Sony Xperia Z3 – Battery Life
Sony has included a 3,100mAh battery, which is actually slightly smaller than the 3,200mAh one in the Z2, but that’s still bigger than what the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and the LG G3 are packing. The drop down shouldn’t be a concern though as the Z3 still delivers huge battery life.
You can comfortably get a couple of days use out of this and that’s without tapping into the battery saving power management modes Sony still includes, which we go into more detail in our Xperia Z2 review. It will push on further if you don’t have that brightness cranked up to the max as well.
In our more extreme testing running a SD video on loop, the Z3 manages on average around the 13 hour mark, which is a couple of hours less than the Z2 manages but still more than the One M8, iPhone 6, S5 and the LG G3.
The Z3 is not alone on managing to creep up to the two-day mark. The S5 and the One M8 can offer a similarly good performance and the one thing they all have in common is the more efficient Snapdragon processors. The difference here, is that there’s a greater reliance on the power saving modes on the S5 and the One M8 to keep things chugging along. With the Z3, you don’t have to make compromises.
Despite using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, it doesn’t support the new Quick Charge technology so plugging it in to power back up from flat for thirty minutes will still get you around the 20% mark.
Sony Xperia Z3 – Call and Sound Quality
For call quality, Sony doesn’t make any dramatic changes. It’s still offers good, clear and crisp sound with no signs of signal drop out. You still have the active noise cancellation thanks to a dedicated mic, but there’s additional modes like microphone noise suppression, the ability to enhance speaker voice and even slow down speech from the other caller with Slow talk.
While speaker quality is nowhere near as rounded as HTC’s Boomsound speakers, they are still decent and again sit between the One M8 and the S5 for quality. They are still sit up front, ideal for watching video, and are discreetly disguised within the thick black bezel.
It’s loud and there’s good clarity, but performance is better when you plug in your headphones. That’s when there’s plenty for audiophiles to get their teeth into. Jump into Audio settings and you’ll find Sony’s ClearAudio mode, which immediately cleans up the audio quality from third-party apps like Spotify and Google Play Music. If you also own a pair of Sony headphones then there’s dedicated profiles as well, but one of the most interesting inclusions is support for Hi-res Audio.
Basically, that means unlike the compressed audio formats you usually get on music streaming sites and stores like iTunes you can listen to tracks with greater detail and close to the sound when recorded. You’ll need to hook up a DAC or DAC amp to get it to work and there’s only a handful of places you can actually find high-res audio, so it’s not cheap to to it, but if you’re interested then the Sony is the only phone to support it.
Related: Best Headphones
Other things to consider
Where’s our PS4 Remote Play, Sony? Arguably a killer feature for the Z3 and something that will no doubt attract PS4 owners who don’t already have a PS Vita, it’s not yet available to use for the Sony phone. Remote Play works in a similar way to linking up the Sony handheld to the PS4, letting you play PS4 games on your phone, as long as you are on the same Wi-Fi network.
The connection is made via the official PlayStation app, which is already pre-installed, and for anyone who has used it already is pretty limited. As long as you are on the same Wi-Fi the app should recognise the PS4 and then you’ll be prompted to go into the PS4 settings to establish a connection by typing in a code. Once completed, you will be able to use it as a second screen as well as being able to disconnect and power off the console. The one feature that doesn’t work is that all important blue PS4 icon.
To get the best experience you’ll need the GCM10 game control mount, which costs just under £20 from Amazon. It looks a bit like the mount you’d use to keep a sat-nav in place in your car and it uses a sticky suction cup that holds the Z3 by its glass back. You then need to place your DualShock 4 controller in the lower part, which secures with a latch just below the PlayStation home button. All buttons including the touch panel are accessible.
Although we weren’t able to test it out, there are a couple of things to notice about the mount itself. The suction cup inevitably doesn’t take long to pick up dust and muck , educing its ability to keep the Z3 in place. The DualShock 4 controller is also lighter than the Z3, so the setup feels slightly top-heavy.
When the update is live, we’ll return to update the review to let you know how it works.
SEE ALSO: How to play PS4 games on the Xperia Z3
Should I buy the Sony Xperia Z3?
This is the best flagship Xperia phone Sony has come up with, but if you own the Xperia Z2 then there’s clearly little reason to upgrade. If you want pretty much all the same features for less and with a smaller screen, then it’s also worth considering the Z3 Compact, which costs £399 compared to the Z3’s £549 price.
Next to its closest rivals, the Z3 doesn’t offer any great innovation over rivals like the iPhone 6, One M8, the Galaxy S5 or the LG G3 and it isn’t the most stylish, but if you value power and battery life then this is a good phone for you.
Sony will certainly have to up its game for the Z4 and address those video overheating issues instead of glossing over them if it’s going to break away from the competition.
This is the best Sony phone so far but for Z2 owners, it’s worth waiting out for the Xperia Z4 or whatever Sony decides to call its next Xperia flagship smartphone where hopefully we should see something more radically different.
Next, read our round-up of the best smartphones to buy 2014
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.
Score in detail
Battery Life 9
Calls & Sound 8
Screen Quality 9