Sony Xperia Z5 Premium ReviewSony Xperia Z5 Premium 7
Let it be known that 2015 is the year when we saw the first-ever commercially available smartphone with a 4K display. That's a 2160 x 3840-pixel resolution crammed in a 5.5-inch screen. Of course, as you probably know, the smartphone in question belongs to Sony's flagship Xperia Z line and is called the Xperia Z5 Premium.
Xperia Z5, only with a larger battery and an extra-super-insanely-crisp display. But does it really deserve its "Premium" moniker and can it stand on its own two feet in the harsh battleground of high-end phablets? Let's find out!
When bigger is not better
We often speak fondly of Sony's bold rectangular design – an elegant shape, with stark angles that manages to strike the balance between sense and beauty. It has worked great for the Xperia Z line so far, the Compact models included, but if we are to be honest, it looks a bit iffy with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.
Naturally, the increased size of the Premium's screen demands a larger phone body, and large dimensions do not go well with the good old rectangle. We can see how keeping an uniform look between the 2015 Xperia Z handsets helps to define the brand, but in our experience with the Xperia Z5 Premium, we found the phone's ergonomics to be sub-par. It would've definitely benefited from smaller bezels and softer corners in the back to make it easier on the palm.
On its back, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium does not have the matte Frosted Glass that adorns the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact, but a glossy, mirror-like finish. Described in one word – it's shiny! Place the phone screen-down on the bar, and everyone is going to know that you have something special there. But give us six words to describe it and we'll say it's an insane fingerprint magnet susceptible to scratching. And yes, we've complained about fingerprint smudges on devices before, but they are somewhat easy to live with when they're not too visible. Having a reflective surface will show all that grease your palm leaves on the device in its full glory.
On to the buttons, we have the new fingerprint-reading power key located on the right. It sits flush with the phone's frame, so looking for it by touch and pressing it is not the best of experience. As a biometric scanner, it's fairly fast and pretty consistent. However, if you choose to place a case on the phone to battle the smudges and potential scratches to the back, the power button becomes even harder to access, and the scanner becomes less accurate, as the skin on your finger gets deformed when you try to press through the case's opening.
The volume rocker is placed in an unorthodox manner as well, as it sits below the power button. This is a rather uncomfortable position, as it demands that we either adjust our grip to set the volume, or learn to use our ring finger for the task. In terms of feedback, it feels a bit spongy, but generally stable with a reassuring click behind it.
Of course, the Xperia Z5 Premium also rocks a dedicated two-step camera key. It doubles as a camera shortcut – just press and hold, no matter what state the phone is in, and the camera app will open. As far as use goes, we preferred not to rely on it, as it's a bit hard to press and would sometimes cause us to shake the device just as we are trying to take a snap.
154.4 x 76 x 7.8 mm
6.35 oz (180 g)
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
6.03 oz (171 g)
159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm
6.77 oz (192 g)
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
6.77 oz (192 g)
Did we mention this thing has 8.3 million pixels?
Yes, let's get right to addressing the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium's most defining feature – the phone rocks a 5.5-inch 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD) display. This means it is capable of reproducing images at a resolution of up to 2160 x 3840 pixels. The way we worded this is no accident – fact is that, for most of the time you use it, the phone will actually keep the display in a 1080 x 1920 resolution. And there is good reason behind that – running at 4K all the time will put the device's processor and battery in constant stress, severely reducing performance and battery life. That, and the fact that Android 5.1 Lollipop, together with most apps, currently don't support the resolution. Android 6 Marshmallow does support 4K, and Sony has confirmed that an update to the new OS is coming for the Xperia Z5 line, but we doubt that the downscaling will be removed. Right now, the drawbacks of having such an extreme resolution on a 5.5-inch screen at all times far outweigh the benefits.
So, how does one bask in the glory of 4K? Sony's proprietary Album and Video apps will open images and videos in 4K automatically. The extra-high resolution is also supported by Netflix and YouTube. And that's pretty much it – the screen does have nearly 8.3 million pixels, but as of this writing, these are the only four apps that actually make the most of them.
