Introduction

Sony's Xperia T lineup has been growing out of 007's tux and the third generation is putting on a t-shirt. OK, an oversized t-shirt, although the T3 has lost some weight, and screen real-estate, compared to the T2. Gone is the Ultra moniker and the massive 6" display - the Xperia T3 is closer to smartphones than phablets.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 official pictures

It is indeed that simple, the Sony Xperia T3 is a more compact version of the Xperia T2 Ultra phablet, one that you can slip in your pocket. The screen is still a high-quality IPS unit of 720p resolution and Sony once again goes for the Snapdragon 400.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 official pictures

The Xperia T3 is running KitKat out of the box which is good, but other specs are taken a notch down. The camera, to begin with, is now an 8MP unit, down from 13MP in the T2 Ultra. On the upside, the proper shutter key is there.

With a 2,500mAh battery, the Xperia T3 will probably struggle to match the impressive times of the T2 Ultra, but we'd be happy if it gets close enough. Here is the complete list.

Key features

  • Impressively thin at 7mm
  • 5.3" 720p IPS capacitive touchscreen Triluminos display (277ppi), X-Reality engine, ambient light sensor
  • LTE connectivity
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset with quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM
  • 8MP camera, single LED flash, 1080p video recording, dedicated hardware shutter key
  • 1.1MP front-facing camera with 720p video recording
  • 8GB of built-in storage, expandable via the microSD card slot
  • Active noise cancellation with a secondary microphone
  • 2,500 mAh battery; STAMINA Power Saving Mode

Main disadvantages

  • Non user-replaceable battery
  • No water or dust proofing

The Sony Xperia T3 seems reasonably equipped for the midrange and does well to offer LTE connectivity on top of good looks and solid build. It's also one of the thinnest Sony smartphones around with only the Z Ultra having a thinner profile.

The sealed battery should hardly be a surprise, we guess it's part of the price you are paying for the Omni Balance design. That said, we have perhaps seen too much of it already, though it isn't something to hold against a device of the Xperia T3's price bracket and level of equipment.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 at ours

Anyway, the Xperia T3 sure looks like a familiar package but, if we're lucky, not a pedestrian effort. As usual, we are kicking off with our traditional exterior checkup.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia T3

The retail package of the Sony Xperia T3 covers just the basics. There's an A/C adapter, a microUSB cable and the headset.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 retail box

Sony Xperia T3 360-degree view

The Sony Xperia T3 measures 150.7 x 77 x 7mm - that's 15mm shorter, 7mm narrower and a tad slimmer than the Xperia T2 Ultra phablet and very close to the Xperia Z2 flagship. The Sony Xperia T3 weighs 148g, reasonable for a solid midranger of such caliber and 15g lighter than the all-glass Xperia Z2.

Design and handling

It's not like we haven't seen the OmniBalance design used on a plethora of Xperia smartphones over the past few years. It's probably time the next flagship moved on but the midrange Xperia T3 is on the safe side. It looks reasonably good and has pleasant handling.

The Sony Xperia T3's entire front is occupied by the 5.3" IPS display.

The non-removable rear cover is made of plastic, with matte finish in graphite black. The material doesn't look or feel low quality, but fingerprints tend to stick on. They would probably be harder to notice on the white and purple versions. Still, the issue is not as obvious as it would have been on a glossy surface.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3

Just like most of the previous Xperia phones, the Xperia T3 sides are lined with a glossy strip for a nice contrasting accent. The only thing actually made of metal is the signature power/lock key.

Handling the Sony Xperia T3 is a pleasure and the screen size isn't a particular burden. With a 7mm waistline, the Xperia T3 feels great in hand, not bulky at all, and well put together, no wobbles or squeaks. In fact, it's among the thinnest Sony phones ever.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Handling the Xperia T3

Display

The Sony Xperia T3 flaunts a 5.3" IPS Triluminos display of 720p resolution, which works out to 277ppi. While this is nowhere near the 400+ pixel density of current flagships, it's a completely different price range we're talking about.

Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 5.3" IPS display

The Xperia T3 display is enhanced by Sony's Mobile BRAVIA 2 and X-Reality engine. The combo aims to improve sharpness, reduce noise, while boosting contrast and saturation, and it does a pretty good job of it.

The pixel arrangement is standard RGB with an equal amount of green, red and blue pixels in line.

Sony Xperia T3

The Sony Xperia T3 uses a standard RGB matrix

The screen's contrast and brightness are very good, and so is color reproduction, all adding up to excellent image quality.

The viewing angles, thanks to the IPS matrix, are better than average. There is no contrast and color washing when you look the screen at an angle, though there is a noticeable color shift from some directions.

Unfortunately, even with Auto Brightness off, the ambient light sensor kept on intervening and we couldn't run our test at 50%.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia T3 - - - 0.82 790 963
Sony Xperia M2 0.33 325 989 0.64 643 1000
Sony Xperia Т2 Ultra - - - 0.49 634 1287
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Samsung Galaxy S4 201 404
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo 142 389
HTC Desire 816 0.15 164 1087 0.46 478 1032
LG G2 0.10 149 1522 0.45 667 1495


Using the Sony Xperia T3 in bright outdoor conditions turned out quite a trouble-free experience. The smartphone even managed to slightly outdo the HTC One (M8) in our test.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows _phone_ 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Controls

The Sony Xperia T3 has pretty much the same controls as preceding Xperia models. The control layout is pretty much set in stone, and in the T series that includes a dedicated shutter key. Good thing they kept it even though the camera resolution took the axe - from 13MP in the Xperia T2 Ultra.

