Review of Sony’s Xperia Z3+ Android Smartphone : Is it worth the upgrade to the latest Xperia Z5 ?


Sony has just not long ago released their new flagship Z5 smartphone for the market, but since we have got its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z3+ in our hands, we thought that we could might as well take a look at it and compare it to the new flagship. This will also help our readers understand the improvements that have been put into place in the new Xperia Z5 smartphone.

The Sony Xperia Z3+ smartphone was deemed by many as a disaster. Although it looked great in terms of its design, retaining the sleek and slim look that defines all Sony flagship smartphone, it was bugged by a huge heat issue. The phone runs really hot. So hot that it could even shut down itself or close down the camera application to cool the phone down. Today, we are going to specifically look into the goods and the bads of the Sony Xperia Z3+, so as to let us look forward to the new flagship. Hopefully, this will let you make a better decision on your purchase of the new Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone.


1.      Same Sleek and Sexy Design

The highlight of the Sony Xperia Z smartphone series is its unique sleek and chic design. Sony has retained the essence of this design from the first generation of the Xperia Z series, which was a huge hit with the youngsters and professionals. This design was able to really standout from any other smartphones in the market and it’s really no marketing gimmick. The feel on the Sony Xperia Z smartphone is one of a kind.

The signature design starts off with well-defined edges that makes the phone much more rectangular than the usual round. This adds a great deal of classy factor to it. Moreover, the use of frosted shiny material for the sides of the phone also adds an impression of a sturdy device. At the back, Sony has decided to go with glass for the choice of material. Particularly, we thought that it would complement well with whole design of the phone, but it was a real annoyance as it was a fingerprint magnet.

The simplistic design integrates well with the buttons that are placed at just the right place. The power and volume buttons are just right for the thumb to reach when held in a portrait orientation. To allow users to know the difference between the power button and the volume buttons by the sense of the touch, both the buttons also come in different shapes. Additionally, the camera shutter button allows easy capture of photos, just like how you would do with a traditional camera. It even supports “half press”, essentially allowing the image to focus before the image is captured.

Sony Xperia Z5 : The flagship Sony Xperia Z5 retained the best and did away with the bad. The Z5 had very similar designs with the Z3+, but changed the glass at the back to a smooth and matt plastic finish. The change does not take away the premium feeling of the smartphone, but instead brings the whole phone forward in terms of practicality because the phone now is much more resistant to fingerprints. Adding on, the power button is now upgraded to include a fingerprint authentication sensor under it. That will really be something interesting to look out for. 

2.      Crazy Camera

If you are looking for a smartphone that is superior in taking photographs, many will recommend the Sony Xperia Z3+. Sony flagship smartphones are well known for their high megapixel camera that produces great quality photos. Below are some shots taken for your comparison. With the capabilities of taking up to 20.7MP photos, Sony is able to play with oversampling image production to make the photos even clearer that before. Moreover, users can use digital zoom in the phone and not worry about losing quality, as a huge amount of pixels are captured within a single shot. In fact, this camera could possibly be better than many point and shoot digital cameras out there in the market.

A significant improvement to the Sony Xperia Z3+ from the previous generation flagship was the phone’s front facing camera. Sony upped the game by introducing a 5 MP front camera with their own Exmor R sensor. Also, the 25mm wide angle lens also allows user to take wider selfies. It will be a seller with users who particularly takes a lot of selfie photographs.

Photo from Sony NEX-5 DSLR

Photo from ASUS ZenFone 2

Photo from Sony Xperia Z3+
It was also a joy to take high quality 4K videos on the smartphone. Videos taken were ultrasharp, and were of a decent quality for actual production. However, high definition video recording did cause some heat issues with the smartphone and caused the camera app to shut down by itself. This problem will be talked about in the later part of the review.

Sony Xperia Z3+ Night Shot

ASUS ZenFone 2 Night Shot

Sony Xperia Z5 : Sony is claiming that their new flagship, Sony Xperia Z5’s camera is “far ahead of the competition”. Based on various reviews on the internet, the results were apparent that Sony Xperia Z5’s camera was indeed a notch better than competitor’s. There was good autofocus, detail preservation, good noise level, white balance and colour rendering.

