It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally been given the successor to the Sony Xperia Z3. But considering some of the high-end smartphones that we’ve seen make their way onto the market this year, how will the Xperia Z3+ stand out from the crowd?

We’re going to take a look at Sony’s latest flagship smartphone to let you know if it’s worth investing in, or if it’s better off left far away from your online shopping basket. So, if you’re in the market for a new phone this summer, we should be able to give you the skinny on whether the Z3+ should be on your mind.

Traditional Sony Design

Given a line-up of all of Sony’s flagship phones, it’s quite tricky to spot many differences between any of them. This same style is once again being implemented with the Z3+ as well, continuing Sony’s ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach.

But whilst there might not be any differences at first glance, if you give the Z3+ a closer inspection, you should be able to spot a couple of alterations.

The first change comes in the build of the phone itself, which is downsized from 7.3mm to 6.9mm. This might not seem like too much of a difference, but once you get to compare both phones it certainly makes for a new feel. It definitely comes across less clunky and more manageable, and its edges don’t feel nearly as intrusive during general use.The other change which definitely makes the Z3+ a more refined effort from Sony is the loss of the flap over the MicroUSB slot. We might seem a bit picky for rating this so highly, but this makes for a much more user-friendly feel, and gets rid of the tedious opening and closing every time we need to recharge. Also, despite getting rid of this, the IP68 rating still sticks around, so kudos to Sony for that one.

Other than this it’s business as usual on the Z3+, with the glass panel design being offered up in white, black, copper or aqua green. All of them rock scratch resistant glass, with identical button placement to the Z3.

Upgraded Xperia Z3+ Specs

The majority of the Z3+ changes do come under the hood, bringing an improved experience over the Z3. The real question for the new Sony phone however, is whether it can realistically compete with some of the other flagship spec sheets which have reared their heads of late.

The initial signs aren’t that promising from Sony, with a 5.2” 1080p TRILUMINOS display being good, but not great – with QHD quality nowhere to be seen. It does redeem itself with the Snapdragon 810 chipset and octa-core processor, which is more than equal to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9.

Another nice touch comes with the internal storage, which starts at 32GB. This means that we won’t be left wanting with a 16GB version of the phone, which nowadays simply isn’t enough storage for any self-respecting smartphone user. 3GB RAM is also included as standard, and is in keeping with the industry standard at flagship level.

The only area which has seen a slight fall compared to the older version of the Xperia phone is on the battery front – probably because of the slimming of the handset. It drops from the 3100mAh mark from the Z3 down to 2930mAh, although in terms of general performance we should get fairly similar results.

Sony certainly hasn’t brought many changes to its smartphone camera line since it first introduced its 20.7 megapixel snapper back on the Xperia Z1. As expected it’s the very same lens which makes an appearance on the Z3+, and it still continues to perform diligently.

The front side of the phone does see an improvement, more than doubling from the 2.2 megapixel effort from the Z3 to 5 megapixels this time around. This ups the quality of selfies and video calls to a true flagship level, helping it compete with even the biggest names in the smartphone camera market.

All of Sony’s camera apps also join in once again, with apps like AR Effect, Timeshift Burst and Superior Auto all intact and pre-installed. Of course, Sony’s very own Xperia UI also brings a new twist on the viewfinder, giving users a smooth and simple experience despite all of the complex goings on behind the scenes.

Xperia Z3+: Hit or Miss?

Compared to the previous Sony effort, the Z3+ should be considered more evolution than revolution, but this isn’t to say that it’s not a worthwhile upgrade. The design changes are subtle but effective, and with a bevy of new specs being packed in, you won’t be struggling in terms of performance. Finally, with the trusty camera set-up on board which we’ve all come to love, you’re guaranteed to get some good quality snaps from it as well!

Whether it can compete with some of the big timers on the smartphone market is yet to be discovered, but it looks promising for the Xperia Z3+ right now…