The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin 2014 (IFA) show began this week with the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, next up is Sony with more vendors showing off their latest handsets in the coming days. Sony revealed three new smartphones to it's lineup, the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and the Xperia E3.
Sony's new flagship device, the Xperia Z3, continues the tradition for great design through the Z range of devices which included the Xperia Z2 which was only was released in April this year. We blogged previously that Sony were considering changing their market release schedule from one year to six months, the Xperia Z3 appears to be confirming this with the scheduled release planned for October.
The Xperia Z3 retains the same screen dimensions as it's sibling the Z2, but whilst the screen remains 5.2" it promises to have 600 nits of brightness, in contrast the Xperia Z2 was measured in at 488 nits. The camera remains much the same with a 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor, 20MP resolution and 2160p video capture. However the camera can boost the ISO to 12,800 which is double what the Xperia Z2 camera can achieve, in theory this would make it a contender for best device in the low-light shooting department.
Internally the Xperia Z3 will be powered by a Snapdragon 801 running quad 2.5GHz processors, a small improvement over the Xperia Z2's 2.3GHz. Other specifications include 3GB RAM and an Adreno 330 graphics chip.
The Z3 will be Sony's thinnest flagship to date, dropping 0.9mm from 8.2mm to measure in at 7.3mm, the bezels have also been trimmed down to just 2mm and overall it weighs 11g less than the Z2. The battery has been manufactured slightly smaller and drops 100mAh to weigh in at 3100mAh, however we would not expect to see much difference in battery life as the drop is offset by the Xperia Z3's more efficient chipset. Sony themselves claim that the battery is good for up to 48 hours use.
Evidently Sony have decided if it isn't broke then don't fix it as the Xperia Z3 does not really bring any new innovations to the table, however; One new feature is that the device and indeed the whole Z3 line up, will be able to act as a second screen for your PS4 with a seamless changeover. Alongside the standard black and white colour variants the Xperia Z3 will also be available in copper and mint green. The Xperia Z3 will cost €649 in Germany, €679 in France, €699 in Italy and Spain and £549 in the UK.
We also had a first glimpse at the Xperia Z3's little brother, the Xperia Z3 Compact. If you read my previous review of the Xperia Z1 Compact you will know I am a big fan of the scaled down flagship powerhouse, the Xperia Compact has skipped a generation but the latest Z3 version does not disappoint. Essentially the Xperia Compact is a smaller version of the flagship model after which it is named and retains almost the same hardware. This is a feat which no other company has of yet been able to emulate without making significant sacrifices.
The Xperia Z3 Compact has a screen size of 4.6" and comes with the same chipset, processors and graphics as the Xperia Z3. In contrast the Xperia Z1 Compact only had a 4.3" screen, one of the major selling points of the Compact range was the smaller form factor coupled with flagship specifications, with only .6 of an inch now separating the Xperia Z3 Compact from the standard Xperia Z3 I wonder if the difference is still enough to entice two market spheres.
We see a battery improvement over the existing Xperia Z1 Compact, up from 2300mAh to 2600mAh. The Z1 Compact already had an impressive battery life, so it will be interesting to see how the new generation performs.
The Xperia Z3 Compact will be available in four colour options, black, white, orange and green. In contrast the Xperia Z1 Compact was available in black, white, pink and yellow. The Xperia Z3 Compact is priced at €499 in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and £429 in the UK.
Other devices announced by Sony include the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia E3 and Smartwatch 3. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact sports an 8" display and many of the features found in the other Z3 devices such as dust and water resistance. This device is billed as a new ultra thin and ultra light version of Sony's existing Z Tablet range.
The Xperia E3 is a entry level smartphone designed to place affordability first and is Sony's cheapest LTE capable handset. The device has a 4.5" 480 x 854px display, quad-core 1.2GHz CPU and Adreno 305 graphics chip. It also has 5MP rear and 1.3 front cameras, 1GB RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 2,330mAh battery and will have an exclusive yellow colour option.
Finally the Smartwatch 3 is an updated version of the existing Smartwatch 2 designed to take advantage of the upcoming Android Wear operating system which has been developed exclusively for wearables.
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