Sony Xperia Z3+ ReviewSony Xperia Z3+ 7
We remember waiting for the Sony Xperia Z4 as the rumors about it kept piling up over each other. Yet, as the handset's surprisingly “soft” launch finally commenced, we came to understand that the Sony Xperia Z4 is actually more of a Sony Xperia Z3+, complete with the same branding for markets outside Japan. Thus, we couldn't help, but wonder – has Sony's strategy of upgrading its flagship smartphones twice a year, incorporating incremental improvements while overlooking opportunities for major changes, finally gotten the best of them? We won't spoil the provocative question by answering it just yet, but our review will give you the verdict, along with our quick opinion on whether it's worth upgrading from the Xperia Z3 to the Z3+.
- Xperia Z3+ smartphones
- microUSB cable
- Charging adapter
- User guides
Wow, it's the best same-looking Sony Xperia Z handset ever!
Even if you've seen or held the Sony Xperia Z3 before it, it takes a cold and rational mind, one free of emotion's grip and governed entirely by the principles of logic, to not be impressed by the Sony Xperia Z3+'s look and feel. But what needs to be said has to be said - the Xperia Z3+ is virtually identical to its predecessor. It has the same metal and glass build, one of the best in class, but entirely predictable at this point. The omission of the magnetic charging port is welcome, however, for it was neither particularly useful, nor elegant-looking. On the Xperia Z3, the charging port was covered with a flap, while the one on the Z3+ is wide in the open, and still waterproof – an unquestionably better design. But the camera shutter button on the Z3 was slightly less wobbly and nicer to press.
Still, these are very minor gripes to have with a design as sleek and understated as Sony's. A more serious complaint would be the complete finger magnet of a glass used for the handset's front and back panel, and while we're at it, the volume buttons feel quite anemic, lacking width and travel. But on the side of good news, the Xperia Z3+ is 0.016 (0.4mm) thinner than its predecessor, coming in at just 0.27in (6.9mm) of thinness, and is also 0.28oz (8 grams) lighter, at 5.08 oz (144g). Overall, the handset measures 5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches (146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm), making for a rather big device.
Consider the repositioning of the microSD and SIM slot to the left, and this concludes the list of obvious differences between this and last year's model. There are more subtle, almost imperceptible nuances on the surface that make the Xperia Z3+'s build seem ever so slightly tighter – the frame is more flush with the body, the front-facing speakers now occupy the very ends of the top and bottom bezels, and the microphone has been moved to the frame's top side.
On the dual-SIM version of the device, the combined microSD and SIM card slot houses one microSD card and up to two nanoSIM cards simultaneously. Usually, dual-SIM handsets limit users to having either two SIM cards, or one SIM card and one microSD card at the same time, so Sony has to be commended for this bit of clever engineering.
146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)
Bright and pleasant, but colors are still off the chart.
The Sony Xperia Z3+ doesn't offer anything new in the display department over its predecessor. Once again, there's a 5.2-inch 1080p resolution IPS LCD display with 441ppi pixel density for you to enjoy. It's a great display on many levels, especially considering its extraordinarily high maximum brightness. But, taking a look at our screen measurements reveals that Sony hasn't done much to resolve the all-too familiar flaws of high-end Xperia handsets' screens.
At 669 nits of maximum brightness and 4 nits of minimum brightness, the Xperia Z3 is reliable in both intense light and low light situations. However, the Xperia Z3 could reach from 4 nits all the way up to 713 nits, making for an even brighter outlook. Still, the Z3+'s display is brighter than those of the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9, but is weaker in other areas, such as color reproduction.
The Z3+'s display has an overwhelmingly cold color temperature of 9743 kelvins, which has, sadly, become typical for Sony's recent high-end smartphones. Far from the reference value of 6500K, where color balance tends to be much more... well, balanced, this results in a noticeable blue-ish tint. There are some other inaccuracies found, such as the generally oversaturated red and green shades, not to mention the yellow nuances drifting towards green, and purple colors inching towards blues. Not good!
Furthermore, the gamma log reveals that gray shades tend to appear darker than they really are, with those ranging from mid-bright to brightest, in particular, showing up as unnaturally dark. This makes for a rather un-dynamic image with poor contrast. Combined with the overly blueish color balance, the total gamma value of 2.64 results in shades of gray actually presenting themselves as a sort of a dark blue. Once again, not good, unless you really like blue-tinted images for some reason. Fans of the Smurfs will rejoice!
