Sony Xperia Z3: Release date, rumours, price, news and features

Update: leaked pic shows off Xperia Z3, and Xperia Z3 Mini

It's been a short few months since the February launch of Sony's Xperia Z2, but we're already looking ahead to the rumoured Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone.

Sony Xperia Z3: Release date

The Sony Xperia Z3 could be landing as soon as August, according to a report by Trusted Reviews. That puts a decidedly short six months between it and the previous Sony Xperia Z2. Sony does have a habit of cracking out smartphones by the dozen, but we're not so sure a sequel to the Z2 is set for so soon.

The original Sony Xperia Z launched in February 2013, setting the first two iterations apart by a whole year, making this an August release seem suspicious. Sony's upcoming mid-tier smartphone, the Sony Xperia T3, is set for a July release, so it could be a busy summer for the Japanese firm.

An August launch has benefits and costs for the mobile manufacturer. It's likely that the early launch could rile up customers who only just got their hands on the Sony Xperia Z2. On a brighter note, the early launch could be a business boon, giving Sony the chance to put an Xperia Z3 in the hands of customers before they even get a whiff of Apple's upcoming iPhone 6, expected for September/October.

Sony Xperia Z3: Features

An Android device through and through, the Sony Xperia Z3 is expected to launch with the latest version of Android 4.4 KitKat OS. At present, that would mean the smartphone operating on 4.4.3, but Google I/O 2014 featured some exciting chatter about the upcoming Android L mobile operating system. Stay tuned.

The Sony Xperia Z2 launched with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, so it's a safe bet to assume the Sony Xperia Z3 will rock the tech too.

Sony Xperia Z3: Appearance

Update: A new image has emerged that appear to show the Sony Xperia Z3, and the Sony Xperia Z3 Mini.

The larger device, the Sony Xperia Z3, is clad in white and looks to be in line with rumours of a slimmed-down bezel.

The smaller device, purported to be the Sony Xperia Z3 Mini, shows up in black and has a far less sizeable display, more akin to the iPhone 5S.

The leaked image showed up on the Digi-Wo forum, although no details in regard to the device specs were apparent. The Snapdragon 801 CPU showed up as a passing reference in the post, but it looks to be mere guesswork.

Sony Xperia Z3

Leaked photos back in May showed what was purported to be the metal frame of a Sony Xperia Z3. Apparently the frame was treated with a PVD coating to make it more corrosive resistance, stronger, and more scratch-proof than previous models.

GospelHerald thinks an efficiently designed Sony Xperia Z3 looks likely, writing "the most recent rumour points to the Xperia Z3 having bezels that are significantly slimmer than the previous Xperia Z2." Many users complained that the Sony Xperia Z2 wasted too much device real estate on above- and below-screen bezel.

The device itself might be slimming down along with the bezel, with rumours putting the Sony Xperia Z3's thickness at a super-svelte 7mm.

Trusted reviews says we could be looking at a 1080p HD display, but a report by GospelHerald suggests a large 5.3-inch QHD display sporting a hefty 2550 x 1440 resolution. The Sony Xperia Z2 rocked a slightly smaller 5.2-inch full HD display, so an upwards move for screen real estate and pixels-per-inch seems likely.

Other sites suggest the Sony Xperia Z2's 1080p screen is set to make a return for the Sony Xperia Z3, but we're hoping Sony ditches the old display in exchange for a more pixel-dense version.

The Sony Xperia Z3 will probably follow the Sony Xperia Z2 in terms of basic design; we're expecting a squared-off, rectangular chassis, most likely sporting a black bezel and Sony branding front-and-back.

Steel frame:

Sony Xperia Z3 frame

Sony Xperia Z3: Price

There's no confirmation on price yet from Sony as the device isn't officially announced, but we'll whip up some guesswork in the meantime. The Xperia Z launched back in 2013 at £529, but now retails at just £277. The Xperia Z1 upped its retail game, with Sony tagging the sequel device at £599. Next came the Sony Xperia Z2, which now sells for about £540.

With the above in mind, a price point in the range of £549-599 seems likely. £600+ is far too premium but a mark-up south of £549 would undersell the device compared to other leading smartphones. While it's definitely big money to shell out, the Xperia Z range is packed with premium blowers and looks to compete with offerings from Samsung and Apple.

Sony Xperia Z3: Specs

Most reports agree that the Sony Xperia Z3 will pack a powerful 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. This seems an obvious upgrade from the Sony Xperia Z2's 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801, and would put the phone above both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 in terms of processing power too.

PCAdvisor tips a slightly less powerful CPU for the Sony Xperia Z3, reporting the device to have a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. Up on the Sony Xperia Z2, but by no means equivalent to the mighty Snapdragon 805.

While the Sony Xperia Z3's processor might be getting a boost, the RAM looks likely to stay at the 3GB mark, mirroring the Sony Xperia Z2's memory. Its camera is expected to match its predecessors too, sporting a respectable 20.7MP rear snapper.

Chinese site IT168 reports that the Sony Xperia Z3 will boast an 500MHz Adreno 420 GPU, which would be great for mobile-minded gamers.