3.      Ultra Fast processor

Equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, one of the world’s fastest mobile computing processor, the Sony Xperia Z3+ is promised with unprecedented performance. The Z3+ was able to get high scores in all performance benchmark tests. We were also sure that games will run smoothly on its high resolution Full HD display as well. However, it seems that the strength of this phone became its own nemesis when heat issues started to kick in.

With an abundant 3GB of RAM, users can also run multiple applications at the same time without worrying that the phone will slow down too much.

Sony Xperia Z5 : Same processor, same amount of RAM, same performance goodness.

4.      Waterproof and Dust Proof

The whole world was amazed by the fact that the Xperia Z lineup of smartphone IP65 and IP68 certified, technically meaning that the smartphones are dustproof and waterproof.  It brings a dimension of usage to the Xperia Z smartphones. People started taking out the phone to take photos underwater to capture photos and videos underwater. Just imagine… 4K underwater video footages? That sounds way cool.

Sony Xperia Z5 : Still made and certified to be IP65 and IP68

5.      High Resolution Display

While many new flagship smartphones from other manufacturers have went ahead and used 2K resolution displays, Sony has decided to stick with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 display. Although we cannot see much difference from the two different kinds of resolution with our naked eyes, we understand that the adoption of either has its pros and cons. The “lower” Full HD resolution in Sony Xperia Z3+ promises a longer battery life, yet not compromising on display quality.

Sony Xperia Z5 : Flagship device requires flagship display. Sony announced that the Xperia Z5 Premium is equipped with the world’s first 4K 5.5” display. The vanilla model still has a Full HD display though.

6.      MicroSD expandability

It probably does not make sense remove microSD card storage expandability features from flagship smartphones. While competitors are removing such features luring end users to purchase the pricier, higher built in storage capacity models, Sony has decided that they will only manufacture a single model with 32GB of built in storage space as the bare minimum, and allows users to expand their storage with microSD cards. It really shows how much Sony has got their end users in mind, rather than only thinking about ways to earn more profits.

Sony Xperia Z5 : Still retains its microSD card slot


1.      Crazilly Hot

The only problem with the Sony Xperia Z3+ that makes it a real deal breaker was the heat issues with this smartphone. With the introduction of the latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Octa Core processor, Sony had to find ways to tame the beast and not let it run too hot. Sadly, much of the hopes were lost when we realised that Sony did not do a good job on bringing the power hungry demon’s temperature down. 

When using the AR feature on the Sony camera app, temperatures will go way beyond the acceptable range, to a point when the application has to shut the camera down to prevent any damage to the phone. The phone also heats up quite quickly when playing games or running any computing heavy applications. Sony was also aware of the issue and sent out updates to the smartphone, but it seems that these updates were limited in the effectiveness of solving the problem.  

This makes the Sony Xperia Z3+ impossible to recommend, as heat was really a huge issue. We would have much preferred if Sony removed its AR or 4K recording feature, if they know that there would be heat issues with the device. It would not have given users the impression of the heat issue that is bugged with Sony Xperia flagship devices.

Sony Xperia Z5 : Sony integrated a dual heatpipe design within the smartphone to deal with the heating up issue.


With out of the world features that no other competing brands can pair up to, Sony Xperia Z5 will definitely be a new device worth looking into. Instead of a completely brand new device, we thought that the Z5 should be what the Z3+ would have been in the first place. We are definitely looking forward to get our hands on the new Sony Xperia Z5. As long as Sony is able to get the thermal problems off their flagship smartphones, we know that these devices are going to be a hit and are here to stay for long. 

So is it worth the upgrade to Z5? Yes! If you want to do away with your hot Z3+, you should change to the new Z5 instead. If you can bear with the heat of Z3+, an upgrade to the new Z5 is probably not neccessary, unless you are looking for a significant upgrade to the Z5 Premium instead.

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