Here at IFA 2014 in Berlin, Sony is announcing new entries to its Xperia smartphone line at all levels. The flagship Z series, last updated only six months ago at Mobile World Congress, has been bolstered with the Xperia Z3. This device is the tip top of Sony's line, though in terms of sheer hardware it's an evolution rather than a revolution. The 5.2-inch 1080p screen, Snapdragon 801 processor (bumped up to 2.5Ghz), and 20.7MP rear camera are similar to the last iteration, but the body is much thinner at 7.3mm. The body is also more rounded, which should help with those somewhat uncomfortable squared-off shoulders.

Sony has stepped up its imaging game as well. The 20.7-megapixel Exmor sensor is now paired to a wide-angle 25mm lens for more comprehensive shots, and the photo and 4K video recording has access to an insane 12,800 ISO rating for low light, beating out many full-sized DSLR cameras. The screen itself gets a few new tricks as well: Sony claims the Triluminous display can adjust brightness and contrast on a pixel-by-pixel basis, making for better viewing in direct sunlight. Bezels on the screen have been shrunken to a mere 2mm on the sides.


Sony is also hyping up its hi-resolution audio prowess, though how that will impact a device with teeny tiny speakers (which appear to be moved to the front of the phone) isn't clear. All of its new devices use the waterproof build that have become something of a trademark for the company.

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The Xperia Z3 will be available in "autumn" in white, black, copper, and silver-green colors. Pricing isn't available, but you can bet that it will be in the standard $600-700 flagship range.

z3 specs

If you'd like something a little smaller, Sony is happy to oblige with the Xperia Z3 Compact. The smaller phone has essentially the same design as the Z3, complete with a more rounded body and front-facing speakers, but, well, smaller. Like previous "mini" phones from Sony, it doesn't skimp on power: the Compact has the same Snapdragon 801 processor and 20.7MP rear camera as the full-sized Z3, though the smaller 4.6" screen uses a 720p display with the same Triluminous tech. The Xperia Z3 Compact will be available in black, white, red, and green (no "silver" there).


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z3 compact specs

Moving down to the budget range, the Xperia E3 makes a lot of compromises, presumably for the sake of price. This 4.5-inch phone uses a downright ancient 854x480 screen resolution and Qualcomm's low-powered Snapdragon 400 paired to just 1GB of RAM. 4GB of storage can be augmented with a MicroSD card, and you might need it to store a ton of 5-megapixel photos from the rear camera. At least the battery is relatively large for a cheaper device at 2330mAh, and the E3 can access LTE bands. A dual-SIM version will also be available.

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Finally, the latest addition to Sony's tablet portfolio is the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, oddly not paired with a larger option. This 8-inch tablet uses pretty much all of the same specifications as the Z3 flagship phone, crammed underneath a 1920x1200 screen. Sony is going for easy one-handed operation here, and considering the razor-thin 6.4mm frame and lightweight 270g body, we believe them. Even with that thin profile, the tablet uses a 4500mAh battery, which is pretty standard for 8-inch models.

03_Xperia_Z3_Tablet_Compact_Back 01_Xperia_Z3_Tablet_Compact_Front 04_Xperia_Z3_Tablet_Compact_Horizontal

The Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact will be the first devices with access to remote game capabilities on the PlayStation 4 starting in November. A custom mount to attach gadgets to the console controller will be released at the same time. All of the devices announced today are scheduled for an "autumn" release in Japan, with a worldwide release to follow. Naturally, exact pricing is not available.

Source: Sony

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Kevin

    That title. Sony, just keep your product names simple.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      In a way they are. Xperia (oh, Sony) Z3 (ok, the model) Tablet (Ooh, that's a tablet!) Compact (but not a too big one...)

      It communicates well, honestly. How would YOU name them?

      • Peter Waegemans

        Maybe he has difficulty with the letters x and z, which you know are all the way at the end of the alphabet.

      • Kevin

        I was talking more about Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact. I think naming the phone and adding the 'Compact' is just weird to me. Wouldn't it be more simple if it was just Xperia Compact? Adding a Z3 next to it, tells me it's the tablet version of the phone.

        • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

          I'd probably be confused as hell if you were the one to name products.

          The Z3 compact is a compact version of the premium product. Naming it with a different letter (say, Xperia S3, S for small or something) would not instantly connect it to the premium idea that they wish the "Z" branding will inspire. Since Sony also makes tablets and wearables, "Xperia Compact" could mean anything and, besides, backwards and future compatibility are a huge issue. Is it newer or older than the Z2 Compact? Next year, what are they going to call it? Xperia Compact 2? "The new Xperia Compact", a la Apple? Xperia Compact (2nd generation)?

          Really their naming convention is pretty simple and effective. I can't understand your peeve.

