Sony has unveiled three separate Xperia Z5 phones at IFA in Berlin: the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z5 Premium. The last of the three is the first phone to debut with a full 4K (Ultra-HD) display. This is a huge screen resolution, giving it 806 pixels per inch (ppi). For comparison, the iPhone 6 has just 326ppi.
Of course, all three devices are rated IP65 and IP68 water-resistant; the highest water resistance of any high-end smartphones. Even better, this time around Sony has ditched the need for a protective flap covering for the micro USB port. Now all you have to worry about is the single protective cover over the SIM and microSD slots, which itself appears to be better-designed and less-prone to flopping open when you least expect it.
Xperia Z5 Premium
The Z5 Premium is the world’s first 4K display. Over 5.5 inches that gives it an insane 806 pixels per inch. This is a contentious feature. On one hand, cramming that many pixels in to a screen is impressive to say the least. It will be, by far, the most-crisp screen on the market.
Conversely, it’s difficult to tell at this point if the sacrifices will be worth it. A 4K display is bound to be a monumental drain on the battery. On top of that, first-gen screen tech like this is often actually worse than its lower-res counterparts in terms of colour vibrancy, contrast and viewing angles.
Finally, how many of us will actually be able to tell the difference? The current flagship standard of 2560 x 1440 is incredibly clear. It’s difficult to imagine a better image at regular smartphone viewing distances, but we��ll have to hold off on a firm opinion until we get our hands on the Z5 Premium. For now we’ll remain sceptical.
Other than its screen, the Z5 Premium is a powerful smartphone. The Snapdragon 810 processor is one of the most-powerful on today’s market. Backed up by 2GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage and a microSD slot for storage expansion, the Z5 Premium is looking pretty good.
The iconic side-mounted round lock button has been replaced by an oblong fingerprint sensor housing. It still acts as the lock key, but now you can use it for added biometric security. This is an intelligent placement; potentially better even than Apple’s Touch ID button. Generally, your thumb sits around where the Sony lock key is, so you’ll barely have to move it if you want to utilise the fingerprint scanner.
Finally, the 20.7MP camera that has been found on Xperia phones since the Z1 has been replaced by a 23MP one. Don’t go thinking that means this will be the best shooter on the market. Higher megapixels do not a better camera make. Still, it will be intriguing if Sony has upped its camera game, along with its MP count.
The Xperia Z5 is the phone we can see being the most popular of the three. It’s all but identical to the Premium, except with a 5.2 inch 1080p display. To be perfectly candid: 1080p is absolutely fine on a screen his size. Most users will barely notice the difference, if at all.
On the plus side, there will be less battery drain and we know for a fact that Sony makes stunning 1080p panels with vibrant colours, fantastic contrast and good viewing angles.
The only reason you would buy the Premium over the regular Z5 is that you absolutely must have that 4K display… or if the Premium isn’t available in your region. We’d prefer to pay less for the 1080p model, and we think quite a few consumers are going to agree with us.
Xperia Z5 Compact
Where the Z5 is our prediction for best-selling, the Z5 Compact is the one we’re most excited about. There are so few compact Android phones out there that don’t make huge sacrifices when it comes to hardware.
The Z5 Compact still boasts the mighty Snapdragon 810 processor. RAM drops down from 3GB to 2GB, but that should still be totally fine. The camera is the same 23MP affair and onboard storage is 32GB with a micro SD for expansion.
The biggest obstacle in the eyes of the buyer will be the screen. At 4.6 inches it’s certainly compact, but with a resolution of ‘only’ 720p. This is often seen as outdated in today’s market, but on a 4.6 inch screen you’re still looking at 319 pixels per inch (ppi). That’s a hair less than the 326ppi of an iPhone 6’s Retina Display.
Like the Xperia Z3 Compact before it, the Z5 Compact is looking to be the best option on the market for folks that want a compact Android, but don’t want a second-rate smartphone.
After a new Android phone?
Compare Android phone plans from Canadian carriers