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Sony Xperia Z3v review: Verizon gets the exclusive on this Xperia Z2 do-over

Florence Ion | Oct. 24, 2014
You know how you sometimes look back to the past and wish you could have done something in your life differently? Sony sort of pulled the same schtick with its new flagship, the Xperia Z3v. The Xperia Z2 was supposed to be its big flagship phone of the year, but this new phone is making us wonder why it didn't just wait to release this instead.

The Xperia Z3v does get a bit inconsistent when it comes to low-light photography, especially if you're shooting with flash. I took three photos in a row in a dimly lit room with the automatic flash on, and the first two photos were completely blown out.

Also, I wasn't too keen on the green-hued color palette with the flash turned off.

The Z3v's camera performs best when it's out in natural light.

The Xperia Z3v also suffers from bad compression artifacts, wherein neighboring pixels blend together as if they were melted candle wax or something. It's only obvious when you zoom all the way in on a photo, but it could be a problem if you use your phone to capture long-lasting memories that you want to edit later.

Sony's Android: Better than many other skins

The Xperia Z3v runs a skinned version of KitKat. The company has yet to mention when the Lollipop update will rollout. I've already mentioned some of Sony's neat bundled features, like the PlayStation 4 Remote Play and software that lets you adjust the display hardware, but there are a few other apps the phone comes bundled with too, including Albums, Walkman, and Movies. Sony also offers an unlimited subscription service of sorts for its entertainment suite of apps, but as it comes packed alongside the Google suite of apps and Google Play Music's unlimited streaming service it all just feels so redundant.

Sony's Android user interface isn't as intense as LG's or Samsung's, which is nice, but it does come with a few idiosyncrasies that might annoy you — they got to me in just a few days. One of the most notable is the way that the Xperia interface handles pinning apps to the Home screen — rather than just allowing you to drag the app from the application drawer and then taking you to the Home screen, you have to drag it up until the Add to Home screen module pops up and then place it. However, I do like the little slide-out option panel that exists in the app drawer — it lets you categorize apps to your liking and search for those you just can't seem to locate.

I'm interested to see what Sony does with Android Lollipop and Material Design, especially since its interface aesthetics haven't changed much over the last year and a half or so.

For those who want to be entertained

Overall, Sony's Xperia Z3v is a phone that's more suited for entertainment than some of the other offerings out there because of its direct link to the movie, music, and gaming worlds. Its app offerings may seem redundant, but they're there to remind Android users that Sony is a powerful company with a dozen hands in different pots.


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