“Bond uses only the best.”: A Sony Xperia buyers guide
The title quote comes from a leaked internal Sony communication where Spectre director Sam Mendes and 007 himself, Daniel Craig refused to endorse the Sony Xperia line of phones in fear of “tarnishing James Bond’s image.”
They aren’t wrong.
James Bond wasn’t sold on the idea of the Sony Xperia line as easy as I was. It took him over $50 million to cave (even then, Sony still couldn’t get Craig to appear in their commercials, and had to use Moneypenny instead). All I needed was the PS4 Remote Play. I guess that’s because James doesn’t play PS4, and therefore has no use for the PS4 Remote Play feature. I have owned the Xperia Z3 compact for about a month now, and despite the PS4 Remote Play and glimmers of brilliance every now and then, the phone is otherwise, in a word: shit.
Much like a vintage Jaguar, the juice simply isn’t worth the squeeze with these devices. The amount of headache, maintenance, and frustration far outweighs ANY of the positives of this phone; PS4 remote play included. It’s great when it runs, but those times are few and far between. And with Sony “support” being what it is, you can expect to be without your phone longer than you are with it.
Let’s take a look at the phone on paper: The Sony Xperia Z3 is the top of the line Sony Mobile phone (that is until the Xperia Z5 comes out.). Despite milk carton ads and search parties, the Xperia Z4 was curiously nowhere to be found, or better known as Z3+.
All of the Sony Xperia “Z” lines have featured rather gimmicky waterproofing and dustproofing. The Z3 even came with a more pocket-friendly little brother, the Z3 Compact. The Z3 models all run on the Android OS v5.1, and have high end features like: 20.7 megapixel camera (in case you want to blow your selfie up, and put it on the side of a building), 4k video, a high res display, and quad-core QUALCOMM Snapdragon processors. The Z3 compact gets a little less RAM, screen size, and internal memory; a paltry 16GB. Though supports up to 128 GB though microSD.
It’s a really good phone on paper, with a great size, display, DAYS of useful battery life, and the ability to pair your PS4 controller (via Bluetooth) and go to town on your latest Destiny quests, via PS4 Remote Play.
Though, a cursory Google search or browse through mobile phone forums will yield you hundreds of horror stories, complaints, and issues that simply shouldn’t exist in modern mobile phones. I’ve been privy to literally all of them.
The battery life in practice has been about 15-20% what is advertised. This supposedly has been largely to blame by the upgrade to Android Lollipop. Like cars and their advertised power, fuel economy, performance, etc., there is an expectation that it is never going to be as good as tested/advertised. We’re talking marginal here, not an 80-85% drop off! That’s like buying a Ferrari only to find out it has less horsepower than your friend’s 10 year old Honda Civic that’s in need of a tune up. Even if this is a software issue, why hasn’t it been fixed? Why is it that my phone restarts itself, sometimes 2-3 times per minute, for literally no reason?
I feel like fixing current problems is more important than releasing new software, like, say, Marshmallow 6.0. This is clearly a virtue that Sony and Android have yet to grasp, and it’s at the expense of mine and so many others’ battery life and sanity. I mean, a mobile phone isn’t very mobile when you have to spend most of the time within 1 meter of an outlet. By that definition, my espresso machine is more mobile than my phone.
The charging time of my Sony Xperia was slightly faster than watching a bonsai grow. It was so bad that I had to resort to using a higher voltage iPad charger just to get a full charge to the thing overnight. The OE charger couldn’t get the job done, and would often tell me that the phone wasn’t being charged during use, because it couldn’t charge faster than it was consuming the battery. That’s like burning fuel faster than you can get it out of the pumps. Not even a dumpster fire is that inefficient. Unless it’s the Sony Xperia dumpster fire. At least we’ve found something it’s the best at.
The phone is on its 3rd screen. Without any other damage to the casing. The phone hasn’t been dropped, run through a bandsaw, lost at the zoo, thrown into a piledriver, run through the dishwasher (although, Sony claims it can take it, as does this test) or anything else that would merit a broken screen. The last screen literally cracked sitting stationary right next to me on a bleacher in a hockey arena. It cracked on its own, defying Newton’s first law. I guess the 1deg C was too harsh of a condition for it to bear.
Now I know that some of you are thinking, “Riiiiiiiiiiiight, it just cracked on its own. Just sitting there. You’re full of shit, and tell us what really happened.” Until you realize there is a FB Group called “Sony Xperia Self Cracking Screen Experience” and hundreds of other similar experiences elsewhere on the interwebs. It has been an inherent issue since the first Xperia Z, and one that Sony clearly still hasn’t gotten right. Not to mention that when a Sony Xperia Z screen cracks, even in the slightest, you can kiss the digitizer and your functionality goodbye. Unlike Apple’s iPhone, which you can drop out of a moving car (and I have) you may or may not crack the screen, but if you do, chances are the touchscreen will still work. It may draw blood, but it will still work. The one saving grace to the Xperia in this situation, is that it will pair to a PS4 controller, and allow you to use that to navigate the phone. Trouble is, you look like an idiot pulling out a PS4 controller to answer a call.
