Technology

Sony Xperia Z5

Sony's Xperia Z5 comes alongside the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z5 Premium. The Xperia Z5 sits in the middle of the price scale and the same goes for its specs.

Sony needed badly to fix up the design of its Xperia Z series and there have been some big changes. It's still angular and glass-backed, but this time it's a frosted material instead of the clear glass we've seen since the Xperia Z1.

Design

The edges have been rounded off a little more and the placement of the buttons on one edge has been switched.

Colour choices for the Xperia Z5 are green, black, gold and white – all of which look great. I have the black version myself. Previously the backs of Sony phones have been fingerprint magnets, but this new frosted glass does not attract marks and looks a lot cleaner than the Xperia Z3+.

The Xperia name is etched into the side of the phone and I love the fact Sony has included the NFC logo here too. It makes it easy to know where to tap, and is a trick some other Android manufacturers could learn from (Hey, LG!).

The camera sits at the top left corner with the flash just below it, and there's also a little note of the sensor details.

The corners also have caps that help to absorb the impact when you drop it – a feature that was introduced on the Xperia Z3 but still feels like a big advantage of the Sony Z series.

There's only one flap on the Xperia Z5, and that's to cover the microSD and nano SIM slots. The rest of the ports around the phone are waterproof and so don't need the extra protection.

This means that you don't have to pull anything out to charge up your phone at night.

Along the top edge of the Xperia Z5 is the waterproof 3.5mm headphone jack, and the bottom edge hosts the microUSB port for charging and data transfer.

The right hand edge is quite different to other Xperia phones. The power button has been moved down to halfway along the edge. It's now silver and sits flush with the edge of the phone. This is also where the fingerprint sensor is – a great position for your right thumb when you're holding the phone. Sadly, the Sony Xperia Z5 in US any sort of the biometric power button.

Design on the front of the phone hasn't changed much. The bezels at the side of the screen have been slightly slimmed down to allow a smaller phone without a change in screen size.

Display

5.2" 1,080 x 1,920 pixel IPS LCD

A lot of the Android competition has decided to go for 2K displays this year. Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4 have higher resolutions, but Sony has decided to stick with a Full HD display on the Xperia Z5.

I personally think it was a good choice to keep the 1080p option. For anyone who is really after those extra pixels, there will be the Xperia Z5 Premium coming in November with a 4K 5.5-inch display.

The Xperia Z5 has a 5.2-inch 1,080 x 1,920 pixel resolution IPS LCD display with scratch resistant glass and an oleophobic coating to protect it from damage and grease.

The other thing to note is the size of the screen. For me, the Xperia Z5's 5.2-inch screen is the sweet spot between a large phone for everything I want to do and a phone I can actually hold.

Key features

Sony has finally included a fingerprint sensor in the Xperia Z5, adding a level of security and preparing for the launch of Android Pay - you'll be able to buy things with your Xperia phone soon.

Another key feature that many have forgotten is Sony has now upped its microSD support to 200GB. Not many Android manufacturers offer that and it's only Sony out of the big players.

There aren't many 200GB microSD cards out there right now, but that's sure to change in the coming months.

Waterproofing

Sony's website states that the Xperia Z5 has an IP68 level of waterproofing, which technically states (again, on Sony's own website) that it's submersible in water over 1-metre in depth for 30 minutes. However the fine print on the specific product page for the Z5 says that it should not be submerged in water, unlike the Z3 and Z2 before it which were both advertised as underwater phones.

All the while, Sony has rather downplayed the significance of the waterproofing in its marketing materials for the phone. While the Z2 and Z3 were both shown plunging into water and taking photos of people in swimming pools, the Z5 is shown only in the rain -- not fully underwater.

Android software

Android 5.1 Lollipop + Sony custom interface

The Z5 comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop on board, which was the most recent version of Google's software when Z5 was launched. As of March 2016, the Sony Xperia Android 6.0 Marshmallow rollout officially began.

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor + 3GB RAM

The Z5's engine is a Qualcomm 810 octa-core chip, with 3GB of RAM backing it up. It's a potent chip, but it has had issues with overheating in the past. Most notably on Sony's own Xperia Z3+, which was prone to regularly forcing close apps due to increased temperature.

However, Sony has kept the 810 under control on the Z5 as I found no problems with the handset overheating.

It's certainly a powerful chip as the Z5 is very smooth to use. There are no unpleasant delays when swiping around the Android interface, with apps and menus loading quickly. Gaming too is handled with ease with both Angry Birds 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas playing with high frame rates.

Camera

1/2.3" size sensor - 23MP resolution

Sony has given the Z5's camera a load of tweaks to improve it over the Z3. For one, its 1/2.3" size sensor now delivers a whopping 23-megapixel resolution. The resulting images are very large, clocking in at 5,520x4,140-pixels, and in file sizes, with most shots being around 8-10mb per image at full resolution.

The extra resolution give you some flexibility to digitally zoom into a scene or crop into an image after it's been shot, without losing too much detail. The images themselves though are no crisper than on most phones, and actually rather suffer from compression artifacts when viewed up close.

The camera uses a method of focusing called phase detection, which is more commonly found on pricier DSLRs. All it really means is that the Z5's camera focuses very quickly. It is also accurate, which means it's a good camera for taking quick action shots.

Rich colors with the right light.

Example of a night shot.

Battery life

The Xperia Z5 is being powered by a 2,900mAh battery and Sony reckons that you can squeeze up to two days from it. That's a big boast, and not one that's particularly realistic. With my normal use, the phone lasts just one day with some juice left in the evening (20% max).

Technical Specs

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Conclusion

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a great phone by all means. I like its blocky design that remains similar to past generations of Xprerias. Its waterproofing is a handy feature too, it takes away problems of using the phone in rain or near water.

It performs well too, with sufficient power for games. The camera can take some great shots. All in all, it is a decent all-round phone.

I cannot think of any serious flaw in Xpreria Z5. Some users complain about the overheating issue but I cannot confirm it. The phone was on rather pricey side but I was able to snap it on my network provider’s offer that was too difficult to refuse.

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