Flashback: the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium was the first ever smartphone with a 4K display

14 November 2021
However, Sony was maximizing the wrong thing - high refresh rate, not high resolution was the way forward for flagships.

Sort by:

  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 14 Nov 2021Sony Z5 from 2015 had true 4k display . And Samsung S21 has... moreFHD is screen resolution not display quality. Honestly even on 13" laptop FHD still looks good, unless you really like to pixel peeping.

Anonymous, 14 Nov 2021Sony Z5 from 2015 had true 4k display . And Samsung S21 has... more"Will ever be a Samsung with 4k display"
Probably not, at least for the next several years. QHD+ is a good trade-off between the resolution and power efficiency, and 4K resolution wouldn't have an advantage over QHD in a perceivable way for most average consumers.

  • Anonymous

Sony Z5 from 2015 had true 4k display . And Samsung S21 has FHD+ .
Will ever be a Samsung with 4k display ?
FHD is a poor quality for a high price smartphone .

Peter-B, 14 Nov 2021One of the topics I want to cover at some point is the tran... moreHey Peter here's a couple things to help out:

- Linux/GNU had a very swift transition from 32bit to 64bit support, since it is a wild-west out there, especially when you consider the early 1999 IBM Z-server computers. With Apple having the most convoluted update to it's OS X, since it transitioned from IBM PowerPC, to the Mac G5 (64bit), to Intel32 for a year... then to Intel x86_64 ever since but usually running 32bit Applications until 2019.
- Windows ecosystem was more straight-forward, with AMD innovating the way with their single-core and dual-core processors, first in the industry with 64bit in 2003. With poor reception from consumers and developers to their XP 64bit version, and Vista.
- Windows made their largest shift from 32bit to 64bit back in 2009, with Windows 7 and devices running an Intel Core i-processor. Microsoft officially dropped support for 32bit devices and 32bit programs recently back in 2020.

- The first iOS device (iPhone 5S) was released in 2013, and was largely very stable and secure. They opened 64bit support in their SDK to developers after the announcement. The response was pretty good, and many Apps saw a performance and efficiency boost during the transition around early-2014.
- There was a massive rush in the iOS ecosystem to transition to 64bit, with the introduction of Apple's new Swift language in mid-2014, and developers were stopped from uploading 32bit Apps to the AppStore back in late-2015. In late-2017, Apple stopped supporting 32bit Apps from running on their devices (iOS 11).
- Overall, Apple's iOS transition to 64bit (OS and SDK) software was FAR smoother than either AndroidOS, or the other ecosystems named above.

- First Android device with 64bit capability actually came from Intel Z2460 (1x Atom), but it was using the x86 architecture, and running entirely on 32bit mode.
- The first of which was the 2012 Lenovo K800 to sell in the market, albeit, the Huawei device named Orange Santa Clara was announced first. None of these devices were ever updated to a 64bit Android OS, and saw no benefit for 64bit.
- Whilst the first ARM 64bit device to sell that was running AndroidOS was using the QSD 410 (low-end, 4x A53) chipset.
- The first device to ship with it was the HTC Desire 510 in mid-2014. And this device never got an update past Android 4.4.3 (stuck on 32bit mode). Google did have many experimental builds of Android 4.4 that did run on 64bit mode for the OS, but their SDK was incomplete at the time, so Apps still ran 32bit mode. The HTC Desire 510 was somewhat popular enough to get Custom Roms, so there have been 64bit support for it there.
- The first Android device to use a Cortex-A57 processor, came with the Exynos 5433 in late-2014 with the Samsung Note 4. Although this device did throttle somewhat, it was still faster than its (32bit) rival QSD 800, QSD 801, and QSD 805 chipsets. At this time, there were rumours that Samsung would not use the next Snapdragon Chipsets (QSD 808, QSD 810) in their phone due to throttling issues, which were later proven true.
- On paper, the ARM_v8 (Cortex A57) chipsets were theoretically faster and more efficient than their older ARM relatives (Cortex A15/A17/Krait-4/Krait-4.5). And synthetic benchmarks did support this point the point. However, in-practice or real-world conditions, these early devices were un-optimised and throttled a lot, making them as slow or slower, with a hit to their efficiency. One of the reasons for this was the architecture of the Cortex-A57 was actually designed back in 2012/2013 for use in servers. The other reason is that AndroidOS was not yet optimised, especially their kernel and scheduler at that time, let alone Apps from third-party.

- To put salt into wound, the majority of these devices remained on their shipped Android 4.3 or 4.4 firmware. Some of the devices did get updates to Android 5.0 but it was a buggy mess, and virtually all of these STILL ran in 32bit mode despite the hardware's capability. Again, it was the developer community that breathed life into these devices, like LineageOS which actually brought full-64bit functionality (eg Samsung Note 4).
- Many people who upgraded their 2013/2014 devices to 2015 devices were sorely let down. In the performance metric, this was essentially a side-grade (or downgrade), which had not happened before in the market. The exception was Samsung, which instead adopted their new 7nm fabrication and designed their own chipset (Exynos 7420) which performed pretty well. They integrated it on all their S6 device variants. Another chipset of note, was the Nvidia Tegra X1 that was released in late-2015 for the ShieldTV device. It was decent for its day, and was later adopted by Nintendo in early-2017 for their Switch console.
- There was a large upgrade in hardware, moving away from Stock Cortex-A57, to their custom variants found on the Samsung Mongoose M1 and Qualcomm Kyro-100. And equally competitive against the new Cortex-A72 which was a new and modern architecture design. These devices didn't hit the market until early-2016.
- On the software-side, Android 5.0 was a mess. There were lots of bug fixes early on, but I would say officially Android 5.1 is when (Late-2015) it was a proper stable for 64bit support.
- So comparing Android 5.0 running on a QSD 810 (late 2015)... was a very different experience to.... Android 5.1 running on a QSD 820 (early 2016). Night and day. For example, the HTC One M9 versus the ZTE Axon 7.

