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Sony Xperia Z3 Review

Sony Xperia Z3 8.5

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Sony Xperia Z3 Review

Sony Xperia Z3 Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Review
Sony Xperia Z3 Review

"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.

Sony Xperia Z3
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia Z3

Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)


Apple iPhone 6
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)

Apple iPhone 6

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


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
LG G3 455
View all

  • Options

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 09:56 4

2. DogeShibe (Posts: 1115; 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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 11:53 16

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 14:04 2

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.

posted on 23 Sep 2014, 08:19 1

126. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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!!!

posted on 03 Oct 2014, 18:06 1

139. MySchizoBuddy (Posts: 157; Member since: 23 Aug 2011)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 12:01 4

48. akki20892 (Posts: 3902; 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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 12:18

53. DogeShibe (Posts: 1115; 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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 12:22 4

54. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)

Love the design of that sharp edged phone.

posted on 26 Sep 2014, 00:23

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!

posted on 07 Dec 2016, 22:40

153. zenun12 (Posts: 175; Member since: 31 Oct 2016)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:00 15

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:13 2

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!!!

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:16

10. Pattyface (Posts: 1646; 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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:16

9. TimePass (Posts: 43; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:16 5

11. RuiBacelar (Posts: 153; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:20 1

14. Pattyface (Posts: 1646; 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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:21

15. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:32 2

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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 14:58

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?

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 18:42

87. pyradark (Posts: 882; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

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

posted on 20 Sep 2014, 01:45

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

posted on 14 Oct 2014, 03:13

147. mohsen1231 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jul 2014)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:18

12. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)

That display is a mess except the brightness.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:20 2

13. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)

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

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:22 2

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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 13:43

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)

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:23

17. alexvv (Posts: 165; 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?

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:33 1

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.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:44 1

28. AppleJuice (Posts: 145; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)

They wanted to make an Amoled but failed.

posted on 19 Sep 2014, 10:26 1

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

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Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

OS: Android 6.0 5.1 5.0 4.4.4
view full specs
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera20.7 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400 processor
Size5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
(146 x 72 x 7.3 mm)
5.36 oz  (152 g)
Battery3100 mAh, 14 hours talk time

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