TAKE random snapshots of everyday life—at the airport, in cafes and restaurants, in a barbershop—and it is more than likely that not a few of these will bear the irony of how wireless technology has made us tethered to wires more than ever before, as we feed this beast that has become seemingly indispensable in our everyday life the food it devours insatiably.
We are, of course, talking about the mobile phone—the smartphone in particular, the use and abuse of which invariably have us reaching for its charger to plug into power outlets, lest our smartphone runs out of juice well before the end of the day because, hell, that will certainly drive us nuts, right? (Seriously, what news or update could be so personally life-altering that you need to check into your various social-media accounts every three minutes?)
To further ameliorate this collective fear, a sub-industry in the tech landscape has flourished, one devoted to providing us with so-called power banks that can store enough power to light up a home—and never mind if carrying one around is guaranteed to give you some seriousness soreness in your back or shoulder or arm—along with replacement batteries that make your once-svelte and sexy smartphone look like a progeny of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Forget about the so-called killer app. What smartphone vendors need to bring to their offerings is a killer battery.
Apparently, Sony Mobile—a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. that is behind the company’s smartphone and tablet offerings—has realized as much. For its latest flagship, the Xperia Z3—along with its compact twin, the Xperia Z3 Compact—Sony has fused the enhanced Battery Stamina Mode app, a power-saving technology that turns off background functions when you’re not using them to help extend your battery life.
Even better, Sony has gone beyond software to ensure that its Xperia Z3 has the necessary juice to let you leverage all the wireless communications goodness the company has brought to its premier smartphone offering. The Z3 packs a built-in 3100 mAh battery, which, according to the spec sheet from Sony, provides a standby time of up to 920 hours, talk time of up to 16 hours, music-listening time of up to 130 hours, and video-playback time of up to 10 hours.
That’s a lot of hours of claimed battery life based on tests manufacturers typically do in controlled, non-real world environments. From our own typical daily usage—that would include intermittent data usage to check on e-mail, web sites, a few of social-media accounts and news aggregators, and to post the occasional photo online; music playback, catching up with an episode or two of Madam Secretary and How to Get Away With Murder, and working hard our SMS application of choice (the fabulous new Messenger app from Google, of course)—our Sony Xperia Z3 review unit lasted nearly two days on a single full charge. And, mind you, we didn’t even have Stamina mode on (an Ultra Stamina mode is available).
Those two days of usage is even more impressive when you factor in the Xperia Z3’s 5.2-inch display—an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that reproduces 16 million colors at a 1080 x 1920 resolution and a 424 ppi pixel density. It is one of the most dazzling displays to be found on a smartphone, with color accuracy and contrast that will please even exacting connoisseurs of all kinds of visual media. Even better, the issue of poor viewing angles that dogged the original Xperia Z and Z1, and which the Z2 had already rectified, is absolutely non-existent on Sony’s new flagship smartphone even when used outdoors. (We must say, however, that this particular issue was a non-issue to us. Really, how many times do you peruse your smartphone at angles beyond full frontal?)
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU with an Adreno 330 GPU, plus 3GB RAM, 16GB flash memory (user-available memory can be expanded via the microSD card slot that can read and write to cards packing as much as 128GB of memory) and a 4G LTE modem, the Sony Xperia Z3 runs on Android V4.4.4 (or KitKat; it will be easily upgradeable to V5, or Lollipop, according to Sony officials) straight out of the box, allowing you to do plenty of work and play at the office or whenever mobile. The smartphone’s design continues the company’s award-winning OmniBalance aesthetic, while introducing refinements that not only improve usability, but also please the eyes even more. Not only have Sony’s designers rounded out the corners of this flagship from its predecessors’ sharp angularity but the sides have also been softened with just a whisper of roundness to make the Z3 sit and feel even better in the hand.
Of course, like its immediate predecessors, the Xperia Z3 boasts of the highest waterproof and dustproof certifications, and packs a 20.7-megapixel camera with autofocus and a dedicated shutter button that, with a press, allows you to quickly wake up the phone for a quick snap without ever having to unlock the screen and/or launch the camera app. Also noteworthy is that Sony has widened the camera’s lens, which means you can now, say, fit more people in the frame for that insufferable wacky group shot; and also cranked up the ISO rating to a nothing-to-sneeze-at 12,800 max. And, yes, 4K video recording is still available (just make sure your memory card has plenty of room, as 4K video recording gobbles up memory like there’s no tomorrow).
Besides the excellent battery life, the improved aesthetics and the jacked-up solid imaging features, Sony has also introduced even more voodoo magic to the Xperia Z3 that just about closes the deal for us—and this would be support for High-Resolution Audio, or Hi-Res Audio, which might as well be a showcase of the company’s rich history in audio technology. Sony calls it “ground-breaking DSEE HX technology [that] ‘upscales’ the fidelity of your existing MP3 or AAC music collection,” providing you with an incredibly rich aural experience, especially when you use the Xperia Z3 with “Hi-Res headphones, such as Sony’s new MDR-1A range.”
Just another ploy by Sony to have you buying pricier audio accessories for your Xperia Z3? Perhaps, but we must say that, after sampling the dreamy and delicious reworking of Donna Summer’s dance classic “Hot Stuff”—the Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper As Director’s Cut Signature Mix, from the tribute album Love to Love You Donna (go buy it!)—on the Z3 and then on a rival’s flagship smartphone that shall remain unidentified, using the in-ear headphones that came with the rival’s, the difference in audio quality was quickly apparent, with the Z3 providing a richer audio experience with deeper bass and a warmer sound. Using the in-ear headphones that came with our own Xperia Z2—the Z3 comes with your standard-issue earbuds—on the Z3 and then on the rival’s flagship, the difference was even more startling.
In its review of the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact, The Verge.com’s Vlad Savov said there’s “no other phone like it on the market today.” Given our own joyous experience with Sony’s latest flagship, we can’t help but wholeheartedly agree.
To know more about the Sony Xperia Z3, which is being offered exclusively by Smart Communications through various postpaid plans (see: tinyurl.com/p6gs3uq), visit http://www.sony.com.ph/.