Sony Xperia Z5 hands-on and first look

by: Joshua VergaraSeptember 3, 2015

After weeks of leaks and speculation, a lot of which turned out to be true, Sony took the wraps off their latest flagships offerings. While the plus iteration, or “Premium” in the case of Sony’s smartphone, seems to be more enticing, the more standard flagship has to lot to offer as well. We go hands-on, and give you the first look at the Sony Xperia Z5!

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At first glance, the Xperia Z5 looks a lot like all the other Sony flagships that it follows, which isn’t entirely unexpected, but there are a few new aspects to the design language and features that should sweeten the pot a little, and hopefully, this device will be available in more markets that just in Europe and Asia. Noticeable changes to the design are seen on the side, with a much larger power button being featured now, which doesn’t look as iconic as the signature round button from before, but still has a very unique look.

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The reason for this change to a wider power button is the fingerprint scanner that is now integrated into the power button. It is ideally placed to allow the device to be unlocked easily by placing your right thumb on the button, which does seem to be the best way to go about it. In general, the Xperia Z5 feels really nice in the hand, as most Xperia devices do, with the symmetrical design making the phone very easy to grip, and its relatively standard footprint makes for a great handling experience.

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On the specifications front, the Xperia Z5 isn’t all that much of an upgrade when compared to its predecessor, the Xperia Z3+, with the latest Sony flagship retaining a 5.2-inch Full HD display, the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB of RAM, and the availability of expandable storage via microSD card. The Snapdragon 810 does a great job of keeping things smooth and snappy, helped along with the near-stock version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop that the device is running, which doesn’t feature much extra, other than Sony staples like the Small Apps.

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What is obviously the most exciting part about the latest Xperia flagship is the new camera, with Sony introducing a major change in this department after a very long time, and we are really looking forward to putting this 23 MP ExmorRS sensor to the test. What is intriguing to us is that Sony put out there the fact that their imaging department has been one of the best, and Sony has released some great Alpha cameras, so hopefully, we’ll now see some of that quality make its way over to the smartphone segment as well. The Xperia Z5 also features on of the fastest auto-focus capabilities around, and the device did a great job in the short time we got to spend with it. The Xperia Z5 also packs a 5 MP front-facing camera.

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Looking at the camera application, Sony continues to pack the camera software with a slew of features, with everything from AR, panorama modes, slow motion, face in picture, and pretty much everything you can hope for to make your smartphone photography experience that much more fun. We have seen some fantastic flagship smartphone cameras this year, and we can’t wait to see whether this Sony camera can provide the quality to compete with the high standards that have been set so far.

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As mentioned, Sony also introduced a plus iteration of their current flagship, dubbed the Xperia Z5 Premium. No one was able to get their hands on this device at the press event, but we do have a meeting with Sony coming up soon where we will be able to bring you a much closer look at this phone.

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Of course, the big news with this smartphone is its 4K resolution display, which results in an absolutely mind-boggling pixel density of 801 ppi. This is obviously the highest resolution we’ve seen till date on a smartphone, but what Sony is doing with the Xperia Z5 Premium, as they have done with some of their TVs as well, is that the phone itself is going to upscale all of the media content, so it has a sharper look to it. A high resolution such as this does bring up concerns with regards to battery life, but the 3,430 mAh battery that the device packs, compared to the 2,900 mAh unit of the Xperia Z5 proper, should allow for at least average battery life, helped along with the slew of battery saving modes that Sony bakes in to their devices.

So there you have it for this first look at the Sony Xperia Z5! While the Xperia Z5 isn’t a major departure from the Sony standard, new elements like the fingerprint scanner and updated camera package does bring the device more in line with the current crop of smartphone flagships, and we can’t wait to put the Xperia Z5 through its paces as we give it the full review treatment. Stay tuned with Android Authority for more great coverage from Sony, and everything else that is on offer at IFA 2015!

  • Pez Smith

    Sony’s designs are fantastic!

    • Overheated Oven

      yeah especially the moving cover for the usb lol .phones from ’00 had them, very unique indeed ………

      • OrionBeast

        better than scamsung with NO OPTIONS. f off you scamsung employee.

        • Overheated Oven

          Lol are you retarded?? And I don’t even own a Samsung, just pointing out that this is an ugly feature…

          • OrionBeast

            Did you getted f-ed in the wrong hole there? Lmao

          • Svnjay

            Sony hasn’t had flaps on their phones since the Z3. It’s time for you get out of 2014 and face reality.

      • Pez Smith

        How else are they going to get the water/dust proof certification for it & have USB/SD Card?

        • Overheated Oven

          Have you seen any other recent phone with this feature?? What are you saying that no other phone has certifications & have SD support? I’m confused

          • Pez Smith

            I assumed you meant the flap where the USB port is located. The SD card could happily lives inside the phone.

        • Overheated Oven

          Don’t get me wrong I like the phone overall but not this thing

          • Pez Smith

            I know what you mean.
            My Z3 compact is a bit fiddly to charge because I couldn’t be bothered with the magnetic charger.

  • Alief Patria

    What about manual control on camera? Does it exist?

  • Dimitri Potters

    As I have seen the specs and pre orders allready, it is NOT correct that it has a Snapdragon 810, it should be the 820 and still has problems on heating up and crashing the camera app. Also the design has changed, the backpanel isnt just glass as before but a new type that prevent more against smudging fingers. Milky glass ;)


  • Dimitri Potters

    As I have seen the specs and pre orders allready, it still has problems on heating up and crashing the camera app. Also the design has changed, the backpanel isn’t just glass as before but a new type that protects more against smudging fingers. Milky glass ;)

  • Nicolas Tunow

    Would really like if someone could test the front speakers . Are they better than Z3 and Z3+?

  • Jimbo

    There are still overheating issues carried over to this model, likely due to the Snapdragon 810, and will, like the Z3+, cause the phone and camera to crash.
    There’s already a hands on test from Digital Trends, that points out that their display model that they handled was hot, and could be a cause for concern.

  • V-Phuc

    Many people still prefer 5.2 inch, so the Z5 is very appealing in that regard. Impressive specs overall, but I wonder if there is some kind of manual control for camera? For all its power (23MP), if all controls are automated, that would negate somewhat the use of full potential of this camera. Anyone knows more about this? Lastly, I’m glad to see that Z5 still includes the microSD. Just hope the battery can truly last more than 1 day under medium to medium-heavy use.

  • droidtomtom

    Pros: Camera. MicroSD hooray! decent size battery. Dedicated Camera button. Water proofing.
    Cons: Micro-usb. No wireless charging and Glass back. Could have made it thicker. (larger battery and wider finger print sensor)
    I’m really interested in the z5 compact since I carry my 8.4″ tablet with me most of the time too bad it has a the same resolution as a SGS3. A nice stick on plastic cover to protect the back of the phone would be nice.

  • King_Android

    Still got the Huawei Nexus or the Mate S as the next phone. But if not for those, this would be my next phone.

  • Eddy Edd

    FROSTED BACK on the 2 models oh sweet.. me likey likey!

  • 404

    why does it still have a single flash?

  • Green Spaces

    This is a phone I want and not a phone I need .
    Z5 is the phone we all had been waiting for
    This is the one

  • xperia fan

    i was looking forward to a real waterproof phone where you can take photos/videos underwater :( rain and wash under tap water? you can do that with an iphone and its not even waterproof. come on sony!

  • tony solinan

    I am waiting until the end of November before I decide which android phone to buy myself for Xmas!