Introduction


"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

Design

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.


Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches

146 x 72 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

LG G3

LG G3

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches

146 x 72 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

LG G3

LG G3

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.55 oz (129 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

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.



FEATURED VIDEO

152 Comments

2. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 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

Posts: 515; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

oh samsung does for 3 years and still gets 9 or above . this gets 8.5 ? not fair

70. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Ok... Where is the video review? STILL, STILL waiting on it... PhoneArena.com you guys are really dropping the ball here!!!

139. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

totally. 0.5 points less. rubbish. lets burn phonearena. they are sony haters /s

48. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 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: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 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

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Love the design of that sharp edged phone.

134. Outdoorluvr

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 26, 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!

153. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

The Z2 and Z3 are certified only for submersion in freshwater to 1.5 meters for 30 mins. not 1-2 hours.

4. lee480 unregistered

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: 63; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

iPhone 6 now comes with a much larger display, thinner body, better camera THAN IPHONE 5S, correct this PA!!!

10. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 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: 43; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

I feel its edges should me more curved then flat. my score 9 / 10.

11. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

Just...How did the Z2 got 9.2 and Z3 8.5?

14. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 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: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

I think it's because of the screen of the Z3,

23. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 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: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 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: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Just wring calibration. Their is a setting where u can adjust that. White balance

98. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 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: Jul 13, 2014

thats right why z2 got 9.2 and z3 8.5 ? why phonearena ?????

12. AppleJuice

Posts: 145; Member since: Sep 12, 2013

That display is a mess except the brightness.

13. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Agreed. However, there is a dedicated setting to change the white balance.

16. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 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: Feb 15, 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: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 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: Feb 15, 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: Sep 12, 2013

They wanted to make an Amoled but failed.

18. Classique

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 10, 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

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Xperia Z3
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 2.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(14h talk time)

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