Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review: The overachiever

7 October, 2015
When it comes to the Compact family, Sony has quite a reputation to live up to. The Z3 Compact is arguably one of the company's most-successful models.

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  • Arte8800

I have 3 Z5c, white, black, yellow. All on 7.0.
7.1 is a big battery drain, but fast no lags. On 6.1 was good, but 7.0 is the best. Had too Root to revert back to 7.0.
Just love the boxy oblong sharp edges Monolithic design omnibalance flat back sexy stylish trendy looks.

  • qs

AnonD-294887, 10 Oct 2015The sharpening artifacts visible in those samples come from... moreWhat is that third-party app you used? The results are indeed much better than what you get out of the stock Sony app.

  • Pogo

The Sony xperia Z5 compact
- Over heats very often when on, and tend to kill the battery if you are playing game

  • JadedSonyUser

I have posted multiple times in this thread about how tragic this phone is. Just came back to say hi after the Phone Dialer app crashed on me. For those who don't know, the Phone Dialer app in mobile phones is considered the most important app - because ultimately a phone needs to make calls, especially emergency calls. The Telcos don't want lawsuits, Sony shouldn't want a lawsuit, yet the Telcos somehow let this crap pass through quality control.

  • boom7

I really don't understand the fullHD resolution hype. WHY, in God's name would you need a 1080p on such a small screen, beside wasting battery life? It seems display resolution is like camera megapixels these days; nobody understands what it means, but everyone wants a higher number.

  • mac

Anonymous, 25 Jul 2016What is the best color for xperia z5 compact?Yellow! it looks amazing in Matte / Frosted glass finish.

  • mac

Review of device after using it for 1 week -
Model - E5803 (US Version, Unlocked, Yellow)
Price - $379 (B&H Photo Video, No Tax :) )

Background - I was using Moto X Pure Edition since Dec 2015. I wanted to move to a smaller/compact phone because I was tired of carrying around the Moto X Pure with it's huge 5.7 inch display. Plus its battery had started showing age, I had to charge it twice a day and sometimes even more just to keep it going on (I am an average user. I do not play games on mobile)

Review
PROS
- Excellent feel in hand. It is very well built and the frosted glass back in yellow color looks very classy.
- Display is very good, with bright and vivid colors. My only complain here is that blacks/black level is not as good as I had hoped. If this phone had an AMOLED display it would be perfect but I am fine with it as there is no light bleed in display edges and blacks are not as bad as other LCD displays. My Moto X Pure had terrible black color reproduction and heavy light bleeding from edge of display.
- Camera is good if you have ample sunlight / light in room. It does suffer in low light. There is no way to sugercoat it. I mean it may be better than other phones out there in lowlight performance but my wife's S7 Edge shreds Z5 Compact to million pieces when it comes to Low Light performance. And yes I have tried with all possible settings in the manual mode and not just the Superior Auto mode that comes activated by default.
- Same feedback for the selfie cam. It is very good when the conditions are optimal. Other times it is just meh.
- Everything is fast and snappy. Apps load quickly and browser performance and page load times are better than my Moto X pure even though Z5 Compact has lesser RAM.
- Battery life is amazing. It lasts me one full day. 100% at 8 AM and I am left with 25-30% at 9 PM consistently. This was my main objective of buying the phone, a good battery life and it delivers! My usage includes browsing Facebook, Instagram, 9GAG, surfing the web and listening to music. I rarely watch videos during the day on my data plan
- One disclaimer though, I keep LTE off throughout the day and my phone catches 3G speeds (H+). I do that because where I work, the ATT network sucks and the phone drains a lot of battery searching for LTE. I switch LTE back on in the evening after work. I love the fact that SONY gives you the option to selectively turn off LTE and save tons of battery life. My Moto X Pure had that feature but it was locked in settings and if LTE was even faintly available, it won't let me switch to 3G or 2G if I wish to.

CONS
- When you are in camera app and open up the screen which gives you all the various filters and camera modes, the phone starts getting HOT then. I think it is because it tries to readily load preview of every filter that is on the phone. This is the ONLY time the phone gets HOT in regular use. I have not seen it getting hot in any other condition / any other app/game.
- The camera app is really slow. And it takes almost 2-3 seconds for it to save a photo and get ready to take the next photo. It is just terrible. My Moto X Pure took photos with lightning speed.
- Since this is an older phone (Oct 2015 I guess) and I got it now in Sep 2016, there are a ton of software updates that happen when you first switch on the phone. In all I had like 4-5 major+minor software updates in the first 3 hours of switching on the phone. I know I could have deferred the updates for a later time but I wanted it to be updated to latest 6.0.1 Marshmallow before I started using it. PS: The phone gets HOT during the initial setup and when it tries to download and update all your apps at once.

All in all I am very happy with my purchase because I got it at a discounted price and in my favorite color plus the battery life is amazing which was my first criteria to buy a new phone.

  • AnonD-3837

Is it me or gsmarena left out the unboxing (and box contents) of Z5 Compact... hmm

  • Anonymous

What is the best color for xperia z5 compact?

  • Papapia

This is the best phone i ever had,
No doubt about it, i really like taking video with this phone,
Stability is superb, the best stability ever.
Event thought heating issue is the real problem here, but i dont mind it,
Just spray it some cold water to your phone and it solved ur heating issue,
I often to do that.

  • AnonD-346557

Is front cam f2.4 or 2.0??
Is it better the one found in Sony M4?

  • AnonD-501550

atwal , 13 Jan 2016It's too thicker then other,,,, please improve it like opp... moreDo you want a short battery life?

because that's how you get short battery life

  • AnonD-529321

This is the best and least biased review of this phone I've read since I started researching the Z5 compact.

I have had several Sony z series phones and am very excited about upgrading to this one. Thanks for your review.

  • jos

nima , 01 Mar 2016Hello please some one answer me how is z5 compact display i... moreZ5 compact highly readable under direct sunlight☺ bigger screen display than iphone SE...BUY it!

  • nima

Hello please some one answer me how is z5 compact display in sunlight is it clear?i want buy compact phone i buy z5 compact or wait for new iphone 4 inch iphone 5se ?

  • AnonD-501550

This is seems to be the perfect upgrade from my Lenovo P70 which has become really crappy after just 8 months of usage

  • noryy

I didn't see anyrhing written about notification led into the review.Is there a multicolor led or not? Thank you!

  • Red 2

AnonD-111968, 12 Oct 2015Sony Xperia Z5C comes with a flagship price but "Overheats;... moreNo, the whole point of the compact models is for them to be just that. 4.6" is just right, if you want a larger screen, then you should be looking at different models.

For some people, a nice compact phone is what is required and the compact series fits the bill nicely.

  • atwal

It's too thicker then other,,,, please improve it like oppo phone

Z3 compact user, 06 Nov 2015Why do SONY still do these ugly lanyard eyelet? It ruins th... moreThe eyelet lanyard is for let you attach the strap and for better grip. While at the pool it also help for grabbing the phone. You can also use one hand for shooting without worry drop down the phone just like Compact Digital Camera do. How to make it more beautiful/gorgeous/stylish or make it ugly/terrible/mess it depends on personal how to use it.