Sony only introduced the Xperia Z2 this April, and it remains one of our favourite smartphones – but despite that it’s not long for this world.
Just as it did last year with the Xperia Z and Z1, the company is plotting to replace its flagship a mere six months later. And unsurprisingly, its successor at the top of the Sony smartphone tree will be called the Z3.
So is Sony planning to rip up the rule book and start again or will the new model be more of a subtle upgrade? Read on for everything we know (or think we know) thus far.
DESIGN: IF IT AIN’T BROKE…
Judging from spy shots of the Xperia Z3, it’ll be a case of “spot the difference” between it and its predecessor the Z2. Like the Z2 (and the Z1 before it), the Z3 sports Sony’s metal- and glass-heavy OmniBalance design.
There do appear to be some minor differences, however. First and foremost, the Z3’s sides are a little curvier – something which should please anyone (and there were plenty of us) who felt the Z2 was a little too angular and uncomfortable in the hand. Secondly, the shots don’t appear to show a second speaker grille, suggesting Sony may have removed its stereo capabilities. That’d obviously be quite a retrograde step, so we’re hoping it’s not the case.
A big advantage of the OmniBalance design is that it’s water- and dust-proof, so the Z3 will be capable of withstanding anything the weather can throw at it – as well as enabling you to make calls from the shower and watch Netflix in your Jacuzzi.
Don’t expect an ultra-sharp 2K screen on the Xperia Z3. The rumour consensus seems to be that it’ll have a 5.15in full HD (1920 x 1080) display – so pretty much the same as that on the Xperia Z2, which has a 5.2in effort. The Z2’s display is gloriously lush and punchy, of course, so it’s not really a huge problem.
FEW SPEC SURPRISES
According to serial (and reliable) info-spreader @evleaks, the Sony Xperia Z3 will be something of a powerhouse, albeit one without any major spec surprises. The Twitter account claims the phone will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor running at 2.4GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage, plus Android KitKat 4.4.4.
The FCC listing for the Z3 (more on that below) confirms that it will offer dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, NFC and 4G LTE. No surprises there either.
CAMERA: STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE
Are you sensing a pattern here? Like the design and screen, the Xperia Z3’s camera may be a holdover from the Z2: according to @evleaks the rear shooter will sport the same 20.7MP Exmor R sensor and G lens. It’s a setup also found on the Z1 and Z1 Compact, and a very good one at that. In fact, in the hands of a decent photographer the Z2 probably delivers better shots than any other smartphone. Expect 4K video to remain an option, too.
SONY XPERIA Z3 COMPACT AND Z3X
Sony’s custom in recent years is to release smaller and larger variants of its flagship phones, and that’s likely to be the case with the Z3.
We’ve already seen a photo of what appears to be a Z3 Compact (likely with a 4.3in screen), while according to Chinese site Digi-wo the Z3X phablet will offer a 6.14in display with a 2560 x 1152 resolution, a Snapdragon 810 processor, a 22MP camera and apparently the capability to have crazy photography accessories such as a full-size flash attached to it. But we’re taking all that with a big pinch of salt and we advise you to do the same.
In mid-July the FCC approved a Sony device codenamed “D6603” for the US market – and going by the company’s current naming convention, that translates to the Xperia Z3. That means the phone’s communication features are finalised and suggests a launch can’t be too far away.
The annual IFA technology expo, which takes place in Berlin at the beginning of September, looks like a safe bet for a global launch for the Z3, but it’s possible that Sony will hold its own separate event. We’ll keep you posted on developments.