Sony’s XZ3 is a whole new Xpe­rian ce

For a phone from a tech gi­ant, it’s taken a long time for the XZ to catch up with the com­pe­ti­tion

Carmarthen Journal - - Tech Now -

WITH ev­ery­one seem­ingly choos­ing be­tween a Sam­sung or an Ap­ple when it comes to buy­ing a new smart­phone, it’s a won­der that any­one else both­ers.

But bother they do, and it’s a good thing too, be­cause oc­ca­sion­ally other phone mak­ers – even the un­der­dogs – come out with a win­ner.

Our test de­vice this week proves that, although it does feel a lit­tle bit weird de­scrib­ing con­sumer elec­tronic gi­ant Sony as an un­der­dog...

The company now ex­cels in gam­ing and cam­eras, as well as TVs and a host of other de­vices, but has rather lagged be­hind when it comes to phones. Why? Be­cause till now the of­fer­ing has been a touch un­der­whelm­ing.

That’s why the Xpe­ria XZ3 comes as a bit of a sur­prise – it’s re­ally very good in lots of ways.

And, if like me, the mere sight of that logo drags you down mem­ory lane for a wist­ful pon­der on the glory that was the Walk­man, you might al­ready have a soft spot for Sony.

So let’s take a look at why – if you’re in the mar­ket for an An­droid de­vice – this new Sony might fit the bill for you...

IT LOOKS GREAT

THAT Sony has taken a few de­sign cues from Sam­sung shouldn’t come as too much of a shock – Sam­sung has got its act to­gether over re­cent years and forged an aes­thetic all its own, rather than just bor­row­ing ideas from oth­ers.

And the XZ3 cer­tainly looks the part – the curved glass on the front is the most ob­vi­ous sim­i­lar­ity to the Gal­axy S9, but that’s no crit­i­cism. It’s a nice look, and func­tional too – Sony has en­abled a cute fea­ture called SideSense, which you may find use­ful. Var­i­ous taps and swipes on the edge of the screen bring up a range of fea­tures... and it works (most of the time) as ad­ver­tised.

THE SCREEN IS A DREAM

PER­HAPS the XZ3’s big­gest sell­ing point is its screen, which is ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent.It’s eas­ily on a par with the flag­ship phones from the near­est ri­vals, and it should be – it’s been built in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sony’s in-house Bravia TV engineers, peo­ple who know a thing or two about mak­ing watch­able screens.

IT SOUNDS GREAT

SMART­PHONES are as much about watch­ing video as they are about all the other things th­ese de­vices can do, so it makes sense to pack a de­cent punch au­dio-wise... and the XZ3 doesn’t let us down on that score, ei­ther. There is a new S-Force Front Sur­round speaker sys­tem, which makes watch­ing with­out head­phones a very work­able so­lu­tion (so long as you’re not on the train, you in­con­sid­er­ate fool).

NOT THE FASTEST, BUT FAST ENOUGH

THERE’S a rea­son­ably snappy pro­ces­sor in there, and for most uses that will do fine. Al­lied with the bare min­i­mum of RAM (4GB) and stor­age (64GB), the stats on pa­per feel a lit­tle bit un­der­whelm­ing, although I have to say it didn’t feel that slow in test­ing. So I sup­pose that means it’s fast enough.

THE CAM­ERA IS A VIDEO MASTER

THIS smart­phone’s real Achilles heel, though, is its cam­era, which is no up­grade from the XZ2.

You get the same 19MP rear cam­era, which is good, but lags be­hind com­peti­tors with more so­phis­ti­cated and ver­sa­tile dual-lens units.

That said im­ages are sharp enough, and if you’re the type that might ask how much bet­ter your sim­ple snaps have to be, you might not feel let down.

You cer­tainly won’t feel let down by the video this phone can cap­ture, though – a class-lead­ing 960-frames-per-sec­ond at 1080p res­o­lu­tion is pos­si­ble. You don’t get that on any other de­vice.

So, there you go. The high­lights make a com­pelling case for consideration. There’s more, though – it runs the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid right out of the box (one of a small num­ber of de­vices that do, weirdly), and it costs just £699 sim-free, with great deals avail­able from car­ri­ers.

And did I men­tion the screen?

Sony’s lat­est phone is a real al­ter­na­tive to the usual Ap­ple and Sam­sung de­vices

The curved screen is mag­nif­i­cent

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