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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Review: Performance works for this smartphone

Rahul R
Sr. Technology Reporter
Editors Rating

USP of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is its 4K display. In fact, the Xperia Z5 Premium is one of the earliest devices with a 4K display. The 4K resolution offered by the phone got us excited, and we in fact purchased the smartphone.

We also subjected the handset to multiple performance tests and reviews. Check out, how the smartphone performed in our tests, below:

Design and Display

Design-wise, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is not very impressive. The outer design is very conventional and loyalists of Sony would now be familiar with the omnibalance design aspects (featured on the outside of the Xperia Z5 Premium). The outer design, both at the front as well as the rear, are covered by flat panel glass over an underlying layer of metal and hardened plastic at the sides. The flat glass panel accords a glossy finish to the exteriors of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

As far as actual dimensions are concerned, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8 mm, with 7.8 mm representing the actual thickness. The smartphone weighs in at a comparatively bulky 180 grams.  During our testing, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium came across as difficult to hold and operate in one hand thanks to its ultra-glossy finish and external flat glass panel.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is also claimed to be waterproof. However, the handset can survive only a couple of layers of water (if not sprayed powerfully). You cannot simply submerge the smartphone in water and expect the device to run. As far as the actual display is concerned, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium features a 5.5-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen having resolutions of 2160 x 3840 pixels and pixel density of 806 ppi. The display supports both Multitouch as well as 16 million colors.

Despite the impressive display configuration, we found that the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium delivered 1080p resolutions most of the time, rather than the UHD resolution that is expected from the display of the handset. Also, during our testing, multiple 4K videos from Netflix could not play. However, stored 4K videos could be played.  Nonetheless, while we checked out the handset’s display in full sunlit outdoor conditions, we could clearly read the contents on the screen. The brightness is impressive; wide are the viewing angles offered. The white balance is perfect, so is the Black that is highlighted. The biggest advantage, however, is the razor-sharp display of the rendered images/photographs.

Processor and Memory

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, under-the-hood, incorporates a 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 and a 2 GHz Cortex-A57 quad-core CPUS within a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC and an Adreno 430 GPU. A 3GB RAM also works in tandem with Snapdragon 810.

During our testing, within a multitasking and multi app scenario, we could not experience any major glitches in performance and the instruction processing capabilities of the processor, save for minor lags which are purely dependent on the apps (and their credibility) that are launched at a particular point in time. Streaming of 1080p videos from Netflix was fairly good. Stored multimedia files as well as high-end games such as Asphalt: Overdrive and Dead Trigger 2 played fairly well. As far as storage is concerned, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium offers its buyers a standard 32 GB internal storage edition which can be expanded up till 256 GB with the help of an external microSD card.

Camera

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium features a 23 MP primary camera. This module lets users shoot 2160p videos at 30fps, 720p at 120fps, 1080p at 60fps and HDR videos.

During our testing, the auto-focus functionality offered by the 23 MP camera of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium came across as fairly good Low-light photography is also impressive, as pixellation and external noise are visible only when the images are observed in great detail; the general everyday home users should not be able to identify and distinguish these aspects. The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium also offers a 5.1 MP front shooter that offers video recording of 1080p and HDR videos. We found that the secondary snapper captures good snaps but these are restricted to really bright daylight conditions.

Software

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium runs Google’s Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) operating system out of the box. The smartphone is listed as eligible to receive Google’s more recent Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) firmware update.

During our testing, the Xperia Z5 Premium responded effectively to the double-tap which activates the display or puts it to sleep. All the menu contents, within Settings, could be viewed in a tabbed view format thereby reducing the clutter on the screen. Bloatware are present as usual, but these can be deactivated manually.

Battery

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is powered by a fixed 3,430 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. With Quick Charge 2.0 functionality, we could charge the battery to almost 60% in just 30 minutes of plugging-in to charge.  During our testing, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium lasted for more than a day when we restricted usage to general that is only to calls, basic internet and moderate video/multimedia content viewing.  We also carried out battery level tests by watching videos (basic ones) continuously. We could do this for nearly 15 hours after the battery was fully charged (upon acquiring 100 % battery charge). These statistics are impressive considering the fact that the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is positioned as a true flagship smartphone.

Verdict

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium undoubtedly performs; but Sony’s claim of 4K performance is not practically justifiable.

Pricing

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium costs a minimum of AED 1,800 in Dubai, UAE. We feel that this pricing is not justified, as the smartphone comes across as another flagship rather than as an extraordinarily performing mobile device.  However, as usual, the final buying decision lies with the buyers themselves.

Positives

Sharpness of rendered images is impressive, primary camera, basic waterproofing capability indeed works

Negatives

Practicality of 4K display is questionable, high pricing.