The Sony Xperia Z3+ is a smartphone with a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels and 424ppi density. It is powered by a 2GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and the Adreno 430 GPU. The built-in storage is 32GB, expandable by up to 128GB through a microSD card. There is a 20.7MP rear-facing camera included in the smartphone with a 1080p HD video recorder. A secondary camera with a 5MP sensor is available in front. The Xperia Z3+ has a 2930mAh battery included that powers it for up to 17 hours of talk time and 24.6 days in standby mode. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop upon unboxing.
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The new Sony Xperia Z3+ has finally arrived, and some of its changes are much more subtle than you'd think. Sony's changes to the design are minor, but they've put a serious improvement to the power and helped out the front-facing camera. The battery runs a bit smaller than previous versions, but so has the weight of the device and its handset.
This device is Sony's new flagship, giving the company the chance to stay relevant in a market that's often enamored with other popular devices like the iPhone 6, the Galaxy 6 or the HTC One M9.
The official release date for the Sony Xperia Z3+ remains at June 2015, although there isn't yet any word exactly how much it'll cost. Based on previous models, it probably won't be too cheap. After all, all you need to do is look at the phones it has to compete with and figure it'll be at least the cheapest competitor's price.
Looking at the device's hardware head-on, there is little difference to the actual style. However, noticeably, the speakers on the front are now more subtle and elongated like the Xperia Z2 was. This is a much more aesthetically pleasing design; the Z3 featured small speakers plainly laid out on the bezel, and it felt deeply out of place.
The height and width are the same as its predecessor, measuring at 146.3 x 71.9 mm respectively. However, there is a bit less depth this time around, measuring at mere 6.9 mm this time. While this means it's easier to slide it into your pocket, the battery takes the biggest hit with a downgrade to 2900 mAH.
One positive thing about the new battery, however, is its tendency to charge much more quickly than its predecessor. Sony claims you will be able to fully charge the device and use it for two days before needing to charge it again. This hasn't yet been fully tested, and more information will follow.
With a smaller battery and slimmer casing, the Sony Xperia Z3+'s weight has gone down as well, weighing in at just 144 g. It's a comfortable weight to hold in your hand, and it doesn't feel like it'll snap in half from usage.
The sides and corners of the handset are nicely rounded, making it easier to hold in your hand for a longer period of time. The circular power button, which of course doubles as the lock key, sits in the center of the device and feels comfortable to reach with one hand.
Beneath it is the volume switch, which doesn't feel quite as comfortable as the power button; if it were a little bit higher up on the side, it would feel much easier to use.
Anyone who currently owns a phone from the Xperia Z line knows about the terrible flaps that appear over the ports. There's good news for such veterans: The Sony Xperia Z3+ features only a single flap, and it's at the top left of the unit. The purpose is to keep water and dust out of the card bay for microSD and nanoSIM cards -- the two cards share one tray so that there only needs to be one flap.
As for the actual tray, it's bendy plastic. Unlike the iPhone 6 or the HTC One M9, it is not metal. Because it's somewhat bendy, it's a bit concerning whether or not it's durable. This is of particular concern if you're the kind of person who needs to regularly swap out cards from the device.
Sony has kept those users in mind as well, doubling the internal storage of the unit. Previously, the device held 16 GB, but now it will hold up to 32 GB of storage before needing to expand with additional card storage.
Most exciting of all, however, is the fact that the microUSB port is permanently uncovered at the base. That means you can just plug in and go without having to try and deal with the flap in the dark before bed. The port is water- and dust-proof, however, which means the Z3+ gets to keep its IP65/68 rating.
On the back of the device, it's hard to see any changes at all as the 20.7 MP camera is the same and features the same LED flash light.
Android 5.0 Lollipop runs through the device's proverbial veins with Sony's own personal skin, though it's not quite as imposing as the HTC's is. The notification window is the stock for Lollipop, offering two step action and quick setting options for notifications.
Sony didn't do much to the stock Android multi-task screen, though they did improve it a little bit: There is now a "clear all" button on the window, allowing you to automatically clear the screen without individually removing everything.
The device sports a nice 3 GB of RAM and a beautiful octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor makes navigating the interface extremely fast and fluid; there is little that can bog down this device. It's a sizable upgrade from its predecessor, which only features a quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip.
There were a small handful of apps that lagged a little during opening and closing, but this isn't necessarily due to compatibility issues; it is more likely due to the device not yet running final release software.
Speaking of apps, the Xperia Z3+ does come with a few too many already loaded. There is the standard set of applications and Google's suite of work apps, but Sony included more than 10 others of their own. While the competition has been reducing how many apps come pre-installed on devices and taking up space, it's not great for Sony to ramp it up.
That is not to say none serve any purpose; the PSN and PlayStation apps will definitely help for those who own a PS4, and the sporty folk will enjoy the fitness and LifeLog apps.
As previously stated, the rear camera is the 20.7 MP lens already used in several other handsets. However, the Sony Xperia Z3+ has the benefit of Superior Auto+, meaning that shots will look better across any lighting conditions.
Playing with the camera for a few minutes shows that the camera was both quick and capable, also taking direction from a physical shutter key on the right hand side of the device. It'll take a little more time to determine whether or not the button is easier to use over time compared with the competition, but the short period of time spent with it felt comfortable throughout the session.
Sony has obviously placed more effort on the front camera, which is now a 5 MP wide-angled lens instead of the previous type. If you're the kind of person who enjoys taking selfies, you'll be able to fit many more of your friends in the same shot. The SteadyShot technology takes it all a step further and makes sure everything is smooth and not blurry from shaky hands.
In addition to this, the Sony Xperia Z3+ seems like it will have faster Internet than previous models due to additional support for LTE CAT 6 as well as Wi-Fi Mimo -- both of these technologies make it possible to provide higher bandwidth limits to the handset if it is available.
The tested device had a connection to a local Wi-Fi network that connected to websites quickly. It wasn't particularly impressive, but the websites tested weren't very intensive, and the actual speed or business of the network was unknown.
Finally, there wasn't enough time to test out the speakers that are on the front of the device. However, the technology has been adjusted so that the volume and quality are both improved. In all honesty, it's hard not to trust Sony's expertise with audio; if Sony says the speakers sound better, they likely do.
The improvements are certainly there, but they're minimal. Since the Z3 itself isn't too old yet, it's somewhat hard to consider making the leap if you already bought the predecessor with this short reboot cycle. If you haven't gotten one yet, though, ignore it and make a beeline for the Z3+ as a great improvement with a nicer design and with stronger audio.
This also means it gets to stay strongly competitive in a tough market.
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