Design & Hardware

The Xperia Z3's design to its predecessor but the new device is a touch thinner and has smoother and rounder metal edges.

With its slightly boxy shape and glass panels covering the entire front and back the Sony Xperia Z3 follows closely in the design footsteps of its predecessors. It is slightly thinner than the Xperia Z2 though and comes with more rounded aluminium edges, giving it the look and feel of a true premium device. Like on previous models the glass back also has a couple of downsides. It's quite prone to fingerprint smearing and over time it'll collect a few fine scratches. It's also so smooth that a few times I had the device slide off surfaces that were only slightly inclined, making a protective case a good investment.

The physical shutter button is signature feature of the Xperia Z line.
Card slots and USB-connector are hidden under water and dust-proof flaps.

Like its predecessor, the Z3 is dust and waterproof (certified to IP55/58) which means it can be used in adverse weather conditions or dusty environments and even take pictures and video underwater. The Sony is also one of the few smartphones to feature a dedicated dual-position shutter button, a long-press of which opens the camera app. Slots for a MicroSim or microSD card are hidden under sealed plastic flaps which are smaller and better integrated into the aluminium frame than before. Somehow, the earphone socket maintains the device's environmental protection without an additional cover. The locations of external controls have not changed from previous models. Power button and volume rocker can both be found beside the shutter button on the right edge of the device. 

When used as a camera the Z3 handles just like previous Z-line models. The angular shape make it easy to hold the device and use it as a camera but the corner location of the lens means it is easily shaded by your index finger. Camera specification has only slightly changed on the new model. The Z3 still uses a 1/2.3-inch 20.7MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor in combination with a F2.0 Sony G lens. However, at 25mm the lens is now slightly wider than before and sensor sensitivity goes all the way up to ISO 12800 equivalent. While the latter should be helpful in very low light the latest generation Z model still has to make do without an optical image stabilization system. 

Th lens of the 20.7MP camera is located close to the corner of ehe device#s back plate.
The glass covered back looks very nice but is a little prone to scratching and fingerprint smearing.

The rest of the specification puts the Xperia Z3 squarely into the top-end bracket of the smartphone market. Android 4.4.4 (A 5.0 Lollipop update should be available very soon) operating system is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S801 quad-core SoC that is clocked at 2.5 GHz and 3GB RAM. Users can choose from 16 and 32GB memory options and there is a microSD slot if you need more space for images and video. The display still offers a 1080p resolution and improved viewing angles.