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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has announced its latest flagship smartphone during its press conference at consumer electronics show IFA in Berlin.

The Xperia Z3 arrives just six months after the Xperia Z2 but Sony claims the refresh is justified as it believes it is still bringing new and fresh experiences that are relevant.

The new device brings a much sexier design that's for sure, but what else does it have over the Xperia Z2? We put the two devices up against each other to see what the differences are and how far Sony has come with the new device.

The Xperia Z3 has a better, slimmer design

The Sony Xperia Z3 features the same omnibalance design the Xperia flagship products have become associated with, but it offers rounder, curvier edges than the Xperia X2.

The side power button remains, along with an aluminium frame, tempered glass rear and IP65 and IP68 ratings, but the Xperia Z3 has a much sleeker, refined design.

Apart from the slight change in shape, the materials used have also seen a small adjustment. The Xperia Z2 comes with an all-encompassing aluminium frame while the Xperia Z3 features additional nylon corners in the same colour as the frame. Sony claims when most users drop their phones it lands on the corners so this design element has been introduced to help protect the device.

The Xperia Z3 is also thinner, ever so slightly smaller and significantly lighter, measuring 146 x 72 x 7.3mm and weighing 152g, compared to the 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm footprint and 163g weight of the Xperia Z2, and the difference is noticeable.

Same display

Despite many thinking Sony would increase the resolution of the display in its next flagship device, this wasn't the path Sony took the Xperia Z3.

The Xperia Z2 comes with a 5.2-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, that provides a pixel density of 424ppi and you will find exactly the same on the Xperia Z3.

If you were to compare the Xperia Z3 to the Xperia Z1, you would see a difference in colour brightness and viewing angles but next to the Xperia Z2, you shouldn't notice any changes.

Sony brought its Triluminos and X-Reality technologies from the Xperia Z1 to the Xperia Z2 and added the Live Colour LED tag, so you will find all three again in the Xperia Z3.

Similar performance

When it comes to performance, the Xperia Z3 has a slightly improved 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor under its hood but it's unlikely you will notice much change in performance.

The Xperia Z2 has a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor so there is only a slight difference in speed and with both offering 3GB of RAM, the difference, if any, will be minor. Both the Xperia Z2 and the Xperia Z3 also feature Adreno 330 graphics.

The Xperia Z3 has an improved camera

When Sony announced the Xperia Z1 this time last year, one of the main focuses was its 20.7-megapixel camera. The Xperia Z2 was then announced six months later with the same G Lens and sensor but Sony added a few more applications, such as 4K video recording to the mix.

The Xperia Z3 improves the camera however, and not just with extra applications this time. Sony has increased the ISO to 12800, which it claims is the first for a smartphone and will help improve low light photos.

There is a new 25mm G Lens on board the Xperia Z3 too so you should get more in the shot and although the 20.7-megaixel sensor remains the same, Sony has also improved SteadyShot and Intelligent Active Mode for steadier and crisper videos.

Additionally, the Xperia Z3 features all the same applications as the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z2, but it adds six more comprising AR fun, Sound Photo, Multicamera, Face-in, Sticker creator and Live on YT.

Better features on the Xperia Z3

Aside from the additional camera features on the Xperia Z3, the software is the same as the Xperia Z2 so you'll find Android 4.4 with the Sony skin over the top and the What's New portal pushing Sony's content will also be present.

There is one quite exciting thing the Xperia Z3 will have over the Xperia Z2 come November though and that's the ability to play your PlayStation 4 console games on it when you have Wi-Fi connectivity. The service will arrive later than the phone but when it does, you'll be able to use the Xperia Z3 as a screen to play the games from your PS4 console.

Sony has said it has plans to bring it to other Xperia devices so it might end up on the Xperia Z2 at some point in the future but for now, it is exclusive to the Xperia Z3 devices.

The Xperia Z3 should also have a better sound performance than the Xperia Z2 as Sony has made the new flagship hi-res enabled and added DSEE HX technology, which takes lower quality audio and turns into near hi-res audio.

These features will be in addition to the digital noise cancelling technology that has been brought across from the Xperia Z2. Sony claims the Xperia Z3 will deliver "music as the artist intended".

The Xperia Z3 will last longer

Another area where the Xperia Z3 is said to win some points over the Xperia Z2 is the battery, despite the fact that it has a smaller capacity.

The Xperia Z2 comes with a 3200mAh battery capacity while the Xperia Z3 has a 3100mAh capacity, but Sony claims the new flagship will offer two days life compared to the 1.4 days the Xperia Z2 is claimed to have.

Both come with 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to a further 128GB through microSD.


As you would expect, the Sony Xperia Z3 brings a number of improvements to the Xperia Z2. The new device has a nicer, lighter and slimmer design, along with a quicker processor, better camera, better battery performance and some more exciting features such as the PS4 gaming.

They both offer the same storage capacity though, along with the same 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display so you might not think an upgrade is quite justifiable if you are coming from the Xperia Z2. However, for those coming from the Xperia Z1 to the Xperia Z3, you could be on to a winner.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 2 September 2014.