Today we’re taking a look at Sony’s new and very ambitious Xperia Z5 Premium. This is the world’s first 4K smartphone, but do all of those pixels really make a difference? Every smartphone maker is constantly trying to one-up the next, but we may have gotten to a point where it doesn’t matter anymore…
Before we get into display rants, let’s talk about what powers this beast. As far as specifications go, the Z5 Premium is packing a Snapdragon 810 processor, 3,430mAh battery which Sony claims will last up to 2 days, and 3GB of RAM. There’s also a pair of front-facing speakers which are perfect for viewing content on its 5.5-inch Triluminos display, and an IP65/68 dust and water-resistance rating.
On the front side, you’ll find a 5-megapixel camera capable of up to 1080p video recording and a 25mm wide-angle lens for all of those groupie shots you love taking. As for its rear shooter, the Z5 Premium rocks a 23-megapixel sensor, 25mm wide-angle lens, and shoots up to 4K video quality, which can actually be viewed at full resolution on the device, but more on that in a little bit.
The design here is similar to previous Xperia devices with a metal frame around the outside and cool glass on the front and back. It definitely feels “premium” as the name would suggest, but don’t expect a pretty phone without some compromises. Like most other shiny and reflective glass phones, this one is a fingerprint magnet and the mirrored finish does a great job at showing off all the gunk and grime.
Check out our Xperia Z5 Premium impressions video below:
The design also packs in a dedicated shutter button that will also launch the camera app with a long-press and a very special power/lock button. This small button actually houses a fingerprint sensor, that is one of the best in the business in terms of functionality and ergonomics. It’s just in the perfect spot. Why have no other manufacturers thought of putting a fingerprint sensor in the power button up to this point? It just makes so much sense.
Setting it up is just as easy as you’d expect within the device’s settings. Simply place your thumb repeatedly on the power button and watch as the progress moves along on the screen. It’s so damn comfortable though. The main point here is that when you go to unlock the device, by pressing the power button, your thumbprint is recognized and the phone is instantly unlocked. Sony just dropped the mic with this one. I really hope to see more thumbprint/power button sensors in the future because this implementation is simply amazing and you’ll find it across the entire Z5 lineup from Sony.
But what makes this phone so special isn’t necessary on the inside. There is really one main selling point for the Z5 Premium: that 4K display. Yep, you heard that right, Sony has somehow managed to pack UHD resolution into a 5.5-inch display, which equate to a stupidly awesome 806 ppi. That’s crazy. This pixel packed IPS display looks absolutely stunning, but surprisingly, it was hard to tell it apart from a 1440p panel. Side-by-side with the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, I’d be lying if I told you that it looked remarkably better.
There’s really no discernible difference here. Sure it’s a 4K display, something many of us have dreamed of having in a smartphone for a long time, but I honestly couldn’t pick the two apart in visual quality. On top of that, there’s an obvious concern with battery performance. Your standard 1440p display smartphone sometimes struggles to make it through a day and with the same processor, GPU, and RAM. Let’s face it, overall performance is definitely at risk in this situation. Is Sony working some mystical wizardry with this new flagship or is the claimed battery life simply a pipe dream?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough. This is one phone that I’m particularly interested in trying out myself for a full review. Is a 4K smartphone worth it? I have no clue at the moment, but I’m willing to find out. Unfortunately, there’s no set release date for the Z5 Premium just yet, but it’s expected to launch around November with initial pricing set on Sony’s respective country-specific stores. Who knows when or if it’ll make its way stateside, but I kind of hope it does eventually.