15 top reasons the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone is a much better buy now than Apple’s iPhone 6 for business travellers, including an outstanding battery life and improved durability. -updated on 04/10/2014-
At the end of last year, I created a new ‘Lifestyle‘ category on VisibleBanking.com to share my personal thoughts on newly released tech and gadgets which could improve the productivity of my fellow business travellers, social media professionals and digital innovation leaders.
I invite you to check my series of video reviews on the best keyboards for iPad Air.
In this post I will share my initial feedback on my new smartphone, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (16 Gb, Orange model).
You can find the full list of specifications directly on the Sony website.
Spoiler alert: the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the best smartphone I have ever owned.
If I won’t be as detailed here as I was in my comprehensive series of video reviews of best keyboards for iPad Air, I’m aiming to share enough essential information and candid feedback to help you decide if this is also the best mobile phone for you.
This is not a technical review, I just wanted to share with you my selection process and the reasons why the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the best smartphone of 2014 in my opinion.
A bit of background
If I’m not obsessed about them, I still like my tech and gadgets. In terms of mobile phones, I was rather late switching from Blackberry to Apple a few years ago: I had initially ordered the Samsung Galaxy S2, but a few bugs and unsuccessful replacements later I finally opted for the iPhone 4S. And I loved that handset. That is until it stopped working about 18 months later for no valid reason.
Apple asked me for about £140 (and the device!) to replace it with a refurbished iPhone 4S. That’s when I decided once again to give Android a go. I ordered a Samsung Galaxy S4 on Amazon.co.uk, mainly for the removable battery and the camera. I returned it because it was over heating far too often, even just shooting a few photos.
Eventually, I picked up the gorgeous red model of the HTC One (M7, 2013). And I loved this device even more than the iPhone 4S.
So you might wonder why did I decided to buy a new smartphone so soon? I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, and I wanted two excellent mobile phones: one for business (my good old HTC One) and one for personal use.
Those articles take a lot of time to put together: if you found it useful, I’d greatly appreciate a back-link from your blog, a comment here and a mention on twitter (@Visible_Banking) or on LinkedIn.
I’m compelled to mention that if I’m not a fan boy, I really like Apple’s devices: my wife is loving my replacement iPhone 4S (refurbished) and her iPad mini, I love my iPad Air and I recently traded my laptop PC for an Apple MacBook Pro Retina (2013). My level of productivity has improved tremendously thanks to its speed and battery life: it provides a super user experience and I absolutely ADORE it.
So now, you might wonder why I didn’t go for an iPhone 6 or even better, an iPhone 6 Plus? I will tell you why.
My key requirements
I travel a lot as part of my job as a business social media speaker, consultant and practitioner. So battery life is the single most important feature for me. Durability comes a close second.
I usually travel with my iPad Air and possibly my MacBook Pro, so I very rarely watch videos or play resource-demanding games on my mobile phone. So I rate portability much higher than screen size.
I contribute to a lot of events on a monthly if not a weekly basis. Even though I always carry a digital compact camera, I appreciate the ability to shoot good quality photos and short videos with my smartphone. I only take the occasional selfie on stage after one of my public speaking engagements. 😉
Last but not least, I need to be able to both manage my social media profiles efficiently and curate/share content in the most optimised way possible. Android is perfect for that: the apps can communicate between each other. Please note that I still haven’t had the chance to try this new feature of iOS8 on my iPad Air.
Of course, part of me will always love the idea of owning the latest greatest devices, even if realistically I wouldn’t use a tenth of their features and capabilities. Let me illustrate my point: the 240 fps slow-motion video recording on the iPhone 6 looks awesome, but how many times would I personally use it?
I thought about buying the following devices: the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Motorola Moto G LTE (2013) or the Moto G (2014) and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
I invite you to try out the excellent smartphone size comparison tool from PhoneArena.com.
You will find below my personal thoughts on those devices:
- iPhone 6: I was close to buy one on Apple’s launch day, but 1. I wasn’t that impressed when holding it in the Apple store, 2. the battery is still notoriously average, 3. I find it far too pricey for the incremental improvements (bar the screen size)
- iPhone 6 Plus: I won’t talk about #bendgate here. The battery life is promising, but I personally found it far too big for my hand. Once again, I find the price extortionate for the minimal improvements over the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6.
- Samsung Galaxy S5: I was close to buy it for its removable battery and its excellent camera. But my previous experience with Sammy’s flagship devices, the size of the phone and the lack of ‘wow factor’ had me reconsider. I’ve never been a fan of the AMOLED screen and over saturated colours.
- Motorola Moto G LTE (2013): I was that close to buy the 4G model with SD card slot on the cheap. I’d have use it as my work phone and I’d have kept my HTC One for my personal use. I decided it wasn’t as fun as having the latest greatest. Also, there was a risk Motorola wouldn’t update the device’s OS with Google’s upcoming ‘Android L‘.
- Moto G (2014): no 4G model (for now) and the screen is too big for my liking.
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Fifteen Top Features – Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
If this handset is not ‘perfect’, the screen and camera are not necessarily as amazing as the ones on the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus (check out those two insightful videos from the BTekt YouTube channel: screen and camera comparisons), the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is still in my eyes the Best Smartphone of 2014 for business travellers.
Obviously, I’m expecting a large number of Apple fanatics to challenge my views and make sure to prove me wrong. And I invite you all to do so!
