No fingerprint sensor for the US Xperia Z5 or Z5 Compact

by: Kris CarlonJanuary 15, 2016


The US versions of the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact, which will be officially launched in the US next month, will not feature a fingerprint sensor. The sensor, located conveniently in an elongated power button on the side of the phone, was one of the unique selling points for the new Xperias. But it won’t be in America.

z5-premium-thumbSee also: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review23

Sony confirmed the absence of the fingerprint scanner to us, explaining “it was a business decision”. We’ve asked for further clarification and will update this post with any new details. While this is a surprise move to be sure, it doesn’t bode well for the success of the Z5 series in North America.

There surely must be a valid reason for the omission, but removing one of the most popular features on a new flagship line when it’s about to launch in a major market is not exactly a wise move.

Sony needs to get things back on track in the US, considering the myriad problems the Xperia Z4v had getting a US launch, problems which resulted in Verizon ditching the device entirely and Sony releasing it months later under the Xperia Z3+ moniker on Amazon and B&H. But it looks like Sony wants to risk yet another bungled product launch instead.

The question now is: why would Sony remove one of the main features on its new flagship device? We’re sure the answer will be more interesting than our guesses, so we’ll hold out for an official explanation.

Why do you think Sony would do this? Will the Z5 be successful without it?

  • Jeff Moreira

    Perhaps some patent related issues?

    • cdm283813

      Perhaps some incompetent people working at Sony’s mobile division.

      • thorsten garbe

        Thats more like it!!!
        Why would they even release sd810 device so late in the seasson.
        I was hoping to get one in canada. But not for that price they want.
        And samsung and lg and maybe htc releasing new phones very soon with sd820.
        Sony is gonna fall real bad real soon.
        Just my two pennies

    • Pez Smith

      “A method of attaching a finger reader on the side of a device”

  • Lim Ming Quan

    I’m guessing it’s due the same reason why the Blackberry Priv doesn’t have NFC in Canada: To keep costs low.

    • balcobomber25

      Or to keep profits high. The cost of adding a fingerprint sensor (or NFC chip) is very minor int he grand scheme of things.

  • Alex F

    Honestly may as well not sell it in the States then imo, it’s a basic necessity for any modern smartphone in 2016 imo. Don’t see who is going to buy this over other devices

    • Armand Bernard

      Thinking exactly the same thing. It’ll be more expensive on release than all the other better devices anyway.

    • vahdyx

      I agree, I feel like it’ll be the only 2016 phone with 2015 specs and the only 2016 phone without a fingerprint sensor.

    • balcobomber25

      Especially since it is appearing in budget phones these days. There is no excuse for them to leave it out.

    • Edgar Jáuregui

      exactly, it’s a must have for any new smartphone, especially a flagship

      • Svnjay

        Blackberry, Motorola and Apple say otherwise.

        • Btort


          • Svnjay

            I edited them out of my comment but the changes weren’t saved.

        • MegaMind

          Blackberry who? And Motorola… You mean the company barely hanging on to next to nill in market share. Then Apple, glad you tried to edit that one out, but it should have never been in the list, since you know, Apple was the FIRST.

          • SaRPeR

            No, Motorola was first with Atrix 4G.

          • MegaMind

            Ok, you got me. Hardly the same league. I’m no apple fanboy. I am actually using a Samsung S6 currently, a phone I hated until the last update. I prefer Nexus devices, (except for that last abortion by Motorola. I don’t actually blame Moto for that it was Google who worked with them on the design) however, BlackBerry is a non existent factor. That would be like saying, ‘well blu doesn’t have x therefore no one needs it.’ Lets get real here. And Motorola is so insignificant that a fingerprint sensor in the atrix we as like a tree falling alone in the woods, did it make a sound? That’s the point, you have not argument. Two insignificant phone makers not jumping into the modern world does not mean that a fingerprint scanner is not a significant feature that is best forgotten.

          • Svnjay

            That is completely irrelevant to the argument at hand.

      • Jacob Kral

        Why? I would rather not have one.

    • Jacob Kral

      Me, I have no use whatsoever for fingerprint sensor and actually prefer devices without it. It was the main thing I DIDN’T like about the reveal of the z5.

  • Its because its placed in a stupid location and it had problems reading fingers that were below mildly dirty or sweaty.

    • Svnjay

      Then don’t have dirty hands.

  • Gordon Alvarado

    Put another nail in the coffin

  • Dean Weaver

    From a UK user – no big deal – it doesn’t work very well anyway – I’ve disabled mine…

    • Don_Alduck

      It works well for me, no issues at all. Sometimes i have to try it 2x 3x but it’s only because of the case i got.

    • balcobomber25

      I use mine everyday without issue, works the same everytime, takes less than a second to get a lock.

