Sony Xperia Z5 review: Finely tuned

GSMArena team, 19 October, 2015.

Great phonebook

The contacts app uses a tabbed interface, consisting of Contacts, Favorites and Groups. It is no longer bundled with the phone app, but you can still quickly jump to it from the dialer. The contact list has a dedicated search filed plus it offers a very nicely animated alphabetical scroll bar.

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Phonebook

Editing a contact is pretty straight-forward and the Xperia offers a wide variety of additional fields you can append to your acquaintances.

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Edit Contacts

Linking contacts is also available, the quick contact feature is here too.

Telephony

The Sony Xperia Z5 was able to hold onto signal very well. Calls remained uninterrupted and the sound quality was okay. Voices came out loud enough. Clarity was also quite good.

The dialer supports smart dialing, so you can seamlessly search for a number or a name using the corresponding keypad buttons.

The noise cancelation system is also pulling its own weight ensuring pretty good background noise suppression, as reported by the other side.

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Dialer with smart dialing

The Sony Xperia Z5 loudspeaker is a little on the quiet side and scored a Below Average mark in our loudspeaker test. The score was achieved with Sony's Clear Audio optimization turned off, as it does take away some of the loudness, making the situation even worse.

We have definitely seen louder devices, but let's not forget that the Z5 does have stereo speakers, ideally positioned on the front of the device, hidden away near the top and bottom edges under almost invisible grills.

This helps for a much more immersive multimedia experience, be it for watching videos, playing games or listening to music and most phones with stereo speakers are hardly chart toppers in terms of loudness. It is also fairly comparable to the Z5 Compact.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia Z5 (ClearAudio) 63.2 61.5 65.0 Below Average
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 62.9 61.7 67.7 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z5 65.1 62.3 66.3 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (ClearAudio) 65.0 62.2 67.0 Below Average
Sony Xperia M5 (ClearAudio) 64.9 68.3 63.6 Below Average
Apple iPhone 6s 66.5 64.6 65.8 Below Average
Sony Xperia M5 65.6 68.9 64.0 Below Average
Motorola Nexus 6 66.5 66.2 66.3 Below Average
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 67.3 65.7 66.5 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact 66.3 65.0 70.5 Average
Apple iPhone 6 66.6 65.7 72.8 Average
HTC One M9 65.2 64.6 76.1 Average
ZTE Nubia Z9 67.9 66.5 73.5 Average
Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 69.7 66.5 73.5 Good
LG G4 66.9 71.8 74.7 Good
Huawei Honor 7 72.0 66.6 77.5 Good
Meizu MX5 75.7 73.5 79.5 Excellent
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 74.7 73.5 81.6 Excellent
OnePlus 2 75.7 73.5 80.7 Excellent


Messaging

Messaging hasn't really changed and is the same familiar Xperia experience (yeah it does sound weird), but now with a prettier Material design interface. Text messages and MMS use standard thread layout. Adding multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.) will convert the message automatically into an MMS.

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Messenger

Naturally, the Gmail client and the default Email apps are onboard. Gmail can not only sync with multiple Google accounts, but now has the ability to pull messages form ant POP or IMAP server. This does render the default messenger somewhat obsolete, but it still has its place if you want to keep your work communication completely separate from Google.

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Gmail and email

Text input

As for text input, the Xperia Z5 offers a customizable full QWERTY keyboard. You can choose a different layout (keypad, QWERTY, QWERTY with extra symbols), add/remove the coma and period button, the smiley and voice input buttons and also enable things like bilingual word suggestions if you have more than one language enabled. Different keyboard skins are available too.

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Xperia keyboard

You can also try the so-called Gesture input if hitting those keys individually doesn't give you the desired typing speed. It's similar to what Swype offers, and even if you've never used a Swype-like input before, you'll quickly get used to it.

Single-hand size keyboard is available too. If enabled, it squeezes the onscreen keyboard to the left or right side of the screen so it gets more comfortable for single handed text input.