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Sony Xperia Z5 Review

Sony Xperia Z5 7

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Sony Xperia Z5 Review


Unlike some of its competitors (cough-Samsung-cough-LG), Sony isn't used to flooding the market with products. It likes to take its time and come up with just a few handsets each year: one or two budget phones here, a couple of mid-rangers there, and, if it's a new James Bond movie kind of year – a heavy-hitting flagship for enthusiasts.

Well, what do you know! Agent 007 is back, and so is Sony with a brand new flagship: the Xperia Z5.

Sony Xperia Z5 Review
Sony Xperia Z5 Review
Sony Xperia Z5 Review
Sony Xperia Z5 Review
Sony Xperia Z5 Review
At first glance, the Z5 is typical Sony – a logical continuation of the company's long-running Xperia Z line. However, is this really the Sony we've been looking for? Are the values of the company, and the characteristic traits of its products alive and well in the Xperia Z5? Is it an example of a thought-out, polished Android smartphone, or is it too little, too late?

We've waited long enough for the Z5, and now, it's time to see if Sony really has something to serve that's not already on the table.


Timeless design with compromised execution.

Certain forms, certain shapes, cannot go out of fashion. And in that line of thought, the Sony Xperia Z5's rectangular shape continues to stand the test of time. It's strict, classy… and different. Very few are the handsets that dare go fully rectangular, and for that reason, the Xperia Z5's shape continues to be recognizable, unique even.

The proportions of the front are almost right, but the upper bezel is ever so slightly higher than the bottom one, so its look is not exactly perfectly balanced. And while that slight imperfection in the appearance may not prove to break the deal for most, the dangerously sharp edges of the Z5's frame probably will. As soon as you hold Sony's latest creation in hand, an unexpected and unprovoked sensation of a sharp object scratching against your skin will take you by surprise. Holding the Xperia Z5 is not a pleasant thing to do unless you put a case on it, so we can't help but wonder how Sony let such an obvious design flaw slip past.

The back panel is now made of what Sony calls “frosted glass”. It's basically glass with a matte finish to it, instead of the typical glossy one. It feels very similar to the glass track pad of a MacBook. Its advantage is that it picks up almost no fingerprints, so it always looks relatively clean. Unfortunately, it's also extremely slippery (unlike glossy glass), making us feel unsure if we prefer it that way.

The peculiarities never end with the Xperia Z5's design. If you take a closer look at the images, you'll notice the weird positioning of the volume keys, which are below (not above) the power key on the right hand side. This position doesn't make the buttons any easier to reach or use. In fact, it made them more inconvenient for us. One the plus side, Sony is keeping the two-step camera shutter key, and this one works very well.

And while we're on the topic of buttons – the power key is now also a fingerprint scanner. When it comes to speed and accuracy, it's pretty decent, but its positioning and impact on the seamlessness of the user experience are less than ideal. The button itself doesn't protrude from the surface, and doesn't click reassuringly enough, which is to say it could be designed better.

Sony Xperia Z5
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.43 oz (154 g)

Sony Xperia Z5

Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)


Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Sony Xperia Z5 Review


An extraordinarily bright display with so-so color balance.

5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels, IPS LCD... Sony has to be congratulated for not playing the specs game and sticking with this resolution, because in no way is the Xperia Z5's screen harder to read, in comparison to the 1440 x 2560 screens out there.

Color balance and accuracy, on the other hand, are areas where Sony should have tried a bit harder. The screen has a significant blue tint, taking some of the life away from images. It's not too bad, though, plus Sony is kind enough to let us adjust display color balance from the settings, meaning there's a way to get a more natural-toned image.

Outdoor visibility is excellent with the Sony Xperia Z5. The handset achieves maximum brightness of about 670 nits, which is enough to outshine almost any other phone of that caliber. Meanwhile, the lowest brightness point is at 4 nits, which makes the screen comfortable for bedtime reading.

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
Sony Xperia Z5 672
Samsung Galaxy S6 563
LG G4 454
Apple iPhone 6s 554
View all

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posted on 10 Nov 2015, 06:49 91

1. SonyOwner (unregistered)

PA really dislike any phone released by Sony.
This phone deserve 9.5
The best design, very good display, excellent camera, very good battery life.

Anything you could ask for a smartphone is in the Xperia Z5.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 06:52 26

5. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 3319; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

PA Has Been Crazy This Year. Cause They Liked Sony's Phones In The Past The Z3, Z3c, Z2, Z1, Z1c All Got Good Scores From PA. All 9+ Except For The Z3 That Scored 8.5.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 06:59 8

10. hanabi (Posts: 177; Member since: 08 Oct 2015)

a lot of people dislike any pone released by sony that's why its sales is very low .. let's admit it

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:06 23

15. jellmoo (Posts: 1931; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

Orrrrr it could have more to do with terrible marketing, coupled with carrier exclusivity in most regions (if you are even able to pick one up in your region).