On the side of viewing angles, the Xperia Z3+ gives off significant deteriorations in maximum and minimum brightness levels, as well as contrast when viewed at a 45-degree angle. However, color error shifts are kept quite manageable. This behaviour is typical of IPS LCD displays and can be observed in other hi-end smartphones that use the technology, such as the LG G4.
On a side note, you can still enable the so-called X-Reality engine from the Settings menu for a punchier, larger than life image. Some of you may like that for watching photos and videos, as it makes things appear more vivid. Additionally, the touchscreen's sensitivity can be increased for operation with gloves on, which is great for winter season.
Overall, much of what was said and measured about the Sony Xperia Z3+'s display corresponds with that of its older sibling's. This is a great screen for outdoor and bedtime viewing, not so much for fans of color accuracy and dynamics.
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+||669
|Samsung Galaxy S6||563
|HTC One M9||508
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 S6||56.1%
|HTC One M9||78.7%
|Sony Xperia Z3+||80.6%
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.
18. zeeBomb (Posts: 1860; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)
FINALLY, Sony has fixed the camera software after 4 ITERATIONS since the original Z. Hallejuah!
But for the Z5, fix the sh*tty tri-bogus-nous display for an accurate callibrated one like Sammys, and hopefully a better processr with some increase with the battery. The King still need to reign!
19. bur60 (Posts: 838; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)
Or z2 screen. Z2 had one of the best ips panels in smartphones
48. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Poor PA, as if anyone takes their reviews seriously. Let's take a look at how Z3+ smokes S6 in browsing (& even reloading!!) & stays cooler than S6 after 4K shooting. Forget about the lowlight shooting where it'll wipe the floor with S6
51. aBoss (Posts: 105; Member since: 15 Sep 2014)
Also the Z3+ screen in outdoors smokes everything as its super bright. The premium WaterProof design accepts micro SD cards(unheard of and should be praised). Z3+ is the best phone of 2015.
its funny looking at PA cons tho
Average performance for the class
(Z3+ Leads in 3 of the bechmarks)
A big step back for battery life
(still beats all other 5inch flagships)
Probably less compelling than its predecessor
(you "probably" need to be less bias lol)
52. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Hell yeah, Nobody takes these clowns seriously. Remember last year they got caught while slavishly trying to put S5 ahead of Z2 in battery life (blamed it on some 'error' months later). I get the paycheck-would-dry-up part, but please PA, do it in smarter way instead of getting caught pants down in broad daylight.
70. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 523; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
Um perhaps you should take a look in the mirror. No one takes you seriously because the real clown is you. Who are you? You're a no body, you offer nothing but petty insults and complaints, and contribute nothing to this site. This site cost you nothing, and no one forces you to come here. You act like a little brat who thinks the world revolves around him, expects everything, throws insults at anyone who thinks differently and contributes absolutely nothing. The clown is you.
74. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Aww - your low IQ struggle is real & you feel like you're somebody now. Sleep tight. LMAO
88. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
Yes, about the battery life, it is great and it beats many phones, but when you compare it to the Sony xperia z3, which was the benchmark for battery life, it is a step back.
Also, the retail z3+ unit was throttled down significantly to reduce heating. These are the benchmarks for the two, the pre production and the retail units (taken from gsmarena.com)
Z3+ pre production = 3772
Z3+ retail = 3402
Z3+ pre production = 55195
Z3+ retail = 49441
Basemark OS 2.0
Z3+ pre production =1479
Z3+ retail = 1226
28. kabiluddin (Posts: 183; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)
Are you serious? This phone looks great and extremely slender. But Yes, SD810 kill this phone. This phone runs hot and as a affect it has bad battery life.
Xperia M5 is better than this phone. Actually I'm beginning to think that M5 will be the best phone from Sony for 2015. C5 ultra has better design but M5 is shaping out to be a great phone.
49. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
So Z3+ runs hot & other phones don't ? Yeah, right - check out the second video from my previous post (#48)
54. xdza1979 (Posts: 265; Member since: 08 Aug 2015)
Only from the back, the sides and front no. Its really baffles me that Sony one of the best electronics designers comes up with such atupid design.
85. sunjay140 (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)
So it's not stupid when Samsung and Apple do it?
79. sunjay140 (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)
The Z3+ is 6.9mm. .1mm thicker than the S6 while having a bigger battery and no protruding camera. It's thinner than the G4, M9, Moto X, Nexus 6 and any other highend Sony phone.
