Sony Xperia Z3v hands-on

High smartphones from Sony rarely make their way to the US. It’s a sad thing to know, but it’s very true. In fact, the last time that a top-of-the-line Sony smartphone made its way here to the US was when the Xperia Z1S launched for T-Mobile way back in January of this year – with the Xperia Z2 being announced a month later at MWC. As we know already, the Xperia Z3 is beginning its own journey in being Sony’s next flagship. Lucky for Verizon customers, they’re going to be treated to the odd variant in the Sony Xperia Z3v. One might imagine it’s exactly like the Xperia Z3, but there are some noticeable differences.


First and foremost, the design of the Xperia Z3v has more in common to the Z2, but with the Z3’s specs instead. That’s a little bit of a letdown, especially considering that the Z3 bears incremental improvements to its overall size, weight, and design language. Of course, the Z3v continues to exude a very premium finish with its design, one that’s not only water resistant thanks to its IP65 & IP68 ratings, but it has a solid feel thanks to its glass surfaces. However, for a device bearing a 5.2-inch screen, it feels pretty large to hold in the hand – more so when compared to other similar devices like the Moto X.


We all know what’s out there, like smartphones with quad-HD displays, but the Z3v employs the same 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS TRILUMINOS display as its siblings. Certainly having something higher in resolution would make it compelling, such as the case with smartphones like the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but hey, the panel here is still crisp and detailed. Paired with Sony’s own X-Reality for mobile technology, it adapts to the content that’s being viewing on the panel.


There’s nothing really new to say about the software running in this Verizon exclusive. Not surprisingly, it’s running Sony’s customized experience on top of Android 4.4 KitKat – so it has a good balance between design and functionality. What’s really neat, though, is that the handset supports Sony’s Remote Play service, which allows PS4 console owners to continue playing their games on the Z3v – while using the Dualshock 4 controller at the same time. Gamers will no doubt find this feature very useful, since they can experience the PS4’s console grade games.

Processor and Memory

Indicative of a flagship phone, the Z3v is powered by a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor coupled with a beefy 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. In our short time checking it out, the phone exhibits the responsiveness we’d expect with a high-end, contemporary smartphone. Furthermore, it’s more than capable of effectively running all of today’s 3D intensive gaming titles.

Packing along 16GB of internal storage, the capacity can be supplemented thanks to its microSD card slot.


On paper, the Sony Xperia Z3v’s 20.7-megapixel rear camera boasts some neat features along for the ride – like Sony’s Exmor RS sensor, a single LED flash, and up to 4K video recording. However, as much as we’re wowed by the numbers, we’re curious to see if any tweaks are made to improve the overall quality of the camera itself. The Z3 proved to be very strong with its performance, so we can only presume that the same results will persist here with the Z3v. Not only is the hardware tasty, but Sony is happy to complement it with an abundant and diversified set of shooting modes.


To sum it up, the Z3v is spec’d like the Z3, but it’s using the body of the Z2. However, since this is a Verizon exclusive we’re talking about, you should know that this is the only model that has built-in wireless charging, which of course adds to its thicker chassis. It’s a great addition of course, but we all can see the sacrifice that was needed in order to accommodate it. Priced very much like a high-end phone, the Xperia Z3v will go for sale through Verizon for the 2-year contract price of $199.99. We’ve waited so long to see a high-end Sony smartphone to make its way stateside, so is the Z3v worth the wait?



1. Derekjeter

Posts: 1531; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Well my joy only lasted for an hour. I passed by a Verizon store that had on display and it's not as nice as the Z3. It's a disappointment, I really wanted the Z3 gold. Verizon let me down again. Looks like I'll get the Note 4.

3. jael206

Posts: 147; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Looks more like a Z2 to me than a Z3..

4. Derekjeter

Posts: 1531; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

It looks like the Z2 just a bit thicker. Plus it's only going to be in black and white. Man I was so excited you have no clue. I've been wanting to get a Z for a while but when I saw the Z3 I loved it. Oh well maybe next year will get the Z4.

14. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You are 100% right, that is the Sony Xperia Z2 NOT the Sony Xperia Z3. Verizon was about to drop the Z2 but then realized the Z3 was around the corner & held back. Jooooohn V. here from should never say it's "identical" to the Z3 when it's really identical to the Z2. The thickness, size & speakers location say it's clearly a Z2. I am sorry this phone is nice & it has the same specs as the Z3, but in a Z2 body. :-( I am VERY disappointed also. Looks like I am DEFINITELY getting the Google Nexus 6 or X over the Sony Xperia Z3v in Z2 clothing. NOT COOL, SONY & VERIZON NOT COOL AT ALL!!! +1

15. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

12. potatosalad

Posts: 40; Member since: May 07, 2012

i dont get it. you were dissappointed of the version of Z3 in Verizon and because of that you'll get Note 4. why not get the Z3 with no carrier specific?

13. Adrian38

Posts: 142; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

Because maybe he has Verizon and unlocked Sony devices are GSM only? Lol

16. Derekjeter

Posts: 1531; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

That's right Adrian38. POTATOSALAD, I have Verizon and an unlocked Z3 is GSM only. Note 4 here I come.

2. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Is the screen quality like the Z2 or Z3?

5. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Tell me when they get the Xperia Z3v COMPACT!!!

6. donphone

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 20, 2013

Down with carrier branded cell phones!

7. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

The screen is horrible, poor viewing angles, milky blacks, shi**y like the Z and Z1, Sony never learns.

8. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Sony thinks that a Z2.5 is the best phone for trying to gain market share with Verizon? It doesn't make sense.

9. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

It's a nice phone but boy does that look like an Ascend P7.

10. baldilocks

Posts: 1540; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Love the Verizon logo on the front.......said no one ever.

11. linuscat

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

xperia z SMU's (special make-up) have a cheaper construction versus it's brethren. nothing like the z2 (which i own) or the z3. both models have a metal frame chassis. these SMU's just have a poly shell with metal overlay pieces. i accidentally bought the z2 SMU varient and i promptly returned it.

17. jpkelly05

Posts: 110; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Funny. I saw the CNET live blog yesterday and was hoping for the Z3 to go to all 4 carriers to give us more choice. Here were my factors in picking my next 2 Phones: I have a personal account with Sprint. (I actually like Sprint better than Verizon personally- yes even with their so called crappy network - I travel a lot and I don't see it.) I have a work phone with Verizon. I wanted a Note 4 and either a Z3 or Moto X. So Yesterday was all dependent on how it was going to roll out for me. When they showed the pics of a Z2 portrayed as a Z3v- right there and then, I sent my email to my work requesting a Moto X. I think Verizon fails the customers a lot. Sprint could do a lot better too, but eh... what cha gonna do when you have 6 lines and 2 of them are far far away (600 miles) and 1 of those 2 is my mom, who isn't too tech savvy with changes. So be easy on the hating towards my opinion Please. I am not talking for you or anyone else.

18. rigor_mortis

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

heck, the z2 even looks better..

19. Q8pro

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

I have seen the z3,, i liked the copper color,, so nice,, i think if you have z2 kept it,, because both devices it same processor and screen size and camera

20. goodenough

Posts: 82; Member since: Sep 28, 2014

a bit disappointing, but I think Z3V is still looking good because I like the Z2's design

21. zpaul2fresh8

Posts: 19; Member since: Mar 27, 2013

LoL so the Z3V is really a Z2? Wow, that's really lame. Coming from a Z2 I was really disappointed to see almost no changes in the Z3. Couple that with all the minor flaws in the build quality and only having 16GB internal storage I am going with the Note 4 this time around. I will miss the IP68 certification but with the "iffy" charging port flap opening by itself I always felt uncomfortable when using it under water. After all said and done I liked the Z2 very much, but I miss my phablet after having the OG Note and Note 3! I can't wait until this Tuesday!

22. linuscat

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

I don't understand why so many people rely on carriers that are not GSM. boggles my mind.

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