Product Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Specifications 5.5in IPS display, dual 3840x2160/1920x1080 resolution, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor (four 1.5GHz cores, four 2GHz cores), 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, up to 200GB microSD support, Android 5.1 Lollipop, 23MP rear camera, 5.1MP front camera, microUSB port, 4G LTE and WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac connectivity, integrated 3,430 battery, 154x76x7.8mm, 181g
Price £629 SIM-free
WELL, HERE we are again. With the Sony Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact tried, tested and rated, we now turn our attention to the top-of-the-line Xperia Z5 Premium. Soon, the triumvirate will be complete.
You might say we've saved the best till last, as the Xperia Z5 Premium is a much bigger jump from the preceding Xperia Z3+ than the rest of the Xperia Z5 range - mainly because of its headline feature: the "world's first 4K display" on a smartphone. We've been living with it to see whether it really is 'Premium' enough to justify the steep £629 price.
Sony's lavish design choices make for a strong start, as the Xperia Z5 Premium looks and feels as high end as smartphones - or, to be specific, phablets - come. The entire back panel is glass and, at least on our test model, has been given a mirror-like chrome finish. Despite its opulence, the Xperia Z5 Premium is still reasonably rigid, thanks in part to strong metal edges that protect it from drops and knocks.
It's also certified to the IP65 and IP68 specifications for dust- and water-proofing, meaning it can survive being dunked in water for up to half an hour at depths of up to 1.5m. As a part of this, the 2-in-1 microSD/nano SIM card tray slot is covered by a removable flap, while the microUSB port is capless.
However, some of these fancy features also have downsides. The rear panel is quick to show highly visible fingerprints, and that metal edge is raised very slightly above the front screen, so it digs into your ear a bit when making calls.
It's also a shame that, for all the Xperia Z5 Premium's extravagance, it omits the relatively basic feature of physical Back, Home and Overview buttons, which pop up on the touchscreen instead. Still, it's not lacking elsewhere, including a dedicated camera shutter button next to the volume rocker as well as Sony's signature side-mounted fingerprint sensor/power button combo. This makes it perfectly placed for picking up the handset by the sides and unlocking it in one fluid motion, unlike sensors parked on the front or back.
At 181g, it's neither woefully heavy nor amazingly light, although at least it's a lot airier than it looks. Indeed, the Xperia Z5 Premium measures 154x76x7.8mm, making it one of the chunkier phablets.
One of our complaints about the standard Xperia Z5 was that it didn't offer any big upgrades over its predecessor. So the Z5 Premium's 5.5in IPS screen being 4K-capable should be very exciting.
There is, however, a catch. Most of the time it renders at a thoroughly normal 1920x1080; the full, UHD+ resolution of 3840x2160 is limited to media viewed in Sony's custom Gallery and Video apps. Don't expect to watch Netflix or browse the web in glorious 4K, in other words.
This is a bit of an anti-climax for the world's first 4K smartphone, but it's hard to muster any outrage about it. In fact, sticking to FHD for the most part makes a lot of practical sense; it saves battery and, at such high pixel densities, we do tend to see diminishing returns. So the difference between UHD+ and FHD isn't visually gigantic.
That said, videos and pictures that take full advantage of the Z5 Premium's maximum resolution are a sight to behold, beautifully detailed and vibrantly but accurately coloured. Blacks aren't the absolute inkiest we've seen, but they're still fairly deep, and contrast nicely with bright, clean whites.
Even at 1920x1080, the screen looks pleasantly crisp and smooth. The 401ppi isn't as mad at UHD+ mode's 806ppi, but like we said it's not as a big a difference as you might think.
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