Just few weeks ago, the Sony Xperia Z3+ has been released to the market, locally (Philippines) and abroad. I took 9 months for Sony to bring the Xperia Z3+ to the market after to the Xperia Z3, bearing a Plus on the brand name while the actual Xperia Z4 brand exists only in Japan. Will the plus sign bring the major goodies that fans and potential buyers expecting since it was announced or will it only deliver an incremental improvements? Find out in our review of the Xperia Z3+ Dual copper variant.
Design and build
Sony maintained the luxurious water and dust proof design in the Xperia Z3+ with very subtle changes in the outer body. The Omnibalance is still present backed by scratch-resistant glass of unknown origin and aluminum frame. The curved edges are glossy and the corner is coated with a different tone. The unit that we reviewed is copper which is the best color amongst other options.
The notable changes in the design includes thinning of stereo speaker grills, repositioned card slots and USB port. The grills are thinner and now positioned near at the edges which are hard to notice. Both micro SD and nano SIM slots are placed at the left with a flap cover while the USB port is exposed at the bottom besides the lanyard eye-lit. The 3.5mm audio jack port is still at the top. And last is the familiar control layout which is housed at the left. Physical keys are responsive and can be easily reached by thumb.
Despite the minor tweaks in design, the Xperia Z3+ remained to be slick, robust and premium, though we are not sure if it is still fashionable these days as the design language has not changed over the course of Xperia Z series period.
Not new in the Xperia Z3+ is the 5.2-inch 1080p FHD IPS which Sony claims to be better than the Z3 in terms of brightness and touchscreen usability when wet. We found their claims true as Xperia Z3+ responds better from our touchscreen inputs while wet. The brightness level is noticeably higher on the Z3+. The preset white balance settings is also different, but users can adjust it to their desired settings.
Aside from the home-brewed features such as Triluminos and X-reality settings, the company also threw a set of useful display features including double-tap-to-wake, gloves mode and smart backlight control.
The Xperia Z3+ is not sharp or as bright as compared to the 5.1-inch 1440p QHD SuperAMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy S6, but we hardly see the difference in terms of sharpness. The IPS LCD of Z3+ is still reliable and clear in both outdoor and indoor scenes.
The Sony Xperia Z3+ comes with the 20.7MP autofocus f/2.0 camera sensor at the back paired with a single LED flash for low light shooting. Although this sounds high-end, it is still behind Galaxy S6 and LG G4 with Color Spectrum Sensor, laser focus assist and wider aperture.
The sensor is capable of shooting up to 2160p UHD movie mode, while its still images is stuck at 8MP res in auto mode. You can max out up to 20MP but you need to switch to more powerful Manual Mode.
In bright light, the images are sharp and have good dynamic range. The problem with the Auto Mode is the reddish tint overcasting on the images which offsets white balance and color accuracy, this is similar with the Xperia M4 Aqua. However, this is not an issue for other users as these are only visible through close comparison with other devices such likes of Galaxy S6 and LG G4.
Video quality in Xperia Z3+ is bright and clear which we prefer than the videos taken from the Galaxy S6 and LG G4.
Selfie camera takes sharp and convincing still image and video quality. It has Beautify or Soft skin effect for vain and selfie addicts.
Benchmark and performance
Sony opted for the overheating Snapdragon 810 octacore chip with 3GB RAM which throttles down our benchmark tests, but not the actual usage. The heat problem is noticeable but tolerable in hands. It only happens when you run several apps at the same time or when it is working on hefty loads like QHD video playback.
The overall experience is still smooth and fluid. Multitasking is swift and easy up to browsing experience in web and multimedia gallery.
- AnTuTu – 49775
- Basemark OS II – 1281
- Geekbench – Single 736, Multicore 2567
The benchmark results we gather varies on the CPU state of the Xperia Z3+. There are times the scores are high while low in some cases which is to be blamed from the throttling of CPU to avoid overheating issue.
Software and experience
There are four main app shortcuts at the home dock with folder options for each icon. App drawer is consist of 4×5 grid app layout that you can arrange according different parameters like from most used to alphabetical order.
The overall experience in the Xperia Z3+ is better than the most other Android devices, this is mainly due to the Lollipop OS and the retained clean and flat modded style that Sony did.
In terms of capacity, the battery in the Xperia Z3+ is down from 3100mAh of Z3 to 2930mAh with a rating of up to 2 days of continuous use according to Sony.
Our actual test proves to be close to what Sony is claiming. Our light usage on Stamina mode includes activated Lifelog app, location/GPS, whole day of SMS, several minutes of browsing and calls, push emails and notifications and being connected to the WiFi gives us up to 2 days of use.
The difference from light to heavy load is almost 1 day. The Sony Xperia Z3+ only lasted around 24h from its charge time until it went under 5%. Heavy usage includes activated Lifelog app, location or GPS, several hours of browsing the web, Feedly and Flipboard, and whole day of SMS and several minutes of calls. Result is actually good and above average and considerably a flagship-grade battery rating.
Speaker and audio essentials
The stereo speaker performance of the Z3+ is above average with solid output and good dynamic range. Volume level is above average while maintaining clear and audible vocal outputs. The speaker sits close below Galaxy S6 in terms of power and clarity.
The hands-free, flat earbuds headset that comes in the package doesn’t provide impressive output. There are lots of background noise leaking and mixing in the output. I would really advise audiophiles and hardcore listener to purchase an in-ear headphones for better experience.
The only major improvements that Xperia Z3+ brought is the new, more powerful chip while minor changes are hardly noticeably. I was expecting more from Sony given their 9 months break from the announcement of Xperia Z3.
The pricing is still a problem with Sony as they are asking too much for the Xperia Z3+ which in fact lagging behind with its major competition. It is hardly justifiable that the company is asking for almost the same price as Galaxy S6 and LG G4.
However, by looking at it as a standalone device, the Xperia Z3+ is definitely a smartphone worth checking out. It is the sleekest Android we have. It has rich overall software and multimedia experience too. Bonus part is the retained IP68 rating as Samsung dropped this rugged feature from their Galaxy S6 flagship making Xperia Z3+ one of the rare Androids with the said feature.
Highlights from Sony Xperia Z3+ review
- Sleek, elegant design
- Above average battery life
- Waterproof feature
- Steep price
- Camera and display specs are dated
Sony Xperia Z3+ specs
|5.2-inch 1080p IPS Triluminos, 424ppi|
|6.9mm thick, 144g|
|Scratch resistant, oleophobic coating, metal frame|
|Snapdragon 810 octacore chipset|
|32GB internal, microSD card up to 128GB|
|20.7MP f/2.0 camera, single LED flash, 2160p video, HDR|
|5MP selfie camera, 1080p video|
|Dual SIM, 4G LTE cat 4, WiFi ac, Bt 4.1, FM Radio, GPS|
|Android 5.0 Lollipop|
|Aqua green, Copper, Black, White|
|P27,990 dual SIM, price as of July 6|
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