Believe it or not but the Sony Xperia Z5 is the middle of the range in the new Xperia series. In between the Z5 compact and the Xperia Z5 premium. But does the phone have what it takes to truly be called a Sony flagship device? Or has Sony blinded consumers with fancy IP ratings and cheap gimmicks? After 2 weeks with the device, and using it on a daily basis, we have formed a love-hate relationship with it. More love than hate, but there are still some features that Sony needs to polish up.

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Xperia Z5 Tech-Specs

The Xperia range has not seen a new iteration as good as the Z5 since the Xperia Z3+, and that was a killer device. The Z5 bears quite the number of similarities in its design and aesthetic. When it comes to hardware, it’s on par, if not better than most of the devices on the market today.

Display  5.2-inches (1080×1920)
Battery  2900 mAh
Storage 16/32GB MicroSD Support
Waterproof Yes IP65/68
CPU  Quad-Core 1.5 GHz
Memory  3GB
OS Android OS 5.1.1
 WLAN  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Fingerprint Scanner Yes
Camera 5.1 – Rear | 23 – Front

Design

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The Xperia Z5 is a great looking device. It’s thin and light and instead of the glass-back, the device now has a frosted finish. This design change is welcomed as the previous models were fingerprint collectors, and the matte back hides most of them thanks to its coating. There are no buttons jutting out on the sides of the device and is easy to hold.

 

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The device has the Xperia logo etched into the side, and the NFC logo on the back for Google Pay and other beaming features. The corners of the device are rounded now, which is great compared to the previous devices like the Z2 which had sharp uncomfortable edges. The rounded corners have also been designed to absorb an impact from a drop. The opening flap on the left hand side of the phone holds the SD card and the Micro SD.

Other than that, all the ports on the Xperia Z5 are completely waterproof. It takes some time to get used to as there are no flaps to close, but it is safe to dunk it in water without closing the charging port.

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In terms of design, Sony almost had a perfectly-slim device across ever side of the phone, if it was not for the volume button and the camera button. It’s not a major issue, but in terms of design aesthetic, it could have been bevelled into the side rather than sticking out, although it does very little to impact the functionality of the device.

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Screen and Performance

In the age of 2K and 4K, Sony has decided to stay behind with the Xperia Z5 and keep with an old full HD display. The display supports 1080p, whereas the Xperia Z5 Premium boasts a 4K screen. The size of the device and the screen size compliments the LCD nicely. It is coated with oleophobic coating, and is scratch resistant.

UI

Colours are lush, and apps look fantastic on the display. Remote Play on PS4 also ran beautifully, and there is really nothing like that Xperia theme in the background that changed colour as you swipe through the device.

The Xperia Z5 packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset which makes the back of the phone hot. You almost feel compelled to place it in a bucket of water, because you can, to help cool it down. The device gets hot after prolonged use, compared to other devices on the market, this is something that Sony needs to fix.

Normal activities on the device are smooth and flawless.

Geekbench

Running Geekbench 3 tests on the device, it scored a 1192 on a single-core, and 3833 on a multi-core test. Compared to my iPhone 6 Plus which scored 1613 on a single-score test, and 2898 on a multi-core test. The Xperia Z5 has a pretty powerful processor. Although not the best in the single-core category, it makes up for it in the long run.

When it comes to the UI of the device, Sony has done a great job at ironing down bulky third-party apps, and keeping it clean and simple. The device still has a few unwanted and unused Google apps, but it is Android, so you cannot kick them of completely. Navigating through Instagram and Facebook is like any other device, and the Sony Keyboard is quick and easy to type with. My favourite part of the Xperia Z5 is its clean UI, which compared to LG and Samsung, is much better this time around.

The Xperia Z5 has a great battery, but I have seen better. The biggest issue is the standby battery that let me down countless times.

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Gaming and video content brought down the battery life, as well as using the device on full brightness.  Charge time on the device reached over 3 hours to get to 100% from completely flat.

Camera

The Xperia Z5 camera has tons of settings on the UI. There are various photo sizes too, these obviously implemented to keep storage space open by reducing the size of the photos. The device  has a super-fast autofocus that works in 0.3 seconds, and really helps when taking quick shots and running to get a shot of something before it’s gone.

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As for video, the device supports 4K recording, which is nice, but it would be better if the device had a 4K screen to watch the videos on in the first place. It also has 720p and 1080p options, and a 120fps mode. In terms of photos, the device does take them well. You still need to find great lighting, as the dark-light photos are still not up to standard, but when you have the perfect object and lighting, it truly shines.

The camera still needs some work, but its autofocus and 23-megapixel rear end camera, is a stunning addition to the device. If only we could master those low-light pictures now.

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Sony Xperia Z5 Review

Overall

When taking into consideration that the Xperia Z5 is the middle of the range, it surely packs a punch. Its design is almost perfect, and its power is certainly visible when using it.

The lack of a 4K screen is upsetting, as 2016 will be the year of 4K in the mobile industry, and the battery needs some tweaking.

Coming in at R9,999, it is not a bad asking price for a phone with so much power and style.

Sony Xperia Z5 Review
AffordableGreat CameraAlmost-perfect design
Heat issuesBattery Charge TimeOkay-ish battery life
85%Great
Design80%
Performance85%
Value for Money90%
Reader Rating 2 Votes
41%