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Sony’s Xperia series had a brief period of being some of the best phones on shelves, but all that went to pot with the disappointing Z3+. However, Sony are back to try it all again with the new Xperia Z5, and whilst looks haven’t changed, features have. The Z5 is a slim lined, elegant little device, seemingly incapable of handling the vast amounts of power under that shell. But handle it, it does, and this could be the phone that puts Sony back at the top of their game.
Why should you want one? Amazing camera specs, for one. But there’s also a big screen with respectable specs, and excellent power specs too. What more could you look for in a flagship phone? The Sony Xperia Z5 is simply an awesome phone, and one that’s going to take a lot of beating if it’s not to be the best mobile release of the year.
In essence, the looks of the Xperia series haven’t changed since the original Xperia Z. But, the Z5 has been slimmed down a little, though it’s still got the sharp edges and defined corners of an Xperia. A frosted glass black panel is smooth to the touch, and vinyl corners help to protect the device, all adding up to something that fits comfortably in the hand and that’s nice to look at too.
Aside from those looks, there’s a lot of awesome specs on the Xperia Z5. Plenty of power with octo core processing, a nice, big screen with decent resolution, and some of the best camera specs on the market as well. Plus, a bigger and better battery means less charging for you.
Yes, this is another Xperia, yes it looks the same as the others, but no, it’s not the disappointment that the Z3+ was. The Sony Xperia Z5 is a powerhouse of a phone, and gives you everything you’d expect from a flagship device and more. It’s a purchase you’re not going to regret.
Let’s start with the important stuff: performance. You’re looking at an octo core device here, and yes, that means eight core processing power. There are two CPUs on board, a quad core 2 GHz model and a quad core 1.5 GHz model. Couple those with a nice 3 GB of RAM and you’re looking at some very satisfying speeds. Is it the fastest phone around? No, the Samsung Galaxy 6S Edge + is faster, but we defy you to notice any speed difference in reality. All in all, you get great speeds, solid responsiveness and great multi tasking.
As we expect from Sony, this is an Android device. Out of the box you’re running the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop version, but with the release of Android M just weeks away it’s likely that you’ll be upgrading in the first wave of releases. That means that you’ll have the newest OS version around, with all the security and stability that comes with it.
If you want a phone that’s got great performance, that can do all you need without lagging or freezing, that responds instantly to input, then this is it. Whilst specs aren’t quite as high as on other flagships (but really, that difference is very minimal), performance here is still absolutely excellent.
So, on to the screen. This is a 5.2 inch display model, which is pretty impressive, particularly considering the fact that it does still fit in one hand. Because the Z5 is so slim that screen size doesn’t make it feel bulky. What it does do is give you a whole lot more room for watching videos, surfing the net, and enough space to make on screen touch typing easy and comfortable.
Resolution wise you’re getting a 1080 x 1920 pixel display, giving you around 428 PPI. Again, not the biggest specs around, but more than good enough to give you a clear, bright display with good colour reproduction. It’s an LCD screen with IPS, so you get great viewing angles even from the side.
Whatever you want to do on the Z5, the display should be more than satisfactory. With bright, full colour tones and sharp lines, video and even mobile gaming look great. And that little extra display space just makes for a better typing experience compared to smaller 5 inch screen models.
Alrighty, cameras might be the main event on this phone, and there are two very, very impressive devices. At the front you’re getting a 5.1 MP cam, which is more than we’d expect for a camera that’s probably only going to be used for selfies and video calling.
Around the back though, there’s a massive 23 MP camera, with an unbelievable 5520 x 4140 resolution. There’s a ton of features thrown in too, with LED flash, phase detection autofocus, face detection, HDR, panorama mode… the list goes one.
Bottom line here? You’re going to be taking some amazing pictures with the Z5. This is one of the best combos of cameras around right now, and if you’re serious about your photos, then you’re really going to want to test these out.
There are a couple of noteworthy features on the Z5 that really deserve a mention here. The first of these is the battery. Sony are absolutely determined to bring out a phone that can go two days without charging. The Z5’s huge 2900 mAh battery might not quite be capable of two days, but it comes close, particularly with the addition of a battery saving stamina mode and an intelligent screen that dims itself to save power. All that means less phone charging for you.
You are getting a fingerprint scanner as well, the first we’ve seen from Sony, which should bump up security (as well as letting you use Android Pay). And then there’s the normal Sony extras, like remote play for your Play Station 4, and some very nice high resolution speakers as well.
|Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Dimensions||146 x 72 x 7.3 mm (5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 in)|
|Weight||154 g (5.43 oz)|
|- IP68 certified - dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes|
|- Fingerprint sensor|
|Type||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||5.2 inches (~69.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (~428 ppi pixel density)|
|Multitouch||Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|Protection||Scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating|
|- Triluminos display|
|- X-Reality Engine|
|OS||Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810|
|CPU||Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 200 GB|
|Internal||32 GB, 3 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||23 MP, 5520 х 4140 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama|
|Video||2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR|
|Secondary Camera||5.1 MP, 1080p, HDR|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|- High-Res audio|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.1, A2DP, apt-X|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS/ Beidou (market dependant)|
|Radio||FM radio with RDS|
|USB||microUSB v2.0 (MHL 3 TV-out), USB Host|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Messaging||SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email|
|- Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)|
|- ANT+ support|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|- Xvid/MP4/H.265 player|
|- MP3/eAAC+/WAV/Flac player|
|- Document viewer|
|- Photo/video editor|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 2900 mAh battery|
|Stand-by||Up to 520 h (2G) / Up to 540 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 13 h 10 min (2G) / Up to 17 h (3G)|
|Music play||Up to 87 h|
|Colors||White, Graphite Black, Gold, Green|
If this isn’t the best phone of the year, it’s definitely the best phone we’ve seen from Sony for a very long time. The Sony Xperia Z5 has a great combo of specs, from its big screen to its big power to its big cameras. There’s no doubt that this is a high end, flagship device.
You’ll be getting all the connectivity options that you’d expect, with WiFi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth. And you’ll be getting some impressive storage too. The Xperia Z5 comes with 32 GB of built in storage, but there’s also a micro SD card slot for an extra whopping 200 GB of external storage. That should be more than enough for anyone.
So, what don’t we like? There’s not much, actually. We’d sort of like a bit better screen resolution to make the Z5 more competitive against the likes of the Samsung Galaxys, but in truth display quality is pretty good. And those awesome cameras more than make up for any other complaint we might have. If you’re looking for a great new phone, then look no further. The Sony Xperia Z5 is absolutely fantastic!
by Dan Forster, Mobile Phone Expert
Dan is our mobile phone review expert helping customers make better buying decisions. With a passion for technology and taking things apart Dan single-handedly reviews all the phones listed on the TigerMobiles.com website.