Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review: The overachiever

The overachiever

GSMArena team, 7 October, 2015.

Display

Display size has always been a big part of the Compact series and its allure, but definitely not in the conventional "the bigger, the better" way. As already mentioned, loyal fans of the Compact line and especially the Z3 Compact value it as a representative of a rare breed of small and pocket-friendly devices with powerful hardware.

As such, it is great that Sony has realized the need to retain the phone's small footprint and consequently, its sub 5-inch display, though we gotta tell you that we would say the perceptions have been on the move this past year and now a 5-incher can easily pass as a compact device in a flagship duo. Then again, that may have put it way too close to the Xperia Z5.

The screen on the Xperia Z5 Compact is 4.6 inches in diagonal and with the same 720 x 1280 pixel resolution as a year ago. It is also the same IPS LCD variety, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering the name length of all the tech Sony has reportedly put inside - things such as Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, Triluminos technology and X-Reality engine for mobile come to mind (and being able to quote those on the top of our heads can't be a healthy thing for sure).

That aside, we would have appreciated a higher resolution screen, especially considering that more budget-friendly phones are rocking FullHD panels nowadays. The size of the screen could have also used some improvement, or rather its proportions relative to the bezels, which seem to be bigger compared to those of the Z3 Compact (68.9% screen to body ratio, instead of 70.65). But that may be us just nitpicking.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact's IPS LCD has an ordinary RGB matrix and our tests revealed that it is a pretty nice panel. The maximum display brightness is spectacularly high at 680 nits. Unlike some other Xperia phones we've seen, this brightness level is available in both auto and manual brightness modes. The display contrast ratio in both modes is very good but not excellent mostly due to the comparatively grayish blacks.

Color rendering without image enhancements is off to a higher extent than we're used to seeing lately (Avg deltaE 6.3 for the primary colors plus black and white). It's the whites to blame as they have a relatively high purplish tint (deltaE 14.5). Still, you would certainly have a hard time noticing the color cast without some sort of a reference.

Color accuracy of course takes an extra hit when you turn on the screen image enhancements such as the X Reality for mobile mode. The maximum brightness however is reduced in these modes down to about 630-640 nits but the overall contrast is improved (blacks get deeper) as long as you're checking out photos or watching videos.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia Z5 compact 0.10 106 1060 0.65 680 1053
Sony Xperia M5 0.08 110 1392 0.63 527 839
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - - - 0.77 725 942
HTC One M9 0.15 175 1180 0.44 534 1221
OnePlus Two 0.16 180 1139 0.30 399 1334
ZTE Nubia Z9 0.29 258 893 0.49 440 898
Lenovo Vibe X2 0.16 188 1196 0.38 447 1188
LG G4 0.09 108 1240 0.43 532 1238
LG G Flex2 0.00 152 0.00 398
Xiaomi Mi 4 0.17 164 940 0.73 679 929
Huawei P8lite 0.09 73.7 784 0.45 362 802
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 0.00 228 0.00 456
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 0.13 107 796 0.44 390 879
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.00 274 0.00 529
Motorola Nexus 6 0.00 149 0.00 372
Motorola Moto X (2014) 0.00 167 0.00 358


As usual, display colors are a matter of personal taste and perception so if you don't need calibrated color output, you will probably be quite happy with the default settings of the Xperia Z5 Compact display.

You can fine tune the display color rendering to an extent as Sony gives you fine grain sliders for adjusting the Red, Green and Blue channel, but the UI is far from user friendly and unlikely to produce any serious results without a reference point sitting side by side with the display. Even worse, as soon as you start fiddling with those sliders, the maximum brightness will take a hit.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy E7
    4.485
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • vivo X5Max
    3.472
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Sony Xperia Z3+
    2.824
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • vivo Xshot
    2.465
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • LG G4
    2.317
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo R1x
    2.281
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
    2.149
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Microsoft Lumia 532
    1.615
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Microsoft Lumia 435
    1.598
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact battery life

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is powered by a 2700 mAh battery, sealed-in, as expected. That is just a tad less than the Z5 at 2900 mAh, but still poses an upgrade over the Z3 Compact, with its 2600 mAh battery.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Overall, the phone offers excellent battery performance with a total endurance rating of 86 hours, but sadly, if we measure it by the high standards set by its predecessor and its whopping 101 hours, it is not nearly as impressive.

Still, it is a nice and solid performance and well above average too. It means that the Z5 Compact should be more than happy to facilitate two days of average use, or at least our understanding of it - one hour of browsing, video playback and calls a day, respectively and the rest - standby.

Such usage pattern is of course entirely artificial, but we've established it so our battery results are comparable across devices.

We were particularly impressed with the 28 hours of talk time the Z5 Compact managed to score. The web browsing and video playback performance are also solid, but if you are a heavy talker, it is worth noting that the small phone excels in this department.

And if the aforementioned usage scenario, just doesn't fit your bill, you can easily hop on to our battery life chart and adjust the pattern to your liking for an even more comprehensive comparison.

Connectivity

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact comes only in a single SIM variant, which was also the case with its predecessor. Perhaps, Sony could have spiced things up in this generation with a dual-SIM offer.

The handset offers quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA support. LTE is enabled and Sony has multiple regional models to make sure the Xperia Z5 Compact will work with the most widespread 4G networks.

Local connectivity features dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP. Satellite navigation is also a given, with additional A-GPS and GLONASS or Beidou (market dependent) support.

The Xperia Z5 Compact also has an FM radio with RDS. The phone doesn't offer an IR port, but it does come with NFC.

There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections and now, thanks to special coating, it no longer needs to be covered by a flap. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory and microSD card over the USB cable. USB host functionality is present, but requires a little more work than simply plugging in a device. There is a special menu under Xperia Connectivity in the setting that allows you to "discover" a plugged USB device. It still works as expected, but it requires some extra legwork.

Being part of the premium "Z" line has a few other benefits, like MHL 3 TV-out support. You can also output your phone's screen wirelessly via the Miracast protocol or Sony's Xperia Connectivity Throw option.

The app also lets you share your media over DLNA by creating a media server, as well as connect to a PlayStation DUALSHOCK 3 (or 4) wireless controller

Reader comments

  • 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...

  • qs

What 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