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Sony Xperia Z3 is a glass and metal powerhouse (pictures)

The Xperia Z3 is Sony's latest flagship smartphone, packing a 20-megapixel camera and two-day battery into a waterproof body.

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Andrew Lanxon

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1 of 21 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Say hello to the Sony Xperia Z3. It's Sony's latest flagship phone, packing a 5.2-inch full HD display, a quad-core processor, a 20.7-megapixel camera and a completely waterproof body.

Sound familiar? That's possibly because those are the same specs as the Xperia Z2, released only six months ago. I won't argue here whether that's far too soon to refresh a flagship model (it definitely is), but the Z3 does at least have a few tweaks to freshen it up.

It's slimmer for one thing, with a narrower bezel too. Although the screen resolution hasn't increased, Sony reckons that the display is much more power efficient than 2K screens (as you'll get on the LG G3) so the Z3 can achieve up to two days of use from a single charge. That's a pretty good claim.

The phone is due to go on sale "globally" sometime from October although Sony is yet to confirm specific regional availability or prices.

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The Z3's design is largely similar to the Z2's. Both the front and back of the phone are clad in unbroken sheets of glass.

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It's been made a little skinnier though.

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The corners are made from toughened Nylon, which Sony says is to protect it when it's dropped. Good thinking.

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The back of the phone is where you'll find the 20.7-megapixel camera. It's the same resolution as before, but it's a wider angle lens and Sony reckons it can shoot with ISO speeds up to 12,800 -- theoretically making it much better in low light conditions.

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It's waterproof to a depth of 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) for up to 30 minutes, allowing you to get snap happy underwater. The screen won't work when wet, but there's luckily a physical camera button that will work in all conditions.

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To keep the water out, the main ports are covered in these rubberised flaps.

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The Z3 will come in a range of new colours. The bright, garish purple colour seen on its predecessors won't be available -- Sony has gone for more sensible colours this time.

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The metal bands get the new colours too, not just the glass panels.

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A neat feature is the ability to use the phone as a display for your PS4 games. Your console will still do all the processing, but as long as you're on the same Wi-Fi network, you can stream the content to play on your phone with a DualShock controller. Want to carry on playing Last Of Us on the toilet? Well, now you can. Hooray for technology!

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It runs on the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat software.

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I think the Z3 looks ace.

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The interface is much the same as you'll see on Sony's other recent Xperia phones.

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There's a handy menu next to the app tray that lets you quickly reorganise the apps.

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The settings menu is pretty straight forward. It's easier to sift through than Samsung's seemingly endless list of tweakable settings on the Galaxy S5, anyway.

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The micro-USB port, microSD card slot and SIM card slot are all tucked away under waterproof covers.

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I'm really quite keen on the new mature colours.

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The copper version makes a good change from the usual black or white phones.

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It's still a sensible enough hue to not be embarrassing when you whip it out in front of your boss.

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And this mint green hue won't look out of place in a nice bar.

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The metal frame makes it feel very sturdy, not to mention luxurious.

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