Sony Xperia Z5 – First Impressions

After being stuck on budget phones for a long time, I finally had the opportunity to get a flagship device from my carrier, so I decided to go with the Xperia Z5, as I’ve been fond of the Sony Xperia line for quite some time. Let’s see how it holds up.

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a 5.2 inch flagship from Sony. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 with the Adreno 430 GPU, has 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage available, and also supports external SD cards. It uses Sony’s 23MP Exmor RS camera sensor (which by the way also supports 4K video), has real stereo front facing speakers, NFC, and is also IP68 certified. More specifications will be listed below, but let’s take a look at the device itself.

Getting the device

I got the Graphite Black version, which looks pretty neat in terms of the colour scheme. Unlike other devices I’ve used before, the Sony Xperia Z5 has edges that slightly bulge out to provide more grip, as the back is actually quite slippery due to the materials used. The size of the device also meant that it fitted nicely in my hands.

Upon turning on the device, the screen looked really clear, despite being a full-HD and not 2K screen. This is most probably because I’ve for the most part been using phones with HD screens. However, it’s not just the resolution that stands out. Sony uses its own X-reality engine, which promises to make images on-screen more vivid and realistic, particularly when viewing photos. The device also feels good in the hands, with a shape that also makes the device look really nice (I tend to have gripes about phones with odd curves).

Screenshot_2016-04-02-11-05-54

About the Sony Xperia Z5

Powering on the device, we can see that the Android version is 5.1.1. A Marshmallow update is rolling out, but I have yet to receive it, probably due to my carrier being slow in pushing out updates. Sony’s stock ROM is very much stock though, so there isn’t much of a problem getting used to. The device runs smoothly without many problems, thanks to Sony’s optimizations done on the ROM.

The fingerprint sensor is an interesting feature of the Z5, and also the first thing I explored. It works actually really well, compared to what reviewers are saying about it. For the most part (I’d say about 80 to 90% of the time), it would automatically detect my finger and unlock the device, despite my finger being misaligned or slightly wet sometimes.

The software

Next, we’ll notice that Sony has added many value-added services in their device, including an automatic backup service, which I very much like, as that will make rooting the device at the moment unnecessary. Sony’s use of DRM on their device will mean many features will stop working if you unlock the bootloader, and I wouldn’t want that.

Screenshot_2016-04-02-11-12-45

STAMINA mode

Sony has also included their well-known STAMINA mode into the Z5, although it has already become obsolete with the introduction of Doze in Marshmallow. There is also an app called ‘Overheat control’, presumably implemented due to the controversy over the Snapdragon 810’s overheating issues. The device however, does get a little warm in the hands sometimes when doing intensive tasks, but it cools down just as quickly as it heats up, and unlike my previous devices, never goes past 60 degrees Celcius.

Screenshot_2016-04-02-11-12-17

Theming on the Xperia Z5

Theming is also a big part of Sony’s stock ROM, as there are already a few coloured themes cooked right into the ROM. You can also download more themes from other developers on the Play Store, or sideload them.

Sony has also included their signature Xperia Lounge app, which allows any user who owns an Xperia device to enjoy certain offers at certain times. There is also a number of apps included to help users migrate to their new Xperia device, although I don’t need those.

However, I should also note that my carrier has baked DTignite into the ROM. DTignite is a service notorious for installing bloatware onto devices post-sale. It can be easily disabled without an issue, and doesn’t seem to come back after a while, which is a huge relief.

Conclusion

I’ll have to use the device for a couple more weeks to give a full review, but the Z5 certainly does show promise as Sony’s flagship. It has great performance too, alongside many value-added features that are pretty useful for some users. It certainly holds up as a modern flagship device in 2016.

Specifications

Dimensions: 72 x 146 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 154 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994
CPU: 4x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A57, 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 430, 600 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Memory cards: microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
Display: 5.2 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 2900 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Camera: 5520 x 4140 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps
SIM card: Nano-SIM
Wi-Fi: a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac, Dual band, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display
USB: 2.0, Micro USB
Bluetooth: 4.1
Positioning: GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou

Source: DeviceSpecifications