And finally the kiss-o-death for the Sony Xperia line is the dreaded black screen, or Sudden Death, as it’s become known to Xperia users. Less exciting and infinitely more disappointing than the Van Damme flick of the same name, many Sony Xperia users that have experienced this condition. Where, at best, the screen backlight works, and the touchscreen still responds, but it’s just black. Or worst case, your phone goes totally dead for literally no reason. Or it decides to go back and forth between the two. Sometimes your PC might recognize it, other times it may not. Rendering the oft useless solution of using Sony’s PC software suite to “repair your phone”. Which is Japanese for: wipe everything back to factory settings and not actually repair anything.
Again, this is a condition that has happened to Xperia Z users since the first model, and continues to happen to the current flagship models today. If the usual channels of resetting the phone don’t resolve the issue, the result is usually a faulty motherboard. As reported by those Xperia owners who actually stomached being away from their phone for 2-6 weeks, forked over the cash for the repair (for something out of their control, and obviously within Sony’s), and actually got an explanation as to what was serviced. No explanation as to why the motherboards go south in the first place has surfaced. Presumably because that would indicate blame, responsibility, and awareness on Sony’s part.
Over to Sony’s “support”. If you’re looking for the canned solution of “send your phone to a Sony service center so that we can bend you over, keep your phone away from you for weeks, force you to fork over the dough for a repair, and make you pay to ship it back to you, all because we can’t make a quality product”, then look no further. The more and more I think about it, the “service and repair” is probably the only thing making Sony Mobile any money these days.
That is if you can get past the daunting question of “What is your IMEI?”. A piece of information that is impossible to get if your screen is, say, as impotent as a 90 year old man in a coma, and the little information label in the body of the phone is jammed and inaccessible. You would think that you would be able to see information like that, about your phone, if it were, say, plugged into your computer, through the Sony PC software suite. After all, you can see your IMEI and other information about your Apple phone though iTunes. Seriously, what is that, like 3 lines of code to say “hey, what is this device’s IMEI” and then display it?
Despite all of the initial rave reviews from everyone from CNET to GSM Arena and Engadget, it’s clear they weren’t with these phones for long. Sony has posted their worst Mobile division quarter, with no signs of improvement. There’s clearly a problem at the generally benchmark setting, quality tech giant. You don’t have to look much further than the product they are putting out; but if you do you’ll find articles like Forbes’ “How do you solve a problem like Sony’s Xperia?”
If the Sony Xperia were a car, there would be more outcry and recalls than VW. GM had hundreds of thousands of cars recalled for just shutting off. The Sony Xperia takes that to another level, adding: Windshields that crack just sitting in your driveway, infotainment systems that don’t work, fuel economy that’s 1/5 the advertised rate, and engines that just seize for no explicable reason. On top of that, they fix none of it at their expense.
I can tell you how you don’t fix it: Spending more than $50 million in product placement for the latest Bond movie (which is nearly triple Sony’s original offer). Glad they beat Samsung to Bond with that move. Meanwhile, Samsung is kicking their ass in the real world.
Here’s a novel idea Sony: spend that $50 million towards: getting your shit together, upgrade your hardware, software, and support network, then make it right for the people that have made a commitment to you and your unexpectedly shitty product (free of charge). Then make sure the Xperia Z5 isn’t frail, isn’t finicky, isn’t unreliable, and that it actually does what it is supposed to. While you’re at it, open the PS4 remote play app to other Android and iOS users. Charge $10, and you might find yourself not losing so much money.
Then maybe you won’t have to bribe (overpay) James Bond to get me to want your product. Maybe I’ll want it on its own. Just like I thought I did before I purchased mine.
The long and short of the Sony Xperia buyer’s guide: Don’t.http://radiopressgaming.com/2015/11/bond-uses-best-sony-xperia-buyers-guide/http://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sony-Xperia-1024x675.jpghttp://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sony-Xperia-150x150.jpgAndroidMobilePS4Sony007,Apple,Bond,Daniel Craig,dumpster fire,James Bond,Mobile,PS4 Remote Play,Self Cracking,Shit,Sony,Sony Xperia,Sony Xperia Z3 compact,Spectre,Sudden Death,Xperia,Xperia ZThe title quote comes from a leaked internal Sony communication where Spectre director Sam Mendes and 007 himself, Daniel Craig refused to endorse the Sony Xperia line of phones in fear of “tarnishing James Bond’s image.” They aren’t wrong. James Bond wasn't sold on the idea of the Sony Xperia line...Trevor McClureTrevor McCluretrevor@radiopressgaming.comAuthorRadio Press Gaming