Above the 5.3" display we find the etched earpiece with a status LED underneath the elegant grille. There're a couple of sensors around the Sony logo at the top, next to an HD front camera. There is quite a bit of blank space below the display, since the main controls are on the screen itself.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

A peek above and below the Sony Xperia T3 display

The right side of the Xperia T3 is quite busy - it features the microSD card slot covered by a plastic flap, the power/lock button, volume rocker and the half-press-enabled shutter key.

There is a pull-out tag with the regulator-mandated certifications just below the microSIM bed. This is a very clever way to have those mandatory labels without engraving them into the casing.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Xperia T3 right side

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Xperia T3 left side

The unprotected microUSB port is lonely on the left.

Sony Xperia T3 places the 3.5mm audio jack at the top, while the mouthpiece is over the bottom. There is a lanyard eyelet around, too.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The top and bottom are completely bare

The Sony Xperia T3 matte back has the 8MP ExmorRS camera lens along with a single LED flash. The prominent speaker grille is near the bottom.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The camera and the loudspeaker at the back

Battery Life

Sony has put a 2500mAh battery inside the Xperia T3, down from 3000mAh in the previous Ultra version. We ran our battery test with the battery-saving STAMINA mode off. It scored 75 hours, which means you can count on 3 full days if you do an hour each of calling, web browsing and playing video per day.

Sony Xperia T3

The Power Saver - now part of the settings menu - helps you extend your battery life by toggling things like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth screen brightness, auto sync and background data on and off automatically when the battery charge falls below a certain user-defined threshold. You can also turn off the Wi-Fi if there is no saved Wi-Fi network in range or turn off mobile data when the screen is off.

Connectivity

The Sony Xperia T3 has three distinct versions for different markets. Here's the list of supported bands by model.

  • Quad-band GSM (across all models)
  • 3G: 850 / 2100, 42 Mbps HSDPA (D5103)
  • 3G: 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 42 Mbps HSDPA (D5106)
  • 3G: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 21 Mbps HSDPA (D5102)
  • LTE: 700 / 1700 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600, Cat4 with 150Mbps download (D5106)
  • LTE: 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600, Cat4 with 150Mbps download (D5103) (our test unit)

The rest of the connectivity features available across all models include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio with RDS.

There is NFC connectivity, too, with support for Android Beam for sending files to other Android devices.

There is also support for the ultra-low power ANT+ connectivity protocol, which is typically used for connecting to various sports accessories such as heart rate monitors or bicycle speed & cadence meters.

There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory and microSD card over a USB connection.

There's also USB On-the-go for connecting USB peripherals such as pen drives, keyboards or real USB hard drives.

The microUSB port doesn't have any TV-out functionality, but if you have a compatible HDTV, you can mirror your phone's screen wirelessly via the Miracast protocol.

User interface

The Sony Xperia T3 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box. The software package looks very much the same whatever the Android version though and that's why everything feels and seems so familiar compared to any of the latest Xperia phones. Sony has managed to sneak a few improvements along the way, but nothing major.

There goes our usual demo video to get you started.

The lockscreen is the usual affair - it supports widgets (one per pane), plus there is a shortcut to the camera at the bottom courtesy of Android KitKat. There are a few available default widgets, but you can always get more from the Play Store.

Naturally, you can protect your lockscreen by Face, Pattern, PIN or Password unlock, in ascending order of security.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The lockscreen and its options

The Xperia T3 lets you add or remove homescreen panes (you start with five) and set any of them as default. You can't have more than seven panes at any given time though, nor can you change the order they're in.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Adding stuff to the homescreens is very easy

Adding stuff on the homescreen is easy, as it is the customization. You can set various live and static wallpapers, add widgets and shortcut, or change the UI theme.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Available UI themes

The notification area loses the quick toggles, but don't you worry, they've been just moved on a separate tab. You can gain quick access to the Quick Settings tab with a two-finger swipe from the top. The toggles are customizable and you can choose between 17 different toggles and have up to 12 of them visible in their dedicated page.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The notification area • Settings

The app drawer is laid out across multiple pages and you can sort the apps manually, alphabetically, by the most used or most recently installed. The menu with those settings is accessible via a swipe from the left edge of the screen and you can also search and even uninstall apps from there.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The app drawer

The Xperia T3 uses the stock Android task manager that lets you switch between recently opened apps, as well as terminate them with a side-swipe. There is a Close All button this time around though.

