Sony Xperia Z3+ review: This flagship smartphone is too hot, literally

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Mumbai | Updated: July 10, 2015 12:00:54 PM

Sony's new flagship smartphone Xperia Z3+ makes all the right noises, but does this Rs 55,990 smartphone deliver?

Sony Xperia Z3+Sony has also outfitted a few shock-resistant caps on the four corners. While the gesture is great, it makes the handset look cheap. (Source: Debashis Sarkar)

Sony’s new flagship smartphone makes all the right noises. A new Qualcomm processor, thinner and lighter, water-resistant, and that famed 20MP camera. Does that make this the best Android you can buy?

Specs: 5.2-inch 1920×1080 pixels touchscreen, Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57 Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB RAM 32GB internal store, microSD up to 128GB 20.7MP rear camera with 4K video recording, 5.1MP front camera,Wi-Fi ac, 2390mAh Lithium Ion battery.

Price: Rs 55,990

The Heat Is On

This is the screen you see when you start 4K recording video in the Xperia Z3+. So Sony is saying that it’s aware the phone has a problem where it overheats, but someone decided, “Oh let’s just put up a warning saying that your phone can overheat and your video recording will crash, but we’ll save everything.” Thanks Sony. Having the camera crash on me in the middle of recording my kid’s first steps is obviously okay with me now, since you have warned me about it. All is forgiven, let’s make fraandship.

The phone’s heating issues are actually bad enough that it gets uncomfortable to hold the device when you are playing a graphics-intensive game or using the camera continuously. Sony probably decided to make the Z3+ waterproof because dunking it in an ice bath seems to be the only way to use it.

Also Sony did know about this problem, since it clearly tested the device enough to put up that specific warning for 4K videos. It’s conceited that the company would choose to then release the phone and ask people to spend Rs 56,000 for it. Ridiculous, Sony, just ridiculous.

The Non-Heat Stuff 

The 20MP camera is great, but not as good as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6. In general, the performance of the phone is good enough for anything you throw at it. And the battery life is good enough unless you’re a power user with lots of 3G usage.

The best part, of course, is the water resistance. We took it in the shower and could use it perfectly. We took it out in the rain and could use it perfectly. Water is not a problem for the phone.

Sony has also outfitted a few shock-resistant caps on the four corners. While the gesture is great, it makes the handset look cheap. Everyone we showed the Z3+ to commented on how those caps stood out against an otherwise good-looking phone. On two separate occasions, people said the exact same words: “That looks ugly for 56 grand!”

There’s a lot of bloatware on the Android Lollipop handset, most of which are Sony’s proprietary apps and apps of their TV channels in India. Most of these can be uninstalled, so it’s not a big deal. In fact, Google apps are the ones you can’t uninstall here, along with Asphalt 8.

The only other quibble anyone could have is that the screen isn’t QHD—Sony has stuck with a Full HD 1920×1080 pixels screen. Honestly, that difference in a 5-inch screen isn’t noticeable enough for it to matter, so don’t bother about it.

Should you buy it?

Sometimes, you don’t need to read a long, 2,000-word review to know whether you should buy a phone. The Xperia Z3+ asks a high price (Rs 55,990) but won’t give you state-of-the-art hardware. It isn’t a default winner in any one aspect compared to competitors. The heating problems are annoying, especially when you realise Sony is well aware of them. The Z3+ is just not worth it. Don’t buy it.

If you actually want a decent water-resistant phone, you might want to consider the Samsung Galaxy S5 instead, which is one of the featured picks in our round-up of phones with a great price drop.

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