Do we have a good one for you today - the Sony Xperia Z3 goes up against the new Sony Xperia Z4. Sony has a very loyal following, albeit small, but there is no doubt in my mind if Sony would up the specs to compete with the Samsungs and LGs and get their distribution chain to all major US carriers, that following would be huge.
There is no doubt that Sony makes a quality smartphone, but up until now, they have been under spec'd, overpriced and difficult to get your hands on one. It seems that by the time they reach the US, they are available on only one carrier and generally outdated...for instance the Xperia Z3 only had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, when the other flagships were touting the Snapdragon 805.
Because of Sony's reluctance toward change, these devices have many things in common. The height and width of the devices are identical, although the new Xperia Z4 is slimmer at 6.9mm and weighs 8 grams less. They both use the exact same 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with only a Full HD (FHD) resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The devices both use 3GB of RAM, each has a 32GB internal storage variation, and each one can expand that memory via a microSD card. The main cameras are identical on both devices, although Sony has improved the front-facing camera (FFC) on the Xperia Z4. They both offer the dual, front-facing stereo speakers and the usual suspects - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 in the Z3 and 4.1 in the Z4), GPS, NFC capable, a FM Radio, Quick Charge 2.0, non-removable batteries and a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. They are both IP67/68 certified dust and water resistant and can be used for PS4 Remote Play with an optional controller.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another - click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Sony Xperia Z3
As we said earlier, Sony makes a great smartphone, but has always had trouble distributing their devices to the US carriers. The Sony Xperia Z3 was no exception when it finally arrived as a T-Mobile exclusive - a good thing for T-Mobile and their subscribers, but not so good for Sony that could benefit from more exposure. The Xperia Z3 follows its predecessors using the beautiful lines of the Xperia series and all metal and glass construction and the side aluminum frame gently and comfortably bent around the sides for a nice grip and feel in your hand.
The Xperia Z3 comes with a beautiful 5.2-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 PPI, the exact same display found on the Xperia Z4. The Z3 uses a 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz compared to the newest Snapdragon 64-bit 810 octa-core processor. They both come with 3GB of RAM and have a 32GB of internal storage as an option, although the Z3 also had a paltry 16GB model and the Z4 adds a 64GB option. Both devices allow for 128GB of expansion via a microSD card.
The main cameras on both the Z3 and Z4 use Sony's excellent 20.7MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash and a 25mm wide-angle will give you a great photo experience. The Xperia Z3 has the usual 2.2MP FFC for selfies and video chatting, whereas the Xperia Z4 shines with its 5.1MP sensor. The 3100mAh battery is slightly larger than the 2930mAh battery found in the Xperia Z4, but both will get you through an entire day, and then some.
The Xperia Z3 comes in Black, (the only color that T-Mobile sells) White, Copper, Silver Green and Purple and is updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. It was a T-Mobile exclusive for $26.25 per month for 24 months or else off-contract for $630, but was announced a short while back it was EOL and no longer available. Verizon still has the Xperia Z3v - a similar device - on their website for only $.99 on a two-year contract or $499.99 off-contract.
Sony Xperia Z4
There have been many leaks about the new Sony Xperia Z4 and many wondering what changes Sony would make...but what we have is mostly a carbon copy of its predecessor, the Xperia Z3. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as it retains the beautiful metal and glass construction with minor color changes, the charging port was moved from the side to the bottom of the device and even though it is still waterproof, it no longer has a sealed cover. The magnetic charging pins on the side have been removed and the SIM card and microSD card slots are now consolidated into one port.
The Xperia Z4 even sports the same 5.2-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 PPI, the exact same specs found on the Xperia Z3...while Samsung and LG have been selling the QHD displays for over a year. They both have 3GB of RAM, but for the Z4, Sony dropped the pitiful 16GB model and now offers a standard 32GB and an optional 64GB, and it does retain the expandable storage via a microSD card. Sony chose the Qualcomm Snapdragon 64-bit 810 octa-core processor to power the smartphone and an Adreno 430 GPU for graphics - all of which is quite an upgrade over the two-year old Snapdragon 32-bit 801 found in the Z3. The 20.7MP main camera has remained the same, which is a fine choice, but still has not added OIS. The FFC was improved a lot - from a 2.2MP to a robust 5.1MP with a 25mm wide-angle lens for better group selfies and video chatting. The Z4 also capable of handling LDAC, the new hi-res audio technology.
The new Xperia Z4 will come in Black, White, Copper and Aqua Green and will be running the latest Lollipop. No pricing or availability outside of Japan or Asia was announced.
...And The Winner Is...
For the winner of this comparison we have to go with the Xperia Z4 - was there any doubt? I said at the beginning of this article that we had a good one for you today, and that is true as it is always interesting to compare old and new models. Sometimes the older model comes out on top because of great pricing or simply there was not enough upgrade to warrant buying the newer model, which is generally more expensive.
With the Xperia Z3 no longer available at T-Mobile, we have to hang our hopes that the Xperia Z4 will quickly find its way to the States and around the world. True be told, the Xperia Z4 would have won this comparison anyways - even though most specifications have remained the same, the 64-bit processor, the improved front-facing camera and the increase in base memory to 32GB is enough to win us over. We must add that it is about time that Sony includes a QHD display, OIS for the main camera, adds a fingerprint sensor and wireless charging...I guess we will have to wait for the Xperia Z5.