Friday, September 5, 2014

Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact, by the specs

Sony's knack for releasing hydrophobic and console-related devices can be seen in IFA 2014 as they release three flagship devices in different sizes. The same omnibalance design, rectangular body and dual glass protection is maintained, which seems to be the fad for Sony's mobile devices.

Sony Xperia Z3

The Sony Xperia Z3, is the fourth iteration to Sony's original flagship line-up. With its new albeit shorter six-month cycle of releasing Xperia Zx phones, Sony promises to deliver incremental upgrades to the series, and it doesn't fail to do so. 

Somehow, I disagree with their new ideology, but I find it agreeable that they stay away from the 4K-screen club because of two reasons: first, most tech critics agree that 4K resolution on small displays are not beneficial, and second, higher-resolution screens tend to be horrible battery drainers. And in case you're gonna ask, the Z3 has a Full HD (1080p) display. It is further enhanced by Sony's Triluminos display and X-reality engine, which has been the hair and skin of almost every Xperia.

Its actual dimensions put it a strand thinner on every aspect than its predecessor. Z3 has an actual dimensions of 5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 in while Z2 has dimensions of 5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 in. Its screen diagonal is said to be 5.2 inch. But take note - the Z3's corners now have nylon caps to protect them from scratches. Come to think about it; a phone's corners are often abused since they stick out.

On the internals department, Z3 is given a small bump on the processor side. It's running on Snapdragon 801 with a clock speed of 2.5 GHz, as opposed to Z2's 2.3 GHz speed. It retains the same 3 GB RAM of memory on its predecessor; but unlike the latter, you can have the option now for a 32 GB internal storage. You can also pack a 128-GB micro-SD card for storage junkies out there. On the software side, it runs on the latest Android version, Kitkat 4.4.4. And you should have a nano-SIM card for mobile usage.

For the camera department, it is packed with Sony-crafted lens which garners a 20.7 MP count and a relatively larger 1/2.3 sensor. It can record 2160p videos at 30 frames per second, although we have yet to see its quality. A new feature makes it more useable in low-light environment - an option to increase the ISO setting up to 12 800. That seems to be a first in the smartphone department, and for comparison's sake, my Nokia Lumia 1520 tops the ISO setting at 4000 only. Another use for a high ISO setting is that it seems to take a better image of a moving object. But a word of advice: a higher ISO means grainier images. On the other hand, its front camera has a 2.2 megapixel count which can record videos at 1080p.

Let's get a little bit more on the interesting side of things. Sony claims that with its new improvements on the Z3, its 3100 mAh battery can last two days with normal usage and with stamina mode turned off. This seems to be a really interesting (and almost unbelievable) development since most of the phones that Sony released before are criticized to have low battery life (take for example the Z1 and Z Ultra). For comparison, the Sony Xperia Z1 has a Sony rating of 1.1 days while the Z3 has a rating of 2. I will reserve my compliments later once this is proven in real life, but Sony told something that can garner potential believers: their new devices have something like a 'screen cache' which stores images that are not used for too long in a cache so that the screen won't refresh every other second.

Another interesting thing is a feature borrowed from PS Vita where you can stream your PS 4 games on your devices. The Z3 (as well as the Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact) also has a native support for the PS 4 controller. For gamers out there, this could mean a difference between buying an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy Note and an Xperia Z3. As for my opinion, I don't get it why people would want to stream their games on a smaller-screen Z3 (let alone the Z3 Compact) when they already have larger screens on their living rooms. I would like to do the reverse, though.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Last year, a demand for smaller phones (those with screen size below 5 inches) with flagship qualities has been raised by certain netizens. If you will take a look at the 'Mini' series released by Samsung, LG, HTC and other manufacturers and compare it to their big brothers, these 'Mini' phones are belittled not only in size but also in the spec sheet. And so, Sony, being a different thinker, stayed away from the club and produced a super 'Mini' phone - the Z1 Compact. And now, this hell of a Mini phone has another successor.

The Z3 Compact proves not only Sony's unique thinking but also that size doesn't always matter in terms of power. Unlike its bigger sibling, the Z3, Z3 Compact was released after a nearly year-long hiatus of releasing flagship products in this size category. So definitely, a bigger difference is expected to set a Z3 Compact from Z1 Compact, but does it?

Dimension-wise, the Z3 Compact is nearly identical to the Z1 Compact. Just compare the latter's 5.01 x 2.56 x 0.34 in dimensions to the former's 5.0 x 2.56 x 0.37 in. Ironically, the Z3 Compact's screen diagonal is almost a huge bump - from the Z1 Compact's 4.3-inch diagonal, it was upped by 0.3 inches longer.

The Z3 Compact houses the same internals and camera than its big brother, so there's no need to keep things lengthy in this segment. The only difference would be the screen's True HD (720p) resolution which will prove to be easier to deal with by the processors and thus produce better performance than its big brother. See, small things do beat bigger counterparts on a few occasions!

On the battery department, it houses a smaller 2600 mAh battery. With Sony's new 'screen cache' technology and with a 720p display, we could expect that this phone can last longer than its larger sibling.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

The second Sony tablet, the Xperia Z Tablet, proved to be a successful creation and eventually became popular in the market despite its larger size. And after a long time, Sony enters the small tablet category with flagship specs. Meet the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, (an annoyingly long name for a product which most techies have high expectations of).

Look at the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013, iPhone 5S and iPad Mini retina, Z3 and this tablet and you can see something familiar. Yes, each tablet that I have mentioned looks like bloated counterparts of the respective phone. The only difference between the Z3 Tablet Compact to its small cousin is the landscape orientation of its home screen, since phones are usually oriented in portrait mode.

Its vital statistics is 8.40 x 4.87 x 0.25 in, which says it has a very thin body (just one-fourth inch) but it is definitely larger than the Nexus 7 2013. Sony also drops the dual-glass panel and opts for a matte back. Its rear camera is also fixed at 8 MP, but it would be really awkward to capture photos with a tablet (though I still see a lot of people doing this...)

Aside from the things previously mentioned, this tablet has the same internals, same screen resolution, same front camera and other specs of the Z3 (except for the battery size). Of course, one can expect less from its name, and it is the most likely candidate for PS 4 streaming due to its larger size.

On the power department, the Z3 Tablet Compact packs a battery at 4500 mAh, which should last as long as this tablet's complete name. For references, the Nexus 7 2013 has a 7-inch screen diagonal and has a 3900 mAh. The Nexus 7 2012 has a 4050 mAh.

Final words

Sony's products seem to be very attractive, especially that Sony retains its design philosophy and other functions that are reminiscent of their earlier flagships. And it didn't stop them from providing innovations to their new products. For a better perspective of these products, we should wait for these to be actually released and tested by techies and bloggers out there. I can't wait to see reviews of their new screen technology works, since it really looks like a very good innovation.


  1. I choose sony xperia Z3, it look so Great...:D
    Mr Trung
    thay màn hình mặt kính cảm ứng sony xperia Z Ultra tại TP.HCM

  2. Sony's knack for releasing hydrophobic and console-related devices can be seen in IFA 2014 as they release three flagship devices in different ...