Event Coverage

IFA 2014: Hands-on with the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

By Bryan Chan & Sidney Wong - 6 Sep 2014

Hands-on: Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

Sony has a huge presence at IFA launching all sorts of new gadgets from mobile devices, to TVs, cameras, audio gear and projectors.

Sony’s all out for IFA 2014

Sony probably has the largest number of product announcements this year at IFA. We saw new audio products, new lens-style cameras, smaller Action Cam, its first curved 4K TV (Bravia S90) and three new mobile devices. We dropped by the Sony Booth at IFA 2014 to check out their new mobility products.

 

Sony Xperia Z3

The Xperia Z3 is Sony’s latest flagship smartphone for 2014 and succeeds the Xperia Z2, which was announced six months ago.

In case you don’t know, Sony is fond of releasing a flagship smartphone every six months to stay competitive. While this may seem good in the eyes of the company, owners of the previous flagship variants may not be as happy to see their expensive devices replaced soon (which we owe this phenomenon to less than expected trading value and just pure ego). This time round, the brand new Xperia Z3 sports more aesthetic improvements than software upgrades.

 Notice the new styling of its aluminium frame on the Sony Xperia Z3. You will also notice the nylon caps at the four corners of the device to better protect it against potential damage from mishandling.

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.

 You can’t tell the difference between the Sony Xperia Z3 (left) and the Xperia Z2 (right) from the front, although the former sports slightly thinner bezels which is just 2mm thin.

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).

You can hardly discern the differences in the physical dimensions, but the Xperia Z3 definitely feels better in the hands.

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.

 The rear of the Sony Xperia Z3 remains unchanged from the Xperia 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 come with a 25mm wide angle lens for fitting more subjects in a frame.

 

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The Xperia Z3 Compact is a neat-looking Android smartphone.

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.

Seen here are the 4.6-inch Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and the 5.2-inch Xperia Z2. The size difference is immense.

You see the signature aluminium power button on the right side and below it are the volume controls and camera shutter button.

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

Sony states that the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact will be available globally from this month. Stay tuned for more local updates from us.