The Xperia Z3

Sony’s Xperia is all things great and small in the Z3

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It’s not just Samsung that is impressing people, with Sony announcing two new handsets set to bring similar technology not just to two price points, but to two specific sizes: big and small.

Fresh from the floor of IFA in Germany, Sony is talking up a storm with not one Xperia smartphone, but rather two, with the main differences of what they have being about the size the technology is kept in.

Heading to Australia later this year will be Sony’s Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact, two models which extend on the work Sony has been doing over the past couple of years, resulting in products like the Xperia Z, Z1 Compact, and one of the favourites of this website, the recent Xperia Z2.

The Xperia Z3, or the big Sony. Or the regular Sony if a new Ultra phablet comes out.

It’s probably not hard to see where Sony is going with that naming scheme, so if you guessed that the next models would be called the Xperia Z3 — bing! — you’re right, but while these might look like minor updates on the surface, there are some serious changes lurking below, mostly in the feature department.

Two models will be made sharing mostly everything, with the obvious difference being the sizes: while the Xperia Z3 will be modelled on the Xperias Z2’s 5.2 inch size, complete with the same Full HD 1920×1080 screen, the Xperia Z3 Compact will be much smaller, arriving with a 4.6 inch display running the 720p HD resolution of 1280×720.

Both models will rely on similar technology to the recent Xperia Z2, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz powering the handset, with 3GB RAM accompanying the Z3 and 2GB on the Z3 Compact, as well as 16GB storage with a microSD slot for both, making them good to go for more storage when you need it.

Android 4.4 “KitKat” will of course be here, with Sony’s overlay on top, and both handsets will support 4G LTE, making them ideal for Australia’s high-speed mobile networks.

They both will have a 20.7 megapixel cameras with enhanced low-light technologies, with up to ISO 12800 possible, and 4K video recording possible on the Z3 (we’re checking on if the Compact can do it).

The smaller 4.6 inch Xperia Z3 Compact

Beyond the super spec’d hardware, there are strengths in extra features, with Sony finally listening and adding support for high-res audio, something we asked about when Sony released its Android-based high-resolution audio player some months ago.

Support for 192/24 files is one thing, though, with Sony also including a proprietary audio upscaling technology to improve the sound of MP3s on the handset.

The technology called “Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX” or just “DSEE HX” for short won’t just work on MP3 files, with Sony’s Music Unlimited also working with the technology, suggesting that it could work with other cloud services, too. We’ll check with Sony on this one ahead of its release.

The Game Control Mount already looks to support more than just one phone thanks to a suction-looking mount.

Another big deal is a connection to the PlayStation 4, and since Sony has a world-class gaming system, why not let its mobile phones take advantage?

With that in mind, Sony will be adding “PS4 Remote Play” to both of the Xperia Z3 models, letting you connect to your PlayStation 4 using the WiFi at home, to play the console on your phone over your wireless network.

Obviously, the PS4’s DualShock controller isn’t built into the touchscreen phone, so to deal with this, Sony will be making a special mount, the “Game Control Mount (GCM10)” which will add the phone as a suspended-by-plastic screen to the gaming controller.

With the Game Control Mount, DualShock controller, and WiFi-connected PlayStation 4, you have gaming in your home without needing your TV. Awesome.

Already, we’re intrigued, and if this were out, all we’d really need would be for Sony to make this work over 4G and we could get more gaming done on the bus.

“Australians demand and deserve greatness from their smartphone – in design, camera, battery life and entertainment experiences,” said Peter McKeon, Managing Director of Sony Mobile Communications Oceania. “That’s precisely what we have delivered with Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact, while driving leading innovations in our unique Sony camera experiences and, for the first time, PS4 Remote Play.”

“Size does matter and Australians also deserve choice, which is why we’ve brought the best of Sony to the large screen Xperia Z3 for immersive entertainment, as well as the smaller, lighter Xperia Z3 Compact that doesn’t compromise on features.”

Subtle colours for the Xperia Z3.

There’s one thing we need to include, and that’s the water and dust protection, because just like in previous Xperia models, that is sticking around, with high levels of water resistance for both.

As for pricing and availability, neither is really known at this time, but Sony has told GadgetGuy that the Xperia Z3 (5.2 inch) will be coming to Australia from all of the major telcos — Telstra, Optus, Virgin, and Vodafone — while the Xperia Z3 Compact (4.6 inch) will be handled by Telstra and Optus, with outright models of each available online and through various electronics retailers.

While there’s no date, given past experience with Sony’s IFA announcements, we’d put this release somewhere in October, but we’ll let you know when we have something more concrete.