Sony Xperia T3: Software
It’s familiar setup here as Sony uses its custom interface on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It’s not an overbearing UI and the tweaks Sony makes don’t radically change the way you use it compared to pure Android-running smartphones.
Among the changes, the notification drop down bar has been slightly redesigned and the recent apps feature now has a favourites bar for quick access to your most used apps. There’s a host of themes and wallpapers to personalize homescreens as well, but where Sony really makes its presence felt is apps.
There are more than ten Sony-centric apps included alongside the usual Google apps. You will most likely want to de-clutter most by removing them from the main homescreen or putting them away in folders. One notable omission is the TV Sideview app, which can be found on the cheaper Xperia M2 and that’s down to the lack of an IR blaster to turn the T3 into a remote control replacement.
WALKMAN and Shazam-like TrackID apps are some of the most useful of the pre-installed batch, while basics like calendar and email apps are well designed and easy to use. If you’ve bought into Sony’s ecosystem across other devices, like the PS4 and TVs, you’ll have more time for these add-ons than most.
Sony Xperia T3: Performance
Keeping the T3’s UI running largely lag-free is the same quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU found in the Xperia M2 and the likes of the Moto G and Moto E. The 1.4GHz cores use Cortex-A7 architecture to give it a more energy-efficient profile as opposed to being a power-mongering handset.
As expected, a 1,305 muti-core score in Geekbench 3 shows there’s very little in it compared to cheaper Android phones like the Moto G, which scores a 1,155 and the Xperia M2 (1,061). It’s not hugely fast, then, but in real-world use it remains smooth and largely lag-free.
Gaming is more problematic. It can run graphically demanding games like Real Racing 3 and Modern Combat 5: Blackout, but there’s some moments of lag and slight framerate issues even when you are in the menu screens.
Moreover, one of the more unwelcome characteristics with Sony Xperia phones is the tendency to get a little warm around the back and it’s something the T3 shows signs of as well. It’s not as bad as it is on the Xperia Z2, but when you are gaming or streaming video for long periods, the rear can heat up.
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We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.