A few years ago I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S2 running Android 2.1. I remember how I would constantly brag about the cool Android things it could do, that iOS 5 couldn't even dream of. At night I would cry myself to sleep wishing I had purchased the iPhone instead. Android OS was horribly buggy, certain apps would occasionally (like every other time I used them) totally lock up the phone. Every single time I used anything other than text I would have to make sure the kill the app from running in the background or the phone would get horribly laggy/choppy or sometimes just freeze. But hey...I could turn my wifi on and off with a single swipe and click :-( Phone life was miserable!
I have since entered the iPhone world and all those problems went away. I'm no Apple fanboy, I have zero brand loyalty to any company, I simply buy what suits my needs (and sometimes wants). Prior to taking the plunge into the Galaxy S2 I was the proud owner of a Sony Ericsson W595, the best cell phone I've ever owned. It wasn't a very smart phone...at least not compared to today's standards. But it served me incredibly well and took a hell of a beating. The proprietary Sony connector (in typical Sony fashion) the W595 had, could be seen as a issue, but at the time I was living in Cyprus and Sony actually had a decent market share of phones so it wasn't difficult to find a charger.
After a year of justifying the Galaxy S2 I went full bore iPhone and have since owned the 3G, 4, 4S and 5. I skipped the 5S as I had no compelling reason to upgrade. So I then had a year and a half old iPhone 5 with a battery that was absolute rubbish. So the obvious choice was the iPhone 6 or 6+ but as always....I do a bit of research before buying to see what alternatives there are. I'm not fully vested into the Apple ecosystem when it comes to my phone. Granted between the iPad mini, Macbook Air, Mac Pro and Apple TV, it might appear that I'm balls deep in Apple hardware, but the iPhone is the least dependent on iCloud.
Of course my last altercation with an Android phone left me pretty salty with Android. But it's been over 4 years....things have surely improved.....right?
The best smartphone you've never heard of...
Ok, so if you're reading this, based on the title and how it'll show up in searches, you're already looking for articles on the Xperia Z3. Not many will come across this article in utter shock that Sony still makes cell phones. But the truth of the matter is the Xperia does not get anywhere near the press of Apple and Samsung products.
First thing for me as an Apple user was I needed to build some confidence in Android OS...so off to Jumbo Electronics at the local mall in Dubai. I spent a good 3 hours going from phone to phone simply playing with Android phones....even dabbled with the Nokia-soft phones. I walked away with a new found respect for Android. It still doesn't have as refined of a user experience as iOS.....it's not quite as.....sexy....as iOS.....but it works....and it works damn well. To sum it up....Android has come a long way since I last used it. It has come far enough actually where I can actually say.....the two are completely compatible and it's nothing more than what works for you and what does. If you're really used to iOS, don't fear Android....within a day or two you'll be wizzing around Android like you've been using it all along.
What is most important for me in a cell phone? Battery life.....hands down. I needed a phone that can survive 12 hours of average use without batting an eye. My desk is in a horrible spot that constantly bounces between 3G, Edge and no signal and sucks down batteries. I would often charge my iPhone once or twice during the day just so it would last thru a 12 hour work day. I just want a phone I don't have to keep worrying about. A phone I don't have to to charge at work.
Enter the super sexy Sony Xperia Z3.
Reason Number One: Battery life
The Sony Z3 and Z3 Compact have a truly remarkable battery life everything considered. You can go over and read the Sony press release and spec sheet and search google for a whole bunch of reviews. Of course, nobody can tell you how long any phone will last for YOU. But most all the reviews I read told me the Z3 was the king of all similar smart phones when it comes to battery life. You'll still have to charge it nightly or depending on your usage every other day. But it features many customizable battery saving features named Stamina Mode and Ultra Stamina mode. At this point, I can easily make it thru my work day and this is with being connected to my Moto360 Android Wear watch all day. Last weekend, I went from 10am Saturday to 6am Sunday and had 64% battery left. #fuckingbeast
Reason Number Two: Sony Bridge (iOS peeps rejoice!)
There are other phones out now that have commendable battery life (even the new iPhones6's have improved greatly compared to previous models), but as a person coming over from iOS I was a little bit worried about the transition to Android. There is a way of connecting your iPhone and Xperia together via some cable which I didn't have, and use an app to move everything over. So what other option is there? A beautiful piece of software call Sony Bridge.
I grab my Macbook Air and fire it up...I hadn't previously used iTunes on this computer with my old phone, so Sony Bridge informs me that no iPhone backup can be found and to make one in iTunes and come back. Ok...I fire up iTunes, do a backup and sync and go back to Sony Bridge. Follow a few very easy to follow prompts and off it goes doing it's witchcraft. 30 minutes later, all my music, photos, contacts, old calls, texts are moved over to the Z3. This was so unbelievably painless. My entire call log is there....texts from last year.....everything. And I can pick and choose if I don't want certain things moved over. I can even continue purchasing music on iTunes and sync new downloads to the Z3 via Bridge. Amazing job Sony! I mean really...Sony making good intuitive software that works flawlessly?!? Hats off!
Here's the deal. The overall difference between any particular price class of smart phone is going to be rather minor. The iPhone, Note, Galaxy, LG's offerings and Sony Xperia (and whoever else) are all absolutely fantastic phones that I wouldn't have imagined would exist when I was in high school. It's up to you to figure out what is important to you. Camera? Operating System? Looking cool? Size? Familiarity? Water/dust proof? Speakers? Battery life? Don't buy into the hype of certain brands and see what else is out there.
The Z3 is sleek, fast and sexy. It has a amazing camera that can shoot at high ISO's. It's waterproof up to 5 feet. Makes the transition to Android damn near seamless. Can be charged via a magnetic connector (shame on you Sony for not including). If it's too big for you at 5.2" (it's right between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus), Sony also offers the Z3 Compact which is almost the exact same phone (2gig of ram compared to 3 and a 720p screen compared to 1080p) and is only 4.6".
The biggest negative of the phone is the glass back. While super sexy...it is super slippery as well...grippy cases are available and I think just adding one of those transparent saran wrap like protective skins will help improve the rear grip.
Before you rush out and buy a new phone....give the Sony line-up once over and see if it'll work for you.