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Sony: Z5 Premium only renders media in 4K, the rest in 1080p for a two-day battery

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Sony: Z5 Premium only renders media in 4K, the rest in 1080p for a two-day battery

Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium is the world's first phone with a 4K resolution display, cramming 8 million pixels in a 5.5" display for the breathtaking 800+ ppi pixel density for the first time on a mobile device. How huge is the gap with the next best thing in pixel density? Well, the Galaxy S6 with its Quad HD Super AMOLED display has 577ppi, for instance.

When we took screenshots of the Z5 Premium's display at the IFA expo, however, we noticed that they all show 1080p resolution, not the display's actual 2160 x 3840 pixels count. There are quite a few forum threads dedicated on this development already, hinting that the world's first 4K phone won't always run the native screen resolution, especially when it comes to the Android interface. It seemed that you will be able to render 4K media like pictures and videos in Sony's native gallery and player in their full glory, perhaps even set 4K wallpapers, but when it comes to the Xperia UI, it hasn't been redrawn by Sony, or upscaled further than 1080p. 

At the time, most comments on the matter argued that this actually makes sense, as rendering a 4K interface around would place unnecessary strain on the graphics subsystem, leading to Snapdragon 810 performance slowdowns, and/or a battery life hit. These can be easily avoided by enabling 4K only where it matters most - in the camera/gallery, and during video playback and upscaling.

Well, now we have Sony's first official statement on this pressing 4K matter, and they explained to us exactly why the company went with the 4K-on-demand concept for their seasonal flagship:

Xperia Z5 Premium features a 4K display with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels based on SID Standard and enables all video and image content to be enjoyed in 4K resolution. All other content is displayed at 1080P or lower resolution in order to optimise the performance and battery stamina for this device, ensuring you can enjoy the 4K resolution when you need it most.


Just like the Z5 and Z5 Compact, the Z5 Premium is still listed as a "two-day battery" phone in Sony's feature sheet, despite its jaw-dropping display resolution, and now we know how Sony managed to pull this off. Granted, it has a larger battery than those two as well, but running the display in 1080p most of the time, and only firing up on all 4K cylinders when rendering video or images in such ultra high definition, contributes to having the battery stamina Sony's phones are now acclaimed for, despite sporting a display with record pixel density. There you have it.

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posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:04 11

1. AZNHA (unregistered)


1080p with 806ppi .. wooww :o

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:05

3. gaming64 (unregistered)


IKR! I'm adding this to my wishlist.

posted on 16 Sep 2015, 03:43

96. aBoss (Posts: 105; Member since: 15 Sep 2014)


people said 4k is too much now people say 1080p is too low. lol the hate is real. Sony is the only legit company doing innovation especially for battery life thats why Sony flagships always beats ALL other flagships in battery life. Sony is King

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:44

21. Trex95 (Posts: 938; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Don't think 1080P runs 806ppi.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 21:30

94. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 442; Member since: 26 May 2011)


4K resolution at 806ppi is available for videos and pictures

Everything is displayed with 1080p at 424ppi.

posted on 16 Sep 2015, 00:57

95. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


FYI screen pixel density is fixed. hence, even when the images are rendered in 1080p, the screen still has 806ppi. it's just that around half of the pixels show the same pixel image.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:44

22. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)


Woow? It's useless only drains battery..
Btw arena , where is battery test ?

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 08:09

55. ibend (Posts: 5142; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


as soon as they get the phone

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:05 19

2. gaming64 (unregistered)


This is a phone that understands me. Do you really need an amazing screen to brag about? Naw, that's just materialism. This phone might be a really great deal and if Sony keeps this up in future flagships, they might be able to relive the good 'ol Ericcson days.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:31 3

17. maherk (Posts: 4072; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Well tell that to Sony. Why brag about a 4k screen phone when it will only render your media in 4k?
Why not make it switch between 4k and 2k instead 1080? And why not give the option for the owner to switch between 4k and 1080?

And I would rather wait and see if the phone could last 2 days with the SD810, because I really do have my doubts regarding their battery life claims.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:49 25

25. StuiWooi (Posts: 91; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


Are... are you serious? It's 1080p and 2160p because they scale perfectly; one pixel in the lower resolution is made from 4 of the higher.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:57 15

29. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 992; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Lol, you gotta understand, some people like to complain for the sake of complaining, without really researching.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 07:29 2

42. maherk (Posts: 4072; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


I am not a screen expert and I never claimed K am one, but if you are offering a phone with 4K screen, and marketing it as one, then it should be able to render 4k whenever the owner feels like.

I bet your reactions would be a whole lot different if this was done by Samsung or Apple.
Trust me, I am not hating on the phone, I still believe it is 1 of the best 3 smartphones for 2015,

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 07:56 4

51. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 992; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


I use a Samsung Note 4 and iPad 4....And hear I am defending Sony. So no, reaction would not be different.

THIS is truly optimizing for mobile.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 08:25 2

59. maherk (Posts: 4072; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


And I ve never been a fan of Sony phones after my experience with the Xperia S(except for the Z3), and still I was of the 1st to throw compliments on the latest Z phones.

Just because I didn't like their implementation for the 4K technology, doesn't mean I hate the phone or that I don't see myself getting it.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 07:14 3

36. kent-gaga (Posts: 506; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


dont mind him he's just butthurting on any Sony article

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 07:41 2

47. maherk (Posts: 4072; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Really? So a slight criticism makes me butthurting on any Sony article?
Maybe you need to go read my 1st impressions on the new Z models.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 08:34 12

61. SamsungPhanboy (banned) (Posts: 765; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


Maherk, shut the hell up already.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 10:09 2

72. maherk (Posts: 4072; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Ok ApplePhanboy

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:07 10

4. SIGPRO (Posts: 1534; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


First of all, it is not 4K but UHD resolution!

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:32 8

18. deanylev (Posts: 214; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


Yes I hate how 3840x2160 is called 4K, so annoying. 4K is 4096x2160.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 07:26

41. SIGPRO (Posts: 1534; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


Yes i hate it too!

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 21:09

93. AZNHA (unregistered)


that's how gimmick works

posted on 16 Sep 2015, 11:49

99. xperian (Posts: 357; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


4k is considered everything around 4000 pixels wide. Term UHD applies to both 4k and 8k

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:08

5. jesus_sheep (Posts: 262; Member since: 18 Apr 2015)


we need 2 week battery!!

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:11 30

7. Settings (Posts: 1723; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


Then buy a car battery.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:13 1

9. WeezyF (Posts: 154; Member since: 09 Jul 2015)


settings thank u for putting that fool where he belongs

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 09:30

66. AZNHA (unregistered)


instead powerbank

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:08 7

6. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


Good move there.

posted on 15 Sep 2015, 06:45 2

23. Hallyu (Posts: 454; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


Good move? That's funny. So what's the use of spending a 4k price tag when it renders only 1080p of all time? It's just like buying an expensive car and put it inside the glass box as a show. But I know typical Sony fanboys are going to defend this with some excuses like saving battery life, better performance.... I wonder when this company will ever learn.

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