If you’re a die-hard Sony Xperia fan then few times of the year are more exciting than the release of a new Xperia XZ phone. It’s finally that time of year again, and IFA 2018 has seen the wraps removed from the Sony Xperia XZ3. With an all-new OLED display, super-tough aluminum frame, and Android 9.0 Pie included from launch, it’s a great time to be part of Sony’s Xperia party. Here’s everything you need to know about the Sony Xperia XZ3.
Design and display
Sony’s smartphones have always had a unique style, and you’d usually be hard-pressed to mistake them for another brand’s phones. At first glance, the Xperia XZ3 looks extremely similar to last year’s Xperia XZ2, but the Xperia XZ3 is packing some subtle changes that make the design its own.
There are more curves than last year’s phone, and the corners of the display curve gently around, contrasting with the right-angled screens on the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Premium. Sony is also taking the bezel-less look more seriously on the XZ3. The bezels around the sides of the display have been slimmed down even more, with the phone now curving into the frame. The forehead and chin, while still fairly chunky by today’s standards, have also seen some shrinkage. Flip it over though, and it’s much the same as the Xperia XZ2, with a single camera lens and rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
The XZ3’s body is made from aluminum sandwiched between two sheets of Gorilla Glass 5, enabling wireless charging and ensuring smooth cellular connection. The aluminum is also an all-new 7000-series aluminum alloy, a material that Sony claims is one of the highest-strength aluminum-alloys available. The XZ3 is also IP68-rated for water and dust resistance, so it can survive an accidental dunk in the pool or a slip into a puddle.
But it’s the new display that’s the real innovation here. The Xperia XZ3 is packing a huge 6-inch HDR OLED display running a 2880 x 1440 Quad HD resolution in an 18:9 aspect ratio. This is Sony’s first ever OLED smartphone display, and it’s likely to be an absolute stunner. It’s running Sony’s well-known Bravia TV technology and displays incredibly vivid colors and absolute blacks in the way that only an OLED display can. It’s also equipped with Sony’s X-Reality and Triluminos display, and comes with full HDR support.
It’s not just the screen that’s seen a size increase. The Xperia XZ2’s speakers were a disappointment, so Sony’s boosted the XZ3’s speaker size by 20 percent to combat that criticism. This change, as well as the usual inclusion of Hi-Res audio and DSEE-HX support, should make the XZ3 a stronger phone for audio.
You’ll find a USB-C port down below, and there’s no headphone jack, much like the Xperia XZ2.
Specs and battery
The Xperia XZ3 is a 2018 flagship phone, and as a flagship phone, you expect it to showcase the very best the mobile world has to offer. The Xperia XZ3 doesn’t disappoint in that area, delivering solid specs.
The Xperia XZ3 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, the powerful chip that’s powered many of this generation’s most powerful phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the LG G7 ThinQ, and the OnePlus 6. Paired with 4GB of RAM, we’re expecting strong and smooth performance from the Xperia XZ3. Users will get 64GB of storage as standard, with the option of installing up to 512GB of additional storage with a MicroSD card.
Backing up this power is a 3,330mAh battery which should last you the day, thanks to the power efficient OLED display and Snapdragon 845 processor. It comes with USB-C fast charging and wireless charging capabilities.
Software and special features
Here’s some extremely welcome news — the Sony Xperia XZ3 is launching with Android’s latest and greatest: Android 9.0 Pie. The XZ3 is the first phone to launch with the operating system, and one of the first non-Google phones to feature the latest operating system (having been narrowly beaten by the Essential Phone). That means you can expect all the latest fun additions to Android, including a new navigation system, Digital Wellbeing, and more. Expect the XZ3 to be supported for at least two Android operating systems (so Android Q and Android R), and for them to come fairly quickly.
Aside from Android 9.0 Pie, you can also expect some other special features crammed into the phone. It comes with PlayStation 4 Remote Play, and a new one-handed UI feature called Side Sense that will allow you to access certain apps and features just by tapping the side of the phone. It sounds like a gimmick, but like the Pixel 2‘s Active Edge, this could end up being a commonly used feature.
With the release of the dual-camera Xperia XZ2 Premium, many might have assumed that Sony would finally make the leap into dual-lens on the XZ3 — but it’s not to be, and the Xperia XZ3 comes with a single lens mounted to the back of the phone.
But don’t be put off by that — it’s a 19-megapixel Motion Eye monster, equipped with Sony’s latest sensor improvements. It’s capable of recording video in 4K HDR, as well as super-slow-motion video at 960 frames per second in 1080p HD. The camera app has also been streamlined, making it easy to swap between video and photo modes, and adding Google Lens support.
The front-facing camera has also seen some upgrades. It’s now a 13-megapixel lens with an f/1.9 aperture, so it’ll let in even more light. Your selfies will look even better thanks to simultaneous beauty and portrait modes that preview in real-time — so you’ll always know how your next shot will turn out.
Release date and price
The Sony Xperia XZ3 will cost $900 and be available in the U.S. from Best Buy and Amazon from October 17. Pre-orders for the device will go up on Amazon from September 24, and also will come with the Xperia Ear Duo.
Updated on August 30: The Sony Xperia XZ3 has been revealed, and we’ve updated this article to account for it.