Of course, the question that must be on everyone's mind by now is "How noticeable is the difference?". And the answer is – not much. We ran a few tests with the screen, we squinted, we stared, and we compared with different phones and different pictures. This is the best way we can describe the experience – in normal viewing conditions, the extra details provided by the extreme resolution cannot be seen, but can be perceived. By this, we mean that the images look slightly sharper, not necessarily more detailed.
As mentioned, most of the time, the Xperia Z5 Premium's resolution is downscaled to 1080 x 1920 pixels. This still gives us a rather crisp density of 400 pixels per inch. Rest assured that you will have no trouble reading tiny text or enjoying visual content in apps.
In terms of color reproduction, Sony continues its tradition of shipping devices with a really cold display, and then giving us the option to fine-tune it with three RGB sliders in the phone's settings. The cold white point aside, colors tend to miss their targets consistently and easily go in oversaturation territory. On paper, the measurements, which can be seen below, may seem terrible, but we've found that the Z5 Premium's screen offers a very vivid, eye-pleasing picture, with only its reds sometimes bordering on being aggressive and unpleasant to the eye.
Out of the three Z5s, the Premium has the lowest maximum brightness, measuring at 593 nits, which is an amazingly good result. We took it out on a sunny day and used the phone with the sun's reflection blasting straight into the screen and found that we had no issue reading what's on the display. The minimum it would go to is 4 nits, which is not the best for night-time reading, but will not cause you to melt if you need to check your chat notifications late at night.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus||593
|Sony Xperia Z5 Premium||593
|Samsung Galaxy Note 5||470
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 5||60.4%
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus||84.7%
|Sony Xperia Z5 Premium||86.7%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
3. TyrionLannister (unregistered)
This phone is for showing the impressive feat of 4K display in a screen and bragging rights. For normal people, the regular z5 is much more logical solution.
This is like the S6 edge or the BB priv.Those phones don't make much sense for normal people as they have too many issues and exist for proving that this is possible to make these phones. But don't make practical sense to buy.
This I obviously my personal opinion. You might disagree.
15. combatmedic870 (Posts: 627; Member since: 02 Sep 2015)
4K display makes sense with VR. I don't know if its the SD810. But this handset would do really well for VR if it did it in 4K.
We will see what happens with the Z6
28. Zomer (Posts: 270; Member since: 31 May 2013)
I'm pretty sure the Snapdragon 810 will burn down a complete village when it has to render images in 4K
34. Acer_Predator (unregistered)
what u think will happen? what else you wanna add on smartphone? more mHz? stupidity of people..(naive youth)
problem is apple exists..
51. rkoforever90 (Posts: 229; Member since: 03 Dec 2011)
a galaxy s4 will be more than enough for normal people.
52. Subie (Posts: 745; Member since: 01 Aug 2015)
I agree with you Tyrion. However, the regular z5 and z5 compact scored poorly on here as well.
72. miket1737 (Posts: 2545; Member since: 17 Mar 2013)
Just curious Tyrion, what real problems are there with the Edge ? I have owned a Edge + for few months now and cant even say i have ran into anything issue related hardware wise. Sure there are some software bugs (havent ran into much on my setup) nor do i have accidental touch presses on the edges..
Do you mean the distortion on the edged display on the sides (does not bother me much at all) and the reflection? Cause i Know the regular Edge defitnetly has more bothersome reflections on the edges as the Edge + has a better screen to body ratio and its edge reaches the edges of the device a bit more then the regular Edge does which significantly diminishes light reflectivity imo(not as much on the sides of the screen as its kind of more on the edges then screen)
96. TyrionLannister (unregistered)
I mean the less ergonomic design, the reflections and the color shifting on edges.
I haven't seen the edge+ yet, so don't know about that.
119. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
True. It is more of a technical exercise that such a display is possible and as an answer to those people who were saying that QHD displays are the sharpest displays achievable on a mobile phone. To be honest, a 1080p display on a phone is more than enough, because even though people might discern the extra sharpness (which they can't), getting media (videos) in QHD is very difficult. The world of media and movies have not totally moved to QHD or 4K.
8. quintessential (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Mar 2015)
It's funny, when everyone else reviewing the Z5 Premium seem to think the phone has good ergonomics, display and prowess, the people at PA appear very keen to put down Sony with every review of their models, often ending up recommending a Samsung as a conclusion.
Personally, having used a Sony Z2, Z3, and Z3+, its really not as bad as the folks at PA often make it out to be, which is pretty puzzling. Apart from the differences in interface outlook, I feel that whatever Samsung flagship models like the Galaxy S series or Note can do, these Sony flagships are as equally capable, if not better. It just boils down to a matter of brand choice. Nothing incompetent about the Sony handsets. In fact, they served me well longer than my Samsung handsets did.
I tried out the Sony Z5 Premium at a telco store earlier this week. The phone feels good in the hand, looks great, works great and takes good photos. I would choose it over a Note 5 anytime. With the kind of ratings PA gives to Sony phones for their reviews, it's kinda hard to believe there is no biasness involved.
101. Danieldaniel1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)
You really do not understand some things here... PhoneArena like many other publications are payed by samsung and apple for a good marketing... If there is a person who want to buy a new smartphone, than is gonna go to test it itself, if there is a person who buy any product because others says is a good product... Than that person have some psychologically problems... They are what we name sheeps and becouse are so many sheeps in this world... some financial empires evolve very well...
10. jesus_sheep (Posts: 257; Member since: 18 Apr 2015)
I agree, the z5 premium is a massive fail ( just an overblowin z5 which itself is an unattractive device).
12. combatmedic870 (Posts: 627; Member since: 02 Sep 2015)
Ummmm S6 edge+??? Just an overblown S6 edge. What's your point?
73. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
The thing is the s6 edge+ is much more attractive than the z5 or hell any other phones on the market..
17. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
Hello everyone, please dont trust this review.check for other reviews from youtube and notebookcheck as well.
From personal experience i can say that the 4k display of this device is not a gimmick.The display panel is really really better than the iphone 6s plus.It somewhat equals or is better than even the note 5 display.
Batterylife is really very excellent for a 4k display.but average in comparison which means same as iphone 6s and samsung S6. Standby is better than almost all android phones because of stamina mode.
As for the camera ,it sometimes beats the S6 and sometimes doesnt.but the colors are better than S6. Dxomark doesnt lie.
I think their are 3 different camera qualities from the imx300. There is one version out which beats the S6.
And another version with bad camera.
Buy this device for yourself and see that i am not telling lies.
18. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
I would have given it a rating of 9 out of 10.
Even 9.5 out 10 if it had the Sd820.
80. ph00ny (Posts: 1235; Member since: 26 May 2011)
4k res is a gimmick until VR comes into play. I don't think there is one for sony. Only for Samsung and HTC
23. Pattyface (Posts: 1612; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Looks great honestly and I'd love to own one but this would get a 7.5 from me based solely on availability in the USA. Sony continues to eff up by not offering it on any of the carriers or all of the carriers.
26. Theus (Posts: 13; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)
They didn't even bother to update the firmware or camera app to their latest version and there is no batery benchmark listed, just charging time.
105. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)
I don't bother with their reviews any more, u should follow suit. The score isn't surprising and can never shock those here. These guys are certainly and officially the worst mobile phone review site i have ever seen.
30. Hallyu (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)
Lol. Look at those Sony paid shills crybaby. Let me tell you that this 7 rating is almost too high for such a worthless phone. There are a lot better phones from Chinese OEMs than this toy and were rated at just 6 and 6.5. Stop acting childish immature because no one is going to care about your complaint.
41. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
I guess you are from korea.no wonder.
Well i would buy a apple or sony even if it was 50% more expensive than samsung with same specs.