38. FaisalWibowo11 (Posts: 163; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)
Please don't say that. I still have my Z2 that I bought 18 months ago and I don't like Z3+ at all! It truly deserves bad score :(
39. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)
So Sony makes a phone that is in many ways inferior to their previous flagship, and the issue is phonearena.... I love your logic. I guess you're just ignoring the fact that the LG G4 scored well, as did the ZTE Axon Pro, and Huawei P8. All between 8-9.
Part of being a fan is admitting when a company makes mistakes and wanting them to do better. Sony apparently made many. With a HIGHLY inaccurate screen, a slower camera that supposably isn't nearly as good in low light as the g4 and s6, overheating, and shortened battery life. How are they any of those pluses? Especially when they're all issues the Z3 (mostly) didn't suffer from? Unaware part of that has to do with the chip they chose, but that doesn't involve them of responsibility for their own product.
In my opinion Sony designs some of the most understated and elegant looking devices in the world. They have some extremely bright individuals working for them, and they are certainly capable of making world-class Phones. Don't do anything other than hold them accountable to the standards you know they are worth. That is being a fan.
41. TerryTerius (Posts: 1594; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)
I will grant you that 7 is a tad low and it should be closer to the one m9 in score. Since they suffer from somewhat similar issues in terms of screen inaccuracy and camera. Although the Z3+ has the far more inaccurate screen, and the m9 has the worse camera.
3. wargreymon (Posts: 678; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)
"Probably less compelling than its predecessor" Probably? Didnt you test the phone?
10. luis.d (Posts: 328; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)
We have provided our our opinions, measurements, and advice. In the end, it's up for you to decide.
27. wargreymon (Posts: 678; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)
Then list the bad measurements, cons should be facts, "probably" isn't a fact. Feels like you just spat something out for the sake of putting a con there instead of writing something that is wrong with it. Since you have it 7/10 it must have a major problem or a lot of smaller ones.
31. luis.d (Posts: 328; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)
That's why you should read the review... or, just skim through it, you know. It's a non-too shabby piece of writing :)
55. wargreymon (Posts: 678; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)
So why have pros and cons if you don't bother with them? Just remove them altogether since you don't focus I them then.
68. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 523; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
So why bother reading reviews on the internet if you get angry when you disagree with something? Just remove yourself altogether seeing as you can't handle it.
76. wargreymon (Posts: 678; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)
Or you get the source to fix the problem, just check the Note5 review and check the pros/cons, then check this review pros/cons. Now tell me which is giving the best summary?
Since you are going to do personal attacks Im gonna assume you are a bratty little 13 year old whos parents left eachother because they are to young to work things out and instead throw away everything. Now this has rubbed off on you and you will throw away or run away whenever there is a slight problem. Enjoy weekends at your dads!
86. sunjay140 (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)
They're praising the Note 5's design and bashing the Z3+'s but Samsung copied Sony's design.
They also praise Samsung's software though it's very laggy and has aggressive ram management.
4. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
Z3 Plus = good battery life + micro SD card + waterproof + HDMI 4K + good camera
57. dmn666 (Posts: 244; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
And hi-res audio, active noise cancelling & LDAC (hi-res over bluetooth) that they 'forgot' to mention
65. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)
Thats gimmick. And anyway their headphone volt output is dissapointly so low when it supposedly should be a top priority for audiophilia.
71. T-rex (Posts: 151; Member since: 22 May 2013)
You absolutely have no idea, I had a Xperia T which has way lower volume levels, and still i would lower the volume on my phone because full volume would be too loud for me, it had lower volume levels and no noise cancellation and yet it was the best music experience i have ever had with a mobile. New Xperia flagships have higher volume levels than 2012 phones and they have noise cancellation and all the new refinements and you say it's not good so u clearly have no idea
5. xsoft7 (Posts: 27; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)
I wonder how much is 189minutes in hours??
"On the upside, the Xperia Z3+ is much faster to charge than its older sibling, which took almost three hours to fill up. The Z3+ clocks in at 189 minutes for a 0 to 100% .."
12. luis.d (Posts: 328; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)
That's just an oversight on our part and it will be corrected shortly. Sorry about that! In the meantime, the Xperia Z3's charging time is 235 minutes, almost 4 hours.
16. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Are you sure the charging time is 235??? I have the Compact which you also tested and post long charging times, but with my included charger (1.5 mAh) it takes around 150 minutes to charge...
Can you re-test the Z3 and Z3 Compact with the charger included on the Z3+?
