Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Premium Definition

Premium Definition

GSMArena team, 25 November, 2015.


Sony's flagships have always been playing off each other in a nice but, after a certain point, rather repetitive way. When Sony decided to pass on QHD-screens, it looked like it had the right reasons to keep up with 1080p for flagship generations on end.

Today, however, the company is finally ready for a jump in screen resolution and it's making that jump with a bang. What better way to stir things up than the first 4K display on a smartphone? Meet the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

If your natural inclination is to be wary of lofty model identifiers "Premium" may give the wrong impression. But we guess Sony just had to come up with an original way of calling its phablet flagship without the involvement of any Plus moniker as the competition does.

To be fair, the Z5 Premium does bring enough novelties to the series to deserve its name. The first ever 4K display on a smartphone is surely a catchy headline feature, but we shouldn't also miss the fact that it comes spread over a display that's 5.5-inch in diagonal, a size that was so far missing from Sony's flagship portfolio. It is also available in the signature Chrome paintjob, making its rear a near perfect mirror for possibly some nice selfies with the main camera.

Besides that, you get all the perks that the original Z5 has - the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, the new 23MP camera sensor, the enhanced connectivity, and the more powerful chipset. It's still waterproof too!

Yet, the Xperia Z5 Premium plays it safe where it has to and isn't defying the established design language of the Z series. Instead it refines the familiar dual-glass styling and smartens up the looks with the new mirror rear finish and an improved metal frame. We are quite fond too of the discreet fingerprint reader integrated in the power/lock key on the right.

Key features

  • 5.5" UHD (3840 x 2160px) IPS LCD display with 806ppi (4K in layman's terms), X Reality for Mobile, Triluminos technology and Dynamic Contrast Enhancer; scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating
  • Android OS v5.1.1 Lollipop with Xperia launcher
  • Octa-core Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810, feat. a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57 and an Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB RAM
  • 23 MP camera with 2160p@30fps video recording; 5.1 MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video
  • 32GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot
  • LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps)/Cat.6 (300Mbps), region dependent; Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; A-GPS/GLONASS receiver, Bluetooth v4.1, FM radio with RDS
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • 3,430mAh non-removable battery
  • IP68 certified - dust and water proof up to 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
  • Fingerprint sensor

Main disadvantages

  • 4K available only for multimedia content
  • Waterproofing comes with a disclaimer
  • Non-removable battery, no wireless charging out of the box
  • No IR port for remote control of consumer electronics

For all other manufacturers, native 4K resolution support will only be coming around with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Sony have come up with a clever way of going around that limitation. All the screen graphics - everything about the user interface and most of the apps - is rendered in 1080p (Full HD) and it's then upscaled to UHD, except videos and pictures.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

This little trick shouldn't put a stick in Sony's wheels as the Z5 Premium 4K resolution display promises unrivalled visual experience exactly where it matters - in multimedia content consumption.

This must be something to look forward to, isn't it? Well, we're getting there.

Reader comments

  • Banele
  • 29 Jan 2022
  • XLA

Haven't tried

where can i buy this phone and am from kenya

Have you tried "SoundAbout"? (that's the name on the GP Store.) Personally, though, I just resorted to using good Bluetooth earphones and headphones - I got an Aukey Latitude (EP-B40) for super cheap and a Sony MDR-ZX770BN (noise canceling headp...