For some time now, Sony has had a reputation of releasing device updates that are more incremental than revolutionary. That's okay though, as each new Xperia Z smartphone has bought with it some compelling reason to choose it over the previous generation. That is until the Xperia Z3 arrived, which had the same internals as the Xperia Z2 and for the most part just trimmed the fat. Then the Xperia Z4 was announced in Japan, and then confusingly renamed the Xperia Z3+ for the West. I've finally gotten my hands on one, thanks to the folks at Carphone Warehouse, and here are some first impressions after spending a little time with the device.
The Xperia Z3+ is basically a refined Xperia Z3 with a new Snapdragon 810 processor, and a display that's apparently quite a bit brighter than the original. I have the Aqua Green model here, which is one of the nicest colors I have ever seen in a Sony smartphone. It's subtle, and exotic all at the same time, and it kind of reminds me of an antique mirror (see photos) more than it does the color "green" and in fact is annoyingly reflective. The curved edges look good in this silver-esque sheen and the overall build quality is great. Buttons are clicky and exude confidence when pressed. This is some great fit and finish from Sony. Thanks to the fact that the Xperia Z3+ now has IP65 and IP68 water and dust resistance, there's no need for a cap covering the microUSB port, which is now moved to the bottom of the device. It's a small change, but one that makes the Xperia Z3+ instantly more user-friendly, Xperia Z/Z1/Z2 and Z3 owners out there will know what I mean.
As for software and performance, it's early days, but this is pretty snappy and responsive. It wakes up in an instant, touch response is spot-on and apps open very quickly as well. Little things like the camera waking up quicker than before make for big improvements in everyday usage, and it's nice to see that Sony's subtle theming of Android is still alive and well here. We'll have more on the software in our full review coming later.
With Sony's devices, people have often complained about bezels around the display creating a device larger than it needs to be. With the Z3+, the bezels on the left and right sides of the display are noticeably reduced, which does result in smaller device. However, now the device just feels more narrow than anything else, it's still fairly unwieldy for a device with a 5.2-inch display, but at 6.9mm thin the Xperia Z3+ is pleasant in hand for the most part and a real looker.
We'll have more on the Xperia Z3+ in our full review, but in the mean time take a look at the photos below, and join the discussion on Google+!