Sony Xperia Z5 review: Finely tuned
The Sony Xperia Z5 comes with Google Chrome as the default web browser out of box instead of the generic Android browser. While the minimalist interface hasn't changed since Chrome launched on Android, the browser is being constantly refined by Google, and this has resulted in one of the smoothest and most powerful browsing experiences we've encountered on a mobile.
Of course, one of Chrome's strengths is its ability to seamlessly sync with the desktop version, using nothing but your Google account. This allows you to open an article on your PC and finish reading it on your mobile phone. It also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites.
Other pre-installed apps
The calendar has three different types of view - daily, weekly and monthly. The lower section of the screen is reserved for a list of upcoming events. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
Sony Xperia Z5 also features the Office Suite 8, which allows for creating, viewing and editing office files (docs, xls, ppt), and it can also read PDFs.
Calculator, Clock app (with stopwatch, world clock and timer), Sketch and File Manager apps are available on board the device by default.
The Socialife app comes pre-installed too. It is a service similar to Samsung's My Magazine and HTC One's Blinkfeed. The interface is clean and simple yet beautiful, and there are lots of preloaded feeds. You can add your own RSS links too.
What's New app has very beautiful UI and will show you the hottest apps and multimedia today.
The Power Saver - now part of the settings menu - helps you extend your battery life by toggling things like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, screen brightness, auto sync and background data on and off automatically when the battery charge falls below a certain user-defined threshold. You can also turn off the Wi-Fi if there are no known Wi-Fi networks in range or turn off mobile data when the screen is off, etc. Stamina mode has actually gotten pretty intelligent and can do that for you automatically, so definitely give it a try.
Sony also provides a Backup & restore app, which can use the internal storage, a microSD card or even an attached USB mass storage device. You can backup the system and downloaded apps and their data along with any media files.
Xperia Transfer mobile has also become a lot smarter. Now it can almost seamlessly help you transition from an older device to your new Sony, be it an Xperia, Android, iOS or Windows Phone.
We can't fail to mention Sony's upgraded security features, namely the fingerprint reader, ushered with the Z5 family. Embedding the hardware inside the power bottom is arguably the most convenient implementation of the technology to date and Sony's take works pretty good. It is quick and accurate, you can really simply set it up and then forget it is there, which is the ultimate goal.
The Xperia Lounge is a sort of custom-tailored deal and promotion aggregator. It gives users the opportunity to participate in various Sony promotions and win prizes. Another interesting little feature is the Movie Creator. Its name is pretty much says it all. It has a really nifty "Best Moments" feature that endeavors to create a highlights-only version form a given video.
The Xperia Z5 is also fully equipped as a PlayStation sidekick with access to the PS Network, store and even remote connection to your console and access to its multimedia - movies and music. The way Sony implemented said features is a little odd and does beg the question why you really need to go through two levels of icons, just to launch Spotify, but the PS integration seems to still be in a state of transition and things will hopefully get ironed out soon.
Another novelty is Sony's Lifelog app. It is an all-in-one hub for tracking your activity, daily routine, sleep cycle and more. Generally, if it involves moving, Lifelog endeavors to log it. It is a splendid addition and works pretty well.
You bet Google Maps and Navigation are also part of the app package to utilize the built-in GPS receiver (now complete with GLONASS support). Offline maps are available, again, since the last update, so you can save some data traffic too.
Whatever you may be missing, there is the always-growing Google Play Store for you.