Thinking out loud... or I should say deciding about my next phone out loud? Part 1

Let me start with my struggle. Which one should be my next phone? It is going to be for sure an Android phone, but should I get the Sony Xperia Z3, or the HTC One M8, or rather the LG G3? I have been a long time user of Samsung (sorry Samsung, not a fan, just a user) so I am considering the Samsung S5, but probably in the last position.

Anyway, I am going to scan through the most acclaimed reviewers and go through the models I am inclined to pursue and then make my decision. Bare with me through these posts as I think out loud.

Sony Z3

Right now, my first choice would be the Z3 from Sony. Recently announced and with specs that triggered my attention from size to great battery life and waterproof features, I am looking through reviews.

The black Sony Xperia Z3 in the water

Probably one that I respect the most is the Cnet.com presentation, that goes into details a lot and summarizes the whole process for me. So here is what I learned.

The Sony Xperia Z3 has a great battery life – the producer claims 2 days worth of juice in it. If it does that at my level of communication, I am going to love this phone.

I am not a huge fan of photography, but I like good quality pictures, so if some say that the 20,7 megapixel camera is not as great as it could be, I can agree but do I care that much? At least it can take pictures under water!

The Sony Xperia Z3 is Sony's most formidable to date with a formidable display and promising features that easily give Android competition from HTC, LG and Samsung a run for their money. With the Z3, Sony finally can rival with Apple or Microsoft, but of course using Google's Android.

The previous models proved to be pretty good so there was no need to deviate much from the initial design – just a little bit of refining. Glass covered front and rear and aluminum on the side that keeps things together.

The screen is one of the best things about it. IT just doesn’t take advantage of it so Sony is choosing just to limit the icons to five rows of four huge icons.

However there is new stuff, and this includes Lifelog, a health tracker; Sony Select, an app curator; and PlayStation, which lets you play PlayStation 4 games on your phone anywhere at home. You'll essentially be able to use your Xperia Z3 as a remote screen for your PS4, using the PS4's DualShock 4 controller to stay in the game.

PS4 integration

Of the new features, the new PS4 remote play stands out as one of the more important features. Sony has been talking about integration for years now, having acquired the other half of its mobile business from the partnership with Ericsson in early 2012, and the Z3 looks set to properly realise this. If you already own a PS4, there's more reason to get locked in to the Sony ecosystem to get the full experience. The Z3 is the first smartphone that lets you stream PlayStation 4 games to it: a very intriguing incentive, if you already have the console and are desperate to play while other people take their turn on the family TV.

PS4 integration of the Sony Xperia Z3

Spec-wise, the Z3 packs a snappy processor Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz, and like the Z2 has a 5.2-inch full HD display (1,920x1,080 pixels). The phone is quick and snappy. Not the latest Snapdragon 805 processor found in newer devices but you'll have no performance issues with this phone, that's for sure. Unlike other manufacturers, including Samsung, who have chosen to go with a "Quad HD" display (2,560x1,440 pixels), Sony is sticking with full HD on the Z3 and has come out fighting on this point, saying that the higher resolution isn't worth the tradeoff in reduced battery life. This does make some sense, especially since Sony has claimed two days of battery life for the Z3, but more on this later.

Other specs include 3GB RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. You'll also have dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC connectivity.

Camera

The Sony Xperia Z3 comes with the same 20.7-megapixel camera found on the Z1 and Z2, and like the Z2, but with a few improvements -- ISO sensitivity now hits 12,800 and it has a wider lens as well as better image stability. Like the Z2, it's also able of capturing 4K video. In the end, it produces a picture of around 8 megapixels. One last thing to note is that the physical camera shutter button is pretty handy to have, and the automatic mode seems capable of handling whatever shots you need.

Call quality is pretty good, as expected in premium devices, but battery life is where the Z3 shines. Sony claims that the phone is easily able to last two days. A full morning browsing on the phone and checking emails while waiting for an appointment, followed by a slow period back at the office, and then Web surfing on the evening commute make it quite attractive even if it is for just one full day. Maybe for a moderate user it will make the acclaimed two day charge life. In the CNET Video Lab test, the Z3 measured 12.5 hours, which puts it ahead of the iPhone 6, HTC One M8, and LG G3 but behind the Galaxy S5.

Conclusion

Sony's Xperia Z3 doesn't have a brand new design, but it's an evolution of what the company has been working on the last few years. It's a great phone, but it's still early to say if the Z3 will make Sony a global force in smartphones. After all, HTC is a prime example of a company making great handsets, but struggling to stay afloat.

That said, if you haven't already upgraded from the Z1 to the Z2, skip it and jump straight to the Z3. It packs a brilliant display, waterproof features and a good camera into a slim and sleek design. While the UI could use a little tweaking to better suit the phone's sexy design, the Z3 definitely impresses.

The Z3 is probably one of the best Sony phones to date. It's as good as the LG G3, but with the promise of much better battery life -- plus, I'll be honest, the "Quad HD" screen of the G3 is cool, but it's not really required right now. But more about my ramblings on the LG G3 in the next article.


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