Historically, Sony’s Z series of flagship phones have been conspicuously absent from the U.S. market. Yes, the Xperia Z1 was available as the Z1s on T-Mobile, but the Z2 never made its way to U.S. shores (although it did show up on one carrier in Canada).
While the new Xperia Z3, which is already available in Europe, will be coming to T-Mobile later this fall, there haven’t been any Sony phones on one of the bigger U.S. carriers like AT&T and Verizon. Today Sony changes that with the announcement of the new Xperia Z3v smartphone, a Verizon exclusive coming on October 23 for $200 on a 2-year contract.
At the event, Kunimasa Suzuki, EVP of Sony Mobile, took to the stage and talked about how the U.S. market is tough and how Sony is renewing its commitment to it with today’s announcement. He said that there is a big difference between good and great, and that people should ‘demand great’; Sony's new offering with Verizon fulfills that demand. He said that today’s Verizon announcement demonstrated its commitment to the U.S. consumer – let’s hope that this commitment goes beyond one carrier soon, though!
Jeff Dietel from Verizon then came on stage to announce the Sony Xperia Z3v, which is the follow-up to the new relationship Verizon started with Sony when it launched the Xperiz Z2 LTE tablet earlier this year. Along with the phone, Verizon will be carrying a full suite of accessories, including the $250 Sony Smartwatch 3 (which will run Android Wear).
The last part of the presentation concerned Playstation 4 streaming, which is already available on the Playstation Vita and Playstation TV. It will be coming to all Z3 phones, including the Z3v in November, and they will be the only phones that support this feature.
The Xperia Z3v, while being called a Z3, in fact looks more like a Z2. It doesn’t have the rounded sides and rubber bumper corners of the Z3, but at the same time it isn’t exactly like the Z2, since the covers over the ports have been redesigned. This is to facilitate the new level of dust and water resistance – the Z3v is IP65/68 rated, making it the most waterproof phone currently on the market. The Z3v can be continuously immersed in up to 3m of water.
One cool accessory that they showed today at the event was a mount that allows you to attach the Z3v to a Dualshock 4 controller when you use it with Playstation 4 Remote Play.
The Z3v has an updated 5.2-inch Full HD (1080p) Triluminos display that is brighter than the screen in the Z2, with a maximum brightness of 500 nits. Internally it has the tried-and-tested Snapdragon 801 SoC, like so many other flagship Androids, but it is the 2.46 GHz AC version. The Z3v has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, and a 3,200 mAh battery.
One exclusive feature of the Z3v is that is supports wireless Qi charging, something no other Xperia phones have. The camera hardware is unchanged from the Z2, being a 20.7 MP sensor with a Sony G Lens, but there are new camera shooting modes. It runs Android 4.4.4. with an updated Sony UI, with the larger icons of the Google Now launcher.