    • Hyung-Woo Jung

      An Xperia Z5 Compact user here, and I find the fingerprint reader to be quick and reliable.

    • Jacob Kral

      How did you disable?? Do you mean actually removing the feature or just not having it on the lockscreen. I would buy an international one and turn it completely off if possible.

      • Dean Weaver

        Settings,Security,Fingerprint Manager & Disable

  • Robert Johnson

    That is a very bad oversight in my opinion. Fingerprint readers are becoming very common place and many people prefer them as opposed to password entry. Next month in Barcelona you’ll see a large number of new phones. For manufacturers who don’t include the latest software and hardware, well, they might find themselves at a disadvantage.

  • Paweł Gładysz

    And now I do get why the price was 40% lower than in some EU countries…

    • Jacob Kral

      That’s due to tariffs. The sensor probably cost 50 cents.

  • balcobomber25

    Another fail for Sony mobile. It seems like they sit in a room and say “what can we do to mess up this time”. It’s a shame too because they have some of the best designed and built phones.

  • DOASalesman

    Dammit! These are the versions of the Sony flagships I dreamt of. How can you not see the benefit of not having a fingerprint sensor in a market already full flooded with them?

    Have you forgotten about the paranoid people like myself? It’s bad enough that I had to register my SIM card as if I was buying a gun, I do not want my fingerprint to be digitally stored.

    If you do w want your fingerprint securely stored in a digital database, please march down to l local police station and ask the nice officers working there to add you to their database.

    • Jacob Kral

      Lol I’m not that paranoid but I’d prefer not having one as well. I’m happy about this news.

  • StudyYourself .

    I have purchased the Z5 compact from China , I live in America, Florida , my phone works just fine , I recommend anyone who wants it to purchase it from Ebay for the same price they will be selling in America . 499.00$

  • charlie Jason

    The 6P is better in so many ways.

    • Jacob Kral

      The 6p is trash imo.

      • Edward Eudave

        You sound worse than cancer. The 6p is great.

    • FermentionIt

      Yes, but at 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm (6.27 x 3.06 x 0.29 in), not my cup of tea. Good phone though.

  • Brahma

    So they basically re-release the Z3+, a no-fingerprint-reader old Xperia with an overheating Snapdragon 810 the very same months rivals announce the Galaxy S7/Plus, the Xiaomi Mi 5, the LG G5 and a couple more with the much more advanced, nex-gen Snapdragon 820 more RAM and with fingerprint scanner?

    • Lim Ming Quan

      No? The Z5’s completely different from the Z3+. And the SD810 doesn’t overheat. Also, it’s a 2015 phone, not 2016.

    • Jacob Kral

      Wrong on literally every count.

    • FermentionIt

      No, improved screen/white balance, camera sensor, speaker loudness, better thermal dissipation. However, you are right that late U.S. release is right on the heels of what will have superior hardware and software combinations. Sony may still win in a couple categories, e.g., battery life, water resistance, fm tuner, remote play, SD slot, but that is all. Sony will get beat with OLED, USB-C, qi-charging, quick charge 3.0, fingerprint scanners, build, force touch, imaging(auto), OIS, sound, bluetooth 4.1, or possibly MU-MIMO. Sony should be releasing Z6 now, strategically speaking.

  • SnakeSplitskin

    Definitely sounds like a licensing issue for someone else’s patented technology. Looks like Sony was unwilling to pony-up the fees for the right to sell their device with the patent owner’s technology in the U.S. As one commenter pointed out, he purchased his in China and uses it in the USA and it works fine so there is no technical hardware/software reason why this feature would be omitted from a U.S. release. I also doubt the omission was to increase the margin on the phone given that no flagship phone can compete with other flagships if it lacks a fingerprint sensor without possessing an exclusive feature that a decent amount of the market wants. If it’s priced as a mid-ranged then it would be a no-brainer and would probably have a high volume of sales. I’m sure that’s not going to be the case though.

    • FermentionIt

      Could be right, albeit Sony sells the phone in other N.A. regions such as Canada and Mexico. I think it comes down to number$ and likely market penetration, and if they did have to pay additional license fees, then it could be a considerable impact to bottom-line profit. Of course, omitting a trending feature may end up being more costly if they sit on the shelves. I could be wrong.

  • staylow

    Growing up Sony stood for premium, well built, and cutting edge technology. They were what Apple is today, now they’re mobile division is a joke and has been for a while, not to mention they don’t do laptops anymore. Whoever is in charge of Sony Mobile America should be fired and flogged. I may have considered a Z5 compact now that they’re unlocked, just to give Sony one last chance but after this bit of news I wouldn’t buy one for over $200.00 USD. Hey Sony, get it together man! Sorry bout the rant.

