It all looks very familiar
The Sony Xperia M5 follows on from 2015’s M4 Aqua, Sony’s first mid-level waterproof phone. The new handset feels very comfortable to hold, with soft corners, a 5-inch display, and a plastic front and rear.
There’s a round power button on the right hand side, above the volume rocker, and the charging port is now positioned at the bottom of the phone like it is on the Xperia Z series.
But enough about how it looks - this is how it works…
The first thing I wanted to check out on the M5 was its camera. With 21.5MP on the back and an astounding 13MP on the front, it’s clear Sony is focusing on photography with this smartphone.
Following our trip to London’s Getty Images Gallery with the Z5 last year, I was keen to find out how the M5 handled macro photography. And I was very pleasantly surprised. By using the volume rocker you can gain a lot more control over how much you zoom in, and by steadying your hands on a hard surface you can get some really impressive shots.
I didn’t realise my cuffed headphones were so damaged until I took this photo. The 21.5MP shooter is a cruel mistress.
The other big news is, of course, the 13MP front-facing lens. A lot of smartphones don’t even have this spec on their main cameras, so to have such a high quality lens on the front is a big shout – especially for selfie fans.
The only thing that bugs me about it is the lens placement – it’s neither here not there, just randomly plonked on the front – but a great camera all the same.
The truth behind ‘waterproof’
Sony is renowned for its waterproof smartphones, starting with the Xperia Z way back in 2013. And this is normally where I would write a bit about the fact you can dunk it in fresh water at a depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. But the rules have been changed a bit...
The M5, just like the M4 Aqua, is indeed water and dustproof, certified as IP68. However, unlike the good old days, you’re no longer safe (as stated in an Xperia Blog update) to take photos or use the phone underwater.
It’ll be okay if it suffers a minor spillage, but Sony says: “The IP rating of your device was achieved in laboratory conditions in standby mode, so you shouldn't use the device underwater for taking pictures, for example. Do not use the device to take photos while performing any type of activity underwater, including diving or snorkeling.”
So you can’t take it in the pool, but I didn’t have any concerns when using the M5 to make a call yesterday during a quick British downpour.
Under the hood
The M5 might be slightly smaller than the flagship Xperia Z5 with its 5-inch display, but that doesn’t mean it falters when it comes to power. An octa-core processor is running the show, which makes easy work of multitasking so you can listen to Spotify while flicking through Facebook with no lag.
There’s also a massive 2,600mAh battery, which provides an impressive two-day battery life. And, by employing the powers of Sony’s STAMINA Mode, or Ultra STAMINA Mode, you can extend that battery life even further.
When festival season rolls round and you need battery longevity the most, Sony is a great companion. In standby mode you’re guaranteed days and days worth of battery, so it’s perfect if all you need a phone for is to call your mates a few times a day to find out who’s going to buy more crisps and sausages.
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