Sony announces Z3+: The Z4 for the rest of us.


xperia-z3plus1With LG, HTC, and Samsung (arguably the “Big 3” for the U.S. market in terms of Android phones) have now shown us their hand, there are a handful of lesser known manufacturers getting ready for their mid- to late-year update cycle. Perhaps the biggest of these “lesser” known companies at least for U.S. residents is Sony. While they’ve always been “there” in the smartphone realm, they’ve either gone a generation or two without a timely U.S. release or simply done a poor job at marketing their devices.

But 2015 is a new year. And on the surface to some, the new Z3+ isn’t exactly “new”. But don’t get too disappointed just yet.

While Japan is getting a device marketed and labeled as the Z4, outside of Japan Sony has rebranded it to the Z3+. The Z3+ takes last years Z3 and updates things internally with a Snapdragon 810 octo-core 64-bit CPU, 3 GB of RAM, 2,900 mAh battery and the same IP65/68 dust/water proofing as the outgoing Z3 despite the fact that it has an open and cover-less microUSB charging/syncing port. Physically speaking, the Z3+ is 6.9mm vs. last year’s Z3 which was 7.3mm. Camera buffs: The 20.7 megapixel camera sensor is unchanged from the Z3 as is the 5.2-inch 1080p display.

Again, on the surface it may be a bit underwhelming what Sony has provided this time around with the Z3+. But as Apple has done, Sony stuck with a good design and updated/tweaked some things that end users complained about. Now, whether or not you’re a fan of this thin, slab, square-like design is subjective and up for endless debate. Nonetheless, we have to say, we’re intrigued at least. Sony does make top notch hardware as far as build quality is concerned. On top of that, they manage to include microSD card support (up to 128 GB) as well as a coverless USB port while also maintaining usable (real-world) water and dust proofing all in a phone design that is very much anti-rugged in appearance. On top of that, Sony has managed to not get too heavy handed with their UI as of late, allowing a good chunk of stock Lollipop and Material Design guidelines to show through.

For now, no word on exact pricing or release details. Sony is maintaining the Z3+ is a premium device and will be priced accordingly. Translation: look for this to come in on the higher end.

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