Sony Xperia Z5 offers a great camera, dependable performance and good water resistance
Sony was ahead of the times when it bought the first 4K camera to smartphones with the Xperia Z2 a couple of years back. Now, the company is first of the block with the world’s first 4K screen too. While this high resolution screen is available only on a more expensive version of its flagship, lesser mortals can opt for the new Sony Xperia Z5 without those frills.
The Sony Xperia Z5 is the latest from Japanese giant who seems to be gradually losing interest in the increasingly competitive smartphone space. The phone looks like other phones in the Xperia family and comes with the trademark water resistance feature that makes this range still relevant in many parts of India. But has Sony been able to plug the issues it faced with earlier flagships? That will be crucial to the success of this phone.
What is good?
Despite the monotony of a design that has played out over a few years now, the Sony Xperia Z5 does not look outdated. The phone now has a matte finish that makes it trendier. But the best bit about this phone is the location of the fingerprint scanner on the right side, right where your thumb rests while holding the phone. And this is how most of us grip their phones, you end up waking up and unlocking the phone in one action. This is very thoughtful.
Sony has not been able to get rid of the flap for the SIM and SD card, which has a tendency to give way after a few months. However, the phone still is among the few—most of the others are also from Sony—that will come back
working even if you get stuck in a torrential storm without a cover in sight. If you see a lot of Xperia phones in places like Mumbai and Kerala, this is why.
The best feature about this phone has to be its camera. Sony claims it has the fastest auto-focus in the world and it won’t take you more than a couple of snaps to agree. I tried to click some photos from a moving car and all the results came out stunningly sharp. This means you can capture a lot of stuff you might miss out on otherwise, or would have come out blurry. Click the photo of a flower in the wind and you get a sharp shot and not a blurry smudge of colour. Talking about colours, this phone offers one of the liveliest colour reproductions I have seen, almost like on the Sony TVs. And frankly, that could be because Sony is using the same Triluminous technology on both the screens. Plus, the zoom is among the fastest in any smartphone.
In the week I used the phone I did not notice any lag and the performance was overall smooth. I tried some of the preloaded Gameloft titles like Thor and if you look at benchmark scores, the results are not all that great and this phone was place in the range of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which was launched a year ago. I have a feeling this has been done on purpose to keep the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810’s thermal footprint at manageable levels. And they have been able to rein in this beast to some extent and the phone does not heat up as much as some of its predecessors. Sony uses exhaust piping to take the heat out of the body that seems to be working. That does not mean this phone will stay cool all the time, but it does manage to hold back its temper while the 4K camera is on.
What is not that good?
For a phone at this price range you might have expected a 2K screen these days, especially since there is a better version of this phone with a 4K screen at just R10,000. That does not mean this phone has a bad screen. The Full HD screen stands apart for its excellent colours. It is just that there are phones that cost much less with more resolution.
The battery lasts about 12 hours with regular use. The phone is really slippery and you will need to invest in a good cover to save the device from falling to a sudden death. The sides should have had some grooves to prevent the slip.
Sony has been able to deliver a decent flagship that offers good value for money in terms of a great camera, dependable performance and good water resistance. Given that this is a high-end flagship that has no intention of playing ball with the mid-range Chinese smartphones, the phone is priced well. For those who really want to spend on a phone, it might make more sense to wait for Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.
* Display: 5.2-inch full HD screen
* Processor: 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810
* Operating system: Android Lollipop 5.1
* Memory & storage: 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage (expandable to 200 GB)
* Camera: 23 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
* Battery: 2900 mAh battery
** Estimated street price: Rs 52,990