Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Review!

sony-xperia-z5premium-review

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is Sony’s latest “premium” smartphone and also world’s first smartphone with a 4K display.  This is definitely world’s first attempt at 4K display and certainly an interesting device.

Inside this beastly device is a 5.5-inch 4K display, Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 gigs of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, and a nanoSIM slot.  The Xperia Z5 Premium is also fully water-proof with IP68 rating meaning you can dunk it in up to about 3 meters of water for 30 minutes like all Xperia Z-series phones.

Now, probably one of the biggest flaws of this 4K device is that it actually runs 1080P most of the time (presumably to save battery life) and the only time it runs in 4K mode is with video playback.   4K mode is NOT supported on anything else like YouTube app or any other apps.   If Sony could have supported 4K for video apps like YouTube, it would have made more sense but the way it is, you can only enjoy 4K for video files already on your phone.

Performance is excellent on the Z5 with the Qualcomm 810 processor, I haven’t had any issues other than the fact that it still hasn’t been upgraded to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.  I prefer the 810 over the 808 and especially for games/graphic intensive apps, the 810 really shines over the 808.     Software UI isn’t my favorite but Sony Xperia UI runs solid with no lags and you can always switch the launcher to a 3rd party launcher like Nova launcher.

With a 3430mAh battery, battery life is unrealistically long for this size phone and the 1080P mode definitely helps.  I’ve been able to go full day and a half on most days and roughly the Z5 Premium gets 30-50% more battery life than my Galaxy Note 5 (which has a 1440P display).  That could be why Sony opted to go with 1080P but I still feel like I would rather have 4K than better battery life.  If you are looking for long battery life though, this is one of the best out there for that.

This phone also comes with a microSD card slot, which is great since you can convert your 32GB into 160GB phone once it’s upgraded to Marshmallow (as Android 6.0 allows you to convert microSD into internal storage) with 128GB microSD card.  This also will work great when recording a lot of 4K videos.

As for camera, the Z5 comes with a whopping 23MP back camera with 1/2.3″ sensor size.   This results in beautiful, high resolution photos and the camera lives up to current standards like the Galaxy Note 5 and Nexus 6P camera.  Video recording is also excellent as Sony offers software stabilization through SteadyShot in 4K mode.  Stabilization is one of the best (better than Note 5) and Sony has really put the features of its Sony camcorder stabilization technology into the smartphone.  Of course, its stabilization is done through software and sometimes you may lose quality over hardware stabilization (OIS) in certain situations.  However, one thing I like over my Galaxy Note 5 and LG V10 is the ability to turn off SteadyShot when using tripod, camera slider, or gimbal to take full advantage of video quality.

The Xperia Z5 Premium is not officially offered in the U.S. but it does support AT&T and T-Mobile 4G LTE bands.  But this is an international phone and does not support all the 4G LTE bands in the U.S. and you may drop down to HSPA+/3G from time to time.   Overall, this is an excellent iteration of Xperia series from Sony and although I am impressed with most of the features, lack of 4K mode other than video playback is a serious flaw.   You may be better off getting the regular Xperia Z5 without the 4K as it’s pretty much the same phone without 4K video playback.   I am definitely looking forward to Sony’s next Xperia 4K smartphone but for right now, my favorite smartphones are the Galaxy Note 5 and Nexus 6P.   If you must get it though, you can grab the Xperia Z5 Premium on Ebay or Expansys-USA.com.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.