Sony Xperia XZ3 vs iPhone 8

Sony has always been a brand known for high-quality products. With the announcement of its 2018 smartphone lineup, the new Xperia XZ3 will be expected to pit this fine heritage against the all-conquering iPhone 8.

We compare the two to see which one is worth (quite a lot of) your hard-earned money.

Price and Availability

Sony Xperia XZ3

The Xperia XZ3 was announced at the IFA 2018 show in September but won't be available until 5 October in the UK, with the US date not yet confirmed.

It will come in a solitary 64GB version, which can be expanded up to 512GB through its microSD slot. Prices are set at £699, while the US model is expected to be around $799.

You can pre-order the Xperia XZ3 directly from the Sony website, and should start to see deals appearing on the usual mobile carriers in the weeks ahead.

iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 made its debut in September 2017, and is sure to be superseded by the incoming 2018 release that Apple is set to announce at its upcoming event.

As is traditional with the iPhone catalogue, this should mean a price reduction for the iPhone 8 once the newer model is available.

For the time being, Apple sells the model in two variants:

  • 64GB SIM free costs £699
  • 256GB SIM free costs £849

But you should keep an eye on our Best iPhone 8 deals page for any reduced offers that appear.

Design and Build

With the iPhone 8 design barely changing since the arrival of the iPhone 6, it cuts a very familiar cloth in terms of aesthetics and construction.

The 4.7in display is now small by modern standards, and the prominent bezels at the top and bottom also give away its ageing origins. That being said, it's comfortable to hold in the hand and lightweight, and the Home button still includes a fingerprint sensor, which we like. 

Sony Xperia XZ3 v Apple iPhone 8

One real change is the glass back, which was introduced to allow wireless charging for the first time on an iPhone, but you'll need to purchase said charger as one isn't included in the box.

Read our Best iPhone wireless chargers roundup to see which are the current favourites.

Sony has been upgrading its designs in recent years, and the result is a device that shares many of the features we've seen on the likes of HTC and Samsung handsets.

The tall display adopts the now almost obligatory 18:9 aspect ratio, with the 6in panel curving at the edges to eliminate the bezels. Top and bottom ones do exist, but only as slim strips, and the fingerprint sensor is housed on the rear to allow the almost edge-to-edge display.

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Obviously it's bigger than the iPhone 8, but the gently tapered sides and curved glass back belie its physical size.

Dimensions

iPhone 8: 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm; 148g

Sony Xperia XZ3: 158 x 73 x 9.9mm; 193g

Colour options

Apple offer the iPhone 8 in Silver, Gold, Space Grey, and the special (Product) Red liveries. Sony also comes in four flavours: Black, White Silver, Forest Green and Bordeaux Red.

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

iPhone 8 in pictures

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Sony Xperia XZ3 in pictures

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Sony Xperia XZ3 v iPhone 8

Specs and Features

Perhaps the main selling point of the Xperia XZ3 is its acronym endowed 6in OLED QHD+ HDR display. This utilises Sony's Bravia technology that previously appeared in the company's TV range.

In a recent review, our sister site TechAdvisor had this to say of the panel:

"In our hands-on time with the phone it was incredibly impressive, outshining an iPhone X for colour and clarity on video playback. Not only does the XZ3 benefit from OLED, it automatically upscales standard definition content closer to HD, with noticeably excellent results."

Not too shabby, then.

The bezels that adorn the top and bottom of the display also house twin forward-facing speakers, which again impressed in early tests.

Internally Sony has equipped the XZ3 with the current premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and 4GB of RAM, so performance should also be top-notch.

While the iPhone 8 might lack the bells and whistles of the XZ3, its has proven itself to be a very capable and reliable device. Apple's A11 Bionic chip is the same one you'll find in the iPhone X, and although it has only half the amount of RAM as the Sony device, Apple works wonders to get consistently fast performance from the handset.

The XZ3 sports the same main camera as the XZ2, which wasn't a world beater even though it can record 4K video. Software tweaks could improve this, but the iPhone 8 has a tried and tested shooter that is always ready to go and produces excellent results.

Both units feature water and dust resistance, plus wireless charging.

iPhone 8 specs

  • A11 Bionic processor with 64-bit architecture
  • 2GB RAM
  • 64GB or 256GB storage
  • 4.7in Retina HD LCD screen, 1334 x 750 at 326ppi, True Tone, 3D Touch
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera, f/1.8, 4K video recording at up to 60 fps
  • 7Mp front-facing camera, f/2.2
  • 802.11ac Wi‑Fi
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner (in Home button) 
  • IP67-rated water-resistant
  • iOS 11
  • 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm; 148g

Sony Xperia XZ3 Specs

  • Android 9 Pie
  • 6.0In OLED QHD+ HDR
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, microSD up to 512GB
  • 19Mp f/2.0 main camera, 4K HDR recording
  • 13Mp f/1.9 front camera
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G
  • Nano-SIM (single or dual)
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 3300mAh battery
  • IP65-rated water-resistant
  • 158 x 73 x 9.9mm
  • 193g

Software

Many people will opt for the smartphone that supports the operating system they already know, so this makes software a straightforward choice. If you want the latest version of Android, albeit with a Sony flavour, then Xperia XZ3 arrives with 9.0 Pie as standard.

iOS fans will of course prefer the Apple device, which will receive the expected iOS 12 update when it's released in September.

Both are mature, highly-polished platforms that share many of the same apps and ways of doing things. Android gives its users more freedom to customise their device - changing default apps, loading new interfaces, and using widgets on screen rather than having to load apps - while iOS is a tailored suit that has a particular focus on stability, security and simplicity.

OUR VERDICT

With both devices currently selling for around the same price, it's hard not to hanker after the modern, curvy Xperia XZ3. The display is a huge differentiator, with lush colours and pin-sharp rendering.

iPhone fans will find much to enjoy with the 8, but a year after release it does seem dated when compared to the Sony. Reliable? Yes. Solid performer? Yes. Exciting? Well… not quite. Of course, there's always the iPhone X to remedy that.

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