The so-called "small apps" are also available in the Xperia T3 and are accessible via the task manager. They are similar to Samsung's Mini Apps, and pop up tiny widget-like applications on your homescreen, which you can move around and use without having to open the full-fledged app. So far, there's a default set of nine: Active Clip, Chrome Bookmarks, Browser, Calculator, Calendar, Gmail, Timer, Notes, and Touch Lock. You can launch only one instance of a Small App, but you can open multiple Small Apps simultaneously.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The task switcher • Small Apps list • Small apps in action

You can download more Small Apps off the Play Store or use the option to turn your favorite widgets into Small Apps. Just hit the Plus key at the top of the list and choose a widget.

What's new app is on board, though you can access it via shortcut only unlike the Xperia Z2 where it was available from within the Google Now quick access. This app has very beautiful UI and will show you the hottest apps and multimedia today, but it isn't limited to the Play Store only. It'll display content from Sony's PlayStation store too.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony What's New UI

Naturally, you can access Google Now by swiping from the bottom of the UI. Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Google Now

It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows the scores of sports teams you follow and gives you the weather forecast for your location. It's great for at-a-glance info, but can handle voice input as well. It also has a dedicated homescreen/lockscreen widget.

You bet the user interface is buttery smooth, there is no lag and everything happens lightning-fast. The Sony launcher is lightweight and, combined with the snappy chipset and the fastest available Android OS, you'll get an amazing UI experience.

Synthetic benchmarks

Sony Xperia T3 is running on the Snapdragon 400 mid-range chipset. It offers four Cortex-A7 CPU cores ticking at 1.4 GHz, Adreno 305 graphics and 1GB of RAM. We've already seen the Snapdragon 400 in action on the Motorola Moto G, the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra and M2, the HTC Desire 816, the HTC One mini 2 and several others so it's clearly a quite popular choice. And rightfully so as it delivers a snappy performance in everyday use and quite acceptable gaming chops as well.

Starting off with the CPU benchmarks, the Xperia T3 posted a great result on the multi-core GeekBench 3 cross-platform benchmark. It managed to beat every other S400 device we've tested so far but the HTC One mini 2.

Geekbench 3

Higher is better

  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1895
  • HTC One mini 2
    1526
  • Sony Xperia T3
    1373
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1359
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    1321
  • LG G2 mini
    1123
  • Motorola Moto G
    1120
  • Sony Xperia C
    1079
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1074

AnTuTu is a compound benchmark, which also takes into account RAM and GPU performance. The Xperia T3 numbers are quite good too, slightly below the quad-core Cortex-A7-powered HTC Desire 816 but nerveless better than all other Snapdragon 400 phones.

AnTuTu 4

Higher is better

  • HTC Desire 816
    21580
  • Sony Xperia T3
    20282
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    19896
  • HTC One mini 2
    17883
  • Sony Xperia M2
    17808
  • LG G2 mini
    17362
  • Motorola Moto G
    17214
  • Sony Xperia C
    13948

Basemark OS II is another all-round benchmark. It gives an overall score along with single, multi-core performance, math performance and more. We focus on the overall score and the dedicated CPU scores. The Sony Xperia T3 overall rating is excellent for its target group yet again.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia T3
    535
  • HTC Desire 816
    520
  • HTC One mini 2
    517
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    434
  • HTC Desire 616
    378
  • Sony Xperia M2
    298

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • HTC Desire 816
    1739
  • HTC Desire 616
    1533
  • Sony Xperia T3
    1465
  • HTC One mini 2
    1357
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1164

The multi-core test score is great too, though the octa-core-powered HTC Desire 616 is the real champ here.

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • HTC Desire 616
    12986
  • HTC Desire 816
    7071
  • Sony Xperia T3
    5759
  • Sony Xperia M2
    4927
  • HTC One mini 2
    4889

The graphics benchmark results came out average. The GFXBench tests - both off-screen and on-screen variants - reflected some OK performance on par with the competition. It did worse on the on-screen tests than the Xperia M2, which has the same chipset but packs a lower resolution qHD less-demanding display.

The Adreno 305 is a capable GPU, but the quad-core Mali-450MP4 within the Huawei Ascend P7, Alcatel Idol X+, Gionee Elife S5.5 and the HTC Desire 616 is obviously better and doubles the performance.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Huawei Ascend P7
    12.3
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    10.9
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    10.8
  • HTC Desire 616
    8.7
  • Sony Xperia T3
    5.9
  • Sony Xperia M2
    5.9
  • HTC Desire 816
    5.9
  • LG G2 mini
    5.8
  • HTC One mini 2
    5.8
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    5.8
  • HTC One mini
    5.6
  • Motorola Moto G
    5.6
  • Sony Xperia C
    2.8

The on-screen test is where the score matters the most as is the display resolution. The Xperia M2 has a lower than HD display at 540x960 pixels and that's why it comes on top, while the 1080p-packing Alcatel Idol X+ and Gionee Elife S5.5 - at the bottom. The Xperia T3 score is good enough meaning you will be able to handle the lots of heavy 3D games.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia M2
    15.4
  • LG G2 mini
    14.9
  • HTC Desire 616
    13.4
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    12.4
  • Sony Xperia T3
    11.2
  • HTC One mini 2
    11
  • HTC Desire 816
    11
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    10.9
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    10.6
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    10.6
  • Sony Xperia C
    7.3

The OpenGL ES3.0 is required for the Manhattan 3.0 test and only devices running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or higher can handle it. It affirmed our conclusions from the T-Rex 2.7 tests with pretty much the same output.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.9
  • Sony Xperia T3
    1.8
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.7
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.7
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.4

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia M2
    6.9
  • Motorola Moto E
    4.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    4.7
  • Sony Xperia T3
    4.2
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    4.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    4.0
  • HTC Desire 816
    3.9
  • HTC One mini 2
    3.8

The BrowserMark 2.1 tests HTML 5 performance, while Mozilla's Kraken 1.1 is JavaScript-centric. The Sony Xperia T3 managed very good scores in both tests.

