News by Josh Dasey on Wednesday November 18, 2015.
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One of the reasons why Sony struggles to compete with rivals in terms of sales is because the company generally treats the U.S. market as an afterthought. We can make compelling cases to say Sony devices are just as good as Samsung's for example, but a lack of coverage in the U.S. hurts the Japanese giant. Take the Xperia Z3+, a smartphone that launched in the early summer and is only now making its debut in the United States.It arrives as an enticing handset that now sits in an increasingly competitive price point that sits between $350 and $500 and is occupied by the likes of the OnePlus 2, Motorola Moto X Pure Edition, and several impressive Chinese smartphones. We could also throw the likes of the HTC One A9 into the mix and some of last year's flagships like the LG G3 and HTC One M8. Of course, the Xperia Z3+ is last year's flagship in a way, although it is an update of Sony's 2014 driver. For your money you will get an unlocked device as no carrier support is evident, which hardly a surprise is considering how late the Z3+ is to the party in the U.S. If you are interested in this undoubtedly impressive smartphone then you should know that it is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, but not Sprint and Verizon.
Of course, the Xperia Z3 was a very good smartphone, delivering plenty of quality with only a few caveats. Design is possibly one of the low points here, but we say that cautiously and it really does come down to taste. There is no doubt that the Xperia Z3+ (like its predecessor) oozes premium with its two glass panels sandwiching a metal frame and sides. It is a striking smartphone and we know plenty who think the Xperia Z3 is a design triumph, so those people will be happy to see the Xperia Z3+ arrive with no aesthetic changes. While we would be stupid to outright deride the design here, we do think that Sony's flagship range could do with a slight refresh as the move from Xperia Z to Z3+ or indeed Xperia Z4 has been minimal in terms of looks. It is worth noting that this device is thinner than the Xperia Z3, 6.9mm compared to 7.3mm. As for specs, it's a mix of been there, done that and brand new. The Xperia Z3+ retains the 5.2-inch 1080p screen found on the Z3, it is the exact same panel meaning no Quad HD market pushing display. That is hardly a major gripe considering we still get plenty of joy from a good 1080p screen, which this is. Under the hood things are improved, with Qualcomm's troublesome Snapdragon 810 making its way to the Xperia Z3+ with 3GB of RAM, a 20.7 megapixel rear camera, and an improved 5 megapixel front facing lens also along for the ride. Sony has also improved the waterproofing, with an IP68 rating meaning this can be submerged in water up to 3 meters (9 feet) deep. Considering the Xperia Z3 is being updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, we imagine that the Xperia Z3+ will get Lollipop out of the box. The Z3 had an amazing battery, with Sony squeezing every last drop out of the 3100 mAh juicer to ensure market leading battery performance (we mean market leading too). To make the Xperia Z3+ thinner, the Japanese company decided to reduce the pack to 2900 mAh, but apparently improvements in other areas will mean the Z3+ is equally impressive in terms of battery life. Sony says it will last for two days, obviously we will have to wait to get the device in hand to prove that, but the company has been spot on in this department before.
Josh is our European editor, tackling news events, reviews, and new items from his UK home. As a former HTC marketing employee, Josh is close to the industry and bring his experience to MobileBurn.