Sony Xperia Z5 Premium hands-on and first look

by: Lanh NguyenSeptember 4, 2015
2.1K

The race to next generation displays is certainly heating up and while most companies still offer either Full HD or Quad HD panels, Sony has sought to steal the IFA 2015 show with its new Xperia Z5 Premium.

Featuring many of the same specs as the rest of the Xperia Z5 family, the Z5 Premium stands out as it sports the world’s first Ultra HD smartphone panel but is the next-generation resolution enough to make the Xperia Z5 Premium, the phone you have to buy? Let’s find out in our hands on first look.

sony-xperia-z5-premiumSee also: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium officially announced: what you need to know79
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The Xperia Z5 Premium looks and feels like most other Sony devices and shares the same updated design language as the other members of the Xperia Z5 family. That means we’ve got a tweaked build including rounded corners and the redesigned larger power button, which sits on the right and incorporates a fingerprint sensor.

A key feature of Sony’s Xperia line-up over the past few iterations has been IP certification, with the Xperia range known for its dust and waterproofing. The Xperia Z5 Premium continues in the same mould with IP68 certification meaning it is dust proof and resistant to water for up to 30 minutes and up to 1.5 meters underwater.

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The Xperia Z5 Premium is certainly a large device by Sony standards but it can be forgiven thanks to the incredible display. This is what sets the handset apart from the rest and the 5.5-inch Ultra HD 4K panel offers an eye-watering 806 pixels per inch density. As the first smartphone with a 4K display, Sony has certainly stolen a march on its rivals and the display itself is gorgeous, with amazingly crisp text, images and videos.

A problem many people identify with UHD (or even QHD) resolution is a lack of suitable content and Sony aims to fix this by working with partners to develop content. Until content is widely available (which hopefully won’t be too long), Sony has also incorporated the upscaling technology from its TV lineup and the Xperia Z5 Premium will be able to upscale your Full HD content to make full use of the 4K display.

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What good is an awesome display if you don’t have the hardware to match it? Obviously, not a lot but Sony has given the Xperia Z5 Premium every chance of succeeding. Under the hood, the handset is powered by a 1.9GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor paired with 3GB RAM and an Adreno 430 GPU. Some of you may have concerns about the high resolution screen slowing the rest of the handset down but thankfully, we haven’t noticed any performance-related issues (although we’ll give you our final word in the review later in the year).

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Aside from the powerful internals, the Xperia Z5 Premium also comes with a specs list that is certainly worthy of a flagship device. The components include 32GB internal storage that can be expanded by up to 200GB using a microSD, NFC, the usual array of connectivity options and the one-touch fingerprint sensor, which certainly performs well enough in our first tests.

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You may be forgiven for thinking the display is the standout feature on the Xperia Z5 Premium and while you are certainly right, Sony also wants to let you produce amazing content of your own to watch on that display. On the back, the Xperia Z5 Premium features a next-generation 23MP Exmor RS sensor with super fast autofocus and Sony claim the camera can focus on a subject in just 0.3 seconds.

Sony Xperia Z5 camera AARelated: Here’s what the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera can do63

The camera itself has a 23mm wide angle f/2.0 G Lens, which should mean impressive camera shots and thanks to 4K video recording, you’ll be able to record native 4K content with the camera and then watch it back on that excellent display. On the front, the Xperia Z5 Premium has a 5MP camera, which is on par with most current smartphones.

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Of course, it’s difficult to tell just how good the camera is in a first look but we’ll go into a lot more detail in the upcoming review. Sony has traditionally provided camera modules to several of its rivals and quite often, the Xperia range has produced less than stellar shots compared to other devices using the same sensor. With the new camera, Sony has finally delivered its first meaningful update to Xperia smartphone cameras since the Xperia Z1 and with the company’s Alpha camera range capturing excellent photos, maybe its smartphone cameras will finally live up to their promise.

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On the software front, the Xperia Z5 Premium runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Sony’s Xperia UI on top. If you’re familiar with past Sony devices, you’ll be right at home here. It doesn’t stray to far away from a vanilla build of Android, but does come with a few of Sony’s software enhancements like Small Apps and built-in Playstation integration.

