My week with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Review

This week our reporter’s spending some time with Sony’s best ever smartphone – the Xperia Z5 Premium...
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My week with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Hey, good-looking

As I’m handed the boxed Z5 Premium, it’s obvious Sony has taken the name seriously. The box is unlike any other I’ve seen from Sony. Inside, smaller boxes containing the plug, USB charging lead, and paperwork sit flush against each other, with the beautiful Z5 Premium lying on top.

The Z5 Premium is a bit bigger than the Z5, which is a very similar build to its predecessors. The size difference isn’t huge, but it’s enough for me to have to do an extra big thumb stretch to reach the top of the 5.5-inch display.

The phone comes in two colour variants – matte black or mirrored chrome, which actually is a mirror (as you can see in the image below). As you might expect, it get very fingerprinty, but it’s really handy if you’re out and about and discover the morning’s toothpaste on your face - which I definitely did not…

The 4K screen

As you may or may not have heard, the Z5 Premium plays host to the world’s first 4K display on a smartphone – which is awesome. Some reviewers have suggested that you can’t see a difference while using usual apps, like WhatsApp, for example. My advice to these naysayers is ‘open your eyes’. Even when the screen isn’t at its brightest, the extra detail is clear.

Of course, the extra clarity really comes into its own when you watch 4K video. At times some greens and reds look a little oversaturated but, on the whole, quality is outstanding. I had a quick Google of ‘4K video footage’ and YouTube returned a bunch of clips that really highlighted the Z5 Premium’s ability.

In my opinion, the viewing experience could be made even better if the bezel was reduced, creating a more immersive experience – like Huawei’s P8, for example.

I was looking forward to giving Netflix in 4K a whirl, as I don’t have a 4K TV at home, but was left high and dry after finding out that the mobile app doesn’t support the higher resolution. Hopefully this will be set to change as more smartphones adopt 4K.

For the photographers

It’s no secret that Sony has always been on the ball when it comes to photography. The Z5 Premium, like the Z5, has the brand new 23MP sensor on board, which I was keen to try out. The new lens lets in more light than ever, which means it’s great for poorly lit night-time shots. The photo below was taken after sundown in our garden (without any flash).

Keep it private

The more eagled-eyed out there will have noticed that all three Z5 smartphones feature a large, flat power button in place of the usual, more traditional-looking one. That’s because it’s much more than just and on/off switch.

Under the button is a fingerprint scanner, which allows access to the phone with a quick tap. I love this feature, and although it’s easy to use, it’s in a bit of a funny place…

Other fingerprint scanners, like Samsung’s, are on the front of the phone – letting you easily unlock the handset without having to lift it up off a surface (like your table or desk). As Sony’s is on the side, you can’t easily place your finger or thumb on the scanner without picking it up. This is quite a lazy problem, but it does affect its usability.

The verdict

I’ve used a lot of Sony smartphones in the past, but this is by far the finest. The premium title is very fitting, and not one that should be overlooked.

Obviously the 4K display is a big shout for Sony, and so it should be. The Japanese company is the first to get it on a smartphone - and once again, much like it’s outstanding camera technology, it’s catch up time for the competition.

If you’d like to check out the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium for yourself, all our deals are here.

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