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04 Mar, 2017 ,
LG, Samsung, Google, Oppo and Vivo were the first manufacturers to upgrade their top smartphones' screens from Full HD (1080x1920p) to 2K (1440x2560p) panels. Sony decide to take a skip and jump right to 4K (2160x3840p) displays and three cheers to Sony for bringing to us the first ever 4K smartphone in the form of Xperia Z5 Premium. The Xperia Z5 wa a well built device, with a capable camera, decent performance and stellar audio. But it had its own shares of niggles in areas of performance and durability. With the Xperia Z5 Premium the specifications remain more or less unchanged but it now comes with a bigger frame and mirror finish on the back. But is the 4K display enough to justify the launching price tag of Rs 62,990? We find out more in detail.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is one huge phone with a blocky design and glassy mirror kind of finish. Weighing in at 180 grams and measuring 7.8 mm in thickness the phone is lighter on the palm but can be a little difficult to operate with one hand for most people. The Boxy Design does set apart the Xperia Z5 Premium from the iPhones and Galaxies. The device reminds you of the previous Sony phones like the Zperia Z3+ and the Xperia Z5 and the company has been using the same design language for the past two years. The device does attract a lot of finger prints and you have no other option other than to wipe it every now and then.
The Sony’s OmniBalance design language does look good but feels dated considering the premium price. It is nothing but two blocks of glass with a squeezed stainless steel frame in between. The Xperia Z5 Premium doesn’t get the frosted back panel like the Xperia Z5 did; instead it gets a plain old glass on the back. We feel the phone deserve a similar treatment. The edges are too sharp, mainly done to protect the glass. A textured finish would have done wonders for the device in terms of grip. The frame of the device is tipped with nylon to protect the smartphone from getting damaged in case if it falls. You also get a new fingerprint sensor integrated in the Power Button, is Sony’s first attempt at giving you one and is fairly quick but responsive. Then you have the front facing speakers, SIM as well microSD card slots under the flap and IP68 certified water-resistant body with capless design for the microUSB port and earphone jack. The IP68 makes the device dust-proof and water-resistant over 1.5 meters and for 30 minutes but Sony advises against dipping the phone in water directly and that it will hold well against accidental spillage or rain.
The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with a 5.5-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels translating into a massive 806ppi. This kind of stuff is also similar to what we get on high-end TVs. But this is also a matter of concern o this device as it is always in dilemma whether to 4K or not to 4K majority of the time. For example the photos rendered on this phone are in full HD (1080p) 99 percent of the time and not even in QuadHD(2K). Most of the stuff which you will be viewing on the screen of the Xperia Z5 Premium will actually be in Full HD because the Android Lollipop OS present on the device doesn’t support 4K natively. What it does it upsizes the content to 4K resolution as and when it is required. The phone doesn’t provide you with 4K detail the very moment you power up the phone, it doesn’t work that way. Sony has stated they have done it to optimize performance and battery life.
Also majority of the websites that support 4K content and services like YouTube haven’t been optimized for mobile devices yet. YouTube videos are also upsized to 4K by the device as the website doesn’t provide direct 4K to the Xperia Z5 Premium. The content (album and video) app in the gallery of the device are converted into 4K. Compared to other phones in the premium segment at other times, the Xperia Z5 Premium is an average device. The display is not punchy or bright like the Samsung displays which features Super AMOLED panel. Outdoor visibility is also not up to the mark.
The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM under the hood. The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with 32GB of internal storage (22.58GB available) which is expandable by up to 200GB via microSD card. Feels odd doesn’t it?
The Xperia Z5 Premium runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box along with the heavily customized Sony Xperia UI. The interface is pretty much user friendly and doesn’t take much time to get used to. The user interface is lag free and very much smooth. There are multiple home screens and an app drawer which allows the user to have a transparent background for setting up wallpapers. The app drawer grants you access to a number of small applications in the form of shortcuts by opening up as mini windows on the home screen for instant access. Sony should also have done something about the unwanted bloatware applications.
Coming to the performance, the Xperia Z5 Premium is at par with rivals (Samsung and Apple) and comes with the same hardware setup which the Xperia Z5 has. The Xperia Z5 Premium although feels much more livelier to use than its predecessor.In our usage the Xperia Z5 Premium used to get warm and the Snapdragon 810 has a history with the Xperia Z3+ for extreme heating issues. The Xperia Z5 managed to fend off the heat with improved heat dissipation though. The Xperia Z5 Premium is a stepback from the Xperia Z5 when it comes to heat resistance but manages to keep the heating issues in check and is better than the Xperia Z3+. The device gets warm on most occasions while playing games, clicking photos, browsing the web or simply navigating through the interface for prolonged intervals. However shooting 4K videos in excess of 10 minutes can make the device insanely hot.
The Xperia Z5 Premium lasts for almost a day and a half with moderate usage also comprising of watching 4K videos for over 20 minutes. Heavy internet usage gave us 12 hours of battery life on this device. The battery life is above average and you might need a powerbank if you are constantly on the phone.
The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with a 23-megapixel rear camera coupled with phase detection autofocus and LED flash just like the Xperia Z5, which held the throne for the best camera in a smartphone since a very long time.
The camera on the device is slow and the autofocus takes a lot of time to focus on time regardless of the lighting setup. Despite the shutter being fast the processing time for every picture takes more than 3 seconds. If you are looking for a smartphone for clicking shots at the perfect time, then we are sorry to say that the Xperia Z5 Premium is not the device for you as you may end up missing up those moments.
The image quality on HDR mode with 23-megapixel setting is very good with good colors and sharp details. The rear camera shoots images in 8-megapixels and 4:3 aspect ratio by default so you will have to change that from settings if you want maximum results with max resolution. If you keep aside the focusing issues the camera on the Xperia Z5 Premium is excellent by providing rich dynamic and macro shots. Low light images were disappointing and disappointing considering the price of the phone.The Xperia Z5 Premium comes with a 5-megapixel camera on the front that captures above average selfies ideal for posting on Facebook and the likes. The overall camera performance could have been better and we still feel that the Xperia Z5 outwits the Xperia Z5 Premium.
The Xperia Z5 Premium supports 4G LTE on both SIMs. Phone calls made with the Xperia Z5 Premium are of acceptable quality and we did not see any call drops issues in our review unit. Calls on the external dual front-facing speakers were also great. Wifi reception was also impressive as the device managed to connect quickly with other Wifi devices.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is the best device as far as multi-media experience is concerned. With a rich display resolution of 2160x3840p you get a colorful gaming and movie watching experience. The sound, however, definitely didn't meet our expectations. The dual front-firing speakers gave out above average output. The sound quality was very telephonic and lacked depth. There is an equalizer in settings which goes down till 400 Hz and is very good for operation of the sound settings. The “Sub Bass” slider was pointless and didn’t affect the speakers in any manner. Sound output from third party headsets is also worth mentioning.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is definitely a confused 4K device as the phone doesn’t do 4K for the most part.
Take away the 4K moniker and you will immediately notice that the device is just a bulky brother of Xperia Z5. We feel that the phone is ridiculously over priced and could have been better in terms of performance too. There are better devices out there for the price and we would certainly give this one a miss. Sony fans can certainly stick to the Xperia Z5 for all intents and purposes.
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