A key problem and criticism of Ultra HD (and even Quad HD) displays is the supposed effect on battery life that comes from having to power all those pixels. Having only just had hands on with the Xperia Z5 Premium, it’s obviously too early to tell whether the large 3430 mAh battery will be big enough to deliver Sony’s claims of 2 days’ battery life from a single charge but we will definitely be testing this in the full review. Does it live up to Sony’s claims? We shall see!

There you have it; the display wars have heated up another notch and Sony is at the head of the pack with the world’s first 4K smartphone. The Xperia Z5 Premium is without a doubt one of the stars of IFA 2015 and while Sony is yet to reveal exact US pricing or availability, it has said the handset will start going on sale around the world in November. One thing is for sure; for the Xperia Z5 Premium, you can definitely expect to pay a premium price.

What do you think of the world’s first 4K smartphone and Sony’s new Xperia design language and feature set? Let us know your views in the comments below guys and don’t forget to check out all our IFA 2015 coverage!

  • Xeo

    Can you feel this 4k or there is no difference to quad HD?

    • David Onter

      No difference

    • Dan McSweeney

      Think Lanh pretty much says he can’t tell the difference at about 1.50 into the video.

  • Daggett Beaver

    No wireless charging?

    • Mike Dye

      Nope, which is unforgivable for any manufacturer these days. Also how does it get a name like premium when its only got 3GB ram

      • Nathan

        ^^^ Brainwashed Samsung fanboy. Most phones DON’T NEED 4 GB of RAM because the software/skin isn’t a ridiculously bloated pile of dogshit, unlike a certain Korean manufacturer.

        • Mike Dye

          I can’t stand Samsung. Wth do they have to do with 4GB RAM? There are several phones with 4gb of ram and the reviews all say they fly through apps notably faster. Besides saying phones don’t need 4gb of ram is like saying phones don’t need full HD screens, or Qhd, or Uhd. I’m just saying if your gonna call it premium it should have more over its namesake than just higher screen resolution.

          • Svnjay

            “There are several phones with 4gb of ram and the reviews all say they fly through apps notably faster.”

            Ram doesn’t make a phone faster unless the software is bloated like Touchjizz.

          • hoggleboggle

            More ram certainly makes a phone faster if you are using multiple apps as it can keep more of them open and running at the same

          • AbeDostoyevski

            You would literally need about 100 apps open before you hit that level.

          • hoggleboggle

            Not really. Editing a 20mp image with a music player running in the background would very quickly use up that ram

      • Anonymous

        Watch review of galaxy note 5 and see How aggressively it force closes apps. 4gb ram is not needed on an android phone.

      • pytajnik

        just stop complaining bitch, the RAM management on Sony devices is so good, that 2GB of RAM is way, WAY better than 4GB of RAM on all the samsung devices in the history of this company.

      • geospa300

        Not having an SD card slot is unforgivable.

      • Btort

        because touchwiz NEEDS 4GB of ram, not having a sd slot is UNFORGIVABLE

      • Andrew White

        Agreed….also 64bit processors need 4GB of ram or more to be fully optimised.
        Sony produce quality product, but those massive bezels (why?) on either end make this a monster 5.5″ device.
        It could have been so much more had Sony waited for the 820 chipset.

    • serendipity1002

      It has Quick Charge 2.0 though, in Sony’s words: 5 hours of use in just 5 or 10 minutes charging, I find that more convenient

      • May Czos

        It’s not more convenient because you need to plug your phone every time. Plus USB port wears out and stuff like that.

        • Ryan

          Oh yeah because soooo many peoples USB ports have ‘worn out’. What a stupid comment to make.

          USB Charging will always be better than wireless charging or at least until wireless charging charges at the same rate and speed as USB charging.

          • Btort

            only an idiot would wear out a usb port LOL wireless charging is pointless if you have quick charge 2.0. Especially with a quick charge 2.0 battery pack, it’s so awesome

          • May Czos

            If you have a phone with good battery life fast charging is a useless gimmick. Wireless charging is much more convenient.

          • Raj Singh

            It’s good when you are traveling or when you forget to charge overnight…

          • Somedude

            Actually I have a s6 qi plate which charges my s4 with the qi card in faster time than via the cable so you are talking out of your ass

        • Somedude

          Yes I prefer qi charging my USB port is a bit dodgy

          • Batman

            I have an s6 and a wireless charging pad, and I use the cable more because it is a lot faster and more convenient because of it, (s6 battery isn’t the best). I use the wireless charging pad at night, but otherwise it’s too slow.

