Sony officially unveiled its latest flagship smartphone at the IFA 2014 in Berlin yesterday. Arriving only six months after the launch of the Xperia Z2, the Xperia Z3 retains many of the features that made the Z1 and Z2 so popular, but there are quite a few noticeable changes under the hood. Perhaps the biggest news is the announcement of the Z3 Compact, which will launch alongside the Z3 and features almost identical specs, only in a much slimmer case. A budget device known as the Xperia E3 has also been announced.
The Xperia Z3 retains many of the features that made the Z1 and Z2 so popular, but there are quite a few noticeable changes under the hood
The Z3 measures 5.2 inches and comes in subtle white, black, copper and silver/green, whereas the Z3 compact measures 4.6” and comes in more vibrant orange, greens, white and black. This is obviously a reaction to the iPhone 5S and 5C range, which also differentiate themselves by their colour schemes. As has been the case with all Xperia Z devices, the phones will be dust-tight and waterproof. They will also be some of the most powerful devices on the market, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which boasts a 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU with 3GB of RAM. The 20.7MP camera from the Z2 will be left intact, as well the Triluminous 1080p screen. It has been noted, however, that the Z3's screen holds up better than earlier iterations in direct sunlight. The Z3 features a 3100mAh battery that delivers up to 19 hours of talk time, and 740 hours of standby time, whereas the Z3 Compact packs a 2600mAh battery that offers 14 hours of talk time and 920 hours of standby time.
Introducing the Sony Xperia Z3
Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the new handset (and one that Sony seems strangely keen on underplaying) is the “Remote Play” functionality, which means Playstation 4 owners will be able to play their PS4 games via local Wi-Fi through their Xperia handsets! Obviously playing a fully-functioning PS4 game with a touch-screen would be next to impossible, which is why Remote Play (on both the Xperia Z3 smartphones and tablet) will only be available with the addition of the GCM10 Game Control mount. This is a device that attaches your phone or tablet to a Dual shock 4 controller via a surprisingly sturdy plastic mounting system. Remote Play is already available through Sony's handheld games console, the Playstation Vita, but the Vita has struggled to win over audiences due to its high price and lack of exclusive games. The new Xperia range could be the final nail in the Vita's coffin, that it's being dealt by Sony themselves speaks volumes.
Playstation 4 owners will be able to play their PS4 games via local Wi-Fi through their Xperia handsets with Remote Play
It's already been announced that the Z3 will be coming to T-Mobile, who said in a statement; “As the successor to Xperia Z1S, Xperia Z3 is a strong follow-up, continuing the momentum of our strategic partnership with the Un-carrier.” Other providers have yet to comment, but it's likely that both O2 and orange will also be on board. Pricing has yet to be announced, but as a flagship device a price of £500 + is to be expected with £35 24 month contracts.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from the UK. He is also a Playstation Vita owner and (despite its unpopularity) will defend it to the ends of the earth.