In short: The Sony Xperia XZ3, announced at IFA back in early September, is now available for purchase in the US. The Sony Xperia XZ3 is available in three colors: black, forest green and white silver. Sony outfitted the Xperia XZ3 with an OLED display, which is the first time an Xperia smartphone has had an OLED panel. This is actually a p-OLED panel, so it is likely being made by LG. There is a 6-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440 resolution) display here, and it is also curved. So that the display actually melts into the sides of the device, making the device actually feel smaller than it is, and look nicer as well. Internally, the Xperia XZ3 has all of the specs that you would expect from a 2018 flagship. That includes a Snapdragon 845 chipset, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is also a micro SD card slot available for expanding storage on the Xperia XZ3, for those that might need a bit more storage on their device. That is all powered by a 3300mAh capacity battery.
Sony’s Xperia XZ3 is more than just the specs though. There’s a lot more to this device than just that. Sony not only drastically improved the display here, but they also kept the stereo front-facing speakers – all without doing a notch, take that Pixel 3 XL. The bezels here are still pretty sizable, but compared to other Sony smartphones, they are actually quite small. Sony touts that these speakers are now larger, thus provide even better sounding and louder audio for watching movies and playing games. Speaking of playing games, Sony took the vibration motor from its DualShock 4 controllers and put it in the Xperia XZ3 (it was also in the Xperia XZ2 earlier this year), so you’re getting some really good vibration here, which enhances the gaming experience and multimedia consumption as well. Of course, we can’t forget about the fact that Sony has Android 9 Pie running on the Xperia XZ3, making it one of the few devices that have launched with Android Pie pre-installed (only other devices to do this are the newly announced Huawei Mate 20 series, and the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL). Sony’s skin is also pretty light, so you’re getting an almost stock Android experience here.
There’s also a 19-megapixel camera on the back of the Xperia XZ3, like Google, Sony is also sticking with just one camera on the back of its smartphones. This sensor is a pretty good one, and does provide some great looking images. It has also been used on the past few Sony flagships. But a feature that this camera has that others don’t, is the ability to do 3D pictures. So it can take a 3D scan of an object or even yourself, and create a 3D picture that you could use in a video game, like Grand Theft Auto. Obviously this isn’t a feature that you are going to use all the time, but it is still pretty neat to have, to say the least. Sony also has a fingerprint sensor around back now, just below the camera. It’s no longer in the power button, so it will actually work in the US.
Background: Sony likes to release two flagships each year, and they usually aren’t big upgrades over each other, and that’s because they are only about six months apart. The smartphone industry does move fast, but not quite that fast. However, this time around, the Xperia XZ3 is a much bigger upgrade over the Xperia XZ2. Which makes it more of a worthwhile purchase, especially seeing as it does have that OLED display here, which Sony says is one of the best on the market – though the Pixel 3 XL currently has the best display, according to DisplayMate.
In the past, Sony has been pretty slow to offer its devices in the US. This was likely partly due to the fact that it was only offering them unlocked and not through any carriers. In other markets, that’s not a big deal, but in the US it basically means that your phone won’t sell well. In the US, many still head to their carriers to buy a new phone, whether that’s in person or on their website. And most unlocked smartphones do not work on all of the US carriers – largely skipping out on Sprint and Verizon due to them being CDMA. Sony used to take months to bring their devices to the US, launching their “current” flagship about a month before the next flagship is being announced. Which caused a lot of people to not buy it, and wait for the next big thing. Now, Sony is launching smartphones in the US within a few weeks of Europe and India, which is a big improvement, and definitely necessary.
Impact: The Xperia XZ3 is now available for $899. And unfortunately, the offer to get the Xperia Ear Duo for free expired when pre-orders ended yesterday, so you won’t be able to get the Xperia XZ3 and Xperia Ear Duo for $899, which was a really incredible deal. Especially considering the Xperia Ear Duo are $279 by themselves. But you can still purchase the Xperia Ear Duo in black, forest green and white silver. All three have a black front, and that has been the new trend the past couple of years, likely because of more companies pushing mobile virtual reality using your smartphone, and black bezels makes it easier for to not get distracted while using your phone for virtual reality.
Surprisingly, the Xperia XZ3 is not certified to work on Verizon. This is a surprise seeing as other Sony smartphones have worked on Verizon in the past, leaving Sprint as the only carrier that its smartphones didn’t work on. But for the Xperia XZ3, we’re looking at just AT&T and T-Mobile support. Of course, MVNO’s that run on those networks will also be supported. That includes Straight Talk, Simple Mobile Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket and others. It’s the vast majority of carriers in the US, but unfortunately the largest carrier is left out. That’s not a huge surprise, seeing as this only being sold as unlocked. It also wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Verizon announce today or later this week, that the Xperia XZ3 is compatible with its network. You can pick up your Xperia XZ3 from Amazon using the links below.