Sony Xperia Z3+ review

It's sleek and speedy, but has Sony released something exciting?

Xperia Z3+ review
Sleek and slender

Sony's choice to go with the Xperia Z3+ rather than a fully fledged Xperia Z4 has, as I feared, ended up feeling like a bit of a stop gap. There are some genuine improvements over last year's Xperia Z3, such as a thinner and more attractive design and boosted internals, that give the Z3+ a real edge when it comes to performance, but there's a lot that's left to stagnate.

This means more of the same when it comes to Sony's custom interface, and the same old camera that didn't terribly impress last time around. Even worse in some cases, like the battery, it seems that the Z3+ is a step back from the Z3.

Sony's mobile device division isn't in amazing shape, so coming out all guns blazing with a killer flagship could have given it a new lease of life. Sadly, the Z3+ is not the handset to do it.

Xperia Z3+

We liked

I've always liked the OmniBalance design of previous Xperia devices, so I was pleased to see that Sony has refined it with the Z3+. The thinner body and new chrome metallic colour scheme makes this a very attractive device.

I'm also glad to see that Sony has made the USB port waterproof without needing a flap – as it makes charging up the device much easier.

Finally, as a PlayStation 4 owner, I've been using the Remote Play feature a lot, and am impressed with how well it works.

We didn't like

You've probably heard this already, but the Xperia Z3+ has a heating issue. It's not much worse than other Snapdragon 810-powered handsets, and it's unlikely that you'll end up with a singed pocket, but it is an annoyance that shouldn't be affecting a high-end phone.

Battery life is a disappointment, especially when browsing on Wi-Fi and 4G. The screen is gorgeous, but this too takes its toll on the battery.

Lastly, there are too many preinstalled apps for my liking, and I hope that Sony's upcoming new interface addresses the bloatware problem.

Verdict

Overall, the Xperia Z3+ is a bit of a disappointment.

It's a perfectly capable handset, but that's not what we really want at this price range, and it's certainly not what Sony needs to reverse its mobile fortunes. There's nothing here that would make you ditch an iPhone or Samsung for an Xperia, and there are cheaper phones, like the OnePlus 2, which promise to deliver more bang for your buck.

Xperia Z3+

There's also little incentive for Z3 owners to upgrade to the Z3+, though the performance boost is noticeable between the two handsets.

It has some good specs, a lovely screen, a nice design and a price tag that's below some of its competitors, but these are all let down by the phone's lacklustre battery life, disappointing camera and unambitious feel.

Let's hope that Sony really pulls out all the stops with the Xperia Z4.