Sony Xperia XZ3 full review

As expected, Sony has a new flagship phone for 2018 in the Xperia XZ3. There's no compact model this year, so that leaves us to compare it with its predecessor, the XZ2.

The new model comes in at the same launch price, although upgrades are fairly limited. Here we compare them on price, design and specs in detail to help you choose which one to buy or whether to upgrade.

Xperia XZ2 vs XZ3: Price and availability

A rare thing in the tech world now, Sony has kept the price of the XZ3 the same as its predecessor. So that means it costs £699 - it's $899 in the US.

Since the XZ2 is now the old model, you can get it cheaper (if you don't have it already) - although the discount isn't much if you buy direct at £649. However, if you go to Amazon you can get the handset for £539 or $699

So that's a reasonable difference. We'll look at whether it's worth upgrading if you already have the XZ2 or which to choose if you don't.

Xperia XZ3 red

Xperia XZ2 vs XZ3: Design and build

We've been waiting for Sony to change its design language for a while (that's an understatement) and the XZ2 brought that, but we were a bit disappointed.

We're pleased that the XZ3 is a much more desirable handset compared to the XZ2. It's not an overhaul in design, but the new 2018 phone makes some much needed tweaks.

Namely that the phone is thinner at 9.9mm, down from 11.1mm. It's not huge on paper but makes a big difference when you hold them.The XZ3 isn't much lighter - 5g down at 193g - but a bigger battery is a good reason for this.

The main design change is that the front has curved edges, a bit like the Galaxy S9 and previous Samsung phones. It helps the phone feel thinner than it is.

In true Sony style, the new phone comes in new colours so Forest Green and Bordeaux Red might tempt you.

It's still IP68 waterproof and there's no headphone jack. With a tall 18:9 screen, the fingerprint scanner is still on the back and many of us here think it's too low down the phone for comfort.

Xperia XZ2

Xperia XZ2 vs XZ3: Specs and features

As is often the case with a new generation of smartphone, there are some specs and features which remain the same and some that are new. So, we're going to highlight them in sections.

What's the same?

Here's a list of what is the same no matter which phone you opt for, since there are some of the key things that haven't been upgraded for the XZ3:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of storage
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • Wireless charging
  • No headphone jack
  • 19Mp rear camera

Xperia XZ3 Android Pie

What's new?

That's quite a lot of things that are still the same a year later and we didn't include smaller things like Wi-Fi and USB-C.

So what has changed on the spec sheet? Well mainly a new screen which is Sony's first OLED panel for better colours and contrast. It's larger at 6in but avoids getting a notch and retains a Quad HD resolution.

As mentioned earlier, the screen now has curved edges and a feature called Side Sense means you can tap on the side to bring up your most used apps and shortcuts.

There are two other notable differences with a larger 3300mAh and a higher resolution front camera. It's 13Mp and has an impressive f/1.9 aperture.

Check the verdict section below to see whether you should upgrade or which to choose.

Sony Xperia XZ2 screen

Here is a run-down of the specs of the Xperia XZ2 and the Xperia XZ3 side-by-side:

  Sony Xperia XZ2 Sony Xperia XZ3
Operating System Android 8.0 Oreo Android 9 Pie
Display 5.7in Full HD+ (2160x1080) 18:9 IPS LCD HDR 6.0in (2160x1080) 18:9 P-OLED
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Memory 4GB RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB (expandable up to 512GB via microSD)  64GB (expandable up to 512GB via microSD)
Primary Camera 19Mp, f/2.0 camera with dual autofocus 19Mp, f/2.0 camera with dual autofocus 
Front Camera 5Mp, f/2.2 13Mp, f/1.9
Video Recording 4K HDR @ 30fps, Super slo-mo 1080p @ 960fps 4K HDR @ 30fps, Super slo-mo 1080p @ 960fps
WiFi 11ac dual-band 11ac dual-band
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD 5.0 with aptX HD
NFC Yes Yes
Fingerprint scanner Yes, rear Yes, rear
Wireless charging Yes Yes
Colours Liquid Black, Liquid Silver, Deep Green/Blue Black, Silver White, Forest Green, Bordeaux Red
Waterproof IP65/68 IP65/68
Dimensions 153 x 72 x 11.1mm 158 x 73 x 9.9mm
Weight 198g 193g
Battery 3180mAh 3300mAh

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Sony Xperia XZ3: Specs

  • Android 9 Pie
  • 6.0In OLED QHD+ HDR
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, microSD up to 512GB
  • 19Mp f/2.0 main camera, 4K HDR recording
  • 13Mp f/1.9 front camera
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G
  • Nano-SIM (single or dual)
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 3300mAh battery
  • 158 x 73 x 9.9mm
  • 193g