Sony doesn’t really have the best history of selling their smartphones in the United States, and this probably won’t help them. Yesterday, Sony announced that the five-month-old Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact are coming unlocked to US retailers starting next month. It appears, though, that these devices have a very important caveat: no fingerprint sensor.
The Xperia Z5 line integrated a narrow fingerprint sensor on the lock button, and it was widely assumed that the models coming to the US would be exactly the same. That’s not the case. Sony told The Verge that the US version of the Z5 and Z5 Compact will not include a fingerprint sensor.
The removal of the fingerprint sensor is a rather baffling decision considering that the Z5 is entering a US market where almost all current flagships can be unlocked with a finger. At $599 for the Xperia Z5 and $499 for the Z5 Compact, presumable buyers are paying a high unlocked price for Sony’s latest phones. The equivalent 32GB models of the latest Nexus phones have a fingerprint sensor and are cheaper than the Xperia phones.
For comparison, the Z5 is £549.00 ($787) and the Z5 Compact comes in at £429.00 ($615) in the UK. While the phones are less expensive stateside, it’s still nothing less than baffling that Sony would sacrifice such a critical feature.
No explanation immediately comes to mind for why the sensor was removed, other than maybe shaving off a few bucks of the phones’ prices. Reviews of the international models were rather positive regarding the quality of the fingerprint sensors, and it’s worth noting that Sony didn’t feel the need to remove the sensor from the recently announced pink varriant of the Z5.