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Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact rumor roundup and preview: more of the same?

Normally, we’d not even dare tackle potentially game-changing Android devices such as Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Z1 Compact sequels collectively, in just one preview post, sending the message they’re not really important as standalone products. No matter how little we know (as in truly know) about them, and how distant their releases may seem.

Xperia Z2 Z1 Compact

After all, the Z1 Compact remains to this day the single most disruptive mini-flagship the mobile world has ever seen, and the Z2… oh, if only Sony had launched it earlier. Wider. With stronger marketing.

But sadly, based on the fairly credible rumors floating around these past few months and increasing in intensity the last week or so, I’m afraid the Xperia makers are leaving us no choice. The purported Z3 and Z3 Compact look like the kind of pithy, unnecessary spin-offs that even Samsung head honchos would reject as way too similar to previous spearheads.

Sony Xperia Z3

More of the same? The clichéd idiom can’t begin to encompass the frustration and stupefaction Sony fans will feel if the Z3/Z3 Compact pair materializes in the form so far speculated and authenticated by a bundle of legit-looking live photos. But let’s start from the beginning:

Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact preview – the why

Look, I get times are a-changing and all, and rolling out a high-end bad boy every 12 months doesn’t cut it anymore. I understand the advertising angle, and once in a blue moon, a, say, six-month upgrading cycle makes sense from a development and innovation standpoint as well.

Xperia Z3

But we’ve reached a point where even Qualcomm, the king of swift updates, is hitting the brakes until the “next big thing” is here. As in, you know, 64-bit processing power, which will become available on a wide scale for Androids in the first half of 2015.

Of course, speed and performance isn’t all about chips, however we’re not seeing worthwhile improvements in the display, camera, battery or memory departments on the horizon either. Unless you count Quad HD screen resolution as a worthwhile improvement. Which is not.

Xperia-Z3-slim

Bottom line, the why of the equation, the logic of Sony’s haste to replace the Z3 and Z3 Compact with something (barely) better is hard to find. Wait, I got it. Everyone else is following the same strategy, so why not Sony? Yeah, no, that ain’t going to boost profits and prominence in the long haul.

Z3/Z3 Compact rumor roundup – the when

In a nutshell, timing is the least mysterious thing about an overall perplexing duo of top-notch smartphones. There’s no smoke without fire, no churning of the rumor mill sans reason, and the magic 8-ball says September. 2014. Full stop.

Xperia Z2 introduction

Both for the Z3 and Z3 Compact. Both for their formal announcements and commercial rollouts. Makes little to no sense, but let’s just go with it, mmkay?

Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact – the how and the what

Close your eyes, free your mind, and let’s play a little word association game. I’m going to spit out a few specs, and you’ll write down the first gizmo that pops up in your brain. Quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3 GB RAM, Full HD display, 20.7 MP rear-facing camera. Got it? How many of you have the Z2? Everybody?

That was to be expected, yet I was actually thinking of the Xperia Z3. And in case you’re wondering how it is any different from the Z2, well, the S801 inside the “next-gen flagship” is clocked at 2.5 GHz, not 2.3. Are… you… frigging… kidding us, Sony? That’s it? A whole 0.2 GHz upgrade just for us? No extra megapixels, no 4 GB RAM, not even a gimmicky boost to a 2,560 x 1,440 pix res panel? Forget it, no one will be buying.

Xperia Z3 system

To add insult to injury, the exterior is refined at best, with slightly slimmer bezels, more rounded corners (though you need a magnifying glass to see the contrast), and dual front-facing speakers. No one knows for sure how large the screen will be, but my guess is it’s going to be a 5.5 incher capable of fitting in the old chassis that only allowed a 5.2-inch usable piece of glass inside. Big whoop.

Now, granted, we don’t have the full picture yet, and key pieces of the puzzle (battery, storage, sensors) are missing. But by the looks of it, Sony needs an entirely new puzzle.

Xperia Z1 Compact

The Z3 Compact? Despite what the name suggests (a two-generation step forward compared to the outstanding Z1 Compact), the “unapologetic” high-end midget rumored at this time is an upgrade just as disappointing as the full-sized Z3.

Namely, we’re allegedly looking at a 4.5 incher with 720p display res, quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC, 2 GB RAM, 20.7 MP main photographic unit and, of course, Android 4.4 KitKat running the software show. Sooo, a slightly larger Z1 Compact with an infinitesimal speed bump and, likely, a wee bit of added battery juice. Facepalms, facepalms everywhere.

The what the f…, Sony?

I can’t stress enough we might be getting worked up over nothing, and the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact could end up as the game-changing phones we once envisioned. Or they may simply not be real. Not like this, and not headed for market this fall.

Xperia Z2 G Lens

But if they are all the tipsters claim, then Sony has some serious soul-searching to do. Question one on the agenda: are we in this business to mindlessly mimic others or set the pace at which others will follow? Food for thought, eh?