IFA: Sony Unveils Xperia Z3, Its New Flagship Smartphone

Sony has announced a new range of Android-based mobile devices under the Xperia brand, including its latest flagship smartphone – the waterproof Xperia Z3.

Z3 is the first ever handset to feature a camera that offers up to ISO 12800 sensitivity, important when taking pictures in low lighting conditions. It’s also the first to support Remote Play functionality of Sony’s PlayStation 4.

Other additions to the Xperia family include budget-friendly Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone and 8-inch Xperia Z3 Compact tablet. The company has also announced two wearables – an activity tracker called SmartBand Talk and the latest iteration of its smartwatch – the SmartWatch 3.

All of the new devices were presented to the public at the annual IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

The flagships

The exterior of Xperia Z3 features aluminium and tempered glass, with its edges just 7.3mm thick. The 5.2-inch LED display of the smartphone is based on TRILUMINOS technology, and capable of displaying native Full HD content.

Inside, you’ll find Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 801 SoC with 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU and Adreno 330 GPU, accompanied by 3GB of RAM. The amount of on-board flash memory is limited to 16GB by default, but can be expanded by up to128GB using a microSD card.

One of the most interesting components of the smartphone is the 20.7MP camera with Exmor sensor that offers digital image stabilisation, high ISO settings and a wide angle lens.

There are also several enhancements aimed at improving the quality of sound, including front-facing stereo speakers, Digital Noise Cancelling and DSEE HX technology, which Sony says can “upscale” the fidelity of mp3 and AAC music.

Xperia Z3 will be available in the UK sometime in September in a choice of white, black, copper or silver green. It is currently available for pre-order at £549.

As the name suggests, Xperia Z3 Compact is a smaller device with a 4.6-inch, 720p display. Just like its big brother it’s waterproof, and sports the same camera and CPU but ditches aluminium for plastic and cuts the amount of RAM to 2GB.

Sony says the new power-saving features enable both smartphones to last up to two days without charging. They are also the only mobile devices to support Remote Play functionality of the recently launched PlayStation 4.

Sony says the smartphones are premium devices, and insists on calling both “flagships”.

“At Sony Mobile, ‘flagship’ now means offering a choice to consumers of enjoying a large screen Xperia Z3 for immersive entertainment or a more compact, lighter Xperia Z3 Compact that doesn’t ask you to compromise on features,” explained Kunimasa Suzuki, president and CEO at Sony Mobile Communications.

We’ll have to see if this unusual terminology catches on. Our guess – it will not.

Sony Xperia Z3

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Sony Xperia Z3

Meanwhile, Samsung has just launched the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4.

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Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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