Sony Xperia Z5 phones are official: world's first 4K smartphone display is here

By Julio Franco
Sep 2, 2015
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  1. Sony has unveiled its new smartphone family for 2015, comprised of the Z5 and Z5 Compact as well as a new flagship Z5 Premium which sports a 4K IPS panel packing a category-first 3,840 x 2,160px resolution display.

    Although the spec sounds overkill for a handset and it likely is, those who were able to go hands-on with the Z5 Premium at Sony's IFA event couldn't find a reason to complain about the 5.5" 806-ppi display. In my book, this is Sony trying to up the ante with a differentiating feature, not unlike Samsung's Edge models that give the company a conversation starter, while a majority of users will still buy the regular, less expensive model that carries on with all other high-end specs.

    In fact, the display is the only aspect separating the Xperia Z5 Premium and the standard Z5. Both phones are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with a microSD slot for expansion, a new 23-MP camera with uber-fast autofocus (more on that in a second), waterproofing and a side power button with an incorporated fingerprint reader. Both phones claim "up to 2-day" battery life though in order to achieve that, the Z5 Premium carries a slightly larger 3,430mAh battery vs. the Z5's 2,900mAh.

    The design language on all Z5 models is the same, following a similar theme as previous Z models. I can personally attest to Xperia's great build quality, having used a Z3 as my daily driver for the past year, I see this as a big positive even though not everyone is a fan of having a glass slate on the back and front.

    The 5.5-inch Z5 Premium will be available in black, gold and chrome, the 5.2-inch Z5 in white, black, gold and a metallic green, while the 4.7-inch Compact gets white, black, yellow and coral. As with previous iterations, the Compact is smaller but slightly chunkier at 8.3mm thick, the Z5 is 7.3mm thick and the premium, with its bigger battery is 7.8mm thick.

    Sony's image sensors have long been recognized as the best in the business and they can be found in many of competitors phones (LG G4, Galaxy S6, iPhones). Now the company expects to bring the best they can produce to its own line of smartphones, using their latest 1/2.3 23-MP Exmor RS sensor. Sony is promising 0.03s focusing times, sporting phase detection autofocus with 192 focus points, up to ISO12800 for photos and ISO3200 for videos, improved Steady Shot features, as well as 4K video recording. It's supposed to be a beast.

    New to the Xperia family is a fingerprint reader on the redesigned power button that forgoes the round design in favor of a subdued rectangle button that is supposed to recognize your fingerprint while unlocking your phone in a single motion, sounds really nice on paper. It's compatible with FIDO online payments, too.

    For now the phones are running Android 5.1, with an upgrade to M planned. Sony is also changing its Android strategy with the Z5 family receiving a near pure Android experience according to the company.

    The Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact will launch globally in October with the Premium model following in November. No pricing will be disclosed until they are closer to launch but we can imagine those will align with current outgoing models on its respective categories and $100-150 extra for the 4K capable Premium.

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    Josh Mathews likes this.
  2. agb81

    agb81 TS Booster Posts: 77   +38

    I'm all for technology advance but... why a 4k display?
    This calls for a hungrier gpu and display
  3. cldmstrsn

    cldmstrsn TS Enthusiast Posts: 91   +47

    Been waiting for this to be announced. Now I can upgrade!
    James2253 and DaveBG like this.
  4. Tibeardius

    Tibeardius TS Booster Posts: 47   +10

    Z5 Compact is 4.6".

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 907   +245

    Yeah 4K display is pointless in this size as far as I'm concerned. Only application would be VR headsets.

    I did have a Z1 and I really liked it, very solid phone. these new ones look great but I still want a damn physical slide out keyboard. Does this phone have wireless charging as well? Those are the only two things missing for me.
  6. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 699   +164

    Technically that display resolution is UHD not 4K.
    mrjgriffin likes this.
  7. Zenodroid

    Zenodroid TS Booster Posts: 131   +27