The Xperia Z3 is Sony's flagship smartphone for late 2014. Building on the Xperia Z2, the Z3 bumps up certain hardware specs, while evolving Sony's "Omnibalance" design language. The entire package is thinner and lighter than before, with new rounded corners for improved ergonomics. On the front is a 5.2-inch 1080p display — same as the Z2 on paper, though with brighter colors and improved daylight visibility. The Z3 is powered by a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, backed up by a microSD slot. And like most Sony phones these days, it's water- and dust-resistant — rated IP65/68.

The Xperia Z3 retains its predecessors' 20.7 Sony Exmor RS camera, which finds itself behind a new, wider-angle lens. Sony's also touting the Z3 as having "two-day" battery life, with a fixed 3,100mAh powering the device.

Released in Europe in late September 2014, the Xperia Z3 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6.

Over in the U.S., Sony finally unveiled the phone's launch at an event in October in New York City. Verizon is the exclusive launch partner for what's being called the Xperia Z3v, which is nearly identical to the international model but custom tailored to Verizon's network. The Z3v adds Qi charging underneath the same metal and glass exterior as the international Z3, as well as a couple of Verizon logos on the front and back. It goes on sale October 23rd from the carrier for $199 on-contract.