    • xanok

      I like the names. They're a bit long (xperia z3 compact, still not as long as galaxy s2 epic 4g touch), but they communicate the idea. Their premium products use the letter Z. They wanna make sure they convey the idea that just because the item is smaller doesn't mean it's mid-range or low budget. Same with the tablet.

  • CasperTFG

    That Z3 Tablet Compact is making me sweaty. Beautiful phone.

    • Matthew DiGiacomo

      Huh? It's a tablet not a phone.

      • SPtheALIEN

        Curious as to why the tablet graphic has a phone icon.

        • cesium

          it's got a built-in LTE modem and can make phone calls via bluetooth headset

          • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

            but it won't let you without the headset?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      I hope it has phone capabilities. I won't use them much but it is handy if I go through my 100 minutes on my Nexus.

  • tommyGS4

    Any idea if z3 will come to Verizon or gsm only.

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Z3 coming to T-Mobile in the Autumn. No word on Verizon.

      • tommyGS4

        OK. Thanks. Maybe att also?? Might have to switch finally...

        • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

          Maybe? The last Sony phone they carried was the TL back in 2012.

    • cesium

      it will never come to verizon :( i'd love to get a z3 compact myself on vzw

      • tommyGS4

        Yeah... I was hoping for the z2 awhile back myself. Thought it might have been a good sign when vzw got the z2 tablet.. Guess we can wait and see what moto and droids come out till then.

  • Gtoknu

    Loved the tablet. If it really comes with hi-def noise-cancelling earbuds as said on the video, and it really integrates well with playstation, then it's insta-buy

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Same here. I'm curious if the audio software works with other music apps too. I'm a huge Poweramp fan so I'm not as likely to use the Walkman app.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Well now Sony really got me thinking. I am torn apart between 4 8" tablets - G Pad 8.3, Shield Tablet, possible Nexus 8, and this. G Pad costs the lowest out of 4 though. Hmmm..

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Sony tablets probably will look the best but they usually carry a high premium $$$. I'd go for a Shield tablet unless you want to wait for the Nexus 8.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        I am planning on waiting until Christmas to see how the mobile tech scene goes anyway.
        So far there's no replacement for Nexus 4 for me, I am looking at those 8" tablets mentioned above, and I am probably going for Xperia Tablet Z2 as a replacement for Nexus 10 unless google surprises me and announces N10 2014

        • Roh_Mish

          Really want the next nexus to have n4 like design and aspect ratio. I have a n5 but I don't use it as primary device for this very reason. (And I don't like the design)

    • yeah right

      I think I'll stick to my Nexus master race for tablets.

  • Stoffers

    Because we all need 20MP shots on our phones.

    • LiterofCola

      You can keep a 5mp camera then, the rest of us will take a great camera in our smartphones.

      • Stoffers

        lol, "Great camera" "smartphone" you do that. There is a point of diminishing returns where you're making the pixel sites so small that each pixel you get will be much noisier than it should be. Unless they begin enlarging the sensors, all they're doing is making the shots take more space on your phone.

        • horst

          They are not just stuffing more pixels in there... There is a lof of other hardware enhancement going on. i.e. a mode where several pixels are grouped together to make a bigger pixel. You will be able to tell a difference in shot comparisons without changing the sensor size

    • Ibrahim Yusuf

      The phone uses the 20MP to make a 8MP image out of it, like Nokia with their 40 -> 5 MP camera

  • Hobie Helbich

    not a big fan of sony's design, but i must say that they are the only manufacturer getting the whole "mini" thing right... a smaller version of the flagship with the same (well... almost the same) specs is pretty much what most consumers want. Well done Sony.

    That being said, i can't wait to see what Motorola announces tomorrow

    • Paul

      Well, by your definition "mini" is something smaller than the current flagship.
      If (speculation) standard sizes are 6 inches in a few years, a 5.6" could be called mini.
      For me though, mini would mean something at or below 4".
      I want a updated version of the Xperia Ray goddamnit, why won't you listen Sony....

    • Roh_Mish

      My only complaint was that those edges start to dig into your hands after some time. This design revision seems to solve that problem.
      The ass back was never a problem. I use my nexus 4 without cover and don't have even one scratch

  • Michael Tran

    any word on the storage? I just skimmed it and didn't see if it's 16gb? 32gb? microSD? on the Z3

    • BarelyBlurred

      16gb with microSD support for 128gb cards.

      • Michael Tran

        Thanks, That might be a slight deal breaker. With Android L approaching and ART runtime taking up more storage than Dalvik, 16gb might be cutting it kind of close. I have a moto x with 16gb and I'm running ART. I have good amount of apps installed. I wouldn't say a lot, but only 2 games and I've cached a few playlists from spotify. I've only got about 1.5gb free on the phone. Definitely something for me to think about when the Sony comes out.

