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Sony Xperia XZ3 tips and tricks

Check out our handy step-by-step tips for the awesome new Sony Xperia XZ3

With one of the best displays around, stereo speakers, and a slick design, Sony’s Xperia XZ3 is a stunning smartphone. We delve into some of the most useful and less obvious features and options here, some of which are standard features that appear on many Android phones and some that are specific to Sony’s flagship. These are our top Sony Xperia XZ3 tips.

How to use split screen

You have a gorgeous 6-inch OLED screen to play with, which means there’s plenty of room for two apps to be open at once. The easiest way to trigger split screen is to tap the on-screen Recents button – the square icon at the bottom right – and then tap and hold on one of the apps you want open and drag it up to the top where it says Drag here to use split screen. You can then pick your app for the bottom half of the screen.

If you want to resize, simply tap, hold, and drag the rectangle in the middle. To go full screen again, with either app, simply drag the divider all the way to the top or all the way to the bottom.

How to get Adaptive brightness right

A lot of people seem to dislike auto brightness, which automatically adjusts the brightness of your display based on the amount of light in your environment. Adaptive brightness in Android 9 Pie also uses machine learning to learn your habits when it comes to increasing and decreasing brightness, and it’s far more useful.

Go to Settings > Display > Adaptive brightness to toggle it on. Now, if you go into a dark room and find that the brightness drops too low, simply swipe down from the top with two fingers and adjust the brightness slider to your comfortable minimum level. Reset the brightness to your tastes when it doesn’t look right, and the system should learn your preferences and start to adjust to the desired level automatically.

How to adjust the display

We think the Xperia XZ3 display is stunning, but if it isn’t meeting your expectations, then you should dig into the settings and make some tweaks. If you don’t feel the colors are natural enough or perhaps your display looks a touch too blue, you can tweak the settings to adjust it.

Go to Settings > Display > Advanced and you can tweak the Color gamut and Contrast or the White balance to get the look you want. You’ll also find the Video image enhancement toggle in here, which we recommend leaving on for sharper video.

How to free up space

Once you’ve been using your Xperia XZ3 for a while, it will begin to fill up and you might want to free up some space. Go to Settings > Storage and tap Free up space. If there’s anything you can get rid of, it will be highlighted here. You can also tap on the individual categories to see what they contain.

How to pair a Dualshock PS4 controller

Sony has made it easy to pair a PlayStation 4 Dualshock controller with your Xperia XZ3 for an even better gaming experience. Go to Settings > Device connection > Connection preferences and scroll down to Game controller to select Dualshock 4. You can then tap Pair controller to use a controller with your Xperia XZ3.

How to take a screenshot

Sometimes you want to capture a conversation to share or record a high score for posterity, and you need to take a screenshot. The traditional Android method works just fine with the Xperia XZ3: Hold down the Volume down and Power buttons simultaneously and you should see a capture animation and hear the screenshot sound.

In Android 9 Pie, there’s now a handy screenshot shortcut that works especially well when you’re using the Xperia XZ3 one-handed. Hold down the Power button and you’ll see a Screenshot option as part of the Power off menu. All screenshots appear in the notification shade, where you can edit them, and you can also find them later in the Photos and Album apps in a folder called Screenshots.

How to quick launch the camera

How to quick launch the camera
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Sony Xperia XZ3 has a dedicated camera button on the right spine, which is in the perfect position for snapping a shot when you hold the phone in landscape. If you hold down that button, then you can launch straight into the camera.

How to use hardware keys with camera

How to use hardware keys with camera
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Open the camera app and tap the gear icon at the top left, then scroll down to find your hardware key options. You can set Use Volume key as to Zoom or Shutter and you can set the dedicated camera key to Launch only or Launch and capture.

There’s also a Smart launch option that triggers the camera automatically when you hold the Xperia XZ3 up in landscape as though you’re going to snap a photo. We found this slightly annoying, as it triggered a lot of photos by accident, but you might find it handy.

Both these options can be turned on or off in the camera app by tapping the gear icon to open the settings and then scrolling down to Smart launch and Launch with camera key. Both can also be configured to open and immediately snap a shot if you prefer, something that could prove handy for capturing those spontaneous moments where you must be quick.

How to customize audio settings

Look in Settings > Sound > Audio settings for a wealth of options related to the Xperia XZ3’s audio output. Some of these settings are just for headphones, but you’ll also find an equalizer, some surround sound settings, and the Dynamic normalizer, which is great for preventing suddenly loud advertisements or switches in music volume.

When you’re watching a movie on the Xperia XZ3 using the stereo speakers, make sure you go into the Audio settings > Sound effects and turn S-Force Front Surround on.

How to use One-handed mode

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a very tall smartphone indeed, and it can be tricky to manage one-handed, so Sony has built in a special one-handed mode that allows you to reduce the screen size and drag it down to the left or right corner. You’ll find it in Settings > Display > Advanced > One-handed mode. To activate it, simply swipe right to left or left to right along the bottom edge of the screen. You can drag the corner to resize and tap on any black space to go full-screen again.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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