Fast and loud
Sony packed the Xperia Z3v with a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. It's one of the fastest mobile chips on the market right now, so you won't have to worry too much about app slowdowns and gaming lag. I have no means of knowing what it is like after six months of use, but the interface seems light enough that it won't bog down the system.
Beginning November 2014, after the PlayStation 4 gets a software update, the Xperia Z3v will support Remote Play. This will essentially enable you to play PlayStation 4 games on the device over Wi-Fi, like the PS Vita does now. You'll also be able to purchase a DualShock controller mount for the device to complete the console-like gaming experience. I couldn't test this ability at the time of review, but when the feature is officially out we'll have a full run-through for you.
The Xperia Z3v's mobile gaming experience is made better by the fact that the device is equipped with ample front-facing stereo speakers, which sound just as good at the HTC One's — I really appreciate that manufacturers are paying more attention to a smartphone's external audio abilities as much as everything else. I streamed the BBC World Broadcast via TuneIn radio in my living room the other night and could hear it perfectly as I moved throughout the house, cleaning things and whatnot.
The Z3v's battery life, on the other hand, is about average for a high-powered smartphone with a high definition display. If you tend to switch between streaming music, snapping photos, and incessantly refreshing your Twitter feed, the 3,200mAh will get you through most of the day — at least until you get home from work. It does much better on standby, when you're hardly interacting with it, at which it lasted about two days before I saw a significant drop in battery percentage.
Ambitious, but inconsistent camera performance
If you're in the market for a phone that doubles as a camera, the Xperia Z3v is worth your consideration. It has a physical camera button, which makes the smartphone actually feel like a camera and helps inspire spontaneous snapping sessions. Its 20.7-megapixel camera sensor also takes some very impressive photos where there's ample lighting. The controls are also easy to use — all you have to do is fire up the camera app and the software will automatically adjust the settings for you. There are plenty of shooting modes, like a Manual mode, a Multi-camera mode, and even 4K video recording. If you're really into camera features, you can download more from Sony's little pop-up plug-in page.
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