Sony Xperia Z5: how to improve the display's color accuracy

Back in early 2014, the Sony Xperia Z2 was one of the finest Android smartphones money could buy. It was fast, good-looking, water-resistant, and equipped with a large, pretty screen. The latter, in particular, produced colors rather accurately, as we noticed during our in-depth Xperia Z2 review. For its following flagship, however, Sony chose to trade color accuracy for a boost in brightness – the Xperia Z3 did produce an impressive 700 nits, beating many of its rivals in this respect, but its display was noticeably blueish. 

We now have our hands on the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact. While things in the display department have changed for the better, color accuracy still leaves room for improvement, as our benchmarks confirm. Thankfully, improving your Xperia's color accuracy is a matter of changing a color value in the Settings menu. Here's how you do that.

  1. Start by going to Settings > Display and disabling Adaptive Brightness.
  2. Now go to the Brightness Level setting and set the brightness to a level that's comfortable to your eyes. It should be neither too bright, nor too dark. To us, a point a bit after the middle of the slider marked the sweet spot. 
  3. Here comes the tricky part. In the Display settings there's an option called White Balance. Tap on it and you'll be presented with three sliders, one for each primary color. Move the red slider until the white area shown on screen loses its cool look. It should become warm, natural, and pleasant to the eye, without that visible blueish hint it has by default. But you don't want to make your screen too warm either. Play with the slider until your eyes like what they see. We set the slider on our Xperia to a value of 90, but since no two screens are exactly the same, your phone might need less or more fine-tuning. 
  4. Tap on Save to apply the changes you just made and exit. Feel free to re-enable Adaptive Brightness at this time.

And that's how you improve the color accuracy of your Xperia smartphone's display. If you found this tip useful, do let us know in the comments below!

Related phones

Xperia Z5
  • Display 5.2 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh
  • OS Android 7.1 Nougat



30. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

PA where is an story about BOND phone?

23. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Keep your own advice in mind before throwing a "display is too cold" con in the review, will ya? Looking at you, John V.

16. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Thanks PA.. I'l bookmark this article and try as soon as I buy Z5..

5. Macready

Posts: 1834; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

You failed to mention the 2 downsides of changing the color calibration. It works similar to color overlay filters from 3rd party apps, because it compromises contrast further (which was already average at best) and lowers maximum brightness too. As also measured and confirmed by several review sites.

20. mixedfish

Posts: 1579; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Lolwut? You have no idea how color calibration works do you. What's presented by default by the manufacturer isn't necessarily accurate because they think the 6500k benchmark isn't appealing. You calibrate the screen to get close to 6500k because you might think it's good.

24. Macready

Posts: 1834; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

A) I don't care about Sony's preference (default), I care about mine. Chances that those match are slim to begin with. Either way, my points stand, the option to change has 2 downsides. B) My comment wasn't just related to whitebalance corrections, some of the colors are off relative to the target (see test chart, or real life object) too. But even just the whitebalance is too blue by any measure with a whopping 9k to 10k Kelvin. Look at it for a while and any white paper or wall in your surroundings will look green because your brains worked overtime trying to compensate. I work in the photography business, try again.

32. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

ah yes it's an overlay, so contrast is compromised. but I wonder is samsung screen mode is an overlay too. i.e. in some mode make amoled screen grey?

3. bistech

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 23, 2015

Iphone has the best display

4. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

No it doesn't.. It has a good display but not the best.

6. cheetah2k

Posts: 2357; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

iTroll.... was bound to happen

7. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1187; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

It has one of the best IPS display, but not the best, I would say it is one of the best, Samsung's AMOLED is also one of the best, in some cases, even better, but this is debatable, so as I was saying iPhone has one of the best IPS displays.

18. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Ios has nice looking icons and fancy looking pleasing menus and software touches but dont confuse that with a great display. Their displays are crap. Just put stock Android on one of their displays and it will look like the 750p junk that it is.

11. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

What you're saying isn't a viable opinion considering you're a known troll on this site with 20 odd posts.

28. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

1. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The default color settings are set that way because that's what Sony's market research and Sony engineers eyes see as the superior settings. This article just smells like an excuse to rate the display poorly and propping up the crap iPhone displays for their default settings.

8. CamaroSS

Posts: 173; Member since: Jul 24, 2012

This feature has been there since ZL came out (2.5 years ago) & suddenly PA felt a need to make an article. It could have been a relevant article even when Z3 was released a year ago (since the author doesn't like its cold display). I personally prefer Z3's cold display very much as I mostly browse. But other people may want to calibrate it to improve accuracy for media consumption. Well, better late than never - I guess

9. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

they're always like to put it as a con on various phone, they say its to cold or warm based on reviewer personal taste

15. SemiFinal

Posts: 117; Member since: Jul 26, 2014

Not really, they measure it and post screen benchmarks

17. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Yes really. Those are just calibration measurements. Any best buy employee can calibrate a display. Not every display has quantum dot technology that make their displays look way better than iPhone displays. Sony had that technology on the z3. I am not familiar enough with the Z, Z1, Z2, Z4, Z5, and Z5 premium displays to comment on them. But despite being slightly bkueish, the 1080p Z3 display with quantum dot tech s**ts all over the iPhone 6s and 6s plus displays despite what their little best buy kits say.

14. FriendlyFoe09

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 09, 2012

Acutally the displays of these phones are crap. Which is a shame because Sony makes TVs. I own a Z1 compact. Pictures and videos on that screen looks hihg in contrast and the blacks look really dark even when I turn the brightness up. I have tried having the Bravia engine on and off and it makes no difference. I really like these phones from Sony but it's their screens and cameras (software and hardware) putting them down. I want to get another Android on my next plan cycle but I'm worried the new Z phones will be the same.

19. mixedfish

Posts: 1579; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

"Pictures and videos on that screen looks hihg in contrast and the blacks look really dark even when I turn the brightness up." So it's a good screen? LOL

25. CamaroSS

Posts: 173; Member since: Jul 24, 2012

I got seriously confused by that comment. Apparently, he mentioned the pros instead of the cons :P Or maybe he likes low-contrast display & wants black to turn white as the brightness goes up :P

29. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

They've always mentioned this though I recall from the Z3 compact or Z3 reviews where they advise adjusting the white balance.

10. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

The Galaxy Note screen is brighter, has better contrast, and more accurate colors. Sony is dumb. They market their phones as "premium" but don't get that one of the most basic factors in a phone's quality is the display. Their phones have worse qualities than many budget phones.

21. mixedfish

Posts: 1579; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Samsung markets their displays as premium "2K" yet we all know AMOLED will always be half as sharp with pentile subpixels, meaning it's only as sharp as LCD's 1080p with the overhead of 2K. So do I think that's dumb? No, but I think you might be.

22. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

OLED can also turn off individual phosphors, meaning it is less power consumptive than LCD---especially LCDs cranked up to 700 nits with a blue cast to their whites. Resolution wars are a thing of the past. Phones have already maximized pixel density. Other aspects of image quality still have to be perfected. Samsung leads the way in these qualities: color accuracy, gamma, and black levels.


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

In theory. In practice, most of the phones with the best battery life have been LCD types. From what o see, unless you're viewing let's of mixed color content (more toward darker and/or warmer colors), the battery drain isn't much different. If you use bright, light colors, it's worse. If it's not Samsung's best, you can bet your AMOLED screen is gonna be very power inefficient.

31. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Samsung amoled drain is comparable to the best LCD on white screen. please read anandtech analysis on amoled.

27. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

12. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Z3's display was best. Colors and gamut were just right for the device. The Z5 however...yeesh!

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