        • AbeDostoyevski

          I agree with May Czos. Most people that dismiss wireless charging haven’t tried it. Do I want to be able to quickly charge my phone? Sure! But I LOVE being able to drop it on a charging surface and walk away. No fiddling with cords or ports. It’s surprisingly nice, and it’s a shame more phones haven’t prioritized that.

    • StanLee TOOL

      Wireless charging makes me think about cancer.

  • anustart

    I don’t see the point in QHD vs UHD other than bragging rights. Of course the text is super crisp. It’s 4K. The 1080P iPhone 6+ has a plenty crispy display. And the GS6. And the Note 5. Every high end smartphone has a crisp display. Again, it’s just bragging rights. No noticeable difference on a screen that size from QHD to UHD.

    • Ryan

      You sound like Steve Jobs.

      Maybe we should all just stick to 320PPI as we don’t need anymore than that. Oh wait even Apple moved to a 1080p display with the 6 Plus. Heck even Samsung will move to a 4K display with future devices.

      R-tard.

      • Btort

        most people just want 1080P for better battery life, especially with how samsung is following in apples footsteps with making their stupid phone’s slim

    • hoggleboggle

      It only makes a difference when used for vr, then full HD looks blocky and rubbish and even qhd shows up issues so 4k is the way to go. Otherwise it is pretty much useless

  • s2weden2000

    ePicness…

  • Walter Wisnu Purnama

    i really want Sony xperia since Z1, because of my money only can bought me LG Device. not bad tou

  • pytajnik

    I need that in my life

  • Aditya Putratama

    why did you use that old wallpaper?
    makes the phone looks really old :(

  • Kristijan Kolgjeraj

    I was always wondering where and how do people get those test model phone?

  • Raj Singh

    You should change that from 0.3 to 0.03 second, if I’m not mistaken, which is faster than a blink of the human eye.

  • Danny

    LOL, Ultra HD 5.5 inch display…who needs that on a mobile phone…!?

    • News Reporter

      p0rn.
      The video examples I saw had almost no difference unless you had up to your face. Waste of money. Should have been put to use on a f/1.8 lens instead of this inferior f/2.0

    • AbeDostoyevski

      Yeah, and who needs more than 256 MB of RAM, or 2 GB of storage, or more than a 3″ screen, or more than 1500mah battery, or…

      If you hate any kind of progress, you should probably go back to your dumbphone.

      • Danny

        It’s not progress, it’s nonsense. You really need 4K on your phone?

    • wabbies

      I hope this will be true (it’s just speculating though):
      You can stream your ps4 games to the phone already. If it will be upscaled to 4k and used in a VR headset it would be so good! Same goes for other things than games.

  • Kamalnath

    <3 the waterproofing….

  • Матвей

    Думаю что тут будет самая лучшая камера.

  • Junior

    Wheres nexus 5 ,5x and Huwaei nexus 6?its between note 5,Sony premium z5 period

  • Frank Magowan

    I’m curious as to how the VR would look on that thing. Google Cardboard is fun on my S5, but the pixel density is garbage. But if I have to pay $700+ (as seems to be the norm with new phones), I might as well go with an Oculus Rift since VR on a 4k screen would be the huge selling point for me.

  • Chuan Yong

    sony is back.

  • FermentionIt

    Being in North America makes me think of an extinct phone seeing as I may never see one in real life. I really can’t consider this phone, or any other Sony phone, and U.S. carriers’ ignorance towards Sony only exacerbates the issue.
    Compared to their rivals, Sony is simply too slow to cross the Pacific.

    Sony’s die hard fans here are on Sony’s ecosystem last leg. I may even sell my PS4 and high res headphones since I’m so put off by Sony and U.S. carriers. I prefer to buy locally and I prefer to see, touch and compare phones in person since these phones aren’t cheap.

    I really expected a global push since we missed the Z3+ but if Sony can’t get their handsets onto showroom floors in all their colorful splendor, then they will continue to loose global market share. Sad knowing that Sony’s engineering prowess could dominate the entire phone market if they realized it.