The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictWhile it might not provide the best camera on the market, the Sony Xperia XZ3 combines a range of capable features into one stylish bundle.
- Beautiful design
- Amazing display
- Smooth performance
- IP 65/68 waterproofing
- Poor fingerprint sensor placement
- Average battery life
- Good camera -- but not as good as the competition
Sony might not be a leader in the Android market, but that hasn’t kept the company from churning out high-end phones every six months. The Xperia XZ3 isn’t a huge leap from the XZ2 , but does it offer a solid upgrade to their last release?
The XZ2 was a huge departure from previous iterations and while the XZ3 doesn’t stray too much, reviewers called it “stunning.” It comes in five different color options, but all include IP65/68 waterproofing as well as glass front and rear.
The edges are much softer than previous models, making it more comfortable to grip. But the glass means it’s slippery and a fingerprint magnet. While thicker than other smartphones, it’s thinner than the XZ2 and weighs only 193 grams (0.42 lbs).
While it might look great, the overall layout isn’t perfect. Many found the fingerprint sensor too low, which often led to them accidentally placing their finger on the camera lens instead.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the XZ3 and its competitors is its lack of a notch. Instead, Sony kept the blackout bars above and below the screen. While it might make the phone a little tall (6.22 inches), it provides a more immersive viewing experience overall.
Speaking of the viewing experience, the 6-inch OLED display provides excellent sharpness thanks to its 2960-by-1440 resolution.
As expected of OLED, the blacks are dark and inky while the colors are vibrant and punchy. When critics compared it side-by-side to similarly priced flagships, they discovered that it was sharper than the iPhone X with more realistic colors than the Samsung Galaxy S9 . TechRadar called it, “the best smartphone screen ever made.”
There are no issues with performance either. The Xperia XZ3 comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of RAM. While less than other smartphones in its price range, experts had no issues with navigating the phone’s menus or opening apps. Games and other processor-intensive apps worked seamlessly with no hiccups.
Battery life was average. Reviewers hit a full day’s worth of use from the 3,330mAh battery during moderate to heavy use. The phone also has fast charging, allowing a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes.
While other companies are opting for a dual-lens rear camera, Sony stayed with a 19MP single-lens rear camera -- the same lens used on the XZ1 . Despite this, it surprised reviewers with the improvements on offer compared to earlier models. They noticed much better image quality overall -- especially in regard to low-light performance.
With that said, when compared to cameras found on flagship phones like the iPhone XS and Google Pixel 2, it lags behind. In good lighting situations, it takes excellent pictures, yet experts noticed it struggles with dynamic range, often blowing out the highlights.
In medium-to-low light, they found grain creeping in sooner when compared to other phones like the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 .
Overall, reviewers were happy with the XZ3 despite its high price tag. Engadget states, “The Xperia XZ3 is a pretty, powerful flagship phone... You’re not going to be disappointed if you do spring for the XZ3…” Pocket-Lint adds, “The Sony Xperia XZ3 is the Xperia flagship we’ve been waiting a very long time to see.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Amy Davies, Photography Blog
The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a smartphone which can produce some good images, but it’s not one that is likely to be at the top of most people’s wishlists – aside from those who are particularly fond of the Sony brand.
- Lars Rehm, DxOMark
In good conditions, the Sony Xperia XZ3 is capable of capturing images with good exposure, pleasant color, and high levels of detail. However, the single-lens setup and a lack of sophisticated computational imaging methods means that in more challenging situations, the Sony gets to its limits quicke...
If you look at it as a mid-ranger and don't especially value software snappiness in your phone, it's a good choice. There's just nothing mind-blowing about it, and we can't help but feel that Sony is intent on basically performing a magic trick with this device, drawing your attention away from the...
- Edgar Cervantes, Android Authority
While Sony's sensors are praised by the whole industry, it takes more to make an overall good smartphone camera. The Sony Xperia XZ3 can take some nice shots, but nothing stands out over the competition.
- Mike Bitter, G Style Magazine
Over the time I used the Xperia XZ3, it felt premium, battery life is good and the screen was fantastic. I think it’s better than most screens on a smartphone except for maybe the Galaxy series phones which I would debate you about. Watching content on this phone or even just looking at the screen y...
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Sony Xperia XZ3 user manual here.
Sony backs up the Xperia XZ3 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Xperia XZ3 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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Manuals / User Guides
- Sony Xperia XZ3 Manual (PDF)
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