News by Josh Dasey on Friday January 15, 2016.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Better late than never we would say. Consumers in the United States have been able to buy the Sony Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact through unofficial channels for some time now, but the handsets will get an official launch stateside next month.It is good that Sony is showing the U.S. some official love of course, but sadly the company is doing what it always has and is treating the U.S. as an afterthought. That may seem harsh, but it is worth considering that the company is expected to announce the Xperia Z6 over the next two months, so the U.S. only getting the current flagship when a new one is rolling out elsewhere paints a very clear picture. Nevertheless, both are excellent smartphones, so it is nice to see them coming to these shores. The Xperia Z5 Compact will be the more affordable of the two, costing $499, while the Xperia Z5 will be $100 more at $599. Neither device will get carrier support, but Sony's devices will work on AT&T and Sprint. Those on Verizon and Sprint will miss out unfortunately. Below is what we thought of the Z5's when they launched, although it is worth noting that the handsets coming to the United States will do so without a fingerprint scanner. We reached out to Sony to find out why that is, but are still awaiting a response. Xperia Z5 Compact
Comes with a 4.6-inch IPS LCD display with 720p resolution, and while it would be great to see Sony bump this panel to 1080p by now, it is understandable that the company is keeping the Compact on that lower resolution to differentiate from the Xperia Z5 flagship. Away from the screen the specs are impressive and include Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage that is expandable via micro SD card, a full flagship Exmor 23 megapixel camera that is stocked to the brim with leading technology and features, and a 5 megapixel front facing lens. A 2700mAh battery keeps the lights on and we are willing to bet that it will be one of the best performing juicers on the market. Like the rest of the Xperia Z5 range, the Compact comes with a fingerprint scanner embedded in the side lock button.Xperia Z5
However, while the Xperia Z5 is fantastic (Sony's flagships have been for years now), it is still only an incremental update, something this series suffers from, a victim of Sony's policy of launching a flagship twice a year. While it is hard to be too critical of the Xperia Z5 (again, it's fantastic), we can't help but want more from Sony in this department, and if bleeding edge specs and pushing the smartphone boundaries are your thing there are better options out there, not least Sony's own Xperia Z5 Premium. If you have followed the company's flagship X series over the years then you will be instantly familiar with the design of the Xperia Z5. It looks pretty similar to the original Z that launched three years ago such is the slow burn Sony applies to aesthetic updates. It is hard to argue against the quality, the Z5 oozes premium with its glass panels sandwiching a metal frame. We know plenty still love Sony's OmniBalance design language but we can't help but want something new, while not really being disappointed with what we see. With the Xperia Z5 Premium really pushing the specs to the market leading category Sony has been wise to differentiate the normal Z5 by putting clear daylight between the specs. The Xperia Z5 is still flagship quality stuff, but it is not really going to trouble the most decked out smartphones on the market in terms of hardware. It comes with a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, which is two levels below the Premium and a cut below many other rivals boasting Quad HD. However, we are yet to tire of Full HD 1080p, so Sony including it here is hardly a major problem, especially if the panel is top notch. Elsewhere there is the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, and I asked a Sony employee if the company is having to throttle the processor because of its well-publicized overheating problems, and I was assured that was not the case. In other words Sony has dealt with the heat issues (or Qualcomm has) and the chip can run at full capacity... something we will be eager to test when we have the Z5 for a full review. 3GB of RAM helps the processor deliver that power, while 32GB of native storage comes as standard with a micro SD card slot to expand the space. A 2900mAh battery seems small, but Sony has been knocking it out of the park in this department with older Xperia Z's (that are the best performing battery life smartphones on the market), so we expect this to be one of the best juicers available. Sony is really talking up the camera on the Xperia Z5, and the company really should because most of its smartphone rivals use its sensors in their shooters. That means Sony is making the best camera hardware and surely knows how to get the most out of its own tech, right? The company certainly thinks so and here the Xperia Z5 gets the newest 1/2.3" Exmor RS sensor with 23 megapixels, the world's fastest 0.03s autofocus, 5x Clear Image Zoom, up to ISO12800 for photos and ISO3200 for videos, improved Steady Shot features, as well as 4K video recording. Perhaps the kitchen sink is in there too. Around the front is a 5 megapixel selfie lens that is also packed with all the bells and whistles we now expect from flagship smartphones.
Josh is our European editor, tackling news events, reviews, and new items from his UK home. As a former HTC marketing employee, Josh is close to the industry and bring his experience to MobileBurn.