    • Hyung-Woo Jung

      I’d recommend the Z5 Compact personally. The software is close to stock and stable, the battery is great, and it performs well, but yeah, I can’t understand the decision to omit a key feature just for the US market.

    • Jacob Kral

      You think a fingerprint scanner is worth 400 dollars?? Lol wtf..

      Either way you can buy unlocked version on Amazon right now that has it.

  • netanil

    C’mon people, it’s ONLY $599!
    It could not possibly have that fingerprint feature for that low price. No way. No how.

    Oh wait, I see there are now $199 phones that have that same feature. Never mind.

  • groovc

    Sony Marketing/Strategy seems to forget about this thing called the Internet where people can find out they’re being charged flagship prices for lobotomized products. Everyone is correct that the US market is moving towards contactless payments and fingerprint sensors as standard equipment. Their upper management should be fired. No one in their right mind is going to buy these when they can buy better equipped international versions for cheaper.

    • Jacob Kral

      That’s not the case at all. Android pay and apple pay are such a low portion of sales it barely exists.

  • Nickdigreat

    Big fail for Sony especially for an oem thata trying to be viable in the US market. Same old sony

  • Two Bits

    Good. I do not want a finger print reader. What I do want is a good phone that is between 4.5 to 4.8 inches for the screen. Becoming impossible to find that any more. I also want a memory slot and a removable battery. Think the z5c is going to be as close to that as I am going to het for awhile. Hopefully the battery is not completely inaccessible. I will be getting the z5c if it has support for the tmobile bands.

    • Jacob Kral

      It does have support and the battery I’m not sure about… The regular size one can be replaced though.

  • Mark Mann

    now if only the carriers would carry it…this would have made this phone my first choice

  • Kiet Tran

    Really! I’m surprised how they came up witht the “business reason”. I supposed they want to kill their mobile division if that what they meant. I

  • Randy

    Sony Xperia Z4+

  • Scr-U-gle

    What an about-face from android users! From slating the iPhone 5s for its Touch ID to it being the most important feature for the vast majority is a pretty amazing turnaround.

    Your welcome android.

    • 3165dwayne

      LG expo, Motorola Atrix 4G

      • Scr-U-gle

        You obviously do not understand the technology behind Touch ID, I remember when Similarsung tried with those swipe scanners that don’t work.

        Funny how those shitware devices never stayed around and are failed products.

        Doing something badly = androne innovation

        Doing something that works, copied badly by androne much later, then claimed as an androne original.
        Look at Google wallet, failure. Then Apple Pay, success, copied exactly by Androne Pay, still a failure.

        The list is endless.

        • 3165dwayne

          Are you for real? Those implementations worked fine. Apple then copied and made improvements. Well, the notification shade was copied from Android and it works like shit on IOS. Widgets were also copied and were implemented like shit on IOS. Last I checked, Siri is shit compared to Google now. Replacement keyboards still work best on Android. I think even Windows mobile 6 did a better job than iOS here. Then we have live photos. HTC did a better job with Zoe and I belive Nokia started it and IOS’ implementation is an exact copy. Then we have Apple Pay… Nokia did it the exact same way in 2006. It has been working quite well in Asia for many years. Yeah, the list sure is endless. Lol, even the no headphone jack was done by Apple first, right? You must be some fool.

          • Scr-U-gle

            Of course they did, that’s why no one use them and all use the exact same method as Apple.

            That’s why Google wanted to use the same method!

            I think you need to pull your head out of your arse, everything you mention is either a copy direct from iOS, iOS jailbreak or an iOS App.

            Keyboards, Your selective memory forgot that ‘innovative’ Google were all about hardware keyboards until iPhone launched. All those soft keyboard apps wished they were on iOS but were not allowed, and what has a third party app got to to with Google? That’s right nothing.

            Zoe works in a very different way and is again, a failure. I don’t see any support with anyone except themselves, Apple has set the standard to be copied again

            Nokia did nothing of the sort, better luck next time.

            Google now, I wonder whose idea that was, oh that’s right Apples. The reason Rubin was soft-fired is because he stated publicly that voice was not the way to go, just as he had thought hardware keyboards were the future.

            Funny how the people leading android thought what they had done was “so 90’s”.

            You talk loud and say nothing.

    • Jacob Kral

      1) the feature didn’t come from apple

      2) I couldnt care less, actually I prefer not having a FP sensor.. So thanks for nothing.

      • Scr-U-gle

        Next you’ll be telling us the original android interface is better; a blackberry knock off.

        Look through the comments below and comments about everything that doesn’t copy iPhone 5s method.

  • RiTCHiE

    I LOVE SONY!!! Screw america people!!! All they know is a iphone or samsung so no need to release a awesome phone like the z5 in america because them sheeps dont know a good product when its right infront of their noses.

