My Word has crashed repeatedly on me – a week before I go off to university – thus this article has taken so long to be done. As a result im now using Google Docs *sad face*. However, thats enough of that, enjoy the rest of this article filled with opinionated journalism.
Following the launch of the Galaxy S2 a year following the release of its older sibling, we have come to expect a new incarnation of our beloved smartphones every year since. Sony, much like the other headliners of the Android world is no different. We have had the Sony Xperia Z4 around for the best part of a year, so naturally we expected an announcement from the Japanese in the near future. And naturally, Sony obliged with a whole event dedicated to new devices at the IFA in Berlin where we finally were finally introduced to the long-fabled Xperia Z5. And what an introduction it was.
To kick things off, I would like everyone to think back a couple of years, possible to a CES show where everybody was going crazy about the idea of 4K television sets and the world moving on from 1080p as the top standard for everything image related. Well, fast forward back to today and we have our first 4K screen in a phone. It has taken a few years for the technology to be miniaturized enough to fit into our pockets – deep ones by the looks of the size and cost of the device by the looks of things – and be brought to the masses. The Xperia Z5 Premium as it’s known is the first smartphone to have a fully fledged 4K screen, with a mind bending resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 which calculates to 806-ppi display in a 5.5 inch panel. Inside, the Z5 Premium has a Snapdragon 810, 3GB or RAM, a 3430 mAh battery and a brand new camera system that shall take a while to explain. The new sensor is a 23 mpx rated snapper that has a few new tricks up its sleeve. The camera has a six-element 24mm lens, something akin to the iPhone camera lens, however the most touted feature on the camera is the apparent autofocus time of 0.03 seconds, which if believed is a world record holder. Other key features of the phone include Android 5.1.1 with an Android M update in the works as well as the same old waterproof design we have come to love from Sony. There is a possibility of expanding storage via MicroSD, a feature that has been omitted in many new flagships.
The Z5 Premium was not the only Z5 announced, as it was a part of a three pronged attack, featuring two smaller siblings including the Z5 and the Z5 Compact. The Z5 – without any name after – could almost be considered the standard of the range. Coming in with a 1080p 5.2 inch screen, it is a step down from the premium, that isn’t really noticeable. Granted the screen isn’t nearly as good, but all the other key ingredients remain the same. Same CPU, RAM and camera but a smaller battery due to a smaller size. The runt of the litter – the Z5 Compact – has a 4.7 inch 720p panel which is a bit of a disappointment considering the specs of the other devices in the line up. Still packing the same innards as the two bigger brothers, the Compact was designed for those who don’t have mutant hands to hold a smartphone.
On the subject of the Compact, I am glad that a manufacturer still takes the time to cater for those who don’t want to have a tablet sized device for a phone. As far as I am concerned, the Z5 Compact is the only flagship next to the iPhone 6 that offers top specs with a screen size that is smaller than 5 inches. A ballsy move move, as it diverts away from the mainstream design. I am very intrigued to see how this gamble plays out for Sony, considering they were rumoured to be losing a million dollars per day on their smartphone division.
The one aspect I haven’t mentioned as of yet is the price. A very important aspect of a device is how much it is going to cost as it allows a potential buyer to decide whether the device is worth purchasing for the money that is asked. Value for money is one of the highest regarded specifications for a phone when I’m hunting for a new device. And well, I save this till last because I see this as a deal breaker for me. The official pre-order pricing totally ruins the Z5 as a contender for me. The Z5 Premium comes in at £699($1070), the Z5 “Standard” costs £599($960) and the Compact closes the range at a smidge under £550($840). I have on word for this kind of pricing and it is LUNACY. Sheer, utter, pure, LUNACY. For £699 I can buy a 128Gb iPhone 6 – the undisputed king of all expensive smartphones. For an even more crushing comparison, the OnePlus 2 in its 64Gb flavour costs £289 and that’s with 4Gb of RAM. At this point I am not surprised that Sony are losing money on their smartphones. If you expect me to pony up more for this than for a Note 5, then you can take a ride back on that unicorn of yours.
Anyway,before i get too sidetracked by the price, I would like to say that the Xperia Z5 lineup is impressive. Great specifications and a change to almost clean and pure Android is a great addition, coupled with that amazing camera, but it is a device greatly overshadowed by its great “but” of a price tag that leaves you wondering what are you actually paying for?