Hands-On: Sony Xperia Z3 series

Hands-On: Sony Xperia Z3 series

Following the unveiling of Sony's new range of Xperia Z3 products at IFA 2014, the entire portfolio was officially unveiled in Singapore on Tuesday (Sept 16). Here are Hardware Zone's initial impressions of the new offerings.

Xperia Z3

Sony's new flagship smartphone is 11g lighter than its predecessor, the Z2, weighing just 152g. It is also slightly shorter and thinner, measuring a mere 7.3mm thick. Like the Z2, the Z3 uses a 5.2-inch Full HD Triluminos display, but now boasts some of the thinnest bezels around, measuring just 2mm from the display to the edge of the device. The Z3 also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with a higher clock speed of 2.5GHz, 3GB RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat, and Sony's best ever dust and water resistant build, with the Z3 rated at IP 65/68, compared to IP 55/58 for the Z2.

Right off the bat, the Xperia Z3 comes with a rounder, more stylish frame. We were told by a Sony staff that the corners are deliberately covered in nylon caps to protect the frame from getting dents in the event of accidental drops.

Another physical difference which can only be felt when you hold the Xperia Z3 and Z2 is the weight of the newcomer. Sony shaved off 11g from the Xperia Z3. The reduction in weight could likely be attributed to a slightly smaller battery (3,100mAh) in the Xperia Z3 as compared to the 3,200mAh battery in the Xperia Z2. In terms of actual use and handling, we really liked the lighter Xperia Z3.

Sony also managed to make the Xperia Z3 more compact in terms of footprint; it is slightly shorter in length (146 vs 146.8mm), narrower in width (72 vs 73.3mm) and thinner (7.3 vs 8.2mm).

The rest of its hardware specs remains the same; you still get the same 5.2-inch 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset (albeit with a higher clock speed at 2.5GHz), 3GB RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat, improved water and dust resistant chassis (IP65/68 vs. IP55/58 on the Z2) and the same 20.7-megapixel camera sensor as its predecessor, the Z2.

While the megapixel count remains the same, it bumps the ISO sensitivity to a maximum of 12,800. While recording videos, this tops out at ISO3200, but either way, it's a first for any smartphone to boast such settings. What all these means is that the Xperia Z3 is more capable than the Xperia Z2 and most of its competitors in low light shots. The G lens also differs as it comes with a 25mm wide angle lens for fitting more subjects in a frame.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The pioneer of the true compact flagship concept, Sony has unleashed a 4.6-inch variant of its Z3 flagship. As the name suggests, the Xperia Z3 Compact has a smaller footprint.

Compared to the Xperia Z1 Compact, the Xperia Z3 Compact is thinner (8.6 vs 9.5mm) and lighter (129g vs. 137g). It also adopts the new stylish and rounded frame as the Xperia Z3 with nylon caps at the corners to better protect against dents when dropped. For those who don't really take well to 5-inch and larger phones, they are going to love the new Xperia Z3 Compact as it can be easily handled in one hand.

The Xperia Z3 Compact has a bigger display compared to its predecessor at 4.6-inches although its resolution remains at HD (1,280 x 720 pixels). Nonetheless, the display still looks great. Its imaging hardware is the same as the Xperia Z3 although it lacks the wide angle lens. You get the same 20.7-megapixel sensor with ISO sensitively up to 12,800.

Availability

The Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact will be retailing at $998 and $798 respectively (without contract). Both phones will be available at all telco operators and Sony Centres from Oct 4, 2014.

Next: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - A beauty to hold

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