Sony unveils flagship smartphone Xperia Z3+

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Sony Mobiles has taken the covers off its 2015 flagship smartphone Xperia Z3+, which offers only a few small upgrades over last year’s Xperia Z3.The Xperia Z3+ has the same height and width dimensions as the Xperia Z3, at 146mm x 72mm, but is thinner that its predecessor, at 6.9mm as opposed to 7.3mm. As a result, it is also lighter, weighing in at 144g rather than 152g.

Sony has got rid of the ugly magnetic charging pin and removed the flap over the USB port, making the Z3+ sleeker in appearance and easier to charge while still remaining waterproof and dustproof.

The processor has been upgraded from a quad-core to an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which Sony claims “lets you browse faster than ever and get the optimal graphics experience”. However, the Z3+ offers the same amount of RAM as the Xperia Z3 (3GB).

The Z3+ has the same 5.2-inch Full HD 1080p “triluminous” display as the Z3, and the same 20.7MP rear camera with all Sony’s bells and whistles such as Superior Auto, which analyses the photographic environment and automatically adjusts settings to make photos looks their best.

Meanwhile, the front-facing (selfie) camera has been upgraded from a 2.2MP sensor to 5MP sensor with a wider field of view. It also features SteadyShot technology with Intelligent Active Mode, which estimates movements to produce smoother videos.

The Z3+’s battery is actually smaller than the Z3’s (2,900mAh rather than 3,100mAh), but Sony claims this equates to two days of battery life. Qualcomm’s fast charger also allows users to get one day usage with just 45 minutes of charging.

The Xperia Z3+ will launch globally in June 2015, and will be available in a range of colours including black, white, copper (exclusive to Vodafone) and ice green (exclusive to Carphone Warhouse). Pricing is yet to be announced.

Commenting on the launch, Rob Kerr, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, said that Sony’s minor tweaks to its flagship smartphone won’t stir up much excitement, even though this is a “thoroughly decent” phone.

“The Xperia Z3+ will have a hard time competing with cutting edge models like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but stands a good chance against theHTC One M9, which itself is a very minor upgrade to the 2014 edition,” he said.

“With Quad HD screens, fingerprint security sensors, heart rate monitors and DSLR quality cameras – none of which this new phone has – now all found in flagship mobiles, Sony has to think really hard about what’s next for the Xperia Z4.”

Confusingly, when Sony first announced this phone in Japan, it called it the Xperia Z4, but has rolled it out to the rest of the world with the name Xperia Z3+.

Despite these differences, the new model is considered a minor update over Xperia Z3 as the two share many features. Xperia Z3+ has a 5.2-inch Full HD (1080p) IPS screen and glass-and-metal body; the glass used in the smartphone is shatterproof, according to Sony. Similarly, both smartphones have 3GB of RAM, support microSD cards of up to 128GB capacities and have 20.7MP rear cameras. Both smartphones also have the same connectivity features: 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and microUSB 2.0.

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