Sony Xperia Z3+ – Software
Sony takes a laudable ‘less is more’ approach to its Android software. The Z3+ runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and while there are a few Sony flourishes, most of it is optional and doesn’t re-imagine Android too heavily.
That means the main elements of Android survive unscathed. The notification view and settings dropdown are unchanged, though with the added option to customise which icons appear there.
The homescreen and app tray appear standard, too, though the app tray is augmented by a handy slide-out menu that lets you filter apps according to which you use most often or those you installed recently. It’s nice to have.
Sony’s other contributions include a few third-party apps that you can remove, Sony’s own music and photo apps (non-removable), and a smattering of optional widgets. The default weather widget is ugly as sin and most of the widgets are pretty pointless, but it won’t take you long to dismiss them and get things working as you like.
The benefit of this light approach – besides things looking cleaner and less cluttered – is that the Z3+ runs very smoothly, as there’s little software bloat to contend with. Sony gets a big tick in the software department.
Sony Xperia Z3+ – Performance
This is reflected in its general performance, which is very good indeed. The Snapdragon 810 processor has a reputation for running rather warm, but this isn’t something you really notice in a general use – it’s a problem with the camera, which we’ll get into shortly.
The octa-core Snapdragon 810 is a very fast processor. Games run smoothly and thanks to the ubiquitous nature of Qualcomm’s processors, games often have nice graphical effects that you don’t get using other processors.
In tests it scored 3,639 in Geekbench 3, which puts it right up there among Android phones. The only chip that beats it is Samsung’s Exynos chip in the Galaxy S6, which scores around 4,000 in the same test.
In games, the Z3+ does get warmer than most, so clearly the 810 does run a little warmer than we’d like. But, crucially, we didn’t see it affect performance with dropped frames or downclocking the processor. The worst that can happen is it might become uncomfortable to hold after 30 minutes or so of intense gaming, but it doesn’t get dangerously hot.
How we test phones
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.