The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the best Sony has to offer in this crucial ‘make or break’ year. The company tries to re-invent its Omnibalance design, keeping in mind that simplicity is the greatest sophistication, and we do admire Japanese makes approach towards consistent design. But, It will definitely take more than an impressive design to succeed this year, since Samsung, LG and other competition has already done a very fine job. So does Xperia Z5 Premium make a powerful statement? Let’s find out in our hands on review.

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Hardware Specifications

Model Xperia Z5 Premium
Display 5.5 inches, 4K UHD IPS LCD,  806 ppi
Processor 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 810 Octa-core, Adreno 430 GPU
RAM 3GB
Internal Storage 32 GB, MicroSD card support up to 200 GB
Software Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), upgradable to v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Primary Camera 23MP, 4K video capture
Secondary Camera 5.1MP, 1080P video recording
Dimensions and weight 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8 mm and 180 grams
Battery 3430 mAh non-removable Li-Ion
Others Micro USB, Nano-SIM, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, DLNA, Miracast
Price  62,990 INR

The new OmniBalance Design – Simple and Elegant

The Xperia Z5 premium has a decent heft to it, and is wider and taller than Xperia Z5 Dual. Sony has refined the omnibalance design language with several subtle changes, which add up nicely. Side edges are flat, neat and gently extend beyond the glass (for protection against scratches when the phone lies flat). Continuity breaks on the side corners where Sony has provided padding (soft corners) to protect the glass front and back against harsh vertical drops.

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The glass back sports a Mirror like finish (unlike frosted glass on Xperia Z5), which looked stunning on the Chrome variant. The glass back of the Chrome variant can be practically used as a mirror and looks very premium (Though it is very prone to smudges). On the Gold variant, it feels quite generic.

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Also Read: Sony Xperia Z5 Dual Hands On Review: Old wine in a new Bottle

Buttons and ports

The fingerprint sensor is clubbed with the power key on the right edge. It is aptly situated where our thumb naturally rests, and is fast and accurate most of the time, but unlocking your phone is a two-step process. You have to press the power key and then scan your thumb.

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The Volume rocker is placed quite low and isn’t easily accessible in portrait mode, but the placement favors its uses as a zoom in Zoom out button when the camera app is open. A Micro USB 2.0 port is placed symmetrically in the center on the bottom edge, while the audio jack is present on top. The phone is water resistant, without any inconvenient flap to deal with. Sony has also added a Lanyard port on the bottom.

Interestingly the speaker grill and ear-piece cutouts are almost invisible. When we tested those with some music, we could feel lots of vibrations on the rear side around the center of the device.

Also Read: Lenovo Vibe P1 First Impression – Designed To Last Long, Really Long

A 4K Display, if specs matter to you

No matter what way you look at it, 4K on smartphone is an overkill. Sony realizes that and thus, the Xperia Z5 Premium downscales to Full HD mode expect for times when you need 4K sharpness, for instance in Gallery app.

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4K or not the display felt gorgeous with good viewing angles and colors in our initial hands on time, but we couldn’t obviously differentiate it from Full HD display on Xperia Z5 when both were placed side by side. For now, this is the only device that will give you 4K bragging rights, but we are sure more will soon follow.

DXoMark Authenticates the 23MP Rear Camera

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The 23MP camera on the Xperia Z5 Premium can focus quite fast. Sony claims to employ the fastest AF mechanism, which could be true. Like always, there is a plethora of modes which you can use in the camera app. The images which we captured in low light were actually quite good. DxOMark claims this is the best smartphone camera in 2015 and that is saying something. We will reserve our verdict till we get to spend some more time with it.

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Software

Sony is using Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based software and those of you who have prior experience with Xperia phones will feel right at home. The notification panel and settings menu are close to stock android, but all other aspects are customized. Sony has added several preloaded apps and services as well. The floating windows options is also accessible via recent apps panel (small apps), but you can’t add custom apps of your choice.

Xperia Z5 Premium UI Gallery

 

Expectations

Everything felt blazing fast on Xperia Z5 Premium, thanks to the Snapdragon 810 humming inside. Reportedly, heating issues have been eliminated too (though we will have to test it before we confirm this).

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium seems a bit late to the game. Phones like Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and LG G4 have been around for some time and have also received initial price-cuts which makes the Z5 Premium lie on the expensive side of spectrum. What should work in its favor is the presence of 4K display, polished new Xperia design and good camera hardware. It’s too soon to give any verdict yet, but the Xperia Z5 Premium might fall short of being the ‘Game Changer’ for Sony despite doing most things right.

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