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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: 3367; 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, 12:05 2

131. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

The Z3 was an amazing phone, the Z5 chugs though. I blame the SD810. Seems like they throttled the crap out of it for the Z5 because of the Z3+ Backlash.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 22:33 5

217. sgodsell (Posts: 4754; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

What the hell are you talking about. The Z5 is fast and has no problems with any tasks. I found no slow downs what so ever on the Z5.

posted on 11 Nov 2015, 15:55 10

250. Busyboy (Posts: 636; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)

PA, I didn't swear nor did I insult anyone, so why was my comment deleted? Don't want the truth to go out perhaps?

Deleted comment: This is what happens when you're not paid to review a phone.

posted on 28 Dec 2015, 17:10

295. DellDeep (banned) (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Nov 2015)


posted on 02 Feb 2016, 00:51

304. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)

No. The z5 doesn't overheat, nor is it throttled down. Sony remedied the issue by adding bigger heatsinks to the processor, and it does the job of keeping the phone cool. That's the reason that the z5 is thicker than the z3+. But, I would still have the z3, because it is a solid device, and even though the z5 might have good battery life, the z3 still has the better battery life, and the 64 bit apps haven't dominated their 32 bit counterparts yet. By the time that day comes, we might as well have the xperia z6 or z7 maybe, which might raise the bar even higher

posted on 11 Nov 2015, 04:32 4

228. aBoss (Posts: 135; Member since: 15 Sep 2014)

Sony does it the best. Just look at how they did the finger print scanner. Perfect placement. Sony is the king of design, software, camera and battery life.

I just read these to laugh. I mean look at the cons "Sharp edges" lol the phone is the same design as the other xperia yet you only judging that now? clowns

posted on 11 Nov 2015, 19:28 1

254. cheetah2k (Posts: 1739; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

The fingerprint scanner is perfect - until your phone is on the desk and you try to unlock it while its sitting on the desk... Sounds like king of fail to me LOL

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 05:52 3

262. whoami_amiu (Posts: 11; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)

And why would anybody want to use their phone not 'in their palms' and only on the desk?

You lazy azz! You so lazy you dont even wanna pick your phone up!

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 00:42

303. DSP96 (Posts: 19; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)

If they would want to use the phone on the desk and not in their palms, then they will run into a bigger problem with the nexus 5x and 6p, which keep the scanner on the back.

posted on 16 Nov 2015, 03:09

275. eliasxlfc (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Nov 2015)

You can just Register your index finger and it will work perfectly fine, I was also worried about this first, but I have a Z5 and it is not a Problem. :)

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: 1993; 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, 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, 11:47 10

128. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Yet they can afford iPhones and Samsung flagships?

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 23:16

222. greyarea (Posts: 260; Member since: 14 Aug 2015)

I think the point is those phones can be subsidized vs paying full retail up front.

posted on 12 Dec 2015, 07:56

293. phichart (Posts: 307; Member since: 03 May 2014)

sony phone are not that expensive.. yes.. their services are super suck... and the sold water proof phone but that's not waterproof... I had Z2 and Z3 they both are not waterproof... I will never buy Sony Phone again..

posted on 11 Nov 2015, 19:27 1

253. cheetah2k (Posts: 1739; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

"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"

Wait? What? Sony do flood the market!!. They have a 6 month cycle and last time I looked they have released the Z5 Premium, Z5, Z5compact, Z3, Z3 compact, C5, C4, M4, E4 & E so far this year..

This alone just shows how out of touch Phone Arena is at the moment... get a grip guys

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, 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, 09:21 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, 12:34 6

147. T-rex (unregistered)

did you even read that review? Z5 beat your beloved rotten fruit and S6 in four categories, fair and square. 6s won in two and s6 won in only one category

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 15:30 1

191. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)

That's a gsmarena rating, samsung's no 1 fan. You expect them to rate anything Sony as tops? they have never rated a sony product as tops and they were very disappointed with the blind camera comparison they did that most people voted Sony as no 1. They couldn't even hide their displeasure by making a statement that it is clear how most people were able to pick the Sony with its wider field of view. How can a site that's supposed to stay neutral in a blind camera comparison make such a comment? They were very annoyed with the result and immediately released their monster brawl so as to wipe out what they don't like. So don't get carried away with a biased review, they took off the blind camera results fast from headlines but left the monster brawl up for weeks.

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: 636; 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.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 12:07

133. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

DXO mark just measures the sensor performance. Where Sony and Google usually fail is the firmware.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 14:33 4

178. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)

You don't have the phone, thanks for trolling attention seeker. We should trust your opinion instead of dxo mark right? Nobody knows you, nobody knows if you own a z5 or any other Sony phone for that matter but we should rate your opinion as top notch while dxo mark should be discarded cause they clearly were on drugs. Well done, you deserve a round of applause.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 14:48 1

180. ogee4life (Posts: 105; Member since: 12 Apr 2014)


Watch this and and see what an unbiased review is, i have so many others i can send to you from all over the world.

posted on 10 Nov 2015, 20:10 3

207. mhixtian (Posts: 6; Member since: 03 Mar 2014)

oh ok.. DXOmark are lairs and are on drugs, and we should believe you because???

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Sony Xperia Z5

Sony Xperia Z5

OS: Android 7.1 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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