There are people who still love japanease products.
I only like the samsung amoled display and their innovations .
55. Hallyu (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)
Because they are blind by old school theory that Japanese products have best quality. Or maybe their parents and their older generation are just mean to them that they still believe in this propaganda. This is not the 80s or 90s anymore. Business and innovation grow everywhere. If they can't keep up with Korea's Companies, they are not the best anymore. Look at the electronic and appliances sectors where Samsung and LG are dominating in. That's what you need to judge in real life.
60. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
Who cares? atleast the design looks awesome .and not a copy of no other phone.
Sony Z series have an original genuine design although used for the last 3 years.
Yes i agree samsung is dominating.that is why i am fed up of buying samsung.everyone has a samsung.
Have to move on.
62. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
Another thing .i would agree that Samsung S and Note series deserves a great score 9+.
But why not atleast a 8+ score.
SONY doesnt use poor quality components for their devices too.
AIDA show internals from Bosch and some american companies for sensors and all.
I am not a Japanese.but i have to say you are totally biased about your country.
82. iWin_Droid (Posts: 76; Member since: 22 Jan 2015)
You're blinded by what your grandparents taught you about WW2, keep that stuff off PhoneArena. There's plenty of online forums to discuss for that matter.
81. iWin_Droid (Posts: 76; Member since: 22 Jan 2015)
Like what Chinese OEM phones? By far, the nicest Chinese phone that has rolled off the factory line is the Huawei Mate S, and even that phone was mediocre at best according to GSMArena and Anandtech. It looks nice and that's just it, but it's not worth the flagship price that Huawei put up.
106. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)
Who cares about the rubbish you just spit now? many are insane but few are truly roaming.
35. shamrock (Posts: 74; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
Hey PA , people visit your site to read some quality reviews. But instead you keep on delivering super biased pathetic reviews. Instead of a review this can be called bashing . Please improve the quality of your review.
46. isprobi (Posts: 656; Member since: 30 May 2011)
I have had this phone for almost a month from expansys.com . I think PAs comments about hardware and UI design are more an issue of personal taste than an objective measurement. I had a Z Ultra 2 phones ago so I know what to expect. But it is very different from the Nexus 6 I was using before I bought this. I like Z5 Premium design better because it sits flat on a table and the large bezels spread the speakers apart for a better stereo effect. The camera is capable of taking very good pictures but you really need to learn how to maximize its ability. There has already by a camera update which made things better. Hopefully there will be more. The SD 810 does not seem to overheat in normal conditions. I would give the phone an 8.5 to 9 score.
50. Cslfiero (Posts: 68; Member since: 29 Jun 2015)
So it's about as good as the Lumia 950.. I can believe that. I don't see how the Samsung or apple product is somehow better. That, i don't believe.
57. nebula (Posts: 580; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
Well done PA I am sick of so called Premium Gimmick . 3 major flaws that sums up pretty much everything about this phone average camera, speakers and software so the gimmick 4K. It's us who Sony tries to fool. Having said that if phone price be less by $250 it should be given 9 out of 100
58. Hallyu (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)
Great to see a real commentator who dare to speak the truth. I really appreciate that and wish that more and more unbiased and honest users come here to expose the ugly face of Sony and their paid bloggers and fanboys. This goes too far!
63. xperiaZlover (Posts: 202; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)
You are very biased since you are korean.
67. taurus_rocks (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Oct 2015)
just saying that not all koreans work at samsung..there are japanese too...so if you love samsung then u should love people who build that products
87. ninja_master (Posts: 306; Member since: 27 Feb 2015)
Even PA is more unbiased than you two
91. danielxxi (Posts: 183; Member since: 13 Feb 2013)
People around asia know korean are ignorant
61. isprobi (Posts: 656; Member since: 30 May 2011)
I have owned most of the major brands of Android phones HTC, Sansung, LG and Sony plus a BlackBerry Passport. It is one thing to measure objective things like hardware performance. But many of the other things like design are a personal choice. What makes the phone Premium to me may not matter to others. I really like the design and build quality as well as the close to stock UI. But having a 4K screen is the last reason I bought it.
