Sony Xperia Z3+ Review

It’s no secret that Sony is in difficult situation, as most of the Japanese manufacturers are because of the complicated economic situation in Japan. On the other hand, other manufacturers including HTC and LG are in no different position. Despite the differing opinions on the issue of the Sony brand as a whole, it is evident that the company fully complies with its vision. Sometimes it seems that this is a path that leads nowhere because the company from year to year shows the same device with no radical innovations.

Design

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If you do not follow the development of smartphones, it is enough to look at several recent models including the Xperia Z, Z1, Z2, Z3, Z3 and Z5 Plus and it becomes clear that it is very difficult to distinguish one from another.

The difference between the new model and the previous version is in the plastic components.

New Sony Xperia Z3+ looks great. It has an attractive appearance. The design of the Sony brand is instantly recognizable and different from everything else that is available on the market. Therefore, if you do not have prejudices regarding the manufacturer being slow in changing the design, Sony Xperia Z3+ might be the right choice for you.

Sony Z3+ is available in a variety of colors than what is usual for this brand – from black, white and turquoise to coffee colors. Framework is made of metal, while the front and the back of the phone are made of glass. Oddly, at the same time, the framework looks and gives the impression it is made of plastic, which is an obvious letdown.

Sony used to provide a protective glass screen but in the case Xperia Z3+ model, special extra layer is used. There are two layers – one of which is taken off immediately after the purchase while the other one is hardly even noticed. The protective layer should not be removed immediately after the purchase since it protects the screen and does not disrupt you when using the device.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of using glass for the front and rear side is constantly dirty cover. Smart phones are often in the hands and quickly get dirty, so you must constantly clean the fingerprints and other oil stains quite frequently. Another disadvantage is that the phone will easily break if dropped, which also applies to other smart phones, but since the front and back are made of glass, the probability of such a thing is far higher with this model. The only problem is that the corners are not well coordinated with other elements of the chassis, therefore this area collects lots of dirt and must be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, there are no other complaints about the build quality.

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Dimensions

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Since the launch of Xperia Z series, the dimensions of all models are almost identical and Z3+ is not an exception. This device is of the same size as the previous model, as well as it’s successor – Xperia Z5.

It is a standard 5-5.2-inch device, so Sony found the perfect medium.

Apple iPhone 6S (4.7 inches) – 138.1 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm and 143 grams

HTC One M9 (5 inches) – 144.6 x 70 x 9.6 mm, 157 grams

Samsung Galaxy S6 (5.1 inches) – 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm and 138 grams

Sony Xperia Z3 Plus (5.2 inches) – 146 x 72 x 6.9 mm, 144 grams

Because of the sharp corners and the absence of curved lines, the Sony Xperia Z3+ is not easy to get used to, but it’s all a matter of habit: after a week of use, you will not even pay attention to it, but the fact is that Z3+ is not the best example of ergonomic devices.

Control

When it comes to positioning control buttons, the Sony Xperia Z3+ is an excellent example of how it should be done. On / Off button is located on the right side and differs from the volume control button and it is very easy to press without looking at it. There is a hardware camera button that can be used to run the camera without unlocking the screen. Buttons on the screen can not be moved, which is a big minus.

On the left side of the smartphone is hidden memory card slot (microSD). On the upper side there is an optional microphone and a 3.5 mm mini-jack, the bottom side is a microUSB slot and unusual holes for a strap.

Screen

Sony Xperia Z3+ uses IPS LCD matrix resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD), the density is 424 ppi, a screen size 5.2 inches. In the settings screen you can activate the mode to use the phone while wearing gloves and X-Reality mode which displays brighter and vibrant colors when viewing photos and video content. Even without all the extra options it can be said that the screen Xperia Z3+ model is excellent. There may not be such a good energy optimizations and the level of contrast in AMOLED matrix, but the pictures are natural and the screen is great balanced and adjusted.

The colors are almost natural, viewing angles are at maximum and the display on the screen is more or less readable in direct sunlight. If you want the balanced screen, you will surely enjoy the display of the Xperia Z3 Plus.

Camera

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When it comes to camera sensors, Sony’s model are some of the most popular models of smartphones and without exaggeration, are far better than half of the producers on the market. It would seem that the company was the first to realize the potential of their own sensors, but it is not the case. Despite the fact that the Sony Xperia Z3+ uses Exmor RX IMS230 sensor cameras, the photo quality is average. 20MP module with f / 2.2 aperture matrix backlit sounds good on paper, but unfortunately, that’s all it is.

The camera interface is simple and straightforward, and available in various shooting modes and setup options.

The camera of this model lacks the sharpness, the objects are often not focused well and the dynamic range is very small. Photos taken outdoors during the day are not bad but they are captured in low light and have a lot of noise.

Sony Xperia Z3+ camera is not bad if we talk about the ideal conditions for photography, but in other situations is far inferior to modern flagships of other companies: Apple, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Huawei, Meizu, Xiaomi and others.

The same goes for the front camera – photos taken outdoors in a sunny day are very good.

It is striking that the company is not trying to deal with this issue, as it does for example HTC, but only focuses on this to create a more fun shooting modes, such as the AR effects, and that’s all.

