Introduction


We remember waiting for the Sony Xperia Z4 as the rumors about it kept piling up over each other. Yet, as the handset's surprisingly “soft” launch finally commenced, we came to understand that the Sony Xperia Z4 is actually more of a Sony Xperia Z3+, complete with the same branding for markets outside Japan. Thus, we couldn't help, but wonder – has Sony's strategy of upgrading its flagship smartphones twice a year, incorporating incremental improvements while overlooking opportunities for major changes, finally gotten the best of them? We won't spoil the provocative question by answering it just yet, but our review will give you the verdict, along with our quick opinion on whether it's worth upgrading from the Xperia Z3 to the Z3+.

Package includes:

  • Xperia Z3+ smartphones
  • microUSB cable
  • Charging adapter
  • Earphones
  • User guides

Design

Wow, it's the best same-looking Sony Xperia Z handset ever!

Even if you've seen or held the Sony Xperia Z3 before it, it takes a cold and rational mind, one free of emotion's grip and governed entirely by the principles of logic, to not be impressed by the Sony Xperia Z3+'s look and feel. But what needs to be said has to be said - the Xperia Z3+ is virtually identical to its predecessor. It has the same metal and glass build, one of the best in class, but entirely predictable at this point. The omission of the magnetic charging port is welcome, however, for it was neither particularly useful, nor elegant-looking. On the Xperia Z3, the charging port was covered with a flap, while the one on the Z3+ is wide in the open, and still waterproof – an unquestionably better design. But the camera shutter button on the Z3 was slightly less wobbly and nicer to press.

Still, these are very minor gripes to have with a design as sleek and understated as Sony's. A more serious complaint would be the complete finger magnet of a glass used for the handset's front and back panel, and while we're at it, the volume buttons feel quite anemic, lacking width and travel. But on the side of good news, the Xperia Z3+ is 0.016 (0.4mm) thinner than its predecessor, coming in at just 0.27in (6.9mm) of thinness, and is also 0.28oz (8 grams) lighter, at 5.08 oz (144g). Overall, the handset measures 5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches (146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm), making for a rather big device.

Consider the repositioning of the microSD and SIM slot to the left, and this concludes the list of obvious differences between this and last year's model. There are more subtle, almost imperceptible nuances on the surface that make the Xperia Z3+'s build seem ever so slightly tighter – the frame is more flush with the body, the front-facing speakers now occupy the very ends of the top and bottom bezels, and the microphone has been moved to the frame's top side.

On the dual-SIM version of the device, the combined microSD and SIM card slot houses one microSD card and up to two nanoSIM cards simultaneously. Usually, dual-SIM handsets limit users to having either two SIM cards, or one SIM card and one microSD card at the same time, so Sony has to be commended for this bit of clever engineering.


Sony Xperia Z3+

Sony Xperia Z3+

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches

146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC One M9

HTC One M9

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches

144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Sony Xperia Z3+

Sony Xperia Z3+

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches

146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

LG G4

LG G4

Dimensions

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC One M9

HTC One M9

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches

144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

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




Display

Bright and pleasant, but colors are still off the chart.

The Sony Xperia Z3+ doesn't offer anything new in the display department over its predecessor. Once again, there's a 5.2-inch 1080p resolution IPS LCD display with 441ppi pixel density for you to enjoy. It's a great display on many levels, especially considering its extraordinarily high maximum brightness. But, taking a look at our screen measurements reveals that Sony hasn't done much to resolve the all-too familiar flaws of high-end Xperia handsets' screens.

At 669 nits of maximum brightness and 4 nits of minimum brightness, the Xperia Z3 is reliable in both intense light and low light situations. However, the Xperia Z3 could reach from 4 nits all the way up to 713 nits, making for an even brighter outlook. Still, the Z3+'s display is brighter than those of the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9, but is weaker in other areas, such as color reproduction.

