Sony Xperia Z5 Review

Sony hasn’t been doing all too well in the flagship smartphone battle. All the attention seems to go to Samsung and Apple, with HTC and LG getting a bit of a nod every now and then. With its latest iteration however, Sony appears to be making a play for the top spot. Does the Z5 have what it takes to topple the big boys?

Well, fact is, this is the best phone Sony has ever made. That’s for sure. Rumors have been swirling for a while now, with talks about a cutting-edge camera and revolutionary display. With the expected October Sony Xperia Z5 release date looming even closer, most of the specs are out of the bag and we can now see how it stacks up against industry kingpins such as the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

Specifications

  • Display: 5.2 inches; 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi)
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32GB; supports microSD card up to 200GB
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 64-bit Octa-core processor
  • Camera: 23MP rear; 5MP front-facing
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
  • Weight: 154g
  • Battery: 2900mAh
  • SIM: Single; Nano SIM

Sony Xperia Z5 Features

Being a flagship device, it has all the high-end specs characteristic of phones in this tier. But in this cut-throat world, you need more than a fast processor and a nice display to get you ahead. So let’s have a look at the arsenal the Z5 is bringing to the battlefront.

Camera

Sony Xperia Z5 camera
In the Age of the Selfie, a camera can make or break the prospects of a smartphone. Sony has always had some pretty impressive hardware in its phones when it comes to photography, but it’s still had a bit of a struggle setting itself apart from the competition. But the Z5 could change all this.

The new 23MP sensor sports an ultra-fast autofocus of 0.03s. That’s blisteringly fast! In comparison, most flagship devices have an autofocus speed of about 0.7s. The sensor also features 5-times zoom and can shoot video in stunning 4K. For your selfies, the 5MP front camera does a bang-up job, aided by the Steadyshot feature that eliminates any shaking.

While all this results in some pretty striking photos, which can be enhanced using Sony’s camera app, the low light functionality isn’t all that impressive. But this is the only embellishment to a truly remarkable camera.

Performance

The Z5 shares the same Snapdragon 810 processor that was in its predecessor, the Z3+. Now, you might have cringed at the sound of that if you crossed paths with the Z3+. The processor was attributed to overheating, which even led to cracking of the chassis and scores of irate customers.

But Sony seems to have done a bit of tweaking, as the Z5 is definitely cooler. It might get a bit warm during extended gaming, but nothing too alarming. Android’s Lollipop works seamlessly here, with the processor able to switch through multiple apps with no visible lag.

Display

There has been all this news about a display poised to shake the flagship market. Well, this is half-true. While this version sports a very decent 1080 x 1920 resolution, its cousin, the Z5 Premium is set to have a mind-boggling 3840×2160 display. That’s 4K resolution! It will be the first phone to achieve such a feat and was the root of all the Sony Xperia Z5 rumors.

With a pixel density of 424 ppi, the Z5’s graphics are good enough to enjoy your 3D games and HD movies. However, with some devices in its class boasting 2K resolution, it definitely doesn’t shine in this category.

Design

Sony Xperia Z5 features
The Z series is a lot like a Porsche- it stubbornly refuses to change! This iteration is very similar to all the devices in the series. You still get the boxy design that some absolutely love and others can’t stand. But one thing that everyone can agree on is that the finishing is nothing short of impressive.

It features a metal frame with a frosted glass back that is perfect at masking fingerprints and nylon corners to reduce damage in the event of a fall. It feels sturdy in the hand, and at 72mm wide, it isn’t awkward to use either. The USB port and headphone jack are uncovered despite the phone being waterproof, and has a dedicated camera button on the side.

Fingerprint Scanner

A subtle, but major, change in design lies in the power button. It’s gone from round to oval-shaped, and is equipped with the most ergonomic touch to a smartphone yet: a fingerprint scanner. Most scanners are tricky at best to use and sometimes feel like the manufacturer’s evil ploy to make you drop your phone. But this one, located to the side and integrated with the power button, is a joy to use.

It might not offer any fancy tricks, but the fingerprint scanner gets points for being reliable. It correctly identified prints almost 100% of the time.

Battery Life

Sony has always prided itself in producing devices with some of the best batteries. According to them, the Xperia Z5 ought to last for a whole two days on just a single charge. That’s impressive. If at all it was true. With normal usage, and without any power saving settings, the 2900mAh battery misses its touted two-day mark by 14 hours.

However, by engaging Stamina Mode, which only runs a limited number of apps, it does get to 48 hours. There is even a choice of switching to Ultra Stamina Mode that only runs core functions, extending the battery life even longer.

Other Features

Sony Xperia Z5 Design
Sony is famous for its PlayStation gaming console, and with the Xperia Z5, you can synch your phone to your console using WiFi and enjoy games around your house. It also features high-resolution audio that makes for a brilliant listening experience and is both water and dust-proof.

Sony Xperia Z5 Price

The Z5 is priced at $845, which places it right between the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6S.

Final Take

The Xperia Z5 packs some neat features that are sure to rattle the competition. Its camera, especially, is certain to get some tongues wagging and the fingerprint scanner’s positioning is the best there is. However, it is unlikely to unseat the big players as it doesn’t have the really jaw-dropping features like the S6. All in all, this is an amazingly well-built phone that’s sure not to disappoint.

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