- Google has slow and steadily increased adoption of 64bit Apps, with majority of the transition happening in early-2017 as fragmentation gets narrower (people upgrading phones get new 64bit chips running 64bit OS).
- Android officially discontinued 32bit support in their SDK with Android 8 Oreo in 2017.
- Google has stopped the uploading of any new 32bit Apps to the PlayStore in 2019.
- Apps that are 32bit (4% of total market) can still be updated, but will require a 64bit variant, otherwise they will be hidden or removed. The Google PlayStore is not accessible from Mainland China, and the majority of different Platforms there still support 32bit Apps.
- This poses a challenge for Mainland China, as still a significant amount (20% ?) of Chinese Apps built via Android are still 32bit and haven't been updated by their developer. And for that reason alone, ARM has decided to support 32bit processing in the Cortex-A710 for 2022's ARMv9 devices.
- One common concern, is that the latest theoretically ARMv9 devices are not much faster nor more efficient compared to current latest chipsets. So in theory, we may see a possible sidegrade or even downgrade in 2022, just like we saw in 2015.
- Google has released experimental builds of Android with 64bit support for the RISC-V platform earlier this year in 2021, but not expected to go anywhere, like their unofficial x86-Android support.

....I hope some of that info helps you and the article : )

  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 14 Nov 2021I like the look of this phone much more than their latest phones.Yes, the Z looked really pretty. I didn’t like the not-very-round corners though when I used one, because they digged into my hand

  • Medium Rare

Had this phone when it came out
Screen was amazing, until you went into a lit room or outside!
Cameras were too sensitive for me, with no OIS I often got blurred pics

Just didn't live up to the hype

  • SkullSamCandy

I thought that the highest ppi was 6 hundred and something, that record will stay on for a long time.

The worst decision Sony has made on its Xperias is to remove the Album app. It was their best apps.

  • Anonymous

YUKI93, 14 Nov 2021I remembered adoring that awesome 4K screen when I tried it... moreYeah, for many others the high refresh rate is a must. I'm one of them. Will not downgrade to 60, same goes for PC-monitors, TV's, and so on. Smooth experience only. :)

  • Anonymous

How could we forget the phone that can cook you breakfast ... Along side HTC M9 .. Lol.

My last Xperia were the normal Z5. Bite the bullet & jumpship to chinese Honor 8 Pro (Huawei afterwards & currently).

Best decision ever made.

TheArtist, 14 Nov 2021FullHD+ on smartphones is more than enough. 4K resolution i... moreFor OLED panels full hd is not enough.
Apple advertise their OLED panels have 458ppi density and only the GREEN sup pixels have that density.
The RED and BLUE sub pixels have their classic Retina Display density of 326ppi.
For a 458ppi LCD display, all the 3 sub pixels have the same density.
But Apple forgot the 326ppi limitation with the plus version iPhones(6 Plus-8 Plus)

  • Lccy

Berserker, 14 Nov 2021lg g series qhd z5 Premium 4k Samsung s/note series qhd. ... moreCompletely agree with you, although my LG g3 is slightly less sharp, I use it every now and then to admire the stunning resolution and pixel density.

Unfortunately we will never have phones with such pixel density again, the Sony z5 premium and later "4k" phones render at 1080p.

The high refresh rate screens are just today's fashion, I would rather save the battery life or have a more pixel dense screen.

I also wish they would abolish subpixel rendering with oleds, but cost and battery life while claiming to be on par with lcd wins the day.

FullHD+ on smartphones is more than enough. 4K resolution is taxing on the processor and battery if it's always in 4K Mode. QHD or 2K, same. I had the Galaxy S7 and I always used it in FHD mode to get better battery life.

Biggest problem with EVERY Sony displays in every Z series phone was that digitize matrix was placed in weird way(like on top layer) so even if you had small crack on screen digitizer was dead... even small hit on the corner and you could forgot about using phone...
And second thing, digitizer was visible on screen, you could actually see matrix grid if you tilt phone is specific way....

lg g series qhd
z5 Premium 4k
Samsung s/note series qhd.
and what we get these days?
6,7 inch phones will fhd sh*t
every now and then i pull my old rusty lg g5 just to enjoy that high ppi on such a small screen.

I just want that mirror option to come back. It was so unique 😍

Kangal, 14 Nov 2021And this was a true 4K Display! Technically speaking, we... moreA true 4K resolution at 21:9 aspect ratio would be 5040 by 2160. However, Qualcomm (or even Mediatek) doesn't have a smartphone chipset that can run at that resolution. Just about the most sensible solution that Sony can do is to use a custom display chip.

Peter-B, 14 Nov 2021One of the topics I want to cover at some point is the tran... moreThat sounds interesting. Looking forward to that flashback article someday.

YUKI93, 14 Nov 2021That is correct. Even Sony themselves confirmed that the ea... moreOne of the topics I want to cover at some point is the transition from 32 bit to 64 bit. It will mostly be about the iPhone 5s, but the Snapdragon 810 (and 808) will be a part of it too.