[First look] Sony Xperia Z3 hands-on

PS4 Remote Play on Xperia Z3

Xperia Z3

A new flagship smartphone from Sony Mobile already? How long has it been since the Xperia Z2? A littlle over 6 months to be exact. Well, like it or not, the sexy new Xperia Z3 is here, and here’s a quick hands-on look on Sony’s best this side of the planet.

Yesterday, Sony Mobile in Singapore introduced a plethora of new products – the Xperia Z3 series including the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact smartphones, Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia E3; and SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3.

The show stealer was undeniably the Xperia Z3.

Xperia Z3

Design and build: Standout premium

If there’s one thing about the Xperia Z3 that you’ll certainly love is the design and build. Sony has kept to the design language of the Z series – premium, desirable, durable. The Xperia Z3 is just 7.3mm thin and weighs a scant 152g. The new super slim rounded aluminium frame and tempered glass is downright sexy.

White and black, as good-looking as they are, are no match for the new copper and silver green colour options. I think the copper is outstanding.

With only a 2mm bezel around the 5.2-inch display, the Xperia Z3 feels great in the hands and certainly looks the business.

Xperia Z3

Performance assured

From the superfast quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip running at 2.5Ghz with 4G LTE, to a generous 2GB RAM and the long-lasting 3,100mAh battery, there’s little to complain about when it comes to performance.

The Xperia Z3 doesn’t just look great, it flies. With Android 4.4 KitKat no doubt.

As with past Z series phones, you also get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 4G LTE and more.

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The 5.2-inch Full HD TRILUMINOS display is brilliant, and now performs even better in bright sunlight.

Xperia Z3 with SmartBand Talk

The best camera and camcorder. Hint: It’s a Sony

Sony makes the camera module, the lens, the image processor and imaging software. You can expect the best camera experience and performance. The Xperia Z3 gets the same 20.7MP rear camera as the Z2, but now comes with a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS for mobile sensor with a new 25mm wide-angle Sony G Lens. Sony has upped ISO sensitivity to ISO 12800, the world’s first.

You will notice better low-light performance with the new setup. Pretty outstanding for a phone camera.

For video, the Xperia Z3 shoots in 4K resolution, now with improved SteadyShot tech and Intelligent Active Mode.

Music’s just gotten better

Sony has been pushing emphasis on High-Resolution Audio recently, and audiophiles should be chuffed that Sony’s ground-breaking DSEE HX tech found in their audio products is now built-in. DSEE HX ‘upscales’ fidelity of your MP3 or AAC music to bring you near High-Resolution quality.

Having tested the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact using Sony’s MDR-1A range of headphones, Sony wasn’t kidding.

Additionally, the Xperia Z3 features Sony’s Digital Noise Cancelling technology, with ambient noise being reduced up to 98% according to Sony (when used with MDR-NC31EM Digital Noise Cancelling headset).

PS4 Remote Play on Xperia Z3

PS4 gaming on the go

While it isn’t a PS Vita, literally bring your PS4 with you by using PS4 Remote Play on the Xperia Z3. Don’t fret when yor mom needs to watch her Chinese TV series. Fire up your PS4, connect both your PS4 and Z3 to your home Wi-Fi then just use your DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller with the GCM10 Game Control Mount and your Z3 as your display.

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Having tested this first hand, it’s actually quite practical. Imagine putting a bigger Z3 Tablet Compact.

The PS4 Remote Play service will come to Malaysian shores in Q4 2014.

Outstanding peace-of-mind durability

The Xperia Z3 delivers the highest waterproof rating – IP65 and IP68, so you’ll have complete peace of mind. Laugh at splashes and scoff at drops into the pool. I think it’s a feature you’ll totally appreciate, as do I.

Early verdict

The Xperia Z3 is one outstanding piece of kit. Sure, Xperia Z2 owners will cry foul, but I think it’s still a worthy upgrade. It will be interesting to see how Sony prices the Z2 when its successor debuts soon.

If early positive responses are any indication, this could be the top end Android to beat.

Pricing and availability

The Sony Xperia Z3 will be available globally in autumn 2014. Malaysia will get the Xperia Z3 in October. Pricing has not been announced but expect it to be in the vicinity of MYR2,299-MYR2,399 (US$715-US$745).

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