Published on September 9th, 2014 | by Bhavishya Kanjhan1
Sony refreshes the Xperia Z3 lineup at IFA
It’s only (roughly) six months ago that Sony announced and released the Xperia Z2 set of devices – the flagship smartphone and the Z2 tablet. The Z2 series in itself was a refresh from six months before that. And here we are again, at IFA in Berlin – Sony has refreshed the Z series again – this time with the Xperia Z3 phone, the Z3 Compact and the Z3 Compact tablet.
On first look, it’s hard to tell the difference between the Z3. It maintains Sony’s dignified and understated design. There isn’t anything flashy about the Z3, and sometimes that may be a bad thing. But on closer look you’ll see the Sony has replaced the boxy edgy design on the sides with a more curvier one. The steel band that used to run on the sides has gone now as well. The hardware is definitely an improvement over the previous generation.
It is slimmer, and ever so slightly shorter as well. The phone has a thickness of 7.3mm and is about 0.3mm shorter than the Z2. It weighs lesser as well, coming in at 152 grams
The phone boasts many other improvements over its predecessor. While the camera for example retains the same 20.7 MP Exmor R sensor, but it now comes with a wider 25mm lens. It’s also now capable of now shooting at ISO 12,800 with strong Noise Reduction capabilities so you can definitely expect better low light performance on the new Z3.
It’s improved screen features a display that is truer to actual colours. In fact, the new screen contributes to its claimed battery life of 2 days, without the STAMINA mode as well. This is even though the battery capacity has been marginally reduced to 3,100 mAh from 3,200mAh. Sony says that should not be a concern as improvements in technology will result in 2 days of battery life on the Z3 over 1.4 days of the Z2.
It maintains its dustproof and waterproof capabilities (IP 65/68) rating and you can use the phone under 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.
Oh and all you world travellers will be happy to know, Sony is releasing the Xperia Z3 as a dual-sim phone.
Gamers will love the Remote Play capabilities on the Z3 – it allows you play your PlayStation 4 games by connecting your controller and using the Z3 as a screen. With this you could technically be in another part of the world, and provided you have an incredible internet connection (both at home and at your remote location), you can play your PS4 games with just a controller. The processing is being done by the Playstation 4 at home
Xperia Z3 Compact
Sony is also announcing a smaller version of the Z3 – the Z3 Compact. This phone may just be the under appreciated hero of the story. It features the same processor, same camera and a 4.6 inch 720p screen with a 2,600 mAh battery. Because of a smaller screen, the same level of battery life can be expected from the Z3 compact. In fact, you can even use the Remote Play capabilities on the Z3 Compact.
And all of this, at a form factor that is far more pocketable than the 5.x inch phones many find to be too big.
While many manufacturers make serious compromises on power, performance and imaging with smaller phones – for Sony the Z3 Compact is as much a front runner as the Z3. It’s not a mini, they say.
Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Sony has also introduced a newer, smaller tablet – the Z3 Compact. The form factor on the Z3 Compact tablet features an 8 inch screen size, as opposed to the 10 inch seen on the Z2. It maintains the waterproof and dustproof rating of the Z3 and Z3 Compact, and holds the title of the world’s slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet. It is just 6.4 mm thick and weighs about 270 grams.
It’s got a full HD resolution on that 8 inch screen so its got great pixel density. It features a 4,500 mAh battery that claims about 13 hours of video playback.
The design language unsurprisingly is the same on the Z3 tablet as well. Very clean, polished and understated. Fortunately, the design looks far better on the tablet than the phone. That’s not to say that the phone looks bad by any measure, it’s just more suitable for the tablet.
Smart Watch 3
Sony launched its first Android Wear device – the Smart Watch 3. While many other device manufacturers are going for luxury, Sony has gone for a sporty look. The rubberised band come in Classic Black and and a Sporty Lime. It features a 1.6” 320 x 320 screen and has the IP68 waterproof rating. The watch also Accelerometer, GPS, compass and Gyro sensors, as well as deep integration with Sony’s LifeLog application.
Sony is continuing with its rectangle face design though, not opting for the circule classic watch that has gotten people a little more excited.
Fortunately, at least the band is replaceable though and we hope Sony will introduce some leather straps for the SmartWatch 3 in the future.
The bad news is that the SmartWatch 3 is not coming to the Middle East, at least until the end of the year. The same is true of other Android Wear watches as well.
The SmartBand Talk is the newest version of Sony’s earlier fitness band. The new Talk now features a curved 1.4” eInk display that lets you see the time, as well as other notifications on your wrist. It also features a built-in microphone and speaker which will let you use it as a headset for your phone.
It’s got a few other gesture based activities – like click your fingers to pause and play the music. The SmartBand Talk also has the same IP68 rating.
You can check your phone notification on the SmartBand Talk and it has a battery life of 3 days – thanks to its eInk display. It also comes with a removable strap so you can swap it out for a different colour.
All of Sony’s devices are expected to launch in the Middle East in early October.
With a refreshed lineup, Sony is showing that it isn’t willing to hold back on innovation for the sake of a periodic ‘life cycle’ of products.
Check back soon on updates for pricing and specific launch dates of all products.