Sony Xperia Z3
Few months back I decided to upgrade from HTC Desire 820 to a new phone. I was growing impatient for HTC to upgrade OS to Android 5.0 (Lollipop). It’s going to be a year and there is no sign HTC is going to offer an upgrade for HTC Desire 820, without the upgrade the 64 bit features of the processor are not enabled, as a result the battery life of the device is poor. Charge runs out by evening after doing a full charge in the morning. This meant I have to shop for a new phone, I wanted a phone that is not huge (around 5 inches and no phablets) has good camera, Android Lollipop OS, most important a large enough battery to have charge last for a day.
After much search I went with Sony Xperia Z3 from Snapdeal.com for Rs.38,990 in end of May ’15. Removing the device from box I was immediately able to upgrade to Android 5.0, few weeks back it upgraded automatically to Android 5.1.1. At 5.2 inches the screen is at a comfortable size, not huge, not small. The IPS LCD display has a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels and 424 ppi, the screen is quite readable in outdoor sunlight, I mostly keep the settings around 50% brightness. The phone is waterproof, which means a tradeoff of having to open/close a small flap covering the MicroUSB charger port on the left top. The phone is not heavy at 152grams. The front camera takes reasonable quality selfies, the rear camera at 20 megapixels takes some lovely photos on good light.
The phone has a MicroSD slot that supports additional storage upto 128GB, a big advantage over phones that don’t. It supports all popular 2G/3G/4G frequencies. It has NFC support, useful for supporting Google Cardboard. There seems to be few unwanted apps from Sony like Sony LIV, Sony Music that you can’t remove, but none of them are bloatware. I liked Sony’s default Phone, Mail (supports Office 365), Music, Video and Camera Alarm apps. For SMS I replaced with Google Messenger, Calendar with Google Calendar, Notes with Google Keep, Browser with Google Chrome and for Pictures with QuickPic (my favourite). For connecting to my car’s bluetooth and read out messages I like the Sony’s Smart Connect app that’s extensively customizable. I liked the Sony Bridge for Mac software for the Mac that allows you to sync media from iTunes and iPhotos to the smartphone.
The best part of the phone is the battery life, I was able to get over one of half days without the need to charge. On a routine basis, after 24 hours from last charge, the phone typically had at least 35% charge left, this is with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G ON; quite extraordinary when compared with flagship smartphones from other OEMs. At it’s price point I recommend this smartphone from Sony.
If you are using Office 365 for your emails, calendars and contacts like I am, you need to do manual configuration in Accounts-Exchange Activesync. You need the servername as m.outlook.com instead of Auto configuration. Full instructions are here.
Update September 2015:
I am pleased with regular Android OS and Firmware updates from Sony. Just today I got a new update from Sony with new features.