Sony Xperia T3 review

The price isn't right on the Xperia T

Sony Xperia T3 review
Sony's big-screened mid range mobile gets tested

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The main draw of the Sony Xperia T3, other than being a bit cheaper than most phones this size, is the screen. And it's a whopper.

You get a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display of 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. Smartphone enthusiasts may have already spotted that this isn't a particularly high resolution for a phone of this size. It's the same resolution as the Motorola Moto G, a much cheaper 4.5-inch phone.

Sharpness is not quite as good as some other phones in this price range, including the LG G2, Nexus 5 and, if you're up for putting the effort in to get hold of one, the OnePlus One.

I'm happy to report that the slightly low 277ppi pixel density shows as a slight softness in the edges of text, but there's no obvious pixilation. At its price point the Sony Xperia T3's resolution is galling. But its effects are relatively minor.

Sony Xperia T3 review

The resolution isn't going to be impressing anyone

Sony has also clearly put a lot of effort into getting the screen to look right. Colour calibration is very similar to that of the Sony Xperia Z2. That means you get vivid, well-saturated colours that are just a shade punchier than what is strictly accurate. But it's a really charming display character, perhaps thanks to Sony's Triluminous tech.

Contrast and black levels are pretty great too, helping to dim the disappointment of the resolution a bit. There's a fair bit of variance in the luminance of the backlight depending on the angle you hold the phone at, but no contrast shift and viewing angles are perfectly sound.

Another neat element of the screen is that it incorporates the soft keys. There are no dedicated physical ones on the Xperia T3. In a smaller-screen phone this move can lead to a display feeling a little cramped or small, but with 5.3 inches of screen and their ability to disappear during gaming or video playback, it's no issue here.

A screen of this size is a great canvas for mobile media activities too. Good colour and contrast are, arguably, as important as resolution with things like films and games.

Sony Xperia T3 review

But the colours are vivid and well-saturated

However, I can't ignore that there are superior phone screens around at that price – 1080p ones like the Nexus 5's and LG G2's.

Where the limited resolution really shows up is web browsing. Full web pages would look sharp on a 1080p screen of this size, but small text isn't quite as defined on the Sony Xperia T3. On a cheaper phone this would be almost cruel to complain about, but it's a valid criticism of a £300 one.

What about the outdoors? A day of bright blue skies and bright shine gave me the perfect chance to see whether outdoors visibility was going to be compromised. However, it is pretty good here too.

Sony Xperia T3 review

The T3's screen might be a decent size but you can get full HD from other phones of this price

A decent anti-reflective coating, a zero (or at least not much) air gap screen-structure and respectable top brightness all make the Sony Xperia T3 pretty fine for use outside. As you'd expect, there's an ambient light sensor to let screen brightness take care of itself.

For real screen geeks there are some screen customisation available too. Unlike something like the Galaxy S5, you don't get modes that dramatically alter colour saturation, but you can tweak the Sony Xperia T3's white balance using red green and blue sliders.

This lets you affect how "warm" and "cool" it is, although it's not exactly the most accessible set of controls around. Nokia's warm-cool slider is much easier to use for non-nerds.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.