Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact rumor round-up: price, release date, specs, and features

Note: Image above is of the Sony Xperia Z2

No, you got that one right. We're, indeed, about to discuss the upcoming Xperia Z3, and, alongside it, the Xperia Z3 Compact. And no, it's not too early, as notable information about the two has already found cracks within Sony's hopelessly insecure internal world, not to mention that, as fans of the company will know, it has officially transitioned towards a 6-month flagship release cycle.

Sony has its reasons for that, though it would be misleading to say that consumers are necessarily happy about this type of arrangement. That's not surprising, especially given what now feels characteristic of Sony devices -- their global roll-outs are a snooze fest, and it usually takes months for certain regions to get the latest. Case in point: the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact just became available exclusively through Sony's US store -- and it was announced over 7 months ago. Worse yet, Sony typically struggles getting carriers on board, so buyers who prefer subsidies at the cost of a 2-year commitment are sometimes out of luck. Let's hope that this ceases to be the case sooner rather than later.

In any case, Sony considers a 6-month release cycle crucial to maintaining a flagship. And this more than likely means that the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact (yes, even though a Z2 Compact is yet to appear) are now well into development. After all, August will mark 6 months since the announcement of the Xperia Z2, and that means Sony's new crop is just a few short months away from release.

Design and display

Much alike to the Samsung Galaxy series, Sony's OmniBalance design language that characterizes each and every of its modern devices is said to also be the inspiration for the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact's looks, with a few changes.

Xperia Z3

Looking at the Xperia Z3 first, the combination of leaks and rumors suggest that the upcoming flagship will try to improve in several key design areas: thickness and size of bezels. Indeed, both according to tipsters, a CAD drawing, and from the few alleged images of the Z3 that have already cropped up, it would appear that Sony is finally making progress in terms of bezels, and we're also told to expect a much thinner device. Currently, we're told to expect dimensions of 146.46 x 72.09 x 7.3 mm, though the a Sony teaser from August 28th suggests a thickness of 7mm. That would be a pretty impressive engineering achievement, especially if we take it for granted that the Z3 will be dust- and water-resistant like the flagships before it. Another image leak also suggests that the Z3 will be encased within a more-rounded-than-before metal frame, coated with PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). This will apparently make it more resistant to scratches and upon impact. Lastly, said images seem to confirm that Sony will, again, adopt dual front-facing speakers.

As for the display panel that Sony is planning on using with the Z3, we have considerably less information. That said, some may be relieved to hear that, at this point, multiple sources refute the possibility of a super pixel-dense, Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution display. Instead, a more standard, 1080p screen (likely the IPS type) is what's currently expected, though we don't yet know of the kind of diagonal those pixels will be stretched over.

Xperia Z3 Compact

The mini version of the Z3, likely to be commercially known as the Z3 Compact, will mimic the design (from what we've seen) of its bigger sibling, and also sport smaller bezels, a relatively thin form factor, and perhaps even a duo of front-facing speakers. If the Z1 Compact is any indication, then we'd also expect the Z3 Compact to also come with dust- and water-resistant body (IP68). And the physical footprint? 129 x 64.9 x 8.8 mm, according to a leaked CAD drawing of the Z3 Compact, though a more recent leak suggests dimensions of 127 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm (5 x 2.55 x 0.33 in), and a weight of 129 g (4.55 oz).

Unlike the Xperia Z3, we already have some indication as to the size of the Z3 Compact's screen -- 4.6 inches, and a 720 x 1280 resolution, or a pixel density of 326 ppi. Seeing as how the Z1 Compact was the first Sony device to arrive with an IPS panel, we'd expect no less from the Z3 Compact.

Processor and memory

Six months isn't a whole lot when talking about processors, and that means that Sony will perhaps run into consecutive flagship releases that see no major changes in terms of the chipsets powering the devices. The Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact could very well be on that path.

Xperia Z3

From what we know so far, Sony may well be in for some criticism from fans, as certain sources (including an alleged AnTuTu benchmark pass) suggest that the chip powering the Xperia Z3 is none other than the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974AC. That's the highest bin of the SD801, and it makes use of four Krait 400 cores, clocked at 2.5GHz, and an Adreno 330 GPU, flying at 578MHz. As some of you will probably know, that's the exact same chip powering the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G3.

Obviously, such a development would be hard for fans to stomach, though it should be pointed out that the performance of such a high tier chip leaves absolutely nothing to desire. In terms of RAM, we're currently expecting a 3GB unit, though you never know. And that last part is applicable to the processor, too -- after all, the Snapdragon 805 has already seen its official debut with the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A.

Internal memory is said to be 16GB, with an option for expansion through a microSD card (up to 128GB more).

Xperia Z3 Compact

As for the Xperia Z3's smaller brother, XDA developer DooMLoRD claims the Z3 Compact will also pack the very same, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, but will keep the RAM locked at 2GB. As for built-in storage, we're told to expect 16GB and a slot for a microSD card (up to 128GB more).

Such a small upgrade, however, definitely begs the question: will we even see a Z2 Compact? Or is Sony about to skip ahead? We just don't know yet.


