Sony Xperia Z3 review

Has Sony added enough to warrant a Z2 sequel already?

Sony Xperia Z3
A much better phone - but needs some tweaking

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What's the Sony Xperia Z3 like when it comes to doing, you know, the phone stuff? It's a competent performer, for sure, but does it really function well when you want to talk to people?

The main thing to talk about here is the connectivity of the phone - does it support fast downloads over Wi-Fi and 4G and does it maintain a strong connection?

The weird thing is it does both. It can be great and speedy, but also very slow at connecting to Wi-Fi, sometimes not managing it at all, and can have a very low tolerance to mobile signal at times - but when on a call, it would hang onto it for grim life.

There was definitely a sense of a gremlin in the system here, as the inability to connect to a visible Wi-Fi network was irritating to say the least. It's only Cat 4 4G as well, so in terms of getting the superfast networks in the future, or in other countries, it's not supported.

That said, it will do just fine 99% of the time and even after two years of use, anything faster still probably won't be overly widespread, so you're not missing out too much.


The calling options on the Sony Xperia Z3 were exactly what you'd expect - while I'm not a fan of the dialler visually, the fact it supports smart dialling is a real plus.

The contacts layout is smart and exactly what you'd expect from an Android phone, not really deviating from the stock experience, although the joining of other contacts from social networks worked very well.

The speaker phone functionality was really slick though, thanks to the dual front-facing speakers, and the overall call quality crisp and clear. It's a larger phone to hold to the head, which will need to be in the thoughts of some users, but if you're after a solid calling machine then the Xperia Z3 is just that.


Like most of the Android phones I get on test, the question is whether or not I'd instantly want to upgrade the keyboard to a third party one - in the case of the Sony Xperia Z3, I sadly felt compelled to instantly. One of the more irritating things about messaging on the Z3 is the fact that it's very easy to tag the 'sketch' feature when typing, which will instantly bring up the option of drawing something.

Sony Xperia Z3 review

The phone that gets the essentials right, but has a poor keyboard... and inflated sense of battery life at times

The problem for most is that MMS still costs a lot of money, meaning while I was desperate to actually send rude sketches to friends, the thought of paying for the privilege still put me off. If there was an inbuilt WhatsApp or iMessage way of talking, I'd be all over this feature like a pleasant rash.

The other messaging ability of the phone was perfectly fine, especially since Sony has gone 'full Google' in a lot of ways, offering Hangouts and Gmail on the phone by default.

Let's not beat around the bush here though: if you're unhappy with an element on an Android phone, change it. Download the free Swiftkey keyboard, add in WhatsApp or just use a new email client - it's mostly free and instantly transforms an average messaging phone into a great one, and the Sony Xperia Z3 allows all this and more.


As I mentioned above, the internet here is governed by Google Chrome. There's no secondary browser on here to confuse things, like you might get on the Samsung Galaxy S5, and while Chrome might be a little bit boring for some users, there's no doubt it's a very functional app.

The desktop requests now work well, the ability to sync across desktop and mobile as well as bookmarks makes it all very clean.

Wi-Fi issues aside, the scripts generally load quickly, the browsing is clean and it does what you need: basically, seeing the internet in your hand.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.