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Time to see if that Bravia- en­gi­neered dis­play is enough to re­turn Sony Mo­bile to the smart­phone big time

The XZ3 does not feature a 3.5mm head­phone jack, but re­tains the se­ries’ ded­i­cated phys­i­cal cam­era but­ton, which is lo­cated on the lower right-hand side of the phone. Power and vol­ume but­tons, as well as a USB Type-C port, com­plete the pack­age.

It’s hard to say the Sony Xpe­ria XZ3 doesn’t look sim­i­lar to the Sam­sung Galaxy S9 Plus, but it is still a step for­ward from the slightly dated one that was ev­i­dent on the XZ2.

A screen like no other

With­out doubt the high­light for the Sony Xpe­ria XZ3 is its new six-inch, 18:9 QHD+ (1,440x2,880) HDR screen. This has been de­signed in con­junc­tion with Sony’s Bravia en­gi­neer­ing team, who de­sign the screen for the firm’s top-end TV sets, and the re­sults are ab­so­lutely stun­ning.

Bright­ness and colour depth is top-tier, go­ing toe to toe with the premium panel on the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 9, HTC U12+ and yes, even the new iPhone XS. Watch­ing HDR con­tent is jaw drop­ping.

In­deed, this XZ3’s screen ex­ceeds al­most all ri­vals in terms of peak vi­brancy, and it was a plea­sure to play mo­bile games such as Tekken, as well as stream­ing HDR movies from Net­flix, which re­ally popped.

This new OLED screen also fea­tures some very ad­vanced tech, in­clud­ing X-Re­al­ity for Mo­bile, a Dy­namic Con­trast En­hancer and Tri­lu­mi­nos Dis­play for mo­bile. Th­ese re­ally make the XZ3’s screen an ab­so­lute pow­er­house in terms of vi­su­als.

The XZ3 is equipped with a sim­i­lar hard­ware pack­age to the XZ2. You get a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 845 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of stor­age space, and a 3,300mAh bat­tery which, alas, re­turned very av­er­age real-worl­dusage longevity. This is a flag­shiplevel, but it’s fair to say it’s out­gunned by phones like the OnePlus 6 and Sam­sung Galaxy Note 9.

Clever cam­era

You also get the same 19MP rear cam­era on the XZ3 that was in the XZ2. It is ca­pa­ble of 4K HDR video record­ing (which is com­pat­i­ble with YouTube for shar­ing), and can cap­ture su­per slow-mo­tion footage (960fps) at 1080p, still a best-in-world feature.

One of the big new plays on the Xpe­ria XZ3 is its new Side Sense func­tion­al­ity, which lets you make a se­ries of tap­ping and swip­ing ges­tures on ei­ther side of the phone’s frame to ac­tu­ate cer­tain things like open­ing apps and tak­ing pic­tures, in a sim­i­lar man­ner to HTC’s Edge Sense.

Un­for­tu­nately, while Side Sense does work, it is far from bul­let­proof in terms of ac­tu­a­tion and speed. Is it use­ful ex­tra ev­ery­day func­tion­al­ity? Yes, but we doubt most users will use the full range of avail­able in­puts.

Lastly, the Sony Xpe­ria XZ3 comes run­ning An­droid 9.0 Pie out of the box, which is a ma­jor plus point for the phone. Pie is cleaner and faster than Oreo, and re­ally helps make this heav­ily over­hauled new Xpe­ria feel modern and fresh.

The curved fin­ish feels great in the hand, and we love the lush colour

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