Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Overview & Price

In this Sony Xperia XZ3 review, we go over the everything you need to know about the device, as well as showcasing today’s best Sony Xperia XZ3 contract deals.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is Sony’s latest flagship device, it was released on October 5th 2018 and offers the best display on any smartphone.

In the box, you get a Sony phone charger, paperwork and a 3.5mm adapter for the charging port.

You may be wondering are Sony phones good?

Well that depends, lots of their previous models are rather basic, however, the XZ3 brings much more to the table than its predecessors.

bold we know but this phone certainly backs that statement up!

Check out the best Sony Xperia XZ3 deals in the UK here…

Priced at around £699 in the UK, the phone is a cheaper alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S9 or iPhone X, specially designed for those who love to watch movies and videos on their mobile device.

Let’s jump into this Sony phone review…

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Design & Display

Typically the design of Sony phones is big and boxy, but with this one Sony opted for a more slim and slicker design, which is awesome and gives the phone a more premium look.

It has curves in all the right places and now can actually sit flat on a desk without that irritating wobble unlike the XZ2 and XZ2 Premium.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is coated in Gorilla Glass 5 giving it strength in case you drop it, and that is pretty likely as the glass makes the phone incredibly slippy and also a fingerprint magnet.

Sony Xperia XZ3 SIM Free Unlocked UK Smartphone 6", Single-SIM, OLED Screen, 64GB Internal Memory, 4GB RAM, Android 9.0 OS - Supplied with 64 GB Memory Card [Amazon Exclusive] – Bordeaux Red
  • Experience HDR OLED. Sony’s BRAVIA TV technology in your hand.
  • Film like a pro with 4KHDR Movie recording. You can also film in 960fps Super slow motion in Full HD resolution.
  • Take every track closer to the original recording with High-Resolution Audio and DSEE HX, while LDAC makes everything sound great even if you’re listening wirelessly.
  • The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform handles all your apps, videos, games and more with ease.
  • Features an intelligent 19MP Motion Eye - It knows whatever you want to capture before you do and reacts, giving you pro-looking images.

The XZ3 comes in a range of colours; Black, White Silver, Bordeaux Red and Forest Green, our favourite undoubtedly being Bordeaux Red as its rare you see a phone in that colour.

Although the phone is slimmer than previous models it is still heavy, weighing in at 193g it’s heavier than most Samsung phones out there, but that also makes it feel a lot more premium and sturdy.

One thing that did get extremely annoying when using the XZ3 is the fingerprint sensor, it is placed awkwardly in the middle of the phone, and naturally, you will place your finger over the camera lens, as this feels a lot more comfortable.

Adjusting your finger to hit the lens every time will take a little work but we were baffled as to why Sony would place the fingerprint sensor in the centre of the phone.

Sony has followed suit in removing the headphone jack but you will, however, find a USB-C charging port with a 3.5mm adapter in the box too.

You will also find a microSD card tray that can easily be removed without any tool, allowing for expandable storage.

The exterior of the phone is pretty crowded as all of the phone’s buttons sit along the right side, with a volume rocker up top, the power button in the middle and a dedicated camera shutter towards the bottom.

Just as you would expect from a premium handset nowadays the phone is IP68 certified allowing it to survive being dunked in water.

Sony has always been big on their displays, and this is no exception with Sony proudly stating that this is the best display on any smartphone to date.

The 6-inch QHD+ OLED, I repeat OLED display is nothing short of spectacular; colours are rich and vibrant and allow for an unbelievable experience when watching Netflix or YouTube.

Unlike most other phones there is no notch on the XZ3, just a slightly bigger bezel on the top and bottom of the display, which is great as it won’t cut into any apps or videos you may be watching.

Sony makes fantastic TV’s and they worked closely with their Bravia team to bring the same X Reality Pro engine from the TV’s into the phone, so you can really see why they aren’t shy about their fantastic display.

HDR is also supported so you can get the absolute best experience possible when watching videos, brightness is fantastic and it is easy to watch videos in broad daylight without having to use your hand to block the glare.

The reason for the fantastic display is also the resolution that this phone offers, 1440p@60fps in HDR, which no other phone offers!

Everything looks so much better on this phone thanks to the display and if you are someone who watches lots of videos then this is definitely the phone for you, coupled with good battery life, this is a media lovers dream!