Anyhow, you will find below my selection of 15 top features on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact which makes it a better smartphone than the similarly-sized iPhone 6:
Unarguably, the battery on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is simply phenomenal. I invite you to read those articles: ‘Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Delivers Impressive Battery Performance Beating All Rivals in Test’.
The iPhone 6 (64 Gb) costs a whopping £600. I bought my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact on Handtec.co.uk for £347.99, including a car charger and a Roxfit flip case: the customer service was outstanding and the delivery seamless.
- Sd slot
I’m not sure how much space I’ll really need considering my somewhat modest usage, but I’ve already bought this SanDisk 64 GB Class 10 micro SD cart on Amazon.co.uk for £27.65.
- Digital noise cancellation
Sound quality is important to me: for my calls and for my music. I’ve ordered a pair of Sony MDR-NC31EM Digital Noise Cancelling Headset on Amazon.co.uk for £27.95.
Unlike the iPhone 6, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a dedicated camera button and it can records 4k videos (up to 4-5mn). The overall quality of photos and videos is excellent. Nevertheless, I found the front facing ‘selfie’ camera too soft and lacking definition.
The phone is extremely fast with everything you throw at it from flickering through the various menus to browsing through your photos and videos and playing games.
In my opinion, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has the perfect overall size (screen and bezels/frame). I invite you to try out the excellent smartphone size comparison tool from PhoneArena.com.
The built of the phone is not only attractive, but it also feels highly more durable than the iPhone 6 with the materials used and its dust and waterproof certifications. And if I might only shoot a few photos under water maybe once a year, the feature is reassuring when you are on the road a lot.
I’ve always preferred Android’s keyboards and their haptic feedback to the iOS ones. The one on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is fully customisable out of the box. Of course, now iOS8 enable third-party keyboards.
I wanted a more edgy and original smartphone, so I bought the Orange edition of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. It’s also available in green.
- Magnetic charging
OK, Sony’s latest compact smartphone doesn’t support wireless charging, but the next best thing. And I plan to make good use of Sony’s magnetic charging dock available on Amazon.co.uk for £22.89.
- Sony User Interface
I really enjoying Sony’s UI on the Xperia Z3 Compact: it’s simple, fast and close to the ‘Android stock’ experience. It provides me with an excellent level of customisation which iOS8 doesn’t offer.
- Screen video recording
Unarguably, this is a rather uncommon feature that most people won’t need. I personally love the fact that you can capture a video of your screen natively.
- PS4 Remote Play
If I used to be a hardcore gamer 25 years ago, I don’t have time to play anything else than the occasional few rounds of Hearhstone battles on my iPad Air. But the possibility to play PlayStation games on your smartphone will appeal to gamers (with a good eyesight).
If Sony’s ‘Lifelog‘ concept could be perceived as rather intrusive if you are planning to use it to log everything you do from walking, talking to your family and friend up to listening to some music, I’m excited with the potential of pairing my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact with the upcoming Sony SmartBank Talk SWR30 (watch this hands-on video walkthrough).
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: the Best Smartphone of 2014
I spent hours searching online for early reviews and hands-on videos of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. I thought I’d make your life easier by listing the best reviews I could find (in English):
- Something came in the mail today! [Sony Xperia Z3 Compact] on Reddit by ‘VLokkY‘
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review on Pocket Lint (@pocketlint) by Chris Hall (@christhall)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review on PhoneArena (@phonearena)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review on Expert Reviews (@ExpertReviewsUK)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review: What the iPhone 6 Could Have Been on IBTimes (@IBTimesUK)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: best in the mini class on Android Pit (@AndroidPITcom)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: The no-compromise mini on Times of India (@toi_tech)
- Sony Xperia Z3 compact: Android’s answer to iPhone 6 on India Today (@indiatoday)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review [4K] on nDevil TV (@ndeviltv)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review on Digit (@digitindia)
- The best compact Android phone gets a makeover on CNET (@cnet)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review: The Mighty Miniature on NDTV Gadgets (@NDTVGadgets)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review on Clove Technology (@clovetechnology)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review on 4G.co.uk (@4Gcouk)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review (video) on Btekt (@btekt)
- Sony Xperia Z3 review: The best Android device around? on Digital Spy (@digitalspy)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Australian Review on Gizmodo Australia (@GizmodoAU)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: Not your usual suspect on GSM Arena (@gsmarena_com)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: Top-end capability that fits in your pocket on The National
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review on uSwitch (@uSwitchTech)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact proves size truly doesn’t matter as small can prove powerful on TechTimes (@TechTimes_News)
- Sony Xperia Z3 compact review: best small Android phone and iPhone 6 competitor on The Guardian (@guardiantech) -new-
- Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact review on The Verge (@verge) -new-
Here you are: with my article, including the list of reviews, I hopefully helped you to make an informed decision and purchase (or not) the all-arounder Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
Updated: check out those incredible battery stats after 3 days, 20 hours and 32 minutes…
This is a screenshot taken this Sunday morning: I’ve been using my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact extensively since I received it at about 2pm on Thursday. I played with the camera a lot, I called my friends and family, I used a few of my favourite apps like IMDB and Appy Geek… and I confirm that both wifi and 4G were always on, day and night.
I personally found the overall level of performance of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact outstanding and well worth the consideration before buying a nicely built iPhone 6, don’t you think?
I look forward to the next generation of iPhones which will hopefully have a slimmer frame and a longer battery life. And let’s see how successful Apple is with their NFC-based ‘Apple Pay’ payment solution.