Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: A great smartphone with a gimmicky screen
Sony’s high-end smartphone impresses with a quality camera and high resolution display.
The Z5 Premium plants its flag in the high end space simply by its title; as you might expect it sits at the very top of Sony’s 2015 flagship offerings ahead of the Sony Xperia Z5 and Sony Xperia Z5 compact. It’s an Android 5.1.1 device, sold outright in Australia for $1,199.
Bonus quick charger and noise cancelling headset with Xperia Z5 Premium purchase from Sony
For a limited time, grab this premium smartphone with a next-generation camera (23 MP Exmor RS™ Hybrid Autofocus) and stunning 4K display and get Sony noise cancelling headphones and a quick charge charger included.View details
|Sony||Xperia Z5 Premium|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57|
Upsides: Why you’d want the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
- Excellent performance: The combination of the Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM gives the Xperia Z5 Premium plenty of grunt to play with, and it shows in both anecdotal real world testing and in benchmarks. In Geekbench 3’s multi-core tests, the Z5 Premium narrowly squeaks its way to the top of the performance chart for 2015 handsets:
Handset Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better) Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 1348 4922 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 1492 4893 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 1324 4626 Google Nexus 6P 1251 4597 Samsung Galaxy S6 1347 4569 Apple iPhone 6S 2540 4410 Apple iPhone 6S Plus 2491 4391 Sony Xperia Z5 1358 4134 LG G4 1190 3313 Google Nexus 5X 1188 3198 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 655 2461
- Gorgeous display screen: The Z5 Premium’s claim to fame is its 4K capable screen, with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels and a pixel density of 806ppi. In some ways for a screen this small that’s overkill, but if you do throw high resolution video at it, it performs admirably.
- Great camera: The Z5 Premium’s 23MP camera has a very sharp and fast focus, and it’s aided by the inclusion of a proper side-mounted shutter button. As with any smartphone, you can still take lousy photos from time to time, but the Xperia Z5 Premium does open up possibilities for some truly stunning shots as well.
- Waterproofing: Like the Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact, the Z5 Premium is IP-rated for water and dust proofing. This isn’t quite the same thing as saying you can go deep sea diving with it. IP ratings refer to fresh water immersion, not salt water (or for that matter chlorinated water). Still, Sony is the only company to have maintained waterproofing across its premium product lines.
Downsides: Why you might not want the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
- Average battery life: In the premium handset space, the Z5 Premium only manages an average battery life in Geekbench 3’s battery test with the screen dimmed.
Handset Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration Geekbench 3 Battery Score Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 8:24:10 5041 Apple iPhone 6S Plus 7:48:10 4681 Samsung Galaxy S6 6:51:30 4115 Google Nexus 5X 7:14:20 4062 Google Nexus 6P 6:39:20 3754 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 6:09:30 3695 Sony Xperia Z5 5:41:30 3414 LG G4 5:27:50 3224 Apple iPhone 6s 3:52:10 2321 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5:42:00 2276
In practical use terms that’s well enough to last a single day of usage, but it’s not quite the two days of battery life that Sony hypes the Z5 Premium as having.
- 4K Video is a gimmick (for now): We noted this above, but it’s worth reiterating. So far, the actual support on Android for 4K video is quite limited, so while you might think that Netflix, for example, would output 4K on the Xperia Z5 Premium, it doesn’t. Most of what the Z5 Premium does is only at 1080p, which undoubtedly spares the battery life considerably.
- Super slippery: This is a common problem for many metallic handsets, but the curved sides of the Xperia Z5 Premium make it particularly noticeable. Sony’s done a decent job in terms of waterproofing and dustproofing the Z5 Premium, but if it slips out of your hand and onto the concrete, it’s still just as likely to shatter as any other smartphone.
Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?
The Xperia Z5 Premium manages to combine style and power in a package that’s quite compelling, even against the high bar set by competing smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. It’s also a decent step up from its own sibling, the Sony Xperia Z5.
At its outright asking price -- and for the moment, outright purchase is the only way to get the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium -- it’s not markedly cheaper than competing offerings, save for the Google Nexus 6P or LG G4 smartphones.
Where can I get it?
At launch in Australia, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is only available as an outright purchase with a recommended price of $1,199.
You’ll need to pair that up with a SIM-only plan, either outright or month to month contract; here are some options with more than 5GB of data per month that would pair nicely with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.