Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
The Xperia Z5 Premium has 4K: A picture-perfect product , or not?
Have you heard the latest re-invention in the street?
Take me on a journey with the rhythm in my feet
Takes me to the left and it takes me to the right
Posing as a savior if you fall across the nightBlink and You’ll Miss a Revolution by Cut/Copy
While we may never know exactly what major shake-up was being described, Cut/Copy has arguably, years earlier, defined that which Sony brought forth at its IFA 2015 conference last week. Indeed so minute a mention was it given during their press event that if you dared shut your eyes for even a split second, you’d miss it entirely: The Xperia Z5 Premium has a 4K display. Yes, a 4K display. This is big if not positively enormous. In fact, the only thing small about what’s going on here is a diminutive 5.5-inch screen that will house such a pixel perfect panel.
Ahead of IFA, the tech world has been up-in-arms over the possibility of Sony’s “surprise” with many doubting the possibility of such. As it now official, we take a look at Sony’s motivations for going 4K and whether such a jump was really needed.
A premium product
While Japanese customers may be reeling over the idea of a new Xperia flagship so quickly after the last one released, in other parts of the world the Xperia Z4 was never branded as such, rather it was a mere intermittent update known as the Xperia Z3+. For all these markets, Sony has yet to release a halo product this year and hence the Z5 -all three of them- are filling a great void.
Aside from this, there is the additional consideration that Sony itself basically “forgot” the phablet form factor with respect to flagships. The original Xperia Z Ultra released years ago at this point. Even though there were phablet-sized phones released from the Japanese manufacturer in the time since, none of them were Z-class. The Z5 Premium, therefore, represents a true return to form. And of course there are already rumors swirling of an actual Z5 Ultra, though it may be some time before anything more is known in that regard.
Sony to be taken seriously
4K: What to make of it
A curious strategy
In fact, it’s hard to even see why Sony even made the standard Z5 period when the Z4 exists. Instead, it could have released a Z5 Compact and Z5 Premium, much like how it only had the Z3 Tablet Compact last year, no large-sized one. The answer would be simple: customers who wanted the benefits of the Z5 could just select from the two new options, and those who wanted more of a standard affair could go for the Xperia Z4 which, we point out again, is not even three months old.
The benefit here would be twofold: (1) the Xperia Z4/Z3+ would still be of major appeal to anyone who wanted the mid-sized offering and would not be cannibalized by sales of the new product, and (2) the Xperia Z5 Premium and Z5 Compact would thus be truly different from the previous release due to their sizes and the camera resolution increase.
Performance: will there be problems?
Sony wants the world to believe the answer is ‘yes’ to all the above, but something just doesn’t add up. Will the battery life take a hit? Will the product overheat severely? Will the 4K pixel power be reserved for specific media playback functionality, as some have claimed it would? How can this product possibly have the same performance as the smaller variants despite having a larger, more pixel-packed display?
In recent days, a reported teardown of the Z5 Premium was done and claims to show Sony had taken measures to avoid overheating. Additionally, over at XDA Decelopers, a story was published that indicates the phablet isn’t actually displaying 4K all the time. The latter issue in particualr would definitely seek to explain just how all this marketing claim “magic” is possible. At the same time though, it also would serve to suggest that while the Z5 Premium has a 4K display, many users unaware of the back-end “wizardry” will just assume their device is running at the resolution all the time when in fact it’s usually just FHD.
Is 806ppi even tangible?
The “missing” PR the Premium deserved
Sony’s PR event was based more on a self-conscious attempt to try and tell the world it’s still relevant rather than unveil some truly impressive, unprecedented products. With respect to mobile, Kaz Hirai spent almost the entire time discussing the camera and the audio features, and essentially referred to a single “Xperia Z5”.
Sure the fantastic new camera on the Z5 is worth mentioning, but it’s one part of the phone. Then again, save for the camera, the Z5 has very, very little to differentiate itself from the Z4/Z3+. With this in mind, all eyes should have been on the Premium and Compact offerings, and fostering a reason for their existence.
Judging from various commentary around the internet with this 4K display, Sony needed to do a bit more to “sell” it sincerely. Indeed one blogger in particular at Mashable was bold enough to warn his readers “Don’t be fooled by Sony’s 4K smartphone; it’s 100% hype.”
Regardless of if the display prowess was truly necessary, or if a “plain and simple” QHD screen would have sufficed, the Z5 Premium will be a phablet-sized flagship from Sony, the first in quite some time. It has a lot of potential, and stands to go head-to-head with the latest offerings by Samsung, and in a few hours, Apple as well. Hopefully the Japanese conglomerate can market the device aggressively and get it released on multiple carriers in the USA and Canada.
What do you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.