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
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