Soon after Sony released the Xperia Z1, the 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor found within quickly turned into its most stand-out feature. Indeed, the sheer number of available pixels is usually enough to get most sold on the Z line's cameras, even though advanced users know that these do not necessarily translate into an awesome snap. To avoid confusion, this is not to say that the images that the Z1 -- and even more so, the Z2 -- produce are disappointing at all. In fact, in our experience they're just shy of costing the Galaxy S5's crown in the camera department.

All this talk about the 20.7MP snapper on current Sony devices probably was clue enough for some of you, but here goes: right now, we're led to believe that Sony will stick with it for another generation, and both the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact will sport one. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how important camera software has become, so there's probably room for improvement anyway.

On an equally speculative note, Sony has revealed that it's making good progress on a new kind of CMOS sensors that are curved, much alike to the human eye. The company says that the new piece will introduce minimal vignetting and aberrations at the corners of images, which is usually a problem with flat sensors. Even better, Sony is apparently ready to produce a full-frame curved sensor, along with a 1/2.3''-sized one for smartphones. Said otherwise, Sony may have a surprise up its sleeve, so we may end up seeing this new tech in action sooner rather than later.

Price and release date

Considering that Sony has officially confirmed that it's going after a 6-month flagship release cycle, it's not too hard to imagine that the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact will be announced in the August-September span. As we now know, Sony has set an event for September 3rd at IFA 2014 in Berlin, and will, indeed, unveil both the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact.

As for pricing, Sony has been fairly uniform as of late. To be completely fair, the price Sony charged for the Z1 and the one it set for the Z2 is pretty much identical. This gives us reason to believe that the Xperia Z3 will go on sale commanding a price tag of about $699 unlocked in the US (apparently with T-Mobile), and anywhere between €599 and €699 in Europe. 

Last update: 09/01/2014. Added tons of new images and specs; numerous minor fixes and additions.

Related phones

Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(14h 3G talk time)



1. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Only one thing Sony, make it available ASAP after announcement.

45. PressStart

Posts: 119; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

And T-Mo needs to make this available. Come on!

58. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Sony should make a multi-carrier model that they can sell directly as well through the carriers.

60. JC557

Posts: 1918; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Well going by what they did with the Xperia Z2 6503 then it's safe to say that it should be the same with the Z3/ Z3c. They just need to get it out there.

74. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

59. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

also they should have good quality control, they don't have good quality control, yes asap but only if they don't have any problem so buyer wont suffer

73. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

What Sony needs to do is to LAUNCH ON every U.S. Carriers.

2. limporgyuk

Posts: 357; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

A good starting point....a big glass brick that looks pretty much the same as the Z2 with even less curves

17. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

the front is similar to LG Optimus 4X HD color white

3. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

But the first image is T2 Ultra... Isn't it?

4. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

It's the Z2.

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I mean the first in the first slideshow. Which says "This, allegedly, is the Xperia Z3". Sorry I was a bit misleading.

30. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Oh! Nice catch there. It is the T2 Ultra. Edited.

31. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Good :)

32. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Now the whole article doesn't work :p Says "PARSER ERROR:Invalid image group."

61. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Chris.P please edit the size of the Z3 Compact... according to the CAD drawing is 126 mm, not 129. Many people commented this, but the info was never updated in any of the articles

8. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

No it's not the T2 Ultra. There are small differences if you look closely.

11. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Like what? Only weird thing is that it seems to be running the old Xperia UI, which I guess the T2 U doesn't have. All the sensors, speakers, buttons, even the headphone jack are in the same place and have the same form.

13. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Actually it does use the old UI. So no doubt. It's the T2 Ultra.

6. WhiteWaterOzc

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Z3 looks stubborn~~~ the edges are so sharp just like a huawei ascend p7 or p6~~~

7. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Bezels about the only thing I disliked on the Z2. Glad to see the're listening to reason.

15. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

at the first look i thought its ang LG Optimus 4X HD white version until i saw the bottom speaker.

22. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yes... either ZL2 or Z3 Compact for me I think the ZL2 size is pretty good I hate how those versions only stay in Japan

9. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Hope they make a curved back design, flat back may look sexy for some, but it is uncomfortable. Also the omnibalance design is starting to look stale tbh.

12. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I like how the Z2 feels in the hands. But yeah as beautiful as the current design is, it would be nice to see a little difference just for some change.

18. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Yeah but those sharp corners hurt and make it uncomfortable, atleast from the few days of experience using the Z2. Also the big bezels are spoiling its looks. BTW Do you work or still school?

19. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Doesn't hurt me at all. High school. Or senior high school or I dunno what would be the same in the US.

56. mistertimi

Posts: 77; Member since: May 28, 2014

The sharp corners are gone in the leaked Z3 and Z3 Compact, but yeah I agree, maybe throw in a curved back. Or just change up the design altogether.

10. ryq24

Posts: 875; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I think the Z3 will have 5.5 screen while the Z3 mini will have a 4.7" screen just like the rumored upcoming iPhone 6.

14. yep_its_ed unregistered

I hope it looks EXACTLY like the thumbnail. That design looks great with the small bezels and centered camera!

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