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia T3
    978
  • HTC One mini 2
    945
  • Sony Xperia M2
    903
  • HTC Desire 816
    774
  • HTC Desire 616
    683
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    432

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    12201
  • HTC Desire 816
    13564
  • Sony Xperia T3
    13738
  • HTC One mini 2
    15684
  • HTC Desire 616
    16953
  • Sony Xperia M2
    18047

Sony Xperia T3 and its snappy Snapdragon 400 chipset occasionally stand out from the crowd. It delivers some great scores on the synthetic tests, which means you will be getting excellent performance in real life. And that's what really matters - a smooth Android experience coupled with hiccup-free gaming pleasure.

Phonebook

The Sony Xperia T3 phonebook is integrated with the dialer using a tabbed interface - the Contacts, Phone, Favorites and Groups tabs can be side-swiped. The contact list has a dedicated search filed plus it offers and an alphabetical scroll bar.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The phonebook • The quick contact shortcut • Favorites

You can sync with multiple accounts, including Exchange and Facebook, and you can selectively show or hide contacts from some accounts (as well as filter specific groups in an account), or set the phonebook to display only contacts with _phone_ numbers or only contacts that are online.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Contact options

Linking contacts is available, quick contact feature is here too.

Telephony

Receiving and making calls on the Xperia T3 was nothing short of pleasing. There is noise-cancelling options that is on by default, but you can turn it off from Settings. There is also a Slow Talk option, which will actively slow the speech of the other calling party. You can even apply equalizer settings, but you can choose only between Normal, Bright and Smooth.

The dialer support smart dialing.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Smart dialing is available

Sony Xperia T3 scored a Good mark in our loudspeaker tests, meaning you are unlikely to miss some calls and notifications if you are in a noisy environment.

Sony has preloaded a number of features that modify how the speaker sounds. We tested with all of them off, then with xLOUD on, but that made very little to no difference.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overal score
Sony Xperia Z1 (xLOUD) 65.5 62.0 65.8 Below average
HTC One mini 2 69.3 66.6 75.9 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo 68.4 64.4 75.8 Good
Sony Xperia T2 Ultra (xLOUD) 74.0 66.6 75.7 Good
Sony Xperia T3 69.6 66.6 75.7 Good
Sony Xperia M2 66.6 66.7 75.7 Good
Sony Xperia E1 70.2 73.5 75.8 Very Good
Motorola Moto G 81.6 75.7 82.7 Excellent

Messaging and text input

Text messages and MMS use standard thread layout. Adding multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.) will convert the message automatically into an MMS.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The messaging app • Adding multimedia turns it into an MMS

Naturally the Gmail client and the default Email apps are onboard. Gmail can sync only with (multiple) Google accounts, while the generic Email app can handle POP and IMAP and offers a Combined inbox.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Gmail and Email apps

As for text input, the Xperia T3 offers a customizable on-screen full QWERTY keyboard.

You can choose a different layout (keypad, QWERTY, QWERTY with extra symbols), add/remove the coma and period button, the smiley and voice input buttons and also enable things like bilingual word suggestions if you have more than one language enabled. Different keyboard skins are available too.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Xperia T3 keyboard is comfortable in either layout • Settings

You can also try the so-called Gesture input if hitting those keys individually doesn't give you the desired typing speed. It's similar to Swype, and even if you've never used a Swype-like input before, you'll quickly get used to it.

Single-hand size keyboard is available too, but only in portrait orientation. If enabled, it squeezes the onscreen keyboard to the left or right side of the screen so it gets more comfortable for single handed text input.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

One-handed keyboard • Skins

Album is your gallery

The Sony Xperia T3 comes with the custom Sony gallery, called Album. Images are organized into groups of thumbnails and sorted by date. You can change the thumbnails size by pinching.

Unlike previous versions there isn't a homepage that hosts all of your albums, instead you get the same swipe-able menu the app drawer is offering. There you can find all of your online and offline albums.

The gallery can connect to online albums (PlayMemories, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr) and also to other devices on the local network. Maps and Globe albums are also available, which use the geotagging info to sort photos by the location at which they were taken, and faces, which groups photos by the faces of the people in them.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Albums app

Images can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Viewing an image

There's a slide show using the SensMe brand and much like the music player feature, this one scans files and groups similar photos together.

