Displays are improved with great speed, as technology advances. Besides image quality, resolution gets improved too. Theres a limit though. Human eye has limited capabilities, so advancements might be just on paper.
I am Sakis Karpas, you are watching Unboxholics and this is Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, the first smartphone with a 4K display. Despite the problems the mobile division of the Japanese giant faces, it manages to innovate. I got the review unit by Sony, so there is nothing to show regarding packaging. Lets get right to the point.
Z5 Premium is on the same page as the majority of Xperia devices and doesnt offer anything particular in terms of design. There is a metal frame with round edges, while there is glass in the front and back. I must point out that the glass isnt Gorilla. Its oleophobic but remains a fingerprint magnet.
Holding it is satisfactory, it feels premium and looks like a jewel rather than a device of daily use. I am a bit concerned about all this glass, even though I know its durable. Glass is the reason the device weighs 180grams. Sony continues to offer waterproof devices with its latest flagship.
Xperia Z5 Premium is waterproof with IP68 and that means you can get it in water just for a few minutes. Dont get carried away though. On dimensions, the 5.5Inch display covers 71% of its screen, with good enough screen-to-body ratio. Z5 Premium is 154.4Mm tall, 75.8Mm wide and 7.8Mm thick.
On the front, high and low, I find two stereo speakers that I must admit disappointed me, maybe because of the fact it is a waterproof device. The sound is clear and with good quality, but the volume isnt enough and the bass is below average. Things get better with the settings equalizer, but still Furthermore, I was annoyed on high frequencies by the vibration I get through the glass on my fingers when I hold it touching the back. On the front there is also the 5.1MP camera and the screen sensors.
On the frame there is a microUSB 2.0 Port, a headphone jack, volume buttons, a double port for nanoSim and microSD card and two buttons Id like to make a special reference for. The first one is the new, flat and not raised, metal Power Button. It may not be what we are used to, but now that is also the fingerprint scanner. I think that’s the most comfortable place and I must admit that I am impressed by the speed and accuracy of it.
It might be the faster sensor Ive seen after the one on iPhone 6S. The second button is the dedicated camera launcher button, which can be used to snap a photo too. I have stated many times that since phones have replaced cameras, they should have a button like this. Before I dive into the highlight of the device, the 4K display, let me say something about the rest of the specs.
Z5 Premium has Qualcomms Snapdragon 810, with 2 quad-core processors on 1.5GHz and 2GHz and Adreno 430 on graphics. For the record, even if its the first generation 810, I didnt meet any overheating issues, mainly because of the thermal paste and the copper tubes Sony engineers used. The device comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. I was a bit worried about the non-removable battery of 3.430MAh, considering the 4K display.
Sony says that the phone can deliver 2 days of use. Even though during my tests, the phone got plugged every day, I think in a more normal use, Sonys statement might actually be true. There are also Stamina and Ultra Stamina modes, which can expand the life of the battery by a lot. The device also supports all the known 3G and 4G LTE networks.
Lets get to the selling point of Z5 Premium, the 4K display. First I must make clear that the display is 4K. Only when the content is in 4K resolution, mainly on videos. Main menu and most of the apps run on 1080p.
The IPS LCD panel is reaching the extraordinary number of 801ppi. Don’t get excited though, because I have some complains. Let me first say that its a beautiful display in general, with great viewing angles, great white, good black, high brightness and full, rich colors. But something is wrong with 4K.
Here you see the same 4K video in the same inches on the 2K display of LG G4 and Z5 Premium. The pixels are more visible on Z5 Premium and you can also notice a strange and annoying grid. Unfortunately, it was noticed in other 4K videos too. Im not sure if I got a faulty device or theres something wrong with the software and the upscaling, but I was disappointed by the 4K ability the time I had it in my hands.
Z5 Premium is coming with Android 5.1.1 And Sony says Marshmallow will come in the next months. Software was good with no surprises. Sonys secondary and mostly redundant apps are still here, but with this hardware everything runs smoothly. The phone is very fast, with no glitches, runs games great and in total, offers a truly fast experience.
I didnt like the camera menu. I thought it was more complicated than it should. On the other hand, manual mode is most welcomed, as most phones with a capable camera should have it. I was divided about the main camera of 23MP.
It captures great photos, with great sharpness, without oversaturating the colors. But it struggles on low light conditions, and it has a visible, annoying noise. The camera captures 4K video on 30fps, but I was amazed by the image stabilization at 1080p. Even though DXoMark ranks Z5 Premiums camera as the best on a smartphone, I am not so impressed.
I can’t argue that it’s one of the best cameras out there, but not the best one if you ask me. Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is one of the most expensive smartphones right now and in Greece the price is on 899, 100 more expensive than most European countries. Youve heard my opinion on these prices many time in the past, so I dont have to waste my time analyzing how unacceptable this price policy by the big companies is. What I can say with certainty is that this is an incredibly fast phone, with a great camera, great battery life and and a beautiful display, which as far as 4K is concerned, I was bitterly disappointed.