Sony Xperia Z5 Review
Sony’s Xperia Z3+ wasn’t a success by any means, although the phone was released to battle Samsung’s Galaxy S6, excessive overheating and some other technical flaws prevented that from happening. Sony soon realised the mistakes and released the Xperia Z5 family, the phone came with the same SoC but an updated design language, improved camera and a fingerprint sensor.
We got the chance to take the Xperia Z5 on a test drive and one thing’s for sure, Sony means business. The Xperia Z5 is a wonderful device and is a must have for any Sony fan. For an in-depth review of the phone, keep reading.
Tried and Tested Design
Sony’s Xperia Z5 uses a tried and tested design that is being used ever since the release of the original Xperia Z. However, the design has seen several improvements ever since the original release. The Xperia Z5 offers a solid design, Sony ditched the reflective glass panel on the back and is now using a matte finished glass panel that looks spectacular and feels good to touch, however, it loses the functionality as it gets slipperier than it originally was.
Apart from the handling issues, the phone’s design quality is nearly perfect. It is safe to say that the Sony Xperia Z5 is the best looking phone in the entire series without a doubt. The OmniBalance design is perfectly balanced and gives phone a solid feel.
Vibrant and Sharp Display
While many OEMs are using QHD panels, Sony decided to stick with a 5.2 inch display that offers FHD resolution. While it doesn’t sound impressive on paper, the display is sharp and offers vibrant colours, the colours are perfectly balanced and the viewing angles are amazing. The display might not be for the people who prefer to have deeper blacks on a display but then again, Xperia Z5 does really well with darker shades too, not as good as an OLED screen but respectable enough.
Moving on to how bright the screen is, the Xperia Z5 doesn’t disappoint in that department either. When comparing the Z5 with older phone from the series, the difference can be clearly seen. The display is bright and looks good when the brightness is cranked up to the max.
Simple and Enjoyable Software
One thing we really enjoy about a Sony Xperia device is the software, while companies like Samsung, LG and HTC are introducing their own skins, Sony is the only OEM which offers a custom skin with minimum amount of changes. The UI feels a lot like the stock Android UI and it’s a good thing. The transitions are smooth and without any lag, the material design flourishes everywhere. However, we wish Sony could update their keyboard to go with the UI.
The pre-installed apps can be removed without any need for root but are quite handy, specially the Lifelog app and the PlayStation app. Last but not the least, the Music app is an absolute joy to use and one of the best stock music players available.
Good But Not The Best Audio Quality
Sony’s Xperia Z5 is loaded with audio features and the ability to tweak and we like it, however, the audio quality seems to be an issue with the Xperia Z5. The speaker quality remains perfect when the volume is below 70, but as soon as you crank it up, the speaker starts resonating a vibration like sound. It’s not as pleasing when you’re shedding hundreds of dollars.
Plugging in the supplied earphones tell a different story, the audio noticeably improves via the earphones and you can perfectly hear what is in the song, however, if you are the type of person who prefers to hear every single sound in a song, you will need a better pair of earphones. We tested a bunch of different earphones with Sony Xperia Z5 including Xiaomi Piston 2.0, Sennheiser IE 80, the result was really good on both pairs and the Xperia Z5 will definitely please your ears.
The Sony Xperia Z5 finally gets a camera upgrade from the original 20.7 megapixel unit that has been around since the days of Xperia Z1. The new unit boasts a 23 megapixel resolution and the fastest auto-focus we have seen on a phone camera. The pictures look sharp with plenty of details, the front facing camera gets an upgrade and now is 5.1 megapixel which is more than enough for self-portraits.
The camera software also got an upgrade, however, the Superior Auto mode still exists and you are still limited to 8 megapixel resolution. However, the saddest part about the camera on the Z5 is the exclusion of manual focus mode, something that’s only available on LG G4 and V10.
Impressive Battery and Performance
Coming down to the biggest concern that raised some questions; how is the battery and performance on the Xperia Z5? This is because the Xperia Z5 uses a Snapdragon 810, the same processor that has been beaten time and again for it’s overheating issues which eventually lead to a horrible battery rating. However, the Xperia Z5 gave elegant results in the battery department, users can easily get up to 2 days of battery timing with moderate use.
Speaking of performance, the Xperia Z5 isn’t really aiming for the fastest device in the bunch. The Snapdragon 810 performs like it should, during our testing, we didn’t feel that the device was getting hot to a point that we couldn’t use it. Yes, we faced some lag while switching apps but that is something we have encountered in almost all the phones.
Gaming performance is good as well, the phone managed to pass with flying colours in almost all the games we tried on Play Store. The reason we didn’t run any synthetic benchmarking applications is because we believe more in the real-world performance than what the numbers say.
The Sony Xperia Z5 might not be the fastest, most featured-pack device in the market but it’s more than enough for a loyal Sony fan. The device stays true to its origin and doesn’t change a lot to begin with. The revised design, upgraded camera and the fingerprint sensor is a nice inclusion and can add a lot of functionality. Software feels a bit old for a flagship device but that’s about it. Should you buy the Xperia Z5? Yes, if you are a long term Sony user, then yes, the device might look the same as Z3+ or Z3 but it is a definite improvement.