Sony Xperia Z3 Plus, the Japanese company’s ‘facelift’ to last year’s Z3 model, is now available in select stores in Delhi at a price of around Rs 54,000, and will be more widely available soon, according to distributor sources.
Please note that the phone has not been officially launched in India yet. However, one retailer we spoke to said the phone does come with India warranty. Secondly, since the phone has not been officially launched in India, the price could come down in the coming days.
According to our sources, the official launch is expected by end of this month or in the first week of July.
In official statement, Sony said it has started “rolling out” the model globally from this week, “meaning you can get your hands on your own device pretty soon.”
“The improved device integrates the best in Sony’s camera and screen expertise. This includes an improved ultra-bright 5.2” Full HD smart adaptive display, which when combined with High-Res audio and PlayStation®4 gaming technologies delivers entertainment experiences like none other before,” the company claimed.
Now, to details of the phone itself. Like nearly all Sony phones, the Xperia Z3 Plus does not shine on paper, where specifications matter. However, the phone is an impressive device ‘in person’, and has a very vivid display that rivals Samsung’s AMOLED screens.
The biggest shortcoming of the Xperia Z3 Plus — and one that may deter many people from actually buying this phone — is that it comes with a full-HD display, and not a quad-HD display like the LG G4 (price Rs 44,900 on Amazon and Infibeam) or the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Rs 41,900 on Flipkart).
Of course, there is the question of ‘does it matter?’
There are many pundits who believe that at 5 inches, full-HD is enough, and you need quad-HD only when you move to 5.5-inches and more.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Plus has a 5.2 inch display, and is therefore among the smallest flagship phones launched in recent days. The LG G4, which hit the stores earlier this month, has a 5.5 inch display, just like the HTC E9 Plus, which was launched in India last month.
In fact, the HTC One E9 Plus is remarkable as it offers 64-bit technology, a quad-HD 5.5-inch display, 32 GB of storage memory and 3 GB of RAM for just Rs 33,900. In fact, all the four models mentioned here as competitors to the Xperia Z3 Plus come with quad-HD displays.
So, why did Sony prefer to go with a full HD one? Sony says it’s to prolong battery life.
Anyway, what it boils down to is that the Z3+ offers a resolution of 424 pixels (dots) per inch, while the LG G4 and HTC One E9 Plus both offer 538 dots per inch.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 scores the highest in this regard at 577 pixels as it has the smallest display at 5.1 inches and also comes with quad-HD resolution.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the Z3 Plus is expected to have an endurance battery rating of around 80 hours, outdoing the Galaxy S6 (73 hours) and LG G4 (54 hours). The HTC E9 Plus should give an endurance battery rating of around 55 hours as well.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Sony will also launch the 6-inch T4 Ultra, priced around Rs 22,000, next month, followed by the Z3 Ultra, priced above Rs 40,000.
Now that the biggest shortcoming of the Xperia Z3 Plus is out of the way (and you’re still reading, which means you are okay with it), we can look at other factors that set apart the Z3 Plus from other models, and indeed its 9-month old predecessor Z3.
In terms of internal specifications, the Xperia Z3 Plus is just as good as the other four phones discussed above. The only exception is the Samsung Galaxy S6, which, due to its 14-nm chip, is about 20-25% more powerful than the other three phones..
In other words, the Galaxy S6 scores about 65,000 on Antutu benchmarks, while other phones score in the 45,000-50,000 range. (see the attached Youtube video)
So, you’re thinking, why would I buy the Z3 Plus for Rs 54,000, when the S6, which is more powerful, is available at just Rs 41,900?
Two things to keep in mind here: One, the official price of the Z3 Plus has not been announced yet. The Z3 was priced at Rs 52,000 when it was launched in October last year, and soon saw its price drop like an lead weight. The Z3 was, for some time, selling at just Rs 35,000 online.
The second, and perhaps more relevant factor, to keep in mind is that Sony always holds an edge over Samsung in two areas — Camera and ruggedness, and the Z3 Plus does not disappoint in either of these areas.
The Xperia Z3 Plus comes with IP68 certification, which is just a fancy way of saying that the phone is dust proof and can function under 1.5 meter of water for 30 minutes at least, without giving up. It’s predecessor was certified for 1 meter underwater, which means that the Japanese company’s done some more tweaking to the phone to ensure that liquids stay out.
The second factor is camera. Sony’s cameras are used even by rival phone manufacturers for their quality. Interestingly, the company seems to have kept the best for itself.
The Z3 Plus comes with a 21 MP camera at the back and a 5 MP shooter at the front (up from 2.1 MP on last year’s model.) Of course, the HTC One E9 Plus also comes with a 20 MP camera, but we’re not sure how that compares to the Sony one. The Galaxy S6 and the LG G4 have 16 MP shooters.
There are some other minor differences, but nothing major. In most other respects, all these five models are the same.
All of them have 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, support 4G and are built on the new 64-bit architecture from ARM.
One key tricky factor to watch out is LTE support. In India, we will have three bands of LTE – Band 3 (which all the above models support) and bands 40 and 20.
Out of these two, band 20 support is more important, as band 40 will be used primarily for giving broadband to dongles, and not phones.
Another factor is which category of LTE these phones support. Both Galaxy S6 and Xperia Z3+ come with Cat 6 (300 Mbps) support, while HTC One E9+ comes with Cat 4 (150 Mbps) support. We are not sure what LG G4 offers, but we expect it to support Cat 6 as well.
The Xperia Z3+ offers a great option for Sony fans who have been waiting for a phone with the latest 64-bit hardware. However, given the smaller size and resolution of the display, coupled with the like official price of around Rs 50,000, we believe the phone may not appeal to the typical buyer. To appeal to them, the model will have to be priced within a 10% price differential with the Galaxy S6, its strongest competitor.