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The Sony Xperia Z3+ finally goes official, here’s our hands-on review

Japan already has Sony’s Xperia Z4, but now the UK (and the rest of the world) has its own version: the Sony Xperia Z3+. Here’s the full Xperia Z3+ specs and our first review with the new handset, which is a bit of a bump over the Z3.

The Sony Xperia Z3+ we fondled was noted to be a prototype, but the feel, fit and finish would have had you fooled. To look at, the DNA of this phone’s most recent predecessor (the Xperia Z3) is present in abundance, with Sony’s characteristic OmniBalance design language taking the form of a svelte glass and metal handset.

Z3+ plus front Z3+ plus back

The smooth metal frame that we’ve come to appreciate on top-tier Sony phones adopts a shiny finish on the Xperia Z3+, adding a touch of extra lustre to the Xperia family’s already premium material choices. Practically speaking this does make the phone a little more slippery, but the look is striking and we’d be willing to take extra caution when handling this thing to enjoy its improved aesthetics.

Sony’s Xperia Z3+ still supports the microSD expandability of previous flagships and once again keeps the battery away from prying fingers, but the exposed microUSB port that we most recently encountered on Sony’s new midrange M4 Aqua now also makes a welcome appearance. That makes this phone markedly more convenient to charge, whilst still retaining IP65/68 water and dust resilience of other top Xperias.

If you’re after a slim phone, the Xperia Z3+ is one of Sony’s thinnest devices ever, dipping below the 7mm mark (6.9mm) and giving it the same profile as an iPhone 6. It’s lighter in the hand too at just 144 grams.

Screen

Media-wise Sony has stuck with a 5.2-inch Triluminos Full HD display like its predecessor, as opposed to joining the likes of LG and Samsung in the 4K camp. However, thinner bezels give it a greater sense of style and highlight the improved, slimmed-down bodywork, alongside its improved overall brightness.

Just as with Sony’s new Walkman music players, the Xperia Z3+ supports a number of new high-resolution audio codecs as well, not to mention offers continued support for the company’s noise-cancelling earphones, which has proven to be a pretty unique feature against the competition.

To keep things fresh, the phone’s a little beefier on the inside too, with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of inbuilt storage (alongside microSD card support up to 128GB) and most importantly, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor at its core; you know, the one that caught flack for overheating issues during its initial release.

Whilst the Z3+ will warn you as previous Sony flagships did about select features potentially resulting in overheating, we’re not too worried about the Z3+ exploding in your hand. It felt no warmer in our initial tests versus devices like the HTC One M9, which also boasts an 810 brain. Our only concern is that the Xperia Z3+ may start to slow down after a few weeks of use, like the LG G Flex 2.

Z3+ plus port

Sticking with Qualcomm also grants the Xperia Z3+ Quick Charge 2.0 capabilities (when used with the right charger) for its 2900mAh battery. A tad smaller than the 3100mAh cell in last year’s Z3, but Sony’s confident you’ll still manage two days of standard use, something we weren’t able to test during this initial encounter, but we’ll undoubtedly trial once the phone makes its way in for review.

Optics are as ever top-notch on the Z3+, you’ll find another strong 20.7-megapixel rear camera with a 1/2.3 Sony Exmor RS sensor which can push up to ISO12800 for low-light scenarios and a new Exmor R-based 5-megapixel front facer that like the rear snapper can now enjoy Sony’s Superior Auto shooting mode. Both cameras also boast 25mm wide-angles lenses too.

Imaging software features still include 4K shooting, slow motion capture and a variety of special effects, but a few shooting modes have been expanded with terrifying new AR (Augmented Reality) experiences and even a Gourmet Mode for snapping serious pictures of your dinner – such are the demands of a successful existence on social media these days.

Elsewhere the Android Lollipop user experience features minor visual tweaks and as ever promises support for Remote Play with your PlayStation 3/4, assuming you’ve bought into Sony’s gaming platform too, obviously.

Handheld

Beyond all this, the intricacies of the Sony Xperia Z3+ will remain a mystery until will really road test the phone in a full review (coming soon). The phone includes 4G LTE support, NFC and should touch down in June this year.

Read next: Sony Xperia Z3+ vs Xperia Z3: Should I upgrade?

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