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:

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.

Related phones

Xperia Z5 Premium
  • Display 5.5" 2160 x 3840 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3430 mAh(19.17h 3G talk time)



1. AZNHA unregistered

1080p with 806ppi .. wooww :o

3. gaming64 unregistered

IKR! I'm adding this to my wishlist.

96. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 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

21. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Don't think 1080P runs 806ppi.

94. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 593; Member since: May 26, 2011

4K resolution at 806ppi is available for videos and pictures Everything is displayed with 1080p at 424ppi.

95. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 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.

22. MSi_GS70 unregistered

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

55. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

as soon as they get the phone

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.

17. maherk

Posts: 7054; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

25. StuiWooi

Posts: 91; Member since: Feb 19, 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.

29. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1225; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

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

42. maherk

Posts: 7054; Member since: Feb 10, 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,

51. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1225; Member since: Apr 12, 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.

59. maherk

Posts: 7054; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

36. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

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

47. maherk

Posts: 7054; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

61. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Maherk, shut the hell up already.

72. maherk

Posts: 7054; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Ok ApplePhanboy


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

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

18. deanylev

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 11, 2014

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


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Yes i hate it too!

93. AZNHA unregistered

that's how gimmick works

99. xperian

Posts: 421; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

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

5. jesus_sheep

Posts: 279; Member since: Apr 18, 2015

we need 2 week battery!!

7. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Then buy a car battery.

9. WeezyF

Posts: 155; Member since: Jul 09, 2015

settings thank u for putting that fool where he belongs

66. AZNHA unregistered

instead powerbank

6. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

Good move there.

23. Hallyu

Posts: 790; Member since: Jul 21, 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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