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Sony’s Xperia Z series smartphones have garnered plenty of critical acclaim. The only problem is Sony takes forever to release them in the U.S., or just never at all. Partnering with Verizon Wireless, Sony’s created the Z3v, a variant on the flagship Z3 that was announced at IFA last month. We got spend some quick hands-on time with the upcoming Android handset. Here’s our first impressions.

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Specifications

  • Display: 5.2-inch (1920 x 1080 resolution)
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Memory: 3GB
  • Internal storage: 32GB (expandable via microSD card to 128GB)
  • Cameras: 20.7-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • Battery: 3200 MAh
  • Waterproofing
  • Wireless charging: Qi

Design

Sony’s slim Z3v is as good-looking as ever. It’s slightly tweaked from the European version; instead of rounded aluminum, the body is plastic and there’s a metal strip that runs along the side. The front and back are both glass panels and the circle power button on the right side just feel right. The Z3v is IP68 waterproof; Sony says it’s their best waterproof smartphone to date.

Display

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Big screens are here to stay and Sony has to roll with it. The Z3v has a 5.2-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It includes all of the usual Triluminous and X-reality display tech to automatically and intelligently adjust brightness and contrast for great viewing outside. It’s a tack-sharp display.

Camera

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It’s no secret Sony makes the best mobile camera sensors for smartphones. That incredible iPhone camera? It’s made by Sony. The Z3v carries on that tradition with a 20.7-megapixel rear camera, which is powered by an Exmore RS G lens and Bionz processor. Like many other flagship smartphones, the Z3v can record 4K resolution video, too.

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There are also a couple of new software additions, including “Face In”, an app that lets you simultaneously take photos with the front and back camera, a live stream app that lets you broadcast 15 minutes of video to YouTube, and a multi-camera app that captures moments from multiple angles at the same time and collages them together on the display.

High-res Audio

Although apps have largely overtaken digital music sales, Sony’s music heritage lives on. The Z3v plays high-res audio files and has digital noise cancellation. The built-in DSEE HX enhancement will also upscale your low-res MP3s or AAC tunes. Sony says it’s the best audio in a smartphone it’s ever created.

PlayStation 4 Remote Play

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The PlayStation 4 has been a huge success since its launch last year. Sony’s sold over 10 million consoles and now it’s planning to bring the power of its next-gen console to mobile devices. With PS4 Remote Play, gamers can pause their game on PS4 and then resume on the Xperia Z3v via Wi-Fi streaming. The Z3v joins the PlayStation TV and PS Vita as PS4 Remote Play-ready devices.

Pricing and Availability: Verizon Only

The Xperia Z3v will be available on October 23 for $199.99 with a two-year contract in black or white on Verizon Wireless.

First impressions

I’m liking what I’m seeing on the Z3v — the camera, massive battery, and slim design with waterproofing — steal the show, but as with all new devices, I’ll have to reserve judgment until after I’ve had extended time with one. The plastic body irks me out; it’s less premium than the regular Z3, but it’s a compromise in order to get the wireless charging in there.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about , and .

5.2"
  • 1920x1080
  • IPS LCD
  • 424 PPI
20.7 MP
  • f/ Aperture
3200 mAh
  • Non-Removable
  • No Wireless Charg.
3GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 801
  • MicroSD
Price
~$ - Amazon
Weight
170.6 g
Launched in
2014-10-01
Storage (GB)
  • 32
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