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Opinion: Sony’s new range

I am an unapologetic fan of the Sony Xperia Z series of phones and the third iteration is the perfect improvement on the previous model. This is partly because there are two new phones!

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The Sony Xperia Z3.
The Sony Xperia Z3.

Sony released the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact late last year. The Z3 is a little larger than the iPhone 6 while the Z3 Compact is just a little larger than the iPhone 5S but with much more screen space. While other phone companies are going super large Sony, with the Z3 Compact, has gone smaller. It’s quite nice using a small phone again. No more trying to stretch my thumb a mile across the screen to tap an icon on the far side. And the screen itself is clear enough that you don’t miss the massive screen size. And it fits in my pocket!

The things I love most about the Z3 are the screen, the speed and the camera.

The Z3 is a big phone, but not stupidly big like an iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Note 3. The amazingly clear and sharp screen is the first thing you’ll notice. This goes nicely with the amazing camera. Sony likes showing off that they crammed in as much of their camera technology into the phone as they could and, as a result, the photos are amazing. And the power of the 2.5MHz quad core processor means the phone can handle a lot of grunt work without skipping a beat.

Interestingly the Z3 Compact has the same processor in its tiny body. It really is a little powerhouse.

Both the Z3 and Z3 Compact are waterproof. I get nervous using my phone in the rain or in a bar with wet surfaces. I went fishing with the Xperia Z3 and waded into the surf with the phone in my zip pocket. My shorts got soaked but the phone was fine. In fact it was so fine that I was able to take it out and start snapping photos instantly (of the view, we caught no fish).

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

Sony have also released a new tablet, confusingly also named the Xperia Z3. It’s waterproof and at first I couldn’t think why this would be useful. Then I remembered the radio. Playing music in the shower is a million times easier with a tablet than on a phone.

I found the Z3 tablet’s size to be odd. It’s quite long with an 8” screen. It worked fast and the screen was, as with the phone, excellent. But I personally found I wanted a larger screen to do tasks on. Where it excelled was with the PS4 link.

If you’re a PS4 owner, there’s a cool new app that allows you to mirror the console on your phone or tablet. This means you can be playing your PlayStation while someone uses the TV to watch something else, or you can use it from another room. The app allows you to connect a PS4 wireless controller to your phone or tablet so you can be playing a full HD big console game on your small screen. I played Assassin’s Creed Black Flag (a beautiful big open-world game with some amazing graphics) on the Z3 phone and was stunned at how good it still looked.

Essentially the PS4 is doing all the heavy lifting and the tablet or phone is just bringing the info across your WiFi network.

Sony also sells a small bracket that clips onto a PS4 controller and holds your tablet or phone. I thought it would be unwieldy with the tablet but it wasn’t too bad.

Quick note: After I recently wrote that I carry my phone in my pocket we got an email from a research fellow at Monash University saying people shouldn’t be doing that as it increases exposure.

About the author

Hadyn Green is a geek. He loves shiny new tech and the chance to try to break it. Because it's the kind of thing people ask, here is the tech Hadyn currently uses. Phone: Sony Z2 Tablet: iPad mini retina. Music player: Spotify. Headphones: Sony MDR-G55 (for walking because I hate earbuds) and Beats Studio noise-cancelling (for sitting at my desk and tuning out the world). E-Reader: Kindle Touch. Gaming: PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Internet Service Provider: Snap.

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