112. sunjay140 (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Mar 2015)
Keep fooling yourself. It's a real 4K phone whether you like it or not.
66. zarkonj (Posts: 12; Member since: 30 Sep 2015)
Well i won't comment on the rating PA gave. Instead, i will try to use an example to give you an idea of the unprofessionalism at PA.
They use the word downscale for showing 1080p content on a 4K screen. This is wrong. And it can't by accident, because it's used twice.
To downscale means to take something that has a bigger resolution (for example 4K) and fetch it into a smaller one (for example FullHD). This is done all the time especially with pictures, because their resolution is usually way higher than the one on the screen reproducing it.
What PA means is the opposite. Upscaling! That's taking something that has a smaller resolution (i.e. FullHD) and kind of "zoom in" so you get the screen filled. This is really easy to understand and shows that people at PA are rather uneducated than BIASED or paid.
Unfortunately we're doing them a favor by visiting and reading their site.
107. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)
I don't bother with their reviews, didn't even read this garbage. Kudos for exposing their ignorance and unprofessionalism
68. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1546; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
Come on "SONY" make a Windows 10 smartphone with Continuum for us Windows smart phone Fans Call it the "WIN Samarai". Us Windows smartphone fans Wanted the Samsung
Folks to put Windows 10 mobile on their new flagship smartphones but they are PUNKS
and do not have the courage to take up the Challenge
71. isprobi (Posts: 656; Member since: 30 May 2011)
So this phone and Microsoft 950 get pretty much the same rating but you would rather have this one. Maybe this phone deserves a higher score? Or maybe Windows 10 will make it better?
69. solidsnake695 (Posts: 132; Member since: 04 Jan 2013)
ive been telling that PA hates every phone except iphone and samsung plus they become software display camera battery engineer experts when it comes to iphone and samsung but when it comes to sony or nexus or any other brand they will say its pure s**t and gimmiky
75. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Wrong. 7.8 for the GS6 edge plus is super low and 9.3 for the best phone since the OG galaxy S2 is low too. The Note 5 9.0 is low too.
They hate every phone except iPhone is correct.
Let's face it. No matter how much you dislike Korean or Samsung design philosophy, the Galaxy flagships include the most high end technology and parts bar none. You might mistaken this as bias towards Samsung but that's just how it is. You manufacture the best technology you get to use the best technology for cheaper than Sony and the others do. That will and should always reflect in the scores.
Samsung devices cost a lot more to make and it shows clearly to anyone that doesn't hate Samsung enough to be blinded by it.
89. trnz007 (Posts: 41; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)
i am no sony fan but in what way is 7.8mm thickness is considered bulky?
94. bahkata (Posts: 12; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)
Dear Paul K.,
my sincere advice to you is a career change.
In case you were instructed to explicitly badmouth and be biased, you did a very poor and transparent hatchet job, that even the majority of users, with average intelligence and insight will have no trouble seeing through.
Provided you went rogue and this review is purely your brainchild, you are occupying the lowest end of "reporters" and your opinionated style of reviewing complements your lack of talent, quite well.
Either way, put a smile on and look for less cerebrally demanding work.
P.S. I'm sure you wont read this, since you are quite bad at your work, which tells me looking for feedback is not among your strengths, but at least I made the effort :)
102. Amir1 (unregistered)
I can't agree more with the review conclusions. I share the same conclusion. I can't think of a review that was biased. Sure there might be some really small preferences but as a whole? My conclusion tend to be the same as phone reviews i read. I can't think of one review i read and i didn't share similar conclusion. It is what it is. Good job Paul K.
|Display||5.5 inches, 2160 x 3840 pixels (801 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
|Size||6.08 x 2.99 x 0.31 inches|
(154.4 x 76 x 7.8 mm)
6.35 oz (180 g)
|Battery||3430 mAh, 15.17 hours talk time|