A familiar video player crippled by the lack of AC3 codec support

The video playing app is dubbed Movies and it too has a great custom UI. It's connected to Gracenote, which helps you find additional information about the movies and TVs you have on the phone. It will even download posters for them and for movies, it will download metadata like genre, synopsis, director and cast.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work very well for downloaded TV shows - it doesn't recognize the S01E02 naming convention and won't pull info about individual episodes. It gets worse, Gracenote seems to be lacking info on TV shows in general, we couldn't find even popular shows like The Big Bang Theory.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The Movies app

Unfortunately, there is more bad news - the video player does plays 1080p files hassle-free but the supported codecs are limited to Xvid, MP4 and MKV files. DTS and AC3 audio tracks are not supported, which makes the MKV compatibility pretty much obsolete. We know you can always get a proper video player app from the Play Store but it's a shame you can't just use the eye-candy default player for everything.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Subtitle settings

On the positive side the video player supports subtitles, and you can customize their looks. Unfortunately, you cannot manually pick the subtitle file, it has to reside in the video folder to load up.

Walkman plays the music

The Walkman music player is part of the equipment of all recent Xperia smartphones. It features Music Unlimited integration and is not above trying to sell you songs, but you can hide the Music Unlimited stuff.

The Walkman interface is based on a hidden swipe-able menu that sort your music collection by Artist, Albums, Playlists, all songs and even the songs your friends are listening to (but you need to connect the player with your Facebook account). You can pop up the menu the same way you'd do it in the app drawer or the gallery - just swipe from the left edge of the screen.

The Music Unlimited stuff includes ways to discover new music - Charts, New releases and Channels. Those can be hidden individually (same goes for the artist/album/playlist tiles) or you can disable the service altogether.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The music player

The Infinite button is available in the Now Playing screen (just tap the album art) - it will help you find the track's video on YouTube, look up info about the artist on Wikipedia and search for lyrics on Google. Gracenote is used here too and it can automatically download information about your tracks and album art.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The Now Playing interface

The Walkman player offers a variety of audio settings - ClearAudio+ option is here, which determines the best audio quality settings depending on the song you're listening to. We liked how it changed the music and carefully accentuated various details. Dynamic normalizer evens out the differences in volume between tracks, which is great if you've mixed multiple albums from multiple sources.

The Sound enhancements contain yet more settings. There's an equalizer with presets and manual settings (including tweaking Clear Bass). Then there's Surround sound mode, which imitates the Studio, Club or Concert Hall experience. The Clear stereo mode enhances the perceivable stereo channel separation. Dynamic normalizer minimizes the difference in volume between songs (great if you're playing a shuffled mix).

Speaker settings include Clear Phase, which adjusts the quality, while xLOUD boosts up the internal speaker.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sound enhancements and EQ

FM radio with RDS and TrackID

The Sony Xperia T3 features an FM Radio with RDS. The app features multiple visualizations and integrates with TrackID to recognize the currently playing song. You can even directly send an "I'm listening to..." post to Facebook.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The FM Radio

Audio output is good

The Sony Xperia T3 did fairly well in our audio quality test, demonstrating clean output in the two test scenarios.

As usual we did the first test with the smartphone connected to an active external amplifier and it produced some very good scores. The Xperia T3 showed no weak points to its performance, except for the volume which was disappointingly low.

Plugging in a pair of headphones causes a somewhat big spike in the stereo crosstalk and adds some harmonic distortion, but the latter is hard to detect outside lab conditions. The volume levels are once again the only problem with the output, although quiet but clean output are generally considered satisfactory in this price range.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Sony Xperia T3 +0.12, -0.03 -89.3 90.5 0.0054 0.012 -85.6
Sony Xperia T3 (headphones attached) +0.02, -0.11 -89.1 90.3 0.121 0.037 -46.5
Sony Xperia T2 Ultra +0.02, -0.08 -90.5 89.4 0.0057 0.014 -92.2
Sony Xperia T2 Ultra (headphones attached) +0.32, -0.21 -90.2 89.0 0.019 0.183 -49.8
Nokia Lumia 1320 +0.20, -0.09 -89.1 89.1 0.0095 0.197 -88.6
Nokia Lumia 1320 (headphones attached) +0.21, -0.06 -89.1 89.0 0.115 0.198 -58.5
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 +0.02, -0.07 -96.5 92.8 0.0035 0.0099 -96.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (headphones attached) +0.01, -0.09 -96.2 92.7 0.017 0.017 -62.1
Oppo N1 +0.14, -0.11 -93.7 93.4 0.0036 0.076 -83.7
Oppo N1 (headphones attached) +0.31, -0.26 -93.2 92.4 0.0081 0.349 -55.5
HTC One Max +0.14, -0.14 -93.8 93.8 0.0009 0.015 -94.1
HTC One Max (headphones attached) +0.26, -0.02 -93.6 93.6 0.026 0.080 -80.4
LG G Flex +0.02, -0.07 -98.4 98.3 0.012 0.054 -83.7
LG G Flex (headphones attached) +0.12, -0.02 -91.9 92.0 0.045 0.070 -66.5
Sony Xperia Z Ultra +0.02, -0.08 -92.5 92.5 0.0058 0.011 -90.7
Sony Xperia Z Ultra (headphones attached) +0.48, -0.11 -87.8 87.0 0.047 0.168 -51.9

Sony Xperia T3 frequency response

Sony Xperia T3 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

The 8MP camera does above average

The Sony Xperia T3's camera uses one of Sony's standard-issue 8MP Exmor RS sensor. It shoots with a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 both Superior Auto and Manual mode. There is a LED flash to help you with the low-light scenes, too.

