1. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    So, the Sony XPERIA Z3+ has gotten some flak over heating issues. And since it's running the ever-so-controversial Snapdragon 810 toaster, it's not hard to see why.

    If you have seen Android Central's review on the Z3+ (if you haven't, read it here Sony Xperia Z3+ review | Android Central), you'll know that one of the minuses is the phone's thermal performance, especially in the camera app.

    Well, some time has passed, and I recently had the opportunity to give a Z3+ a go while passing by a Sony store while in Southeast Asia for some time, so it's only fair that I test it to see how it's really like.

    DISCLAIMER: The phones I used to test, minus my personal one, are display units, meaning that they've been left on and charged for a really long time. However, I did my best to ensure that they meet my real-world testing scenarios.

    THE TEST

    SCENARIO 1

    In the first scenario, we're assuming that someone was using the Z3+ for some time and somehow wanted to take a video of some scenery or something. The unit was running for some time, exactly how it would be like if it was used. I fired up the camera, put it in 1080p60 recording and did a test recording.

    After about 25 seconds, the thermometer showed up on the viewfinder, telling me that the phone is heating up to abnormal levels. The phone didn't have a case, so it did feel pretty warm.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-10-52-53.jpg

    About 30 seconds later, I was greeted by the following screen.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-10-53-29.png

    Okay, so 55 seconds of video recording on 1080p isn't so good. But, I'm not ready to write this phone off. I had a second scenario in mind, one that is more common. I'm also assuming direct sunlight in this scenario, so 100% brightness.

    SCENARIO 2
    In the second scenario, we're assuming that someone pulled out the phone to record but has not used it either much or at all before doing so. As these are display units, meaning that all the features are on and the screen is at max brightness, they were pretty warm to begin with. So I turned off all connectivity features (except WiFi), turned the brightness down to 75% (something that's more common for sunlight use) and let the phone rest to cool. However, if the phone sleeps, a demo video plays and all settings will revert, so I had to put the brightness to its lowest and turn off absolutely everything that's not needed and even blew cold air to ensure that the phone cools to a sufficient level.

    Once that's done, I did the same recording test. On 1080p60, it didn't have any issue and passed the 3 minute mark with no issue. I cooled the phone for a consistent result and cranked it up to 4K UHD recording mode.

    For a while, everything seemed fine. The phone recorded fine and no ill-effects were seen. After the 2:30 mark, the phone gave me a message warning me that a camera shutdown was imminent if I don't stop recording.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-20150808_191746.jpg

    I proceeded with the recording and for some reason, the camera managed to exceed 5 minutes on 4K, but I had to stop it as most phone cameras stop recording 4K at 5 minutes. Once I did that, the phone greeted me with this.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-20150808_192032.jpg

    WHAT ABOUT MY PERSONAL PHONE?
    Good question.

    For those who don't know, my current daily driver is the LG G4, which uses a Snapdragon 808, which is a little less powerful than the 810. It has a more favorable reputation as it doesn't heat up as much. But in the interest of a fair comparison, I put my personal G4 in the torture chamber and proceeded with a recording test in 4K.

    The phone was idling, so I had to increase the display brightness to 75%, plug it into the charger and connect to Wi-Fi. I also had to use the phone a bit to get it a little warm in my best effort to mimic the same conditions I tested the Z3+ in.

    On the 2:58 mark, nothing seems wrong.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-21-29-12.jpg

    It went all the way to 4:50 with no message.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-21-31-06.jpg

    The recording ended at 5 minutes, with a message telling me that recording in 4K is limited to 5 minutes due to temperature limits, as it was designed to do.

    It's still a bit toasty, though, but didn't feel overly uncomfortable.
    Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-21-31-38.jpg Thermal performance while using the camera on the Sony XPERIA Z3+. Is it that bad?-screenshot_2015-08-08-21-31-42.jpg

    The bottom line
    The bottom line is that the Z3+ actually did slightly better than what I was expecting. I expected the camera app to shut down in the first 2 minutes of 4K recording but it actually went on and shut down one 5 minutes of recording had been reached.

    That said, it's still pretty toasty, but unless you record anything over 5 minutes, even in 1080p, it should be fine, but I still can't recommend it as it's still a pretty hot phone and as a heavy camera user, it's just not for me, personally. But for people who aren't big on 4K recording, it's a solid performer.

    I heard the Z3 also had the same issue.
    08-08-2015 10:02 AM
  2. D13H4RD2L1V3's Avatar
    I actually really like the phone, though.

    I like the OmniBalance design, even though it looks a bit stale, the bezels aren't overly large and I love how responsive the phone was, even while throttled.

    Also, just for a note, the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100M4 does shut down due to thermal reasons if you record more than one video in 4K on it. I'm guessing phones might do the same.
    08-08-2015 01:28 PM

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