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:09 13

17. nightsoft (Posts: 6; Member since: 31 Mar 2013)

I don't know. Personally this phone has quite a few appealing aspects, but the camera needs some work and the speakers/heaphone power output is not impressive at all.

Points to the fact it has water/dust resistance and a 1920x1080 screen (smart IMO), decent battery life and an SD slot, but it has a few weaknesses that they should have addressed long ago.

So I would say, though the score IMO is a bit low, at best the phone deserves an 8.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:34 5

26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Why does Sony make killer camera sensor yet they can't make a good camera on their flagship phones? To me that's just like a kick to the balls, no matter how you take it, it WILL bring you to your knees.

To me this is probably the only reason why I have never bought a Sony Xperia Z phone. Trust me design wise this phone is uber sexy but the camera, that camera is always the back breaker. It's like Bane comes every time a new Xperia Z phone comes out & breaks it's back.

Sony I secretly root for you, but you only deliver when it comes to your PlayStation.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:40 32

28. maherk (Posts: 4630; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

Front facing stereo speakers, water resistant, buttery smooth UI, quick updates.

iPhoneArena has lost it. They used to camouflage their bias towards Apple, but they don't care anymore, plus they know such low ratings will bring on more clicks to their reviews.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:44 9

29. zeeBomb (Posts: 2294; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

Jesus Ray S....A 7 out of 10? "An eptiome of why camera specs don't matter much"??? I almost stopped reading, but I think I may need to sleep again!

I hope the Z5C doesnt score like this as well. John V or whoever better give it a 8.2 or and 8.5+

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:44 3

31. Odeira (Posts: 270; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)

Its camera performs WORSE than a Galaxy S6 or an iPhone 6S for that matter.
It overheats like crazy and thus performance suffers.
It has absolutely AVERAGE specs, unimpressive battery longevity, and barren software.

If you think THIS average and unexemplary of a smartphone should get a 9.5, what then should the Galaxy S6? 18/10? iPhone 6S gets a 20? Like the Tesla that broke Consumer Reports testing scores? PLEASE be realistic with your expectations!

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:50 3

34. KushielAOC (Posts: 31; Member since: 02 Sep 2015)

Couldn't agree more. I just received my Z5 Premium yesterday, and its fantastic.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:50 17

35. maherk (Posts: 4630; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

I wouldn't say it deserves 9.5, but definitely not a freaking 7!!
It is an 8.5 device, easily.
I am yet to see a review claiming that the Z5 overheats. And sure it's camera needs some tweaking, and the images are slightly behind those captured by the S6 and 6s, but calling it WORSE(with capital letters as well) make it sound as if the camera sucks.
Battery life is average, but that can be fixed with an OTA update, just like Samsung did with my old S6 Edge and now the Note 5.

It got 7 strictly because it isn't a Samsung or Apple.
Just don't forget all the love LG phones used to get when LG used to sponsor this website, and how harsh they have been on LG since they don't sponsor them anymore.
BiasArena should be their new name.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 07:59 10

39. Busyboy (Posts: 623; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)

I think you need to check out other reviews on different websites. I mean, GSMarena had a blind shootout between the S6, 6s and Z5, and the Z5 won. Pretty larger margin too.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:00 3

40. Odeira (Posts: 270; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)

No offence here, but you are the biased one in this conversation.

First impressions count, and even sure OTA updates can fix SOME elements of the device that falters, the fact of the matter is the device was exceedingly average and unexemplary when it's first released, and that is what people will remember it for.

Also, the camera really IS inferior to the class leading cameras of Galaxy S6 and Note, iPhone, and even LG V10! And Sony has had THREE years to improve the software and image processing of the Z class with nearly similar hardware, and they DIDN'T. It still is behind Samsung, Apple, even LG. Combine that with the underwhelming performance and how Sony delivered overall with this device, and it's a surprise it even maintained that 7...

