September 15, 2015
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sony xperia z5 premium aa 10

Sony became the first 4K smartphone manufacturer with the launch of its Xperia Z5 Premium, an impressive feat that sees a whopping 808 pixel per inch packed into the 5.5-inch display. However, such a high resolution has brought with it a fair share of concern about performance and battery life.

When it comes to gaming, smooth native 4K rendering is still well out of reach of mobile devices, but some have also speculated that Sony’s latest smartphone may not even make use of its 4K display to render your day to day Android UI. This makes sense, as the benefits of 4K for everyday tasks are probably not worth the extra strain on the processing components.

Sony has now confirmed that this is the case, stating that the phone’s ultra-high resolution mode is indeed reserved just for image and video content that can enjoy the benefits. All other content is rendered at a more standard 1080p resolution or lower, in order to preserve battery life and performance.

“Xperia Z5 Premium features a 4K display with a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels based on SID Standard and enables all video and image content to be enjoyed in 4K resolution. All other content is displayed at 1080P or lower resolution in order to optimise the performance and battery stamina for this device, ensuring you can enjoy the 4K resolution when you need it most.“

Instead of displaying regular content at 4K, Sony is upscaling most of the time. However, as a 1080×1920 resolution factors nicely into the display’s 2160×3840 pixels, image quality should be very well preserved. Considering that the Xperia Z5 Premium still offers the same two day battery life as its lower resolution brothers, perhaps this news isn’t so surprising. Although the 4K display still requires some extra juice, the larger battery makes up for those extra pixels.

Although Sony has the world’s first 4K smartphone, it turns out that day to day experiences aren’t going to look any more detailed than most other flagship handsets out there. Do you think that this diminishes Sony’s achievement, or is this just sensible engineering?

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
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