The Z3+'s display has an overwhelmingly cold color temperature of 9743 kelvins, which has, sadly, become typical for Sony's recent high-end smartphones. Far from the reference value of 6500K, where color balance tends to be much more... well, balanced, this results in a noticeable blue-ish tint. There are some other inaccuracies found, such as the generally oversaturated red and green shades, not to mention the yellow nuances drifting towards green, and purple colors inching towards blues. Not good!

Furthermore, the gamma log reveals that gray shades tend to appear darker than they really are, with those ranging from mid-bright to brightest, in particular, showing up as unnaturally dark. This makes for a rather un-dynamic image with poor contrast. Combined with the overly blueish color balance, the total gamma value of 2.64 results in shades of gray actually presenting themselves as a sort of a dark blue. Once again, not good, unless you really like blue-tinted images for some reason. Fans of the Smurfs will rejoice!

On the side of viewing angles, the Xperia Z3+ gives off significant deteriorations in maximum and minimum brightness levels, as well as contrast when viewed at a 45-degree angle. However, color error shifts are kept quite manageable. This behaviour is typical of IPS LCD displays and can be observed in other hi-end smartphones that use the technology, such as the LG G4.

On a side note, you can still enable the so-called X-Reality engine from the Settings menu for a punchier, larger than life image. Some of you may like that for watching photos and videos, as it makes things appear more vivid. Additionally, the touchscreen's sensitivity can be increased for operation with gloves on, which is great for winter season.

Overall, much of what was said and measured about the Sony Xperia Z3+'s display corresponds with that of its older sibling's. This is a great screen for outdoor and bedtime viewing, not so much for fans of color accuracy and dynamics.



FEATURED VIDEO

89 Comments

1. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

I forgot about this phone!

18. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

FINALLY, Sony has fixed the camera software after 4 ITERATIONS since the original Z. Hallejuah! But for the Z5, fix the sh*tty tri-bogus-nous display for an accurate callibrated one like Sammys, and hopefully a better processr with some increase with the battery. The King still need to reign!

19. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Or z2 screen. Z2 had one of the best ips panels in smartphones

48. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Poor PA, as if anyone takes their reviews seriously. Let's take a look at how Z3+ smokes S6 in browsing (& even reloading!!) & stays cooler than S6 after 4K shooting. Forget about the lowlight shooting where it'll wipe the floor with S6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmzVGuajBv0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlnlW6sOP7w http://forum.xda-developers.com/xperia-z4/general/z3-camera-thread-t3143170

51. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

Also the Z3+ screen in outdoors smokes everything as its super bright. The premium WaterProof design accepts micro SD cards(unheard of and should be praised). Z3+ is the best phone of 2015. its funny looking at PA cons tho Average performance for the class (Z3+ Leads in 3 of the bechmarks) A big step back for battery life (still beats all other 5inch flagships) Probably less compelling than its predecessor (you "probably" need to be less bias lol)

52. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Hell yeah, Nobody takes these clowns seriously. Remember last year they got caught while slavishly trying to put S5 ahead of Z2 in battery life (blamed it on some 'error' months later). I get the paycheck-would-dry-up part, but please PA, do it in smarter way instead of getting caught pants down in broad daylight.

70. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Um perhaps you should take a look in the mirror. No one takes you seriously because the real clown is you. Who are you? You're a no body, you offer nothing but petty insults and complaints, and contribute nothing to this site. This site cost you nothing, and no one forces you to come here. You act like a little brat who thinks the world revolves around him, expects everything, throws insults at anyone who thinks differently and contributes absolutely nothing. The clown is you.

74. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Aww - your low IQ struggle is real & you feel like you're somebody now. Sleep tight. LMAO

80. sunjay140

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

Ad Hominem fallacy.

88. DSP96

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

Yes, about the battery life, it is great and it beats many phones, but when you compare it to the Sony xperia z3, which was the benchmark for battery life, it is a step back. Also, the retail z3+ unit was throttled down significantly to reduce heating. These are the benchmarks for the two, the pre production and the retail units (taken from gsmarena.com) GeekBench 3 Z3+ pre production = 3772 Z3+ retail = 3402 AnTuTu 5 Z3+ pre production = 55195 Z3+ retail = 49441 Basemark OS 2.0 Z3+ pre production =1479 Z3+ retail = 1226

2. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Samsungarena

13. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

The phone looks bad and bulky. And SD810

28. kabiluddin

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Are you serious? This phone looks great and extremely slender. But Yes, SD810 kill this phone. This phone runs hot and as a affect it has bad battery life. Xperia M5 is better than this phone. Actually I'm beginning to think that M5 will be the best phone from Sony for 2015. C5 ultra has better design but M5 is shaping out to be a great phone.

49. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

So Z3+ runs hot & other phones don't ? Yeah, right - check out the second video from my previous post (#48)

54. xdza1979

Posts: 296; Member since: Aug 08, 2015

Only from the back, the sides and front no. Its really baffles me that Sony one of the best electronics designers comes up with such atupid design.

85. sunjay140

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

So it's not stupid when Samsung and Apple do it?

79. sunjay140

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

The Z3+ is 6.9mm. .1mm thicker than the S6 while having a bigger battery and no protruding camera. It's thinner than the G4, M9, Moto X, Nexus 6 and any other highend Sony phone.

38. FaisalWibowo11

Posts: 166; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Please don't say that. I still have my Z2 that I bought 18 months ago and I don't like Z3+ at all! It truly deserves bad score :(

39. TerryTerius unregistered

So Sony makes a phone that is in many ways inferior to their previous flagship, and the issue is phonearena.... I love your logic. I guess you're just ignoring the fact that the LG G4 scored well, as did the ZTE Axon Pro, and Huawei P8. All between 8-9. Part of being a fan is admitting when a company makes mistakes and wanting them to do better. Sony apparently made many. With a HIGHLY inaccurate screen, a slower camera that supposably isn't nearly as good in low light as the g4 and s6, overheating, and shortened battery life. How are they any of those pluses? Especially when they're all issues the Z3 (mostly) didn't suffer from? Unaware part of that has to do with the chip they chose, but that doesn't involve them of responsibility for their own product. In my opinion Sony designs some of the most understated and elegant looking devices in the world. They have some extremely bright individuals working for them, and they are certainly capable of making world-class Phones. Don't do anything other than hold them accountable to the standards you know they are worth. That is being a fan.

41. TerryTerius unregistered

I will grant you that 7 is a tad low and it should be closer to the one m9 in score. Since they suffer from somewhat similar issues in terms of screen inaccuracy and camera. Although the Z3+ has the far more inaccurate screen, and the m9 has the worse camera.

3. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

"Probably less compelling than its predecessor" Probably? Didnt you test the phone?

10. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

We have provided our our opinions, measurements, and advice. In the end, it's up for you to decide.

27. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Then list the bad measurements, cons should be facts, "probably" isn't a fact. Feels like you just spat something out for the sake of putting a con there instead of writing something that is wrong with it. Since you have it 7/10 it must have a major problem or a lot of smaller ones.

31. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

That's why you should read the review... or, just skim through it, you know. It's a non-too shabby piece of writing :)

55. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

So why have pros and cons if you don't bother with them? Just remove them altogether since you don't focus I them then.

68. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

So why bother reading reviews on the internet if you get angry when you disagree with something? Just remove yourself altogether seeing as you can't handle it.

76. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Or you get the source to fix the problem, just check the Note5 review and check the pros/cons, then check this review pros/cons. Now tell me which is giving the best summary? Since you are going to do personal attacks Im gonna assume you are a bratty little 13 year old whos parents left eachother because they are to young to work things out and instead throw away everything. Now this has rubbed off on you and you will throw away or run away whenever there is a slight problem. Enjoy weekends at your dads!

86. sunjay140

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

They're praising the Note 5's design and bashing the Z3+'s but Samsung copied Sony's design. They also praise Samsung's software though it's very laggy and has aggressive ram management.

4. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Z3 Plus = good battery life + micro SD card + waterproof + HDMI 4K + good camera

57. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

And hi-res audio, active noise cancelling & LDAC (hi-res over bluetooth) that they 'forgot' to mention
Xperia Z3+
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2930 mAh(17h talk time)

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