For the tinkerers, there’s nothing quite like rooting your lovely new Android phone in preparation for some hardcore customisation. If you’re into tweaking the guts of your device, the decision to root is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it looks like those of you planning to pick up Sony’s Xperia Z3 (or Z3 Compact) later this month might have to weigh up the pros and cons — ultimate power, or a camera that takes decent low-light photos.
Deduced by the ever-reliable folks on the XDA forums, it seems that rooting the Xperia Z3 or Z3 Compact disables a number of the phone features, including the S-Force surround sound, Bravia Engine and “advanced camera algorithms (including low-light processing)”.
According to Sony’s Anna Aleryd, the reason for the loss of functionality is due to the fact they’re protected by digital rights management, so when the DRM keys are lost as a result of unlocking the bootloader, so to is any functionality tied to them:
Hi Magnus Sandin I’m sorry to hear you experience a change in image quality after unlocking the boot loader. The reason for this is that some advanced camera algorithms on our latest devices are protected by DRM, and will stop working when the keys are lost. We will look into clarifying the warning in the Unlock boot loader service even further. Thank you for reaching out to us!
If you check out Sony’s developer portal, this is mentioned in the section about bootloader unlocking:
Certain pre-loaded content on your device may also be inaccessible due to the removal of DRM security keys. For high-end devices running recent software versions, for instance Xperia Z3, the removal of DRM security keys may affect advanced camera functionality. For example, noise reduction algorithms might be removed, and performance when taking photos in low-light conditions might be affected.
If you’d like to see the quality difference between an unlocked and locked bootloader, Phandroid has a comparison photo you can check out.