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Performance

The Sony Xperia XZ3 does come with Android 9 Pie right out the box, making it the most up to date version of the phone available; most phones are still trying to get their hands on Android 9, and this makes the XZ3 future proof.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset is great in the phone and allows for a smooth gaming experience, apps load quickly and navigating around the phone is seamless.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 performance is great, and it comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which we thought was pretty minimalistic for a 2018 flagship, that being said with a microSD card this can easily be expanded up to 512GB making plenty of room to store downloaded music, movies and photos.

One awesome feature of this phone is the ‘Dynamic Vibration System’ this essentially makes the phones vibrate when playing games to make the experience more intense, and it works really well.

As always we tested the phone on a couple of games but mainly our favourite ‘ RuneScape’ and with playing in the highest graphics possible the phone performed exceptionally well.

Little to no lag and stutter and coupled with the brilliant speaker system of the phone made for a great all-around experience.

This phone is ideal for those who love to spend hours watching Netflix or gaming intensely and although some phones would overheat, we found the phone did not, even when using it intensely for multiple hours.

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review
Image: Terry Ku

Although Sony has ditched the headphone jack this doesn’t mean that they have forgot about sound quality, the Sony XZ3’s speaker system is fantastic and offers stereo speakers which support High-Res audio.

This coupled with the fantastic display is awesome for long periods watching movies and really makes the whole experience a lot better!

Don’t get me wrong the phone is definitely not as quick and responsive as say the Samsung Note 9 or S9 plus but of course this is a cheaper alternative.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 comes with some pretty cool extras such as ‘Side-Sense’ which just like the Google Pixel phones allows you to squeeze the side of the phone for shortcuts but we found this more annoying than anything and kept popping up with minimal pressure.

Throughout this Sony phone review we found the performance aspect to be our favourite, it offers great features and a high spec, allowing you to breeze through the UI and demanding games.

Sony has done a great job with the fingerprint scanner besides its awkward placement, it is super responsive and quick and keeps your phone secure, in the settings you can also activate the less secure Face-recognition if needed.

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Camera

Now although the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium did have a dual-camera setup with bigger apertures than the XZ3, the camera on this phone certainly does not disappoint!

So it is a single 19-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, the camera is generally pretty good but being honest it’s not great and we expected more.

See Related:

*Sony Xperia 5 Review*
*Sony Xperia 1 Review*
*Sony Xperia 10 Review*

Dynamic range and colour accuracy for the camera is no problem and images look detailed and sharp, that being said with it being a single lens there is no wide-angle or optical zoom options.

One big improvement of the camera on the XZ3 is the now 13MP selfie camera, which is very impressive and again produces great exposure and colours.

That being said the portrait mode on the selfie camera was far from great and often resulted in bad quality and blurry images.

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review
Image: Terry Ku

The XZ3 does struggle to keep up with say the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Note 9 when it comes to taking shots in low light situations, but that being said the XZ3 is also a lot cheaper in price and does require some small sacrifices because of this.

Now what is extremely impressive on this phone is the video recording, it has a stabilisation feature which means if you’re in a hurry to shoot some great footage you won’t get that awful shaky footage.

Instead, the phone will smooth the footage out for you resulting in a great video, this works well in 1080p but loses the stabilisation when moving up to 4K resolution.

The main attraction here is the fact that the XZ3 can shoots 960fps@1080p slow motion which makes from some hilarious footage of your dog catching a Frisbee!

Although even in great lighting it is pretty noisy and the footage is not that great, the option for 120fps Slow-Mo which is a lot better!

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Battery Life

The Sony Xperia XZ3 has a 3330mAh battery, which is good but not great, you can expect a full days usage on the XZ3 but with it having such a fantastic display it does drain pretty quickly, so keeping a charger handy is not a bad idea when using this phone!

That being said the XZ3 does support wireless charging so when out and about you can pop into your nearest McDonalds or Starbucks to grab a quick half charge.

The Sony phone charger does not support USB-PD quick charging, meaning if you are looking for a speedy charge then you will need to buy a different charger.

