Sony apps: Of course you can get Netflix, Spotify and other apps on the Xperia Z3 Compact, but it then leaves you with a number of Sony’s own apps that will sit there not being used. One of the most intriguing features, however, is the ability to connect the Xperia Z3 Compact to a Play Station 4 via Wi-Fi and use it to play PS4 games remotely using a PS4 controller and the Xperia Z3 Compact as a screen. The feature isn’t available at the time of writing, but it has launched in November. Still, if it works as well as it does with Sony’s handheld PS Vita, then it could be a real selling point, though again this will depend if you have already got or are planning to get a PlayStation 4. It’s just terrible that this headline feature hasn’t launched with the phone. The Xperia Z3 Compact runs Android 4.4.4 (KitKat), and as is customary with Sony handsets, it comes with Sony’s own modified overlay. While in many ways similar to the stock Android experience, there are a few tweaks to the interface. Design wise the interface takes visual cues from the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4’s Cross Media Bar UI, with a relaxing background swirl and changing colors.
If you’re not too keen on that look, it’s pretty easy to change the wallpaper and theme, either from your own photographs or from a selection of preinstalled pictures and designs. One nice feature of Sony’s own wallpapers is that many of them are panoramic. What this means is that as you swipe between screens, the wallpaper scrolls. It’s a nice feature that livens up the background without being distracting. Elsewhere the experience is similar to stock Android, so if you’re already accustomed to Google’s mobile operating system, you’ll feel relaxed. Sony has seen fit to include a number of its own apps that link in with its various services, and your reaction to their presence on the Xperia Z3 Compact will range from ‘oh that’s handy enough! The Walkman app handles music playing duties and was a cute reminder of the days when Sony ruled the portable music player market. The app itself is fine, though it is again tightly integrated with Sony’s Music Unlimited service. Not only does it play your own music, but you can stream and buy new music through Music Unlimited. However, this feature isn’t much use. Still, at least it doesn’t go for too hard a sell to get you buying your music through Music Unlimited, and if you’ve already got a subscription then you may find this app great.
The Walkman app can also find and play music through your home network via DLNA, which is a nice touch. The Movies app works in a similar way, with the videos you’ve imported from your PC nestled alongside videos you’ve taken with the Xperia Z3 Compact’s camera as well as video rentals from Sony’s Video Unlimited service. The Album app handles photos and ties in to Sony’s Play Memories Online, which is an online storage service for your photos that offers unlimited storage for free.