Video recording. Like other leading models for this year, Sony Xperia Z3 Plus has the option of recording video in 1080p and in the 4K resolution. During the video works AF tracking and image stabilization was greatly reducing the viewing angle that can be seen when shooting.

Video quality can be estimated on the basis of a given case. During testing, when the 4K recording lasted longer than a minute, Sony Xperia Z3+ would force close the “Camera” application due to overheating.

Battery life

Smart phone uses a non-removable lithium-ion battery of 2930 mAh, based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 platform and offers support for fast charging (Quick Charge 2.0), which means that after about 30 minutes, battery would be filled at around 60 percent.

As with similar models, the battery Sony Xperia Z3+ model can withstand a day. Depending on the activity and usage, the battery will discharge for 16 – 18 or 21 – 22 hours. It all depends on the usage.

CPU

The device is based on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 platform (MSM8994), which includes a 64-bit architecture, quad-core 1.5 GHz (Cortex-A53) and quad-core 2 GHz (Cortex-A57) and Adreno 430 GPU unit. Available 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory for storage of user data, and there is a slot for a memory card.

Together with HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z3+ is one of the first smartphones based on this platform.

Sony Xperia Z3+ is a very fast smartphone, if we talk about the experience that is acquired in the first 15-20 minutes of use. Everything goes fine as long as you read your mail or use the search engines, communicate with someone via WhatsApp, chat or something else while listening to music. After 15 to 20 minutes, overheating of the device becomes apparent and the performance begin to weaken. Firstly, speed rapidly slows down. When you first start Google Chrome it takes 1-2 seconds, and after half an hour it takes up to 5 seconds. All of these seemingly small things pile up and spoil the positive impression.

Warming up is a big problem Z3+ model since the camera is almost always heated when used actively for making calls and even sending text messages. At the top end temperature is almost always higher than those that would be considered “comfortable”. It should also be taken into account and that forced closing of applications are often when you try to shoot a longer video in 4K resolution, playing with AR effects or playing demanding games.

For this problem Sony can not be blamed solely, since the same thing was observed with HTC One M9 which is based on the same platform. Qualcomm has improved 810 chipset and the main problems are solved, but unfortunately Sony and HTC leading models still recorded negative reviews because of the platform.

Connectivity

Sony Xperia Z3+ works under GSM, HSDPA and LTE networks. Switching on and off via the wireless interface can be adjusted or added to the home screen through widgets.

For PC synchronization and data transfer, microUSB cable is used and provided and there is also support for USB-Host.

Bluetooth. Built-in Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP support and LE.

Wi-Fi. Xperia Z3+ uses the dual-band Wi-Fi module that works very well.

Wi-Fi router. As with other smartphones based on the new version of Android, Z3+ offers the option of 2G / 3G / LTE Wi-Fi connectivity.

DLNA, HDMI. The smart phone has DLNA support: If you have a DLNA compatible media server and other devices that can be used and Sony Xperia Z3+. For example, direct audio and video output to TV. M9 offers support for HDMI connector and it is compatible with microUSB (MHL). If you want to use HDMI, you must purchase a separate cable.

The smart phone has support for NFC interface.

There is also support for GPS / GLONASS (Qualcomm chipset), while the connection with the satellites requires 5 – 15 seconds. No specific navigation software is provided. However, you can independently purchase and install the necessary application.

Software

Sony Xperia Z3+ runs on Android 5.0, and features a proprietary Xperia Home interface. It was introduced a few years ago and still is a strange combination of Android and the unusual decision by Sony, so it was very difficult to take advantage of different opportunities due to the complexity of the interface.

During the past few years Sony has slowly improved the Xperia Home eliminating everything that is redundant, leaving pure Android, which was an excellent decision. Of course, it is still noticeable Sony’s interface, but the most successful and the most appropriate solutions in the framework of Android 5.0 have not changed. Of course, there is a standard lock screen and an easy transition to any notification with just two clicks, directly from the lock screen, simple and standard notification as well as a few other options.

Conclusion

The quality of the received signal is very good, the camera always finds the network, and the sound from the speakers is clean. Vibration is relatively strong and noticeable in most situations. The volume is above average. Sony Xperia Z3+ has main competitors in Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4, but Sony’s camera is still inferior to them because of two disadvantages. The first Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 platform for which the phone continuously heats leading to force-closing the applications and performance degradation. Another drawback is the camera. Main camera on Xperia Z3+ model is far worse in terms of quality compared to the leading models from Samsung and LG, and belongs to the second category, comparable to the models of Chinese brands that was not expected from this manufacturer.

The design is attractive and easily recognizable, while the Xperia Home interface does not differ completely from the Android 5 OS solutions. It’s kind of disappointing that Sony has great opportunities within the Xperia line, but for some reason does not want to or can not take full advantage of them. The manufacturer has made a big mistake in the choice of platform. With the IMX230 sensor, Sony has succeeded in the worst way to exploit its capabilities from all producers who have used it as part of their product, and it seems that everything was transformed into a systematic problem that companies can not solve.

As a result, Sony Xperia Z3+ is an excellent smart phone which features its own design, attractive interface, smooth operation, high quality display and two outstanding issues – the platform and the camera.