Facing cut throat competition, Sony Xperia XZ3 smartphone plays aesthetic trump card

posted on Saturday, 6th October 2018 by Chris Jenkins

Industrial design  Smartphone 

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It’s a given of recent mobile phone technology that manufacturers have almost reached the limits of the features which can be packed into a pocket-sized device. With each new model it becomes harder to think of a new ‘killer app’. On the design side, though, there’s still cut-throat competition to come up with the most visually stunning devices, often utilising new materials and manufacturing techniques to get an edge on competitors.
 
Sony’s flagship Xperia XZ3 smartphone, now available on all major UK networks, has a stunning six-inch 18:9 format QHD+ HDR OLED display with a curved 3D glass design seamlessly blends the display into the slim phone body. It’s designed to fit perfectly in the hand, but also makes a stunning visual impression.
 
Sony Xperia XZ3

All the expected technology is present and correct; Android 9 operating system, 4Gb RAM, high contrast HDR display with 1440 x 2880 pixels resolution, Gorilla Glass screen protector, Dynamic Vibration System and S-Force Front Surround Sound speakers designed for entertainment applications, a 19MP main camera and 13MP front camera.
 
The camera app is launched automatically when the phone is turned horizontal, and features 4K HDR Movie recording, and Full HD 960FPS Super Slow Motion. Other features include Bluetooth streaming of near hi-res audio, water and dust resistance, and long-lasting 3330mAh battery.
 
But it’s the design which is the most immediately striking element for us. Built on a 3mm aluminium frame, the XZ3 has little in the way of visible controls and ports; essentially it’s borderless and seamless. The fingerprint sensor sits on the back, so the phone can be unlocked without a hand movement.

Xperia XZ3_Group _Back _Horizontal Crop

A double tap on either side of the device immediately displays favourite apps, so you shouldn’t have to scroll through a selection, and there’s no headphone port. There is, though, a physical camera button, as well as a SIM card/microSD card tray that can be removed without a SIM eject pin, and a lone USB-C port. A 3.5mm-to-USB-C dongle is supplied in the package.
 
Unlike flagship models from Apple and Huawei, the Sony XZ3 doesn’t feature a rectangular ‘notch’ in the top of the display to allow for face-unlocking technology. Instead it has a fully rectangular OLED with curved edges and rounded corners, similar to current Samsung designs.

Compared to its predecessor the XZ2, the new model is smoother, with the display’s glass flowing over the edge to create a more natural look and feel, adding more curved corners, and reducing the size of the top and bottom bezels. The result is 11 per cent more viewing area when compared to the Xperia XZ2, while only being five per cent larger physically. Unfortunately the shiny gloss backplate will undoubtedly be a fingerprint nightmare.
 
Measuring 73x158x9.9mm and weighing 193g, the XZ3 is available in black, white/silver, forest green and Bordeaux red.
 
Clearly, while the technical spec is top-class, just as much effort if not more has been put into making this product look as good as it can; as mobile phone technology reaches its limits, the cutting edge design is now around the aesthetics of a device perhaps even more than its technology.

Chris Jenkins

Inside ID contributor Chris Jenkins is a freelance technology and industry journalist working for a wide range of consumer and B2B magazines and websites

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