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Sony Xperia Z3: New Sony flagship Smartphone tested

By Kevin Carter - Friday September 12 2014

Mobile Review
Overview | Sony Xperia Z3 Image Quality | Sony Xperia Z3 vs the competition
DxOMark Mobile
79

Overview

It’s fair to say the Xperia Z3 is only a minor upgrade to the only recently released Z2. In terms of camera specification both are very similar, featuring a 20.7Mp rear camera, together with a 2.2Mp front camera and 1080p video capture for those all-important selfies.

What is new on the Xperia Z3 is an improvement in its low-light capabilities, thanks to a new maximum ISO of 12800. The new Sony Xperia Z3 is smaller too, but only just, with body dimensions of 146 x 72 x 7.3mm for the new device, compared to 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm for the Z2. They also share the same 5.2in 1920x1080px screen and both run the latest version of the Google Android operating system – 4.4 KitKat. The new Xperia Z3 does boast an upgrade to its processing power however, thanks to a 2.4GHz Qualcomm Quad-core CPU compared to the Z2’s 2.3 GHz chip set. Sony’s battery life stats suggest the two devices are quite similar in this regard also, although the new Xperia Z3’s battery capacity is a slightly smaller 3100mAh, compared to 3200mAh on the Z2.

With an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 79 the new Sony Xperia Z3 currently ranks in joint 1st place alongside the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony’s own Xperia Z2, also with 79 points. For picture quality the Sony Xperia Z3 also ranks joint top for stills with a DxOMark Mobile Photo score of 81, the same as both the Sony Xperia Z2 and Nokia 808 PureView.

01_z3_photo_scores

Excelling in the areas of Exposure and Contrast, Autofocus and Noise, the new Sony Xperia Z3 achieves a DxOMark Mobile Photo Score of 81, which ranks joint top in our database

Those dizzying heights can’t quite be matched with its video performance however, where the Xperia Z3 slips into a still very respectable 2nd place on our database, with a DxOMark Mobile Video Score of 76, just 3 points off the class-leading Samsung Galaxy S5 with 79 points.

02_z3_video_scores

The Z3’s video scores are again excellent for Exposure and Contrast and the addition of Sony’s SteadyShot system for video bolsters its Stabilisation score, too.

Photo

DxOMark Mobile Photo
81
Exposure and contrast
89
Color
75
Autofocus
86
Texture
75
Noise
84
Artifacts
72
Flash
83

Pros

- Good detail preservation outdoors and in low light

- Low noise level in all lighting conditions

- Good overall exposure

- Very fast and accurate autofocus in bright light

- Pleasant colors in most situations

Cons

- Color shading is visible in some outdoor and low-light pictures

- Flare is noticeable in sunny backlit shots

- Color shading appears when mixing flash and tungsten light sources

Video

DxOMark Mobile Video
76
Exposure and contrast
93
Color
76
Autofocus
55
Texture
82
Noise
85
Artifacts
74
Stabilization
72

Pros

- Stabilisation is very good even with walking movement

- Exposition algorithm is smooth, fast and accurate

- Low noise level and good texture preservation

- Autofocus lens breathing correction improves user experience

Cons

- Autofocus is sometimes unstable

- White balance convergence is too slow and some failures were noticed

- Color shading is noticeable in tungsten

- A strong flare is noticeable in very bright conditions