The Xperia T3 comes with a hardware shutter key. It's quite tiny and many people would probably find it uncomfortable. The good thing about it is that you can set it up to unlock the phone and start the camera. It can also snap a photo or start capturing video immediately. This might come in handy for those occasions when you want to capture something quickly.

The camera interface consists of two panes and is unified with the camcorder one - you can snap a photo or shoot a video without changing modes most of the times. Depending on the shooting mode you're in, the video shutter key may be replaced by a still/video mode toggle.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Camera UI and camera modes

In the full resolution Manual mode you also get access to "manual controls" on the viewfinder, which sounds more impressive than it really is. There's an exposure compensation slider and a white balance selector. You can also control the ISO, metering and focus modes, turn on/off image stabilization, but those are buried in the settings menu.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Camera UI - manual mode

The Superior Auto shooting mode is what we've already seen in other Xperia phones - this time around it can shoot in full resolution in addition to the lower-res 16:9 mode. There are no settings you can change besides the aspect ratio, everything is done automatically. Unlike the 20MP Sony Xperia phones, the images taken with Superior Auto have the same quality as the one shot in Normal (Manual) mode.

Manual and Superior Auto aside, the Xperia T3 offers several other interesting shooting modes.

There's Sweep panorama but, unfortunately, panoramas come out with 5MP resolution, lousy stitching and uninspiring quality.

Sony Xperia T3

A panorama sample

Then, there are the Augmented Reality effects, which stamp one of several virtual worlds over your scene and you can even move around in this world thanks to some intriguing motion tracking effect (note that it needs visual cues to track your motion). Children will love this mode, but us bitter adults are unimpressed.

Other modes include the regular Picture effect mode, which creates a 3 x 3 grid that shows all the available effects in real time. Sony has also included a mode called Social streaming, which can live-stream the video feed from your camera directly on your Facebook profile. That's certainly not something you see every day.

Timeshift replaces the regular burst mode, it captures 30 shots in just 2 seconds. The intriguing thing is it starts shooting even before you've pressed the shutter button.

Finally, there is the Background defocus - it take a photo and blurs the background. This mode shoots a few shots with different focus and then blurs everything in the background but the object in focus.

Sounds like a nice thing on paper, but it fails quite often and you need to try again and again, and keep as steady as possible while shooting.

Image quality

Both 8MP shots taken in Superior Auto and in Manual mode have plenty of detail - the resolved amount is very good though the images are a bit too noisy. Contrast is excellent, while the white balance is on spot. The produced colors are nice and punchy, accurate in Manual, but oversaturated in Superior Auto mode.

There is lots of noise in some pictures but it isn't that much intrusive. We guess it's better to leave the noise, rather than smudge the fine detail with a harsh noise reduction algorithm.

Here are the 8MP shots we've snapped:

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 8MP camera samples in Manual mode

And here are a few samples taken in Superior Auto mode. They have the same quality as the Manual ones, but the colors are slightly oversaturated.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 Superior Auto samples

The HDR more is a bit hard to find, but it is present on the Sony Xperia T3. You need to go to Manual mode first, then in the Scenes Menu and then you should select Backlight Correction (HDR). The HDR mode is conservative and rescues both the highlights and shadows without making the contrast too low. Despite that we find the effect somewhat unnatural.

Here are a couple of HDR samples:

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

Still camera comparison

We uploaded the full resolution 8MP photos to our photo quality comparison database to compare against other high-resolution smartphones. The resolved detail is good, but there is lots of noise and this time around it gets in the way. Still the Xperia T3 is far more capable than the Xperia M2, which we reviewed recently.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Sony Xperia T3 in our photo quality comparison tool

Video recording done in 1080p at 30 fps

The Sony Xperia T3 is capable of capturing 1080p video at 30fps. The camcorder shares the same UI as the still camera. You can set a timer and fiddle with settings like exposure, metering, focus mode, etc.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Camcorder UI

For videos the T3 features a proprietary SteadyShot digital image stabilization, but there's a price to pay - the field of view (FoV) is reduced (it's how all digital stabilization systems work). The phone is smart enough to detect whether you are shooting hand-held or you have rested it on something stable but you get the reduced FoV either way.

If you go into video mode from the Manual shooting mode, you get an HDR option, as well as various preset scenes to pick from.

You can also snap stills during video recording but that's not of much use as you only get 1080p images, you might as well grab a frame from the video later.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Still images taken while recording a video

The Sony Xperia T3 is a reasonably powerful camcorder. It captures 1080p videos at just under 30 frames per second with a good bitrate of 19Mbps with stereo sound recording with a bitrate of 96 Kbps and 48 kHz audio sampling rate.

