Sony has just taken the wraps off of the Xperia XZ3, its latest flagship smartphone at IFA 2018, And while Sony is positioning this as its latest and greatest smartphone, it’s hard to look at the XZ3 and not feel like its just an iterative update on the XZ2 that it released earlier this year.
The differences on the surface are scant. The biggest change is the display: the XZ3 offers a larger 6-inch 2880 x 1440 OLED panel at an 18:9 aspect ratio, instead of the XZ2’s 5.7-inch, 2160 x 1080 LCD display. The XZ3 has a slightly larger battery too, at 3330 mAh instead of 3180mAh from the XZ2, and will ship with the latest Android 9.0 Pie release.
The rest of the base hardware on the other hand seems to be virtually identical: a Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a fingerprint reader on the back, and a curved glass design. The cameras are mostly the same — a 19-megapixel rear camera, capable of 4K HDR videos and 960fps slow motion, although the front-facing selfie camera has been bumped up to a 13-megapixel sensor with a couple of new 3D face-scanning tricks.
Instead, Sony is touting new AI features as the standout for the XZ3. There’s a new Side Sense function, where tapping the side of the phone will bring up a new, contextual menu filled with apps to open based on predictions for what you’ll be using next. There’s also a Smart Launch feature that detects when you’re holding the phone up horizontally for a picture and automatically launches the camera app.
Are these all nice upgrades over the XZ2? Sure. But it makes me question why Sony felt the need to release both of these nearly identical phones just months apart in the first place.
The Xperia XZ3 is set to go on sale in October for £699 / $900.