Our Sony Xperia Z3 review unit came in a modest retail package that only included the phone and a two-piece charger - wall mount plug and a microUSB cable.
We also got some leaflets, but no headphones or other cool accessories. As usual retail packages are strictly market dependent and as far as we know most units will come bundled with a pair of headphones.
The Sony Xperia Z3 stands at 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm, which is somewhat more compact and notably slimmer than its Xperia Z2 predecessor (146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm). However, the bezels around the screen have been reduced somewhat more than the raw number difference suggests as the new flagship has rounded edges, which normally add to the overall footprint.
Still, if you compare the Xperia Z3 to a couple of its direct rivals - the Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8), you immediately notice that it's a larger, if slimmer device. The difference to the One (M8) is easily offset by the slimmer waistline (not to mention that's it's made up for by the larger screen), but the Samsung handset does feel more compact.
As we already mentioned, Sony has taken a new turn with the design of its current flagships. Much like the Xperia Z3 Compact, the Xperia Z3 drops the familiar flat sides for rounded edges, only this time they are made of metal rather than plastic.
The difference in both look and feel is notable and is clearly in favor of the full-sized handset. The glass back and front panels are still here, though, so you'll easily recognize that this is a smartphone belonging to the top tier of the Xperia family.
The overall result is great and is helped in no small part by the excellent build of the Sony Xperia Z3. Despite the different materials for the front and back panels and the sides, which pose some engineering problems, the smartphone is well put together and there are no unsightly gaps between the panels to spoil its looks.
The difference in size may not be too great, but the handling of the Sony Xperia Z3 is a marked improvement over that of its predecessor. The rounded edges and the slimmer waistline make the company's new top dog far easier to both hold in the hand and pocket.
As smartphone get larger and larger with each passing generation, we start to appreciate sloping edges, which give you a comfortable spot to rest your fingers against. The slimmer profile also makes sure you'll need to stretch your fingers less and you won't get too big bulges when you put the Xperia Z3 in your pockets.
An important note has to be made here - since the Sony Xperia Z3 has a perfectly flat back - a fact it was keen to point to when Apple announced the iPhone 6 and its bulging camera. However that and the glass panel on top makes the phone very slippery when placed on similarly non-textured surfaces - like glass tables for examples. You have to be very careful so the smartphone doesn't slide off an edge and goes crashing against the ground.
Despite moving to all-metal rather than metal-inlaid plastic edges the Sony Xperia Z3 retains much of the control layout of its predecessor.
There are the usual sensors above the 5.2" display, next to a 2.2MP front-facing camera. The stereo speakers are also carried on from the Xperia Z2 to make your gaming and video watching experience more immersive.
Each speaker is hidden underneath a very thin but elongated grille carved out of the front glass. The top speaker doubles as an earpiece and the LED notification light is integrated therein too.
The right side of the Xperia Z3 is very busy. In the upper corner is the microSIM compartment under its protective flap. The microSD card slot has also been moved here, which is the only change over the outgoing model. Just below those is the signature power key, followed by a volume rocker. Finally, there is the two-stage shutter key.
The design of the keys has been slightly altered but their usability is about the same as on the Xperia Z2 - that is to say the buttons are usable but aren't quite the most comfortable around. Still, achieving that while reducing the thickness should earn Sony some credit.
The left side has microUSB port under a protective lid as well. Naturally, it should be properly closed if you want your Xperia Z3 to stay true to its IP68 dust tight and water proof rating. The dock connector pins and the lanyard eyelet are also on this side.
The top of the phone holds the exposed but waterproofed 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone allowing stereo sound in videos and keeping ambient noise out of calls. The bottom is completely bereft of functional elements.
The entire back is covered by a scratch-resistant glass of undisclosed origin. In the top left corner you see the 20.7MP camera lens - it's a 26mm wide Sony G lens with a fast F/2.0 aperture that sits above the Sony Exmor RS backside illuminated (BSI) sensor.
If you were hoping for a more powerful LED flash, dual or a true-tone LED, you'll be disappointed. The Xperia Z3 uses the same tiny singe-LED flash we saw on the Xperia Z1.
One final note on controls - Sony is planning on releasing complete PS4 connectivity exclusively to the new Xperia Z3 series this coming November. This means that you'll be able to connect the Xperia Z3 Compact to a Dualshock 4 controller (there's also going to be a mount accessory if you want them fused together) and stream full PS4 games directly from a PS4 system on the same wireless network.
You can either use the screen of the phone and play on the controller or use the phone as a stand-alone controller and play on your TV. In very desperate cases you can use the phone as a controller and a display, but most games require too many buttons and the according number of fingers over them so it's impossible to see anything.