Sony used to launch two flagships every year, but that pattern has clearly undergone a change, as we did not see any Sony flagship launch at Mobile World Congress. Instead we saw the Xperia Aqua M4 and the Xperia C4 launch at MWC and last month in India. Today Sony announced its flagship Xperia Z3+. This phone will replace the incumbent Z3 as the flagship phone from the Japanese company. We got to spend some time with the device, and here are our first impressions.
Build Quality and Design
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Sony has been using a similar design playbook for years now, and with the Sony Xperia Z3+ things don’t look that different either. The metallic frame on the sides have become slimmer at 6.9mm. Sony has added in shock-resistant caps around the edges. The metallic frame is complemented by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the front and rear sides.
The microSD card and nano SIM card slots have moved to the left hand side and are protected by a cap. On the right hand side you have the power/standby button followed by the volume rocker button and at the base you have the dedicated camera shutter button. The metallic build on these buttons gives a good feedback. The 3.5mm audio jack is located on the top and the microUSB charging port is on the base.
The Xperia Z3+ comes with IP 65/68 certifications making it water and dust resistant. The microUSB charging port is capless as well.
The Sony Xperia Z3+ comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display. Like we have seen in the past, it brings Sony’s Triluminos display for mobile with X-reality engine for mobile. The display also comes with smart adaptive display which helps to show you a balanced image even in bright sunlit conditions. While the demo using a steady image looked fine, we will need to try this outdoors to see it in action. The display is bright and colours are vivid. The text appears crisp and there isn’t any pixillation that stands out. But the protective cover on the display surface makes it a smudge magnet and you will need to constantly keep cleaning the phone. You are better off removing the protective cover altogether.
Chipset, RAM, Storage
Housing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC which has an octa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM, the Sony Xperia Z3+ has impressive internals. While using the phone we did not notice any lag or slowdown. However, the phone did tend to get warm when we shot some sample images or tried playing around with the AR modes. This is an issue we had also faced with the Xperia Z3. Considering the Snapdragon 810 has faced flak in the past for overheating, we will have to really test the Z3+ for overheating issues once we start reviewing it. On the storage front, you have 32GB of which around 18GB was available to the user. It does offer a microSD card slot in case you wish to expand the storage capacity.
The phone comes with Android 5.0.2 along with Sony’s Xperia skin atop it. On first glances the layout does not look any different from what we had seen with the Z3/Z3 Compact or even Z2. Apart from Sony’s custom widgets, there are also some pre-installed apps and media content, which you can delete or uninstall. On the connectivity front, the Xperia Z3+ comes with a single SIM slot which takes in a nano SIM card. It supports Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS and supports USB OTG.
Sony is one of the leading smartphone sensor makers. It has the best sensors for its flagship. The Xperia Z3+ also sports the 20.7MP Exmor RS sensor sporting rear camera with a sensor size of 1/2.3-inch and an aperture of f/2.0. On the front there is a 5MP camera with 1/5-inch Exmor R sensor sporting sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Both the cameras sport 25mm wide-angle lenses. The rear camera is flush with the surface and does not create a bump. Camera interface is similar to what we have seen with older flagships which features such as Intelligent Auto, Manual mode, AR effects, High frame rate shooting and so on. While the image quality looked decent in the indoor shots, we will keep our verdict reserved till we test out the camera of the phone.
Sony Xperia Z3 had a 3,100 mAh battery which was impressive. The Xperia Z3+ has a 2,930mAh battery and Sony claims that it can give around 2 days worth of usage. We will have to test this claim, but if past history is any indicator to go by specially with the dedicated power saving modes and Stamina mode improvements, then things look positive. The phone supports quick charge feature which lets you charge the phone completely in 45 mins using Sony charger, a claim we will await testing.
The phone is good looking and has impressive specs. The battery life of Xperia series is known to be good and the Z3+ comes with a newer variant of the Stamina mode. But the price of Rs 55,990 is definitely steep, considering the Xperia Z3 had launched at Rs 51,990 – which we felt was overpriced around the time. So we will need to really test the phone for performance, battery life as well as camera quality to see if it is really worth the asking price amidst able competition from Samsung, LG and Apple.