The end results are good, but not perfect. The resolved detail isn't as much as we hoped for, colors and contrast are on par with still images as are the high noise levels. The videos are smooth with a framerate of 29-30 fps with minor variations. The continuous autofocus is much too eager and triggers too often though.

Here's a 1080p sample, which we've uploaded on YouTube.

And here is an untouched 1080p@30fps video sample for you to download.

The Xperia T3 is also capable of capturing 1080p@30fps HDR videos. The quality is the same as the standard video samples, though the HDR effect isn't working as we hoped for.

You can also check out the HDR samples we've uploaded on YouTube as well.

Here is a 1080p@30fps HDR video for you to check out.

Video camera comparison

The Sony Xperia T3 captures good 1080p videos. It also manages to resolve lots of detail in the background in good light conditions, but fails to do so in the foreground. There is lots of noise in the low-light scene, though the lack of a harsh noise reduction algorithm allows for keeping more detail. You can check out how it does against the competition in good and low lighting conditions and look at the ISO chart for a synthetic estimation of the resolved detail.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Sony Xperia T3 in our video quality comparison tool

Web browser

The Sony Xperia T3 comes with Google Chrome as the default web browser out of box instead of the generic Android browser. While the minimalist interface hasn't changed since Chrome launched on Android, the browser is being constantly refined by Google, and this has resulted in one of the smoothest and most powerful browsing experiences we've encountered on a mobile.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Browsing GSMArena.com with Chrome

Of course, one of Chrome's strengths is its ability to seamlessly sync with the desktop version, using nothing but your Google account. This allows you to open an article on your PC and finish reading it on your mobile phone. It also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites.

Google Chrome is generous with settings as well. You can control almost every aspect of your web browsing from choosing what content you want to allow to load like JavaScript, images, cookies and pop-ups. Reduce data usage does what it says - Google servers compress the webpage (using Google-developed tech like SPDY and WebP) and send them to the phone.

Opening the tabs area reveals a list of tabs which can be closed, again with a left or right swipe. The animation accompanying this action is neat, too. Incognito tabs, which lets you browse without saving history or cookies, show up right next to regular tabs.

Unfortunately, Chrome doesn't have an easier to navigate and see Reading mode as the one on iOS. There isn't any Save for Later reading list either.

Other pre-installed apps

The calendar has three different types of view - daily, weekly and monthly. The lower section of the screen is reserved for a list of upcoming events. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The calendar

Sony Xperia T3 also features the Office Suite 7, which allows for creating, viewing and editing office files (docs, xls, ppt), and it can also read PDFs.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Office Suite 7

Calculator, Clock app (with stopwatch, world clock and timer), Sketch and File Manager apps are available by default.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Alarms & Clock • Sketch • File manager

The Socialife app comes pre-installed too. It is a service similar to Samsung's My Magazine and HTC One's Blinkfeed. The interface is clean and simple yet beautiful, and there are lots of preloaded feeds. You can add your own RSS links too.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Socialife

Sony Select does the same as the Sony's What's New app, but comes with much less functions and old UI. We feel Sony should retire it.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Select

The Power Saver - now part of the settings menu - helps you extend your battery life by toggling things like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth screen brightness, auto sync and background data on and off automatically when the battery charge falls below a certain user-defined threshold. You can also turn off the Wi-Fi if there is no saved Wi-Fi network in range or turn off mobile data when the screen is off, and more.

Sony also provides a Backup & restore app, which can use the internal storage, a microSD card or even an attached USB mass storage device. You can backup the system and downloaded apps and their data along with any media files.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

The Power saver app • Backup & Restore app is a great tool to have out of the box

You bet Google Maps and Navigation are also part of the app package to utilize the built-in GPS receiver (with added GLONASS support). Offline maps are available, again, since the last update, so you can save some data traffic too.

Whatever you may be missing, there is the always-growing Google Play Store for you.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Google Maps • Google Play Store

Final words

Sony Xperia T3 isn't the regular mid-ranger we've expected it to be. It comes with an excellent build quality and an extra slim profile, it's as snappy as you may expect and it's got some great imaging capabilities. We really like the displays Sony is putting on its latest Xperia phones and the Xperia T3's 5.3" IPS unit is great, too. The smartphone would have been the perfect mid-ranger if it was water and dust proof, but we can't have it all, can we?

Sony Xperia T3

So, the Xperia T3 performed admirably in almost every task. The battery backup is enough to ensure you can enjoy for quite some time between charges. There is very little we miss in the Xperia T3 - the user-accessible battery and the uninspiring video recording being among the very few features that come in mind.

The Xperia T3 stands somewhere between the affordable Xperia M2 and the massive Xperia T2 Ultra phablet. It's in fact a more reasonably sized version of the T2 Ultra packing the same internals and quality display, but cutting off some screen estate and camera megapixels. It even comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box plus the latest available Sony default apps.

