes we shouldn't forget about the display. Yes, it's customisable, but it is still very disappointing that Sony aren't able to set the default colour settings correctly.
27. Planterz (Posts: 2080; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
So how does the screen look when not set to default? I mean, FFS, you test all the screen modes on the GS5, but not on this phone? Be fair.
68. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
they're being fair. they did not set the galaxy s5 to other modes when they did the display test.
just accept it. sony wants an amoled like display.
anyway, they created a color accurate display but that didn't bring them good sales. maybe something like this will attraction the attention of some potential buyers.
114. mixedfish (Posts: 1180; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
There are no 'screen modes', you either have X-reality off or on or you adjust RGB yourself. For the record, X-reality should always be off.
29. Imaxxacre (Posts: 72; Member since: 23 Aug 2009)
I really like Sony's handsets, but their bi-yearly flagship cycle is a gamble that I don't think will pay off.
33. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
Xperia z3 better than note4 and iPhone 6
Ram / z3 = 3 / note4= 3 / iPhone6 =1
Battery / z3 =3100 with new features for two days / note4 = 3220 /iphone6 = 1810 or 2950
Display / z3 = 5.2 IPS LED not LCD / note4 = 2K and no difference between z3 and note4, and z3 has 600 nits / iPhone 6 = HD and F-HD with IPS LCD
Camera / Z3 = 20.7 with iso 12800 /note4 = 16 same camera for S5 / iPhone6 = 8
Z3 = dual sim, waterproof, digital sound with high resolution and digital noise cancelling technology. But about design : Xperia z3 and iPhone6 better than note4 100%
43. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)
1) There's a complete difference between 2K and 1080p. Look at a photo side by side.
2) Note 4 has power saving options like the S5 does
3) S5 can achieve a max brightness of close to 700nits
4) Note 4 has OIS
5) You forgot the terribly large bezels and high retail price
There you go.
49. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4837; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Papa why are you breaking the Sony fans? Guy they will come back to get you!
Can I fix the screen on the Xperia Z3 to make the colors more natural? Or can it be resolved in a future update?
84. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)
There's a dedicated white balance setting.
55. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
What about the price!!
In Saudi Arabia Z3 = 2600 SAR, note4 = 3099 SAR
And I don't need S pen but I need battery life, waterproof, best design, dual sim, good camera, good display, stereo speakers
Xperia z2,htc m8, LG G3 better than note4 in benchmark ,you know!?
60. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)
All of those phones completely fail when compared to the Note 4. All of them.
62. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
Hhhhhhhh OK note 4 best smartphone for two years but I will buy Xperia z3 or iPhone 6 plus
Note4 = plastic + no battery life + z2, m8, g3 better than note4 in benchmark + no waterproof + one speaker in back + very expensive + S pen hhh
76. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
Note 4 is the king.. Just shut it already..
78. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
here we go again.... another illusional perception base commentator is here rather than a knowledge based commentator...
Note 4 is way better than z3 in many respects.... yeah, we can consider z3 is better than iphone
85. clearblack (Posts: 59; Member since: 04 Sep 2014)
S5 can achieve a max brightness of close to 700nitsGO HOME YOU DRUNK
97. Guffy (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Sep 2013)
Wow what a fantastic review isn't. And as usual papasmurf is always in Sony forum with full of sarcasm.
See the funny part of reviews
Huge bezels comparison IP 6 is there but no ip6 plus.
But in Z3c reviews IP 6 is absent reason
z3c screen size vs ip6 4.6 vs 4.7
Now length comparison of Z3c va IP 6 ; 5 vs 5.44
Look out for note 4 and ip6 reviews they will be surely getting close to 9.3 its granted even if they are having less battery life and huge bezels( ip6). Clearly there is big manipulation game going on here and there and Sony marketing and distribution strategy is not up to mark. Even on gsmarena also they
And that two without good battery life and waterproofing.
So its clearly big manipulation going on.PA is so much in hurry that without battery test and usual bench mark scores they reviewed it. What a joke PA.
Users better to use brain rather than to rely upon these manipulative sites after all money is yours.
34. gmacek (Posts: 7; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
OK review, but it looks like you did some serious copy/paste work on page 2 where you called the Z3 the Z2 in multiple spots. You also referenced features like tap to wake as new with the Z3 when in fact it's on the Z2, perhaps first for Sony then.
35. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
We can see that Sony is trying to change the design and the overall experience on their Z3 but not gonna change it completely because of Android L and the Z4. This is a nice phone, but not worth an upgrade from Z1 and Z2. It will be worth for Z owners, but as a Z owner, I don't think it's gonna wow me for few months if I use it. So, I'm gonna wait for Z4 because the Z4 will offer an all new design and overall experience, hopefully.
115. mixedfish (Posts: 1180; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
You're just going to say the same thing when they rumour the Z5, and then you'll end up buying the Z3 for cheap and praise how good it is.
38. NightSurfer (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Sep 2014)
Of the 12gb user accesible partition, how many gigabyte is the size dedicated to applications? I always have insufficient storage issues when installing applications although there is enough storage space.
39. avalon2105 (Posts: 258; Member since: 12 Jul 2014)
Are they seriously saying that folders in app drawer are a new thing for Sony. That was present on Sony phones since 4.1 Jelly Bean days. Also review keeps saying it is better than Z2 in many aspects yet gives it much lower score. And how is it that bezels are always an issue in Sony phones yet never in Apple, HTC or Samsung phones?
61. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Why? Because it's a super incremental update over the Z2?
50. npaladin2000 (Posts: 165; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
Well, the default color balance isn't too much of a problem if we can adjust it. Can't wait for T-Mobile to get this phone...
51. f35hunter (Posts: 233; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)
Even when the Z3 may be considered as a refresh to Z2 but it still more better than iPhone 6>
I want to see how PA will rate the IP6 .
71. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
iphone 6 is getting at least a 9.5 for sure.
|Display||5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400 processor
3 GB RAM
|Size||5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches|
(146 x 72 x 7.3 mm)
5.36 oz (152 g)
|Battery||3100 mAh, 14 hours talk time|