One of the best phones around: Sony's Xperia Z3 reviewed
4.9Overall Score

Price (RRP): $849; Available on plans from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone;
Manufacturer: Sony

Sony has been improving its smartphones so much that it’s impossible not to see the electronics superpower as a serious competitor to Apple and Samsung, and here we are again with another model and what may well be the perfection of its Xperia range thus far.

Features

If it doesn’t feel like it’s been long since we saw a new Z model Xperia, you’d be right, with only a few months of space occupying the time since Sony first showed us the Z2 at Mobile World Congress earlier in the year, and then the Z3 at IFA a few months later.

Here we are, though, with another Xperia, and it’s very much a model like the Z3 Compact we checked out recently, albeit one with a bigger screen.

The Z3 is practically identical to the Compact, making the smaller version just that: a smaller handset based on its big brother, different from the other so-called “compact” or “mini” edition smartphones that share the same name and design, but compromise on features in the process.

As such, expect much of the same technology found in the Z3 Compact in the Sony Xperia Z3, including a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz and paired with 3GB RAM, an increase on the 2GB found in the Z3 Compact.

Google’s Android 4.4 “KitKat” is also found here, with Sony’s own overlay provided, and 16GB storage running alongside with room to upgrade it thanks to a microSD slot found inside the unit.

Connection options are spot on identical, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Near-Field Communication (NFC), microUSB, GPS, and 4G LTE working on a Category 4 system providing download speeds as high as 150Mbps on compatible networks and speeds as high as 50Mbps.

The camera is exactly the same also, with a 20.7 megapixel sensor with autofocus and flash on the back, also capable of recording 4K Ultra HD video if need be, while the front-facing camera is also exactly the same at 2.2 megapixels.

Water resistance is also identical, sporting IP68 certification for dust-proofing and water resistance over a metre (usually under three) for up to 30 minutes.

There have been a few changes, though, and the screen relying on a larger 5.2 inch display sporting a Full HD 1920×1080 In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen, over the Z3 Compact’s 4.6 inch HD 1280×720 IPS screen. With 1920×1080 being shown on the Xperia Z3’s display, you can expect a pixel clarity of roughly 424 pixels per inch.

Buttons are few in number on smartphones, and the Xperia Z3 keeps this trend up, with only three physical buttons on the right edge and all remaining soft buttons found as part of the screen.

As such, you can find a circular power button just above the volume rocker on the right edge, while a camera shutter and activation button is found on the bottom of that right edge. Soft buttons are all part of the display, as per what Google started using in phones from version 4.0 onwards, with back, home, and multitask found on the bottom edge as part of the operating system.