Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Xperia XZ2 Premium vs Xperia XZ2: how Sony's phones compare

Sony's best phones from 2018, head-to-head

Sony Xperia XZ2

It's been a big year of smartphone launches from Sony: since the start of the year we've seen the Xperia XZ2, the Xperia XZ2 Premium, and the Xperia XZ3 break cover, each bringing with them better specs and improved designs for the discerning phone buyer.

The differences between these three handsets aren't all immediately obvious, but we've dug deep into the specifications and capabilities of each one to set everything out clearly for you here – if you want to know how to tell them apart, you've come to the right place.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Xperia XZ2 Premium vs Xperia XZ2: design

Sony Xperia XZ2

Sony Xperia XZ2

With each successive phone launch, Sony is slowly edging its way towards a more modern, more bezel-free design, and you can see a small but definite evolution between the XZ2, its successor the XZ2 Premium, and the most recent XZ3.

If you want the best-looking Sony phone of 2018, we'd say go for the Xperia XZ3: it's curved and it's sleek, and the 18:9 display really stands out. Unlike the other two phones, it uses OLED rather than LCD, which means better contrast and more vibrant colours – it really does stand up well to the best phones of the year.

In terms of screen sizes, you've got 5.7 inches on the Xperia XZ2, 5.8 inches on the Xperia XZ2 Premium, and 6.0 inches on the Xperia XZ3, so the phones are getting bigger displays over time. The XZ2 Premium actually has the highest resolution display out of the three though, packing in 3840 x 2160 pixels.

If colours interest you, you lose out with the XZ2 Premium, which is only offered in silver and black. In contrast, the XZ2 is available in black, silver, green and pink, while the XZ3 comes in black, silver white, green and red.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Xperia XZ2 Premium vs Xperia XZ2: specs

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Let's get down to the brass tacks of the specs. All three phones here are powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset, the processor of choice for most Android flagships this year. In terms of internal power and performance, you're not going to notice much difference between the three – it's going to be good across the board.

The Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ3 come with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, depending on your region, while the Xperia XZ2 Premium sticks solely with 6GB. Considering the 6GB version of the Xperia XZ3 is only available in Taiwan, most buyer will have to go for the Xperia XZ2 or XZ2 Premium to max the RAM out, though it shouldn't make too much of a difference in terms of actual performance.

For internal storage, it's 64GB across the board – Sony is very consistent here. Each phone lets you extend that with a microSD card if you need to, so you can add another 512GB if you really need the extra space.

It's pretty much even as far as the specs go, which means if you are trying to make a decision between these three phones, you can focus on the size, price, design and other factors rather than worrying about which one is going to perform the best – they should all cope very well with anything you throw at them.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Xperia XZ2 Premium vs Xperia XZ2: features

Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony Xperia XZ3

The similarity in specs extends as far as the cameras, because all three models have a single-lens 19MP snapper on the rear (though the Xperia XZ2 Premium has a slightly wider aperture which should mean slightly better photos). Based on what we've seen of these phones so far, you shouldn't struggle to get top-notch pictures from them.

Sony was one of the first manufacturers to introduce waterproofing to its handsets and the XZ2, XZ2 Premium and XZ3 all have IP65/IP68 ratings – they should withstand up to 30 minutes in a metre-and-a-half of water (or whatever liquid you drop them in). That's reassuring if you tend to be clumsy with your smartphone.

All three phones offer wireless charging and all three do without a 3.5mm headphone jack, so if you want to connect up some wired headphones you're going to need an adapter for the USB-C port on the bottom. All three have the fingerprint sensor on the rear too – in-screen scanning hasn't yet arrived on Sony's phones.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that the Xperia XZ3 is going to come with Android 9 Pie on board when it arrives in October 2018. The other two phones currently have Android 8 Oreo on board, though they'll probably get the upgrade to version 9 fairly swiftly, considering they were part of the beta programme.

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs Xperia XZ2 Premium vs Xperia XZ2: verdict

Sony Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Premium, XZ3

Sony Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Premium, XZ3

There aren't a huge number of differences between these three phones, which at least makes choosing between them a little easier – they all run on the Snapdragon 845 processor and a similar amount of RAM, for example, so performance levels should be more or less the same across the board.

The biggest changes come in the screen size and the overall design, with the latest Xperia XZ3 boasting the largest display and the most modern looks. We're still waiting for the handset to go on sale though – it's expected to be available to buy from October 2018.

Pricing of course plays a part and you should see some of the best prices available online embedded in the widgets in this page. Broadly speaking you'll probably be able to get the best deal on the original XZ2 as it's the oldest, but the most expensive could end up being the XZ2 Premium. Keep an eye on deals from your favourite retailers.

Overall though it's difficult to split these three phones. If pushed we'd go for the Xperia XZ3 because it comes with Android 9 Pie on board, and it has the biggest display and the best design. Your mileage may vary of course, particularly if some of these phones aren't available in your part of the world.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.