Sony Xperia Т3 key test findings:

  • Build quality is great, the phone is impressively slim
  • The display quality and sunlight legibility are very good
  • The battery life is great
  • We rated the speaker loudness as Good
  • Clean and user-friendly interface, feature-rich multimedia apps - Album, Movies, Walkman
  • The benchmark performance is excellent for the market segment
  • The audio quality is good
  • Camera takes above average photos, but only average quality videos
  • Video player lacks DivX, AC3 and DTS decoding capabilities

Today the smartphone market is overwhelmed with mid-range phones and it's probably the segment where the manufacturers need to make their offers really stand out. And this is exactly where Sony failed. It didn't do wrong with the Xperia T3, it just can't shine among the last year's flagship, not yet. The pricing isn't right at launch and unless Sony fixes it soon, the Xperia T3 might be forgotten in few months.

The biggest threat to our guest of honor comes from Sony's lineup itself - the powerful Xperia Z1. It is water and dust proof, offers better screen, faster performance and premium camera capabilities. The Xperia Z1 costs even less than the Xperia T3, so Sony has literally beaten itself in its own game.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Then you can look at all of the 2013 top smartphones - the Snapdragon 800-powered LG G2 with 13MP OIS camera, the Snapdragon 800-powered version of the Galaxy S4 with better camera and screen, even the six-core Galaxy Note 3 Neo with Super AMOLED HD screen and cool S-Pen capabilities. Each of those phones is unique in a particular way and offer more than the equally, or in the case of Note 3 Neo higher, priced Sony Xperia T3.

LG G2
Samsung I9506 Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

LG G2 • Samsung I9506 Galaxy S4 • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

HTC Desire 816 is powered by the same Snapdragon 400 platform and offers slightly bigger display for the same cash. It bets on a 13MP rear and a 5MP front camera sensors, comes with more RAM, richer user interface and a bigger battery. Don't forget the powerful stereo speakers at the front, too. Yes, it is another unique mid-ranger you will remember with its key features.

HTC Desire 816

HTC Desire 816

Sony either got the situation wrong or it didn't care for the market at all. Sony Xperia T3 is a great device, feature-rich and reliable, which will save the day for any task, anytime. It just isn't the head-turner as most of its competitors are. But with the right pricing it can do great, so it's up to Sony now.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia T3

The retail package of the Sony Xperia T3 covers just the basics. There's an A/C adapter, a microUSB cable and the headset.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 retail box

Sony Xperia T3 360-degree view

The Sony Xperia T3 measures 150.7 x 77 x 7mm - that's 15mm shorter, 7mm narrower and a tad slimmer than the Xperia T2 Ultra phablet and very close to the Xperia Z2 flagship. The Sony Xperia T3 weighs 148g, reasonable for a solid midranger of such caliber and 15g lighter than the all-glass Xperia Z2.

Design and handling

It's not like we haven't seen the OmniBalance design used on a plethora of Xperia smartphones over the past few years. It's probably time the next flagship moved on but the midrange Xperia T3 is on the safe side. It looks reasonably good and has pleasant handling.

The Sony Xperia T3's entire front is occupied by the 5.3" IPS display.

The non-removable rear cover is made of plastic, with matte finish in graphite black. The material doesn't look or feel low quality, but fingerprints tend to stick on. They would probably be harder to notice on the white and purple versions. Still, the issue is not as obvious as it would have been on a glossy surface.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3

Just like most of the previous Xperia phones, the Xperia T3 sides are lined with a glossy strip for a nice contrasting accent. The only thing actually made of metal is the signature power/lock key.

Handling the Sony Xperia T3 is a pleasure and the screen size isn't a particular burden. With a 7mm waistline, the Xperia T3 feels great in hand, not bulky at all, and well put together, no wobbles or squeaks. In fact, it's among the thinnest Sony phones ever.

Sony Xperia T3
Sony Xperia T3

Handling the Xperia T3

Display

The Sony Xperia T3 flaunts a 5.3" IPS Triluminos display of 720p resolution, which works out to 277ppi. While this is nowhere near the 400+ pixel density of current flagships, it's a completely different price range we're talking about.

Sony Xperia T3

Sony Xperia T3 5.3" IPS display

The Xperia T3 display is enhanced by Sony's Mobile BRAVIA 2 and X-Reality engine. The combo aims to improve sharpness, reduce noise, while boosting contrast and saturation, and it does a pretty good job of it.

The pixel arrangement is standard RGB with an equal amount of green, red and blue pixels in line.

Sony Xperia T3

The Sony Xperia T3 uses a standard RGB matrix

The screen's contrast and brightness are very good, and so is color reproduction, all adding up to excellent image quality.

The viewing angles, thanks to the IPS matrix, are better than average. There is no contrast and color washing when you look the screen at an angle, though there is a noticeable color shift from some directions.

Unfortunately, even with Auto Brightness off, the ambient light sensor kept on intervening and we couldn't run our test at 50%.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia T3 - - - 0.82 790 963
Sony Xperia M2 0.33 325 989 0.64 643 1000
Sony Xperia Т2 Ultra - - - 0.49 634 1287
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Samsung Galaxy S4 201 404
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo 142 389
HTC Desire 816 0.15 164 1087 0.46 478 1032
LG G2 0.10 149 1522 0.45 667 1495


Using the Sony Xperia T3 in bright outdoor conditions turned out quite a trouble-free experience. The smartphone even managed to slightly outdo the HTC One (M8) in our test.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114