        • Roh_Mish

          Would be really sad if there isn't a 32 and 64gb model. I don't understand why companies instead of increasing size is reducing them. We would go back to 8 GB next year at this speed.

    • Ambroos

      Z3 and Z3 Compact: 16GB + microSD slot.
      Z3 Tablet Compact: 16GB/32GB (WiFi), LTE probably 16GB but not sure.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

        That'd be nice if I could get the LTE tablet with 32GB. Was that in the press release?

        • Ambroos

          It was in the press release, but no capacity was listed for the LTE version. I suspect it's 16GB.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Sony usually offers 16GB + LTE only, but both 10" Tablet Zs have expandable storage. I highlyndoubt it will be anY different with Z3TC

  • Mustafa Selçuk Öztürk

    I dont get it. What is the diffrence between Z2 and Z3?

    • xanok

      Slightly better version of the SD801 and slightly less bezel is all I've gathered so far. Also, something about being able to use with a PS4.

      • Roh_Mish

        And a new colo(u)r

  • Rahul Nebhnani

    that z3 compact is the perfect device for me!!
    when does it launch?!?

    • andy_o

      In the US? Next year, right before the Z4 is announced.

      • LiterofCola


        • Zack Mills

          But, true. I bought my Z2 just a few months ago.

          • andy_o

            Sony did say they didn't have much interest in the US market compared to elsewhere, I wonder if that has changed lately.

          • Lisandro O Oocks

            No1 cares what Sony says when Benjamin's are screaming louder.

      • Rahul Nebhnani

        lucky that i don't live there ,eh ?

  • horst

    weren't the devices with 805 snapdragons supposed to be out by autumn? I'm not going to buy a device which is going to be outdated significantly in a few months time. Basically nothing changed from the release of my note 2 besides higher clockspeeds, 1gb more ram and better cameras, the note 2 is now 2 years old. Probably gotta wait til all those fine 64bit devices are out. Maybe a xperia z4 will do it then :(

    • http://anders.moe Baku

      How can you still live with your Note 2? My became slow as fuck early this year, like almost unusably slow. Finally had to upgrade to a OnePlus One. All these new phones may not seem MUCH better on paper, but they really are a lot faster at everything

      • horst

        custom roms and once in a while wiping everything. Even with tw it is still more than enough or at least not as bad that I'd have to shell out 300$+ for a new phone. Games work all good, system is responsive. I just envy that 20mpix sony camera as it really does its job way better than the samsung one.

    • Roh_Mish

      Note 2 is a great device. My dad used it till last month when it was sadly stolen. That AMOLED screen was great.

    • Semianonymous

      I miss my note 2 but the screen got wrecked and the charger port is sloooooooow to the point of making the phone unusable. Luckily I had an upgrade available so I got an s5, mainly for the screen.

      Now, I'm eyeballing that z3 compact. Something about all those specs in that sexy little chassis..

  • Josh

    "teeny tiny speakers (which appear to be moved to the front of the phone)"

    The Z2 had front facing speakers as well

    • Jay T

      And they are actually quite good. Not exactly HTC quality, but leagues better then Samsung

  • qpinto

    Does this phone support the lte 700mhz band a block. That's all I want to know. If so I'll buy it on the spot.

  • TechWings

    I actually like the design. Does anyone know how intrusive Sony's UI overlay is?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      It's not bad at all. I used it stock on my Z Ultra for quite awhile before going to Nova and Google Now launchers.

      • TechWings

        How about the text, contacts, and dialer apps? I think they're awful in TouchWiz, but I don't mind them in Sense 6.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

          I certainly prefer them over TouchWhiz, but haven't used Sense since the Evo 3D so I can't compare there. They always worked well for me, though I don't use the phone as a phone that often.

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      I've got a z2 tablet, while not as minimal as Moto they still do a pretty good job sticking close to stock. They also are pretty good about letting you modify things like the stock keyboard.

  • crap

    I just bought the Z2 so I'm relieved Z3 isn't that much better. It's an amazing phone by the way, so if anyone is considering the Z3 I'd say it's a no-brainer.

    • WhyWai

      The Aluminium frame looks nicer on Z3.

  • schlanz

    I believe I'm getting that tablet. Looks freakin sharp!

  • Alex

    I'm considering the z3 compact phone. I'm curious if anyone knows regarding the camera... I heard the z1 software does NOT allow 20MP with wide shots (16x9)... And reverts down to 8MP... Is this true? And same for z3???

    • Ryan

      Theres an xposed module for the z1c that lets you take 20MP 4:3 and 15.5MP 16:9 pictures. That's what I've been using. Since it's relativiley the same camera I'd assume that module will (or will eventually) work on the z3(c).