Why haven't you make a standard test for all phones with a generic (good quality) charger?
20. mawhob2222 (Posts: 219; Member since: 22 Mar 2014)
Because #Samsungarena and sony don't pay for phonearena
46. Pattyface (Posts: 1524; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
I didn't need you to ask me.. Im saying it regardless. The fact is that Sony, even though I had and loved the z1 and z2, has been lazy the last few years and this score has nothing to do with being paid..
22. TyrionLannister (unregistered)
The problem is that sony provides inconsistent chargers across regions. Some regions get 1.5 A chargers while some get 0.85 A. Guess which one PA tested.
If you want to charge fast, grab a QC 2.0 certified charger for your Z3 compact. It would charge up the device in under 100 min as Z3 and Z3c support QC 2.0 standard, Z2 and previous Sony phones don't.
The standard test will be pretty useless as most people use the charger that comes bundled in.
29. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Yes you are correct and I know for a fact that those phones charge faster, but PhoneArena is misleading people into thinking that they are getting a device that will charge slow no matter what...
That's why I am requesting a standard test that actually compare the rate of charging of each phone, using the same charger... maybe even using a Computer USB Port... and with that test we would really know which one charge fast...
Right now the current test is absolutely Pointless since it doesn't provide an accurate information for the end user.
And those 0.85 Amp chargers are only provided for Reviewers and low end devices... The flagships receive better chargers across markets...
34. hellbread (Posts: 309; Member since: 21 Nov 2014)
I was trying to tell them that few days ago.
For a good all around phone you gave 7? Really shame...
47. phonearenarocks (Posts: 319; Member since: 26 Mar 2015)
Buddy you need not reply to these guys, there will be bashers everywhere.
81. sunjay140 (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)
Why don't you guys use the Sony Quick Charge 2.0 charge for an unbiased report?
14. bambamboogy02 (Posts: 520; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
Probably a typo, could have meant to type '159', maybe?
6. nebula (Posts: 541; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
That "The Z3+'s display has an overwhelmingly cold color temperature of 9743 kelvins" Wow didn't know it was that bad :)
17. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
its not as bad as it sounds on paper.... the colder tones gives an impression of being brigther... And in the end you can always change the White Balance settings on the display.
24. TyrionLannister (unregistered)
The problem is that when you change it to realistic whites, the brightness drops considerably.
I saw a test and the brightness of Z2 was 650 nits on default. By changing it to about 6500K, it dropped to 450 nits.
Colder WB doesn't give the impression of brighter display, it in fact is a brighter display as Sony uses a blue backlight So the bluer, the brighter.
30. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
You are also correct here... the white balance setting use in the device is a RGB filter that blocks light to change the setting... however, the display is bright enough for you to play with the setting... and the display is also efficient enough to give great battery life even if you crank up the brightness to compensate for the white balance...
I actually got used to the cold tones and the display looks great to me on a daily basis... and the battery life is great, I have my phone automatically switching between Adaptive-50% -- Adaptive-85% and Forced-85% depending on the time of day, and usage...
But I am sure that if I were to change the white balance for a more realistic one, I would keep the display between 75-100% all the time and I would still be happy with brightness (I've tested).
I always enjoy your feedback btw
42. nebula (Posts: 541; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
Here is a solution. I wonder why they go so cold on the display. It has been repeatedly told screen is too cold. One of the things that keeps me away from getting any Sony device. I
62. buccob (Posts: 2522; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
If that is the main issue, you shouldn't hold back. The device is excellent even with a cold screen.. You will only notice the first day...
66. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)
I dissagre overly cold screen just looks cheap imo. my friend has sony . And i dont want to get used to that. But good thing sony can change it with software.
78. nebula (Posts: 541; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
To be honest there are more things that holding me form purchasing Sony products .I am colourist and one thing that bothers me more than others is quite inaccurate colours. On top of it camera is not so great. I know it's good but given Sony manufacturers sensors I would expect more from them.
7. jellmoo (Posts: 1525; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Holy crap, a 7?!? Wow, this is not going to go well...
69. ibend (Posts: 3858; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)
maybe she just get bored with the design..
other than that this phone still have almost all requirement to be called flagship
9. tango_charlie (Posts: 246; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
A Z3+ review 2 weeks before Sony is going to present its successor (z5).
|Display||5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
|Size||5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches|
(146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm)
5.08 oz (144 g)
|Battery||2930 mAh, 17 hours talk time|