Sony Xperia Z3 Review

Call quality


The earpiece of the Xperia Z3 exhibits an average call quality, as it is powerful enough to hear in noisy environments, but the voices coming through sound a tad muffled, and slightly distorted at the highest volumes. The noise-canceling microphones, on the other hand, do a great job at weeding out the ambient noises, and relaying are voice loud and clear to the other end.

Battery


Sony's latest flagship smartphone has a pretty thin profile, but the company has still managed to fit in a large, 3100 mAh battery. With such a good capacity, the Xperia Z3 is officially said to remain operational for 16 hours of 3G talk time, or 37 days of stand-by time. Additionally, the handset should be able to deliver up to 130 hours of continuous music listening, or up to 10 hours of video playback, according to the company's specs sheet. These are respectable battery times, which should make it possible even for users heavily relying on their phone to have a no-compromise experience for a full day or two, depending on the user's activities and screen-on time. In fact, Sony advertises the Z3 as the “two-day battery” phone, and we can attest for this to be true. 

The phone lasted for nearly nine and a half hours of screen-on time when we ran our grueling battery benchmark, putting it comfortably ahead of any other flagship big-screen phone or phablet we've tested at the moment, even beating handsets with huge batteries like the Ascend Mate7. The Z3 battery endurance is also better than the one of the Z2, which already has a great battery life, so kudos to Sony here - it managed to squeeze much more life out of a tad smaller battery, compared to the Z2, and make a truly "two-day battery". The charging time, on the other hand, is much longer than the average, at close to four hours with the paltry stock 850 mA charger.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z3
9h 29 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S5
7h 38 min (Good)
LG G3
6h 14 min (Average)

minutes Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z3
235
Samsung Galaxy S5
122
LG G3
120

Conclusion


At first read, one might scoff at the seemingly modest Xperia Z3 upgrades against its Z2 predecessor. We are kind of liking Sony's approach, though, as it allows the company to stay on top of the bi-annual Android cycle of spring-fall flagships, while experimenting and improving with greater frequency. The Z3 has a thinner chassis, faster processor, brighter display and better photo and audio quality than the Z2, while keeping everything else great intact. These might not seem significant upgrades each on its own, but the cumulative effect is pretty powerful. The only gripe we have with the phone has to do with Sony's signature thick top and bottom bezels, which makes it largish for the screen size, yet we are willing to let those slide for the waterproof certification, and the front stereo speakers you are getting.

If you are coming from the Z1, the Z3 is a worthy upgrade, as it will upscale your Sony phone in all directions. For the Z2 owners, the situation is a tad murkier, as you might not want to shell out two Benjamins more for a tad slimmer handset with a bit better outdoor visibility, and a more balanced camera. Looking at the chief Z3 competitors, these boil down to the usual suspects. The plasticky Galaxy S5 offers a 5.1” 1080p display, whose colors are every bit as inaccurate as the Z3's out of the box, and a camera of similar quality, with waterproof chassis as well. The HTC One (M8) has a very premium build, and flaunts stereo speakers as well, but its Duo Camera is the weakest in the flagship pack. LG's G3 brags with a high-end QHD display and optically-stabilized camera in a chassis only a tad wider than the Z3, but its battery life is shorter than the rest. This competitor trio, however, sports one important advantage before Sony's newest Xperia – it is now about a hundred or more cheaper, and the category is pretty crowded for the new Z3 to dent a lasting impression there.

Alternatively, you can eschew Android altogether, and take a dive in the iOS pool, as the new iPhone 6 now comes with a much larger display than before, thinner body, improved camera, Apple Pay, and is a better value-keeper, for roughly the same price as the Z3, though you'd have to wave goodbye to the waterproof wrapper, record battery life, and the stereo speakers of the Z3.

Software version: 23.0.A.2.93


Pros

  • Thin and stylish waterproof body
  • Bright display with excellent outdoor visibility
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good pictures and video quality
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Comparatively large for the display size
  • Very inaccurate screen colors in default mode
  • Hollow-sounding earpiece

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

User Rating:

9.0
24 Reviews

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: 3309; 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: 3309; 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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