sony xperia z2 unboxing (15 of 24)

While the Sony Xperia Z2 was only announced back at MWC, Sony is already working hard on a successor, continuing the company’s tradition of releasing a new flagship model every six months.

So far the Xperia Z’s evolution has been pretty gradual, with each revision slightly improving a few key areas in terms of design, screen, software and overall specs. With the Xperia Z3 (and possibly the Z3 Compact) expected to arrive sometime in August or September, we already have a pretty good picture of what to expect from the next-gen iteration of Sony’s flagship Z series.

With this in mind, let’s jump in and take a look at some of the most prominent rumors related to Sony’s upcoming flagship device.

evleaks-z3

When we first heard about the Xperia Z3, it was rumored that the device would see a new design with thinner bezels and a thickness of just 7mm. Now that we’ve seen the device appear in numerous leaked images, it seems that the design changes aren’t nearly as massive as we originally hoped for. The good news is that the phone is still believed to be just 7mm thick, versus 8.2mm on the Z2. The bezels have been shrunk down a tiny bit as well, though the top and bottom bezels seem to be as big as ever on the front.

The Z3's design changes aren't nearly as massive as some had hoped for

As for the design change? Although the Z3 looks a bit more polished than the Z2, it continues to pack same overall design language that we’ve seen since the original Xperia Z debuted. For what it’s worth, at least one rumor out of China suggests the Z3’s metal frame will feature a special PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating that will reportedly make it more resistant to corrosion while providing better impact resistance and more protection against scratches. Of course until we hear it from a more reputable source, we’d take this claim with a hefty grain of salt.

Turning to the Xperia Z3 Compact, we don’t know much in terms of how thick it will be, but we do know that the bezels have again shrunk slightly on the sides. Judging by the one picture we’ve seen of the Z3 Compact, we expect the handset to basically look identical to the Xperia Z3 in terms of design language, albeit in a smaller package.

xperia-z3

When the Xperia Z2 debuted, it kept the same 1080p resolution as the Z1, while jumping the screen size up to 5.2-inches and bringing much improved viewing angles. The Z2 has been applauded for its quality display, and so we imagine the same high-quality viewing experience should be provided by the Z2.

As for the size and resolution? The Z3’s display will reportedly be of the 1080p variety once again, though interestingly enough Sony is shrinking the display down slightly to 5.15-inches. We imagine this change is so that Sony can, combined with smaller bezels, noticeably reduce the overall size of the Z3 when compared to its predecessor.

Meanwhile, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact will move up to 4.5-inches, a .2-inch increase in size when compared to the Z1 Compact. So far we haven’t heard any details regarding the resolution, though we wouldn’t be surprised if the display sticks to 720p.

xperia-z3-pics

When the Xperia Z2 arrived we received an upgrade to a better and bigger display, a slight processor bump, more RAM and a few other design tweaks that made the experience noticeably better. At least on paper, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the Xperia Z3.

Here’s the full spec list, at least based on the most recent rumors from Evan Blass (aka Evleaks):

  • 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM 8974-AC
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 5.15-inch 1080p display
  • 3GB RAM
  • 20.7MP Exmor RS rear cam
  • 2.1MP front cam
  • 16GB storage
  • Water and dust resistance
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat

Aside from a very minor jump from 2.3GHz to 2.4GHz and a slight decrease in screen size, the Z3 spec sheet reads almost identical to the Xperia Z2. Of course, there could be a few wild cards thrown in here that go beyond ‘core’ specs like new sensors and the rumored integration of wireless charging.

Bottom-line, unless these specs aren’t 100% accurate, the Z3 will offer a very similar hardware experience to its predecessor. As for the Xperia Z3 Compact? Rumors suggest the same spec sheet will apply with the exception of a 4.5-inch 1080p display and just 2GB of RAM.

xperia-z3-vs-z2

Looking at the spec sheet, it’s hard not to be a little puzzled as to how the Xperia Z3 will stand out when compared to the Z2. While the Z3 Compact does offer a few noticeable improvements over the Z1 Compact, the Z2 and Z3 look to be near-equals in terms of hardware. So what makes the Xperia Z3 better than its predecessor? That’s a good question.

There’s more to a good phone experience than just specs, and Sony could have a secret weapon or two

We’ve already mentioned that the design is being (slightly) refreshed and that there could be a few wild card features like integrated wireless charging and PVD coating on its metal frame. But is this enough to convince folks to upgrade from the Z2, or even from the older Z and Z1? Yes and no. If the device is perceived as lighter and easier in the hands than its predecessors, that could go a long way in helping the device sell. We also haven’t heard much about battery life and software improvements, two areas that Sony could capitalize on to drive further interest in the device.

In other words, we wouldn’t count the Xperia Z3 out completely just yet. As devices like the Moto X have proven, there’s more to a good phone experience than just specs, and Sony could have a secret weapon or two planned for the Z3.

ifa berlin logo James Cridland

Judging by the past Xperia Z releases, we’d say that it’s likely the Xperia Z3 will officially be announced in late August or early September. Considering IFA takes place in early September, we wouldn’t be too surprised if Sony uses the event as a launching pad for its next flagship. As for the Z3 Compact? While it’s possible that they will debut the handset alongside its bigger brother, there are no guarantees just yet.

As we march closer to the inevitable release of the Z3 (and perhaps the Z3 Compact), we imagine we’ll see plenty of other rumors that will hopefully shed the light on what Sony will do differently with its latest flagship. As we learn new details, we’ll update this post with all the latest news and rumors.

Based on what we know about the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact, what do you think? Are design changes and other minor improvements enough, or are you disappointed that the spec sheet for the Z3 is so close to its predecessor?

 

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