If looks could kill — Sony Xperia Z3v Review

If looks could kill then the Xperia Z3v would murder the competition. The glass, aluminum and matte rubber combo (Verizon version only) is one of the best combination of materials I’ve ever seen. It’s a design you’ll instantly appreciate once you hold the device in your hands.

Physically, the device is legit. Sony’s engineers should get a medal for creating another beautiful piece of hardware. No doubt about it, the Xperia Z3v is a beautiful piece of hardware, but it does border on being a little too big for some people. And that includes me. Despite the rounded edges which is suppose to make the Xperia Z3v easier to grip, it still feels kind of big. I’ve got small hands and I’m realizing that I prefer smartphones that are a lot smaller! I think I’m growing tired of my Lumia 1520’s monster size. Especially after using the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and Samsung Galaxy Alpha.

Visually, the device is gorgeous. It’s so beautiful that you become extra cautious every time you take out the device to use it. It’s like having your first baby and never wanting to take the baby out of the house because you’re afraid something is going to happen! Every time I used the device I felt like I was going to damage it somehow. And even though I am a big proponent of rocking your device naked, you’ll want to get this bad boy some protection. Unless you’re made out of money and you can afford getting it fixed! I use my smartphone too much already and the odds of something happening are high. Just look at what happened to my Nokia Lumia 1520!

“There’s nothing wrong with being flashy as long as you’ve put in the work to back it up.” When it comes to overall performance, it feels really good. It has that new gadget feel. But all the time. Over a period of two weeks it still felt really brand new. It’s like sitting in a brand new car with that “new new” smell! Like nothing has corrupted it yet. There’s no lag whatsoever either. And that’s saying something because “I use the shit” out of my smartphone. There were some occasional app crashes during my review but that had more to do with the app then with the phone.

For the “tek-heads” that care, the uptime was way better than I expected. It even outlasted my Lumia 1520 when it came to manual reboots. I only had to reboot once since I had it (around 2 weeks). And I only needed to reboot the device because of a system update by Verizon! I’m pretty sure it could have lasted the whole time I had the device.

The device does get kind of hot though. And here in the desert it did tend to get really hot if you were outside. It got so hot that the camera wouldn’t work unless it cooled down. You could definitely feel the heat through the glass. Kind of a bummer since I live in hot ass Arizona.

The screen is gorgeous. The 5.2″ Full HD 1080p display with 424ppi is more than you really need on a device this size. Combine those specs with Sony’s mobile display technology TRILUMINOS and X-Reality for Mobile, and what you get is one of the best display’s available. Viewing angles were really good too! I could watch a YouTube video with the device laying flat on a table and I was still able to see it clearly! Even the icons and text, were really good to look at. All day long, I would unlock the device just so I can see the display light up!

The camera on the Xperia Z3v really surprised me. It was way better than I expected. It’s ridiculously good for an Android. Finding a good camera on an Android is hard to find. Something Android users know to well! Sony includes many different modes that are useful. But only if you know what you’re doing. Most people won’t use them.

There’s a manual mode for people with more camera education. And it’s the only way to advantage of the 20mp rear camera. Otherwise, you’re stuck with a 8mp picture on auto settings. But it’s more than enough for the masses. Also need to point out that the manual mode on the device isn’t as robust as the manual mode on a Lumia device like the Lumia 930 or 1520 (sorry Sony!)

In the end the “intelligent auto” setting will do just fine for pretty much everyone else. What you get is a really good point and shoot camera inside your smartphone. The Xperia Z3v also comes with a really good album app too. A detail that probably goes unnoticed with most users and even top reviewers. The album app is really impressive. It has a great unique flow to it when viewing your pictures. Plus, the integration of an interactive map to see where the photo was taken is pretty awesome too. I can’t really explain it, you’ll just need to see it in person to know what I’m talking about.

I like how Sony has continued to improve some of their apps. The power management technology and the intelligent auto mode with the camera are really impressive. When you think about it, Sony has taken the liberty to do it the “Apple way” and do all the configuration for you. All you have to do is use it. It’s why Apple is so successful with the iPhone and why I think Sony are geniuses to follow that philosophy. People just want their smartphone to work. It’s as simple as that. There is the “one percent” of users that truly care about customizing their smartphone. But usually those users are Android users because they tend to know what they’re doing and they can do anything they want to it. The battery and the camera are two out the four important things when it comes to a smartphone. (Camera, battery, software and design are the big four if you didn’t know)! Coincidentally the battery and camera are usually the downfall of an Android smartphone. So it’s nice to see Sony continually pushing the standard on these items in the Android world.

Check out the video below to see what Sony gives to you when you buy Xperia.

The stereo speakers perform surprisingly well. It can easily do the job in a small office or for a few people sitting around having drinks. It isn’t as loud as the HTC One M9, but it doesn’t fall too behind it either. For what you already get when you buy the Xperia Z3v, the stereo speakers are an added bonus for sure.

When it came to being an actual phone, I had no problems with it. Phone calls sounded good on both ends. Connection was solid here in Phoenix throughout the day and LTE speeds were up to par for a smartphone of this caliber. I was on Verizon’s network and there were no major issues.

Every time I get to trial a Sony Xperia device, switching to Android always crosses my mind. If I wasn’t a sucker for Nokia hardware I would be Sony all the way. In fact, besides Apple, I think Sony and Nokia are the best engineers at creating a beautiful piece of hardware.

The Xperia Z3v is a rare Android to own. Nowadays, people are rocking either a Samsung Galaxy S device, HTC One M8/M9 or the more recently released LG G4. You’ll even see an occasional Nexus 6 in the wild too.

The Hardware: (via androidcentral.com)

Display 5.2-inch 1920×1080 (424 ppi) IPS LCD Processor Snapdragon 801 quad-core at 2.5GHz Adreno 330 GPU Memory 3GB Storage 32GB internal, MicroSD expandable Cameras 20.7MP f/2.0 rear, 4K video

2.2MP front Connectivity 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth

4.0, NFC, GPS GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G) UMTS HSPA (3G) EVDO (3G) LTE (4G) Battery 3100mAh non-removable Charging Micro USB 2.0, Qi wireless charging Dimensions 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm Weight 152g Resistance IP68 water, dust resistant

But owning a Sony Xperia device puts you in a rare breed of individuals. Only hardcore “tek-heads” really know about it. And when we “tek-heads” see one in the wild, we usually give that owner the nod. Because that owner must know his shit. If you want an Android that’s high end then the Xperia Z3v is definitely what you’re looking for. As far as specs and design go, I believe the Z3v is one of the best, if not the best Android available. Especially for the price. You can get it at Verizon for just 99 cents on a 2yr contract! The best part of the Xperia Z3v is that it’s not gimmicky like most smartphones nowadays. It’s a great smartphone through and through.

P.S. -> I do prefer the Xperia Z3 Compact for overall feel and handle. I got small hands! You should definitely try both Z3’s to see what’s comfortable for you if you’re considering getting one. The only compromise between the two spec wise is the display and the physical frame. Not really a compromise however, just a slight downgrade of the two on the Xperia Z3 Compact.

Originally published at teknoswag.com on June 8, 2015.

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