Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: an unnecessary update?

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Some hardware updates are a bit like new U2 albums: they’re pleasant enough and everybody’s doing their best, but you can’t help feeling you’ve heard it all before. Can relatively minor updates make Sony’s smartphone more interesting? The screen’s the same, despite a few improvements. The camera’s the same (aside from an increased ISO count). The Android version is only a few points newer. Even the processor is only slightly faster. Is the Xperia Z3 really worth a whole new version number?

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androidpit sony xperia z3 xperia z2 1
If it weren't for the new colors, could you tell the difference between this and the Z2? / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: display and screen

According to Sony, there’s no difference in the 5.2 inch full HD displays of the Xperia Z2 and the newer Xperia Z3, although the Triluminous technology has been tweaked to offer better distribution of colours to deliver a “20% improvement in quality”. An extra sensor can detect bright sunlight and adjust screen colours accordingly.

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Despite the similar display, the Xperia Z3 is a lot lighter and slightly thinner than the Z2. All around more elegant! / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: design and build quality

The Z3 doesn’t look hugely different to its predecessor but it’s thinner and very slightly heavier (152g compared to 148g). It also comes in two new colors - metallic green and copper - and its water resistance is good for up to 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1.5 meters.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: processor and RAM

Both Xperias pack  801 Snapdragon processors. The Z2 runs at 2.3 GHz and the Z3 2.5 GHz, and both devices have 3GB of RAM. 

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You can also see the the viewing angle much improved on the Xperia Z3. / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: operating system

Android L won’t be out in time for the Z3 launch and that means both devices will run Android KitKat, albeit 4.4.4 in the Z3 compared to 4.4.2 in the Z2. The Z3 will get a new version of Sony’s Xperia UI too. 

02 Xperia Z3 White Angle
The Xperia Z3's camera is great, but it's the same as in the Z2. / © Sony Mobile

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: camera

No changes here: the Xperia X2 camera was already pretty great, and Sony’s kept it for the new version. As before, it gets awfully warm when you’re recording 4K video.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs Sony Xperia Z2: battery

Sony promises two-day battery life in normal use for the Z3, but the battery is actually smaller than its predecessor: the Z2 has a 3200 mAh battery and the Z3 3100 mAh. We’d take that claim with a pinch of salt. 

Tech specs

CPU 801 Snapdragon 2.5 GHz 801 Snapdragon 2.3 GHz

5.2 inch Full HD

5.2 inch Full HD
CAMERA 20.7 MP 20.7 MP
INTERNAL MEMORY + 16 GB microSD + 16 GB microSD
DIMENSIONS 146.5 x 72.4 x 7.3 mm 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
BATTERY 3100 mAh 3200 mAh
WEIGHT 152 g 148 g

Early verdict

We like the Z3 a lot, but it’s clearly a point upgrade - a Z2.1 rather than a 3.0. It’s still a very capable smartphone that’s ahead of the competition in many areas, but if you’ve got the previous model you won’t be in a huge rush to upgrade.

What do you think? Did Sony really come out an improved device?

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  • Sandeep Walia Sep 9, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm sick of Z2 speakerphone inaudible volume, why can't they have both speakers firing simultaneously? And the 5.1.1 official update mutes the phone when you go from handsfree/speakerphone mode back to normal earphone mode!!! I upgraded from Z1 to Z2, now wouldn't take chances with Z3. Although my note 4 edge and apple 6 plus are far more satisfying devices

  • Menka K. Oct 1, 2014 Link to comment

    Z2 has more juice as compared to Xperia Z3.

  • Tony Okoro Sep 22, 2014 Link to comment

    Totally unnecessary, there's nothing the z3 can achieve in the market that the z2 couldn't have done for Sony. Near identical offerings! Sony is reall pissing a lot of people off with this 6 month cycle nonsense. Why would anyone in their right minds pick up the z3 when they can now get the z2 for over £100 less with some retailers.
    By releasing a totally pointless phone utterly undeserving of the tag z3, all they've achieved is devaluing z2 making it more desirable for new buyers. I can truly see a spike in z2 sales which I don't believe is what Sony was hoping their idiotic 6 month cycle would achieve lol

  • patrick bath Sep 10, 2014 Link to comment

    Its a joke to catch the money of the users... jejeje Sony joke = sell z3

  • Mark R. Sep 6, 2014 Link to comment

    clearly this is an update to keep the model line fresh vs Sony's competition rather than to tempt buyers from the Z2 but if you are a Z2 owner and ready for a new phone then why not. Shows how good the Z line is!

  • Andre Sinaga Sep 6, 2014 Link to comment

    I think Z3 is not for Z2 user, but for < Z1 user....

  • Amat Mulisha Sep 6, 2014 Link to comment

    Improved device? What improved? Nothing, exactly almost same specification with the z2.hope the z2 price will dropped soon

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