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:05 17

45. maherk (Posts: 4630; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

Biased? Lmao
Man everyone on this site know that Sony phones aren't my thing, but giving the Z5 a 7 is beyond crazy.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:07 7

48. dimas (Posts: 2471; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

Camera is great. Sharp and only having issues on low light which I really don't care. I prefer my z5's color reproduction than S6. Doesn't overheat at all and only gets warm when I play games. After the stage fright update, camera opens fast and multitasking is smooth. Battery lasts around 1.5 days on moderate use with wifi, skype and viber always open with two hours of asphalt 8. Z5 is 10 for me but that's my personal opinion.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:11 19

54. dimas (Posts: 2471; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

They gave it 7 because it doesn't have an apple logo on it. Place a silver fruit and it will rate 200 out of 10. 150 out of 10 if it's samsung.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:27 13

59. maherk (Posts: 4630; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

DoXMark even said that it is the best camera phone they have ever tasted.
I would definitely take their word over any other website.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 08:41 3

63. drifter77 (Posts: 270; Member since: 12 Jun 2015)

Not exactly. Other sites review the Z5 with heating issues (which PA never mentioned btw), the Z5 heats more than the Z3C. Also, battery life is pretty average compared to Z3 (less by 2.5 hrs) and the camera is still not that good. So overall it's a decent score.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:05 18

74. hellbread (Posts: 309; Member since: 21 Nov 2014)

Camera need some work?
You know this is best camera atm on any phone acording to Dxo?

In Gsm arena blind test in beat s6 and 6s.

Here you come to read news, dont look reviews, especialy camera reviews.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:10 1

76. pooma (Posts: 60; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)

do u think droid turbo 2 camera is better than g4 as listed in DxOMark? DxOMark is not as reliable as u think

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:10

77. drifter77 (Posts: 270; Member since: 12 Jun 2015)

I meant the Z5 heats more than the Z5C.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:19 3

80. WallStreet (Posts: 256; Member since: 21 Sep 2014)

BS and crap review! I really used to come here for the reviews- they showed the most important aspects of a phone, but this at the end- there is no other reason to buy this phone that it's waterproof and it's a Sony is just crap. If you don't see any other reason then you shouldn't be doing the review!!!!!!!
It's got a great display- color temp at 7700 isn't that much off and you can adjust it to your linkings. Testing the best camera ( by DxO) in only it's basic mode is kinda like saying that a Ferrari is a SH... car because it's terrible in parking. And the performance of the SD810 is excellent although a bit behind Exynos and Apple. But still it's at a very high level and the UI is great so overall the end user experience will be on par with competition OR will it be noticeable? Does it overheat? You tell us. But you haven't complained much! Yes, battery life and headphone output are a slight letdown, but apart from that THIS PHONE is close to the TOP in almost every department and you give it a 7???????
It's a JOKE!!!

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:21 1

81. SamsungEU (Posts: 147; Member since: 29 Dec 2014)

In the ip6vs s6 vs z5 "Monster Brawl" the z5 won only the 1080 video test , in all the other tests nearly scored last of the bunch

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:23 1

82. insyt (Posts: 51; Member since: 16 Sep 2015)

Comparing a S6 to a Z5 compact using latest in real life, the S6 gets warmer. It also lacks water protection and an SD slot. The battery life will never be better than a Z5 no matter what PA says. The screens and camera are on par unless you looking at them really closely.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:25 2

83. enzo357 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Nov 2015)

exactly. they want Sony to pay them for review kike the two you mention

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 09:32 2

86. insyt (Posts: 51; Member since: 16 Sep 2015)

True. Own a Z5 compact and the only negative I can pick out is the durability of the glass. The frosted effect does look great tho and its holding up well so far with no screen protection. A USB type C would have being as well. All other aspects are great and work really well. The phone even heats less than a regular S6 with the latest based on real life tests.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 10:09 2

98. rsiders (Posts: 1047; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

They are a joke spewing out numbers and opinions that to some degree don't reflect in actual results. I put all the blame on Sony's camera division. Everyone else is outpacing them in image quality using their sensors.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 10:21 5

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

it's not called disliking. it's more of "can't afford."

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 10:25 3

108. JoshuaDK (Posts: 18; Member since: 08 May 2014)

DxOMark might say it has the best camera, but they were probably on drugs or maybe there is a different software/firmware in the Z5 vs. Z5 Compact, because the pictures I take has blurred edges and in some cases my Samsung G6Edge+ takes better and sharper pictures. Though the Z5c takes amazing night-shots and if the light is right the pictures are sharp and perfect, but too often the edges are blurry.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 10:28 2

109. Busyboy (Posts: 623; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)

The Z5c only has this issue, and only few devices are affected. Go on reddit, no one with the Z5 has the issues you mentioned, and DXOmark did review the Z5 only.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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Sony Xperia Z5

Sony Xperia Z5

OS: Android 7.0 6.0 5.1
view full specs
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera23 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
(146 x 72 x 7.3 mm)
5.43 oz  (154 g)
Battery2900 mAh, 13.16 hours talk time

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