Plus or Minus: Sony's high-end handset for 2015 is part spectacular flagship, part disappointing compromise.
The quick take
The latest Sony flagship is a decent phone set back by hardware wonk and some wrongheaded design decisions. While the core experience is good, the Xperia Z3+ loses points for thermal issues, particularly when using the camera, and battery life that's outpaced by its predecessor.
- Slim, light design
- Excellent 1080p display
- Generally speedy performance
- Water- and dust-resistant
- A decent camera, but no rival to LG, Samsung or Apple
- Thermal issues, particularly in the camera app
- Battery life a regression from the original Z3
- Fingerprinty factory-fitted screen protector
- 5.2-inch Full HD
- TRILUMINOS Display
- 1920x1080 resolution (435ppi)
- 20.7MP, ƒ/2.0 lens
- 5MP front-facing camera
- 2930mAh capacity
- Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
- 4x2.0GHz A57 cores + 4x1.5GHz A53 cores
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- microSD slot
Sony Xperia Z3+ Full Review
There's something to be said for iteration. As much as "iterative" has morphed into a pejorative term when talking about smartphones, not every product cycle demands that the wheel be reinvented — a point proven by Sony Mobile in recent years.
Sony's iterative approach has served it relatively well. Since the original Xperia Z in 2013, we've seen a refinement of the company's "Omnibalance" design language every six months or so. Though the technical improvements that accompanied each generation of Xperia flagship weren't always great leaps forward, the phones themselves have generally been solid high-end contenders.
The Xperia Z3+ arrives somewhat out of step with Sony's usual half-yearly refresh cycle, hitting European stores some nine months after the original Z3. The phone's name confirms what many suspected of its Japanese cousin, the Xperia Z4 — this is only a half-upgrade from last year's model.
But like we said, iteration is nothing new for Sony. What really matters is how the Z3+ measures up to its major Android competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4 and HTC One M9. And as we'll discover in our full review, this is a decent phone, though arguably a regression from the Z3 in a few important areas. Read on to find out why.
About this review
We're writing this review after one week with an unlocked global Sony Xperia Z3+ (model E6553) running on the EE network in the UK. As part of the initial setup process our phone downloaded a software update to version 28.0.A.7.27, which is the version it remained on throughout our testing.