Sony Xperia XZ3 SIM Free Unlocked UK Smartphone 6", Single-SIM, OLED Screen, 64GB Internal Memory, 4GB RAM, Android 9.0 OS - Supplied with 64 GB Memory Card [Amazon Exclusive] – Bordeaux Red
  • Experience HDR OLED. Sony’s BRAVIA TV technology in your hand.
  • Film like a pro with 4KHDR Movie recording. You can also film in 960fps Super slow motion in Full HD resolution.
  • Take every track closer to the original recording with High-Resolution Audio and DSEE HX, while LDAC makes everything sound great even if you’re listening wirelessly.
  • The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform handles all your apps, videos, games and more with ease.
  • Features an intelligent 19MP Motion Eye - It knows whatever you want to capture before you do and reacts, giving you pro-looking images.

Sony has also implemented some pretty cool battery power-saving modes, which allow those more intense users to hold onto their juice for longer.

Overall a pretty standard battery but nothing to shout about in this department.

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Summary

So is it worth your cash?

Well, this phone is for a particular person, someone who spends a lot of time watching Netflix and YouTube and would really make use of its display.

If your looking for a phone that will last you hours and hours then maybe consider something different as its battery does drain rather quick!

This is a very aesthetic looking phone and really catches your eye, especially in the Bordeaux Red.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 camera is strong and produces some high detailed shots and the Slow-Mo video is great fun!

Sony Xperia XZ3 SIM Free Unlocked UK Smartphone 6", Single-SIM, OLED Screen, 64GB Internal Memory, 4GB RAM, Android 9.0 OS - Supplied with 64 GB Memory Card [Amazon Exclusive] – Bordeaux Red 

So, are Sony phones good?

Yes, if you are a fan of Sony then we are confident that you will love this device, it has a surreal display that is immersive and great for watching movies.

We wished the Sony phone charger supported quick-charge, as we feel this would have been the icing on the cake for this device, instead Sony insist on making you purchase one separately.

Overall the phone is a great package but there is some fierce competition, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro are both closing in on the XZ3 and offer much of the same features.

We do recommend checking out our Sony Xperia 1 review before making any purchase decision, as this may be better suited to you.

We hope you have enjoyed our Sony XZ3 phone review, and feel free to leave a comment and give us some feedback as we are always looking for ways to improve our posts.

You can also find the best Sony Xperia XZ3 contract deals at the top of this post.

Sony Xperia XZ3 Review: Full Specification

Launch: 2018, August

Body:

  • Dimension: 158 x 73 x 9.9mm (6.22 x 2.87 x 0.39 inches)
  • Weight: 193g (6.81 ounces)
  • Build: Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5) & Aluminium Frame
  • Sim: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
    – IP65/IP68 dust/waterproof (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)

Display:

  • Type: P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
  • Size: 6.0 inches, 92.9cm² (-80.5% screen-to-body-ratio)
  • Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels, 18:9 ratio (-537 PPI density)
  • Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 5
    – HDR BT.2020 compliant
    – Triluminos display
    – X-Reality Engine

Platform:

  • OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.7GHz Kryo, 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
  • GPU: Adreno 630

Memory:

  • Card slot: MicroSD, up to 512GB (uses SIM 2 slot) – dual SIM model only
  • Internal: 64GB, 4GB RAM or 64GB, 6GB RAM (Taiwan only)

Camera:

  • Primary: 19MP, f/2.0, 25mm (wide), 1/2.3″, predictive PDAF & laser AF
  • Features: LED flash, panorama, HDR
  • Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 1080p@30fps (5-axis gyro-EIS), 1080p@960fps HDR
  • Selfie Cam:
    – Single – 13MP, f/1.9, 23mm (wide), 1.3″
    – Features – HDR
    – Video – 1080p@30fps (5-axis gyro-EIS)

Sound:

  • Loudspeaker: Yes, with stereo speakers
  • 3.5mm Jack: No
    – 24-bit/192kHz audio
    – Dynamic vibration system
    – Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

Comms:

  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
  • Bluetooth: 5.0, A2DP, aptX, HD, LE
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • NFC: Yes
  • Radio: No
  • USB: 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector; USB Host

Features:

  • Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass, colour spectrum
  • Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
  • Browser: HTML5
    – Fast battery charging (Power Delivery)
    – Qi wireless charging

Battery:

  • Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery

Misc:

  • Colours: Black, Silver White, Forest Green, Bordeaux Red
  • Price: As seen in the above post

Tests:

  • Battery life: Endurance rating 90h