    • Hyung-Woo Jung

      Whoa whoa, Sony phones are not as popular as Samsung or Apple despite being great, sure, but that doesn’t mean such generalizations stand.

      • RiTCHiE

        Well thats because Sony doesnt spend 200 million on ads and commercials. But thank got the rest of the world aint like them Americans.

        • MegaMind

          Well since thier mobile division is dying on the vine, maybe they should pay attention to the market that is profitable. Sorry rest of the world, but if you don’t sell it to the US you are missing out on very deep pockets indeed. Poor business model to simply say, ‘well screw America, we don’t need thier stinking money.’ Remind me to never buy stock in such an idiotic company.

    • peter

      You sound like a sheep as well so I don’t get your point ?

      • RiTCHiE

        We all sheep at some point but the thing is to grow out of it.

  • meir

    Japan hate USA.

  • Kunal Shukla

    Sony and odd decisions go hand in hand, but now they should atleast price it sensibly lower than the current samsung flagship devices.

  • Khalid

    Now that’s waaaaaaay bad for a business decision.

  • Jeff Martinez

    Sony is losing their touch. Literally.

  • lu99ke

    will they then at least return to their signature power button (round ) and move the volume buttons up so they are not in that ridiculous position

    • Jacob Kral

      I’d much rather have the old placement and not have the stupid fp sensor.

  • Willie Peck

    And Sony wonders why their mobile division is not doing very good…

  • Takato

    is not a Sony problem

    the problem is USA they modified and change everything, such as Xperia Z4v is not a Sony smartphone internationally.

    an easier example Dragon Ball in USA version they change the soundtrack, voices, scenes, opening and ending etc. i prefer the original soundtrack, voices, scenes, opening and ending ^^ understood ?

  • Giles Peach

    Does Sony want to bankrupt their mobile division? Because this is how one bankrupts one’s mobile division.

  • baro

    Business decision? Then, Sony should not sell them, nobody is going to buy half baked products. It should be named Xperia Z5(-).

    • Jacob Kral

      The vast majority of people don’t use fingerprint sensors and they’ve been on devices for decades.People on this board pretend it’s the new must have feature but they’re just jumping on a hype train that mostly died 10 years ago.

  • neonix

    Personally, I’m totally okay with this if they end up costing less than the international variant because I have zero interest in fingerprint sensors, but as far as Sony keeping up with competition, this is going to hurt them.

  • Jacob Kral

    I must say this is weird.. But I’m honestly happy about it. I was actually considering buying a international z5 and getting a case that covers the sensor.. I didn’t want a fingerprint sensor and I couldn’t care less about android pay. Odd but I’m happy to hear this.

    • FermentionIt

      What’s your rationale for not wanting quick access to a locked phone? Most reviews of Sony’s scanner have been very favorable, so curious.

      • Jacob Kral

        Not any quicker to me.. Especially with the placement for one handed use.

        But mostly privacy concerns, android especially it’s easy to rip the scans directly which can lead to all sorts of trouble. Also, I don’t like having tech I’ve no interest in being forced on me.. Because literally every major company has them now.. And worst of all its nearly always in a position that is required to touch in order to use the phone. I feel mostly the same way about front facing cameras. There’s almost no phones that don’t have them, and I literally never use mine.. Can’t wait for modular devices to be a thing.

        • FermentionIt

          I’m with you on the privacy concerns and front facing cameras, and I agree that too much tech is wasted consumer dollars; it’s like paying for cable where 70% of the channels are useless to the average viewer, hence, modular could be good thing.

          I still believe the absence of the feature should be reflected in the price. Given the competitive nature of the business, people still count feature for feature without too much thought given to real world use. It comes down to perception of value, and if one wants water resistance, SD slot, stereo speakers, fm tuner, PS4 remote play, high-res audio, propriety noise cancellation and good battery life, then Sony is still a contender.

  • FermentionIt

    Another Sony decision that will impact the overall success of their ecosystem. Without contracts to spit cost into installments, and the inability to WOW by removing latest WOW feature, Sony should have introduced the phone at least 50 dollars cheaper or included some high-end IEM ear buds with noise cancellation. I can’t justify cost since remote play and fm tuners have no value to me and the fingerprint scanner does. Don’t consider buying international unless you want to pay for postage and have long delays without your phone.

  • Guillaume Brière

    yeah of course it was a business decision -_- Government : you remove that or it doesn’t sell in the country. Sony : ok.

  • Umesh Soni

    Fingerprint scanner is the best feature of Sony Xperia devices…..
    So what reason to Sony’s this decision..??

    Can you explain me..?

  • Cristian Ciobanu

    They just disabled the functionality, in order to enable you have to flash international firmware