Sony Xperia Z5 Review

Sony Xperia Z5 Review

Display and Multimedia

The Xperia Z5 comes with a 5.2-inch which is the same size as the previous generations. Unlike the Z5 premium that comes with 4K resolution, the Z5 has a full HD resolution or 428ppi screen pixel density.

Sony is not known for maximizing the screen real estate and this is still evident with the Z5 for having a 69.6% screen-to-body ratio, just like the Z3+. The older Z3 was slightly better at 70.9% but those ratios aren’t even close to other flagship devices that are generally in the 75% to 80% range. Those thick bezels don’t add any charm to the device.

The Z5 also features the same back-to-back glass design, but only this time, they used frosted glass at the back to give it a that refined look and smooth texture that is not as slippery and a smudge-magnet as the glossy finish of the older models.

The display is bright and crisp and can actually be configured to various image enhancement modes to highlight the color or contrast of photos and videos. Viewing angles are excellent and outdoor visibility under direct sunlight is decent.

The speakers are front-facing and placed inconspicuously at the top and bottom ends of the front panel that slightly carves out a strip of glass along the edges. Sound quality is really good and loud (maxed out at 81dB using Sound Meter app) with both speakers providing pretty good sound quality.

OS, UI and Apps

Sony has been very consistent with its UI since the Xperia Z and very few improvements can be seen on the Z5. The interface is big and bold but there’s nothing to be excited about. The navigation bar floats at the bottom end of the screen.

The Start Up guide provides a step-by-step instruction on how to migrate your data from any device or mobile operating system and seemed to be working just fine based on several attempts we made.

The default virtual keypad seems a bit cramped to our taste so texting is not as fast as we normally would. The double-tap to wake is now a standard feature in the Z5 but the same double-tap does not put it to sleep like the one popularized by LG.

The 32GB model only has 22.5GB of usable storage but you can always expand it up to 200GB via the microSD card slot.

The AR effect that uses the camera has been around for some time and can be fun for some but nothing you’d be using too often. One feature we really liked is the screen recording function which can be really useful at times.

Here’s how the AR effect looks like:


With Android 5.1 running out of the box, the Z5 also comes with its own native apps pre-installed into the device. LifeLog, Sony’ own lifestyle and mobile blogging app, is still present though it’s no longer at the center of the theme.

The fingerprint sensor integrated on the power button is a clever execution but it takes some time to get used to it unlike the one on the Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6. You can register up to 5 fingerprints at a time. It’s pretty accurate and fast too. Based on our experience, you can get it right 8 or 9 out of 10 attempts.


The 23-megapixel rear camera has phase detection auto focus which is really fast and can record videos up to 2160p at 30fps or do some slowmo shots at 720p with 120fps. Sony also boasts of a 0.03-second auto-focusing capability.

We noticed though that the native camera app has a hard time taking quick successive shots. The time it takes from taking a shot to generating that small thumbnail for photo preview seems to be causing the lag. The delay can be as quick as half a second but sometimes would drag to as long as 3 seconds. This means you will have a hard time taking several quick shots when the occassion requires it.

The camera shoots at a default resolution of 8MP with 16:9 aspect ratio from the full 23MP sensor then uses optical and software manipulation to render the best possible image quality.

Photos are bright and crisp, well saturated and is fairly accurate. The hybrid image stabilization (called SteadyShot) helps with low-light conditions or fast-moving objects. We can also record 4K videos but it will only last around 10 minutes at a time as the handset becomes too warm and the app tends to shut down if it hits a certain temperature.

However, we noticed that the camera interface seemed quite slow and it takes some time to shoot photos. The delay varies from half a second to 3 seconds in between shots. This happens when the camera UI generates a small thumbnail for the preview and it takes a while to process that before the app allows you to take another shot.

There is also a manual control for the camera which you can set to your desired settings though it’s quite limited to only the ISO (ranges from 50 to 3200) and white balance.

The record screen function is an interesting feature that’s built into the UI. Here’s a quick sample we did on the Z5:

Next Page: Performance & Benchmarks, Call Quality and Battery Life, and Conclusion


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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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8 Responses

  1. Jesse says:

    Pls. take note that this one doesn’t have an optical image stabilization, only digital. Kindly fix it so we don’t give wrong info to the readers. thanks

  2. Stephen says:

    This one is offered at 35990, not 36990. Also, the first in the Z line is the Sony Xperia Z, not the Z1.

  3. Meh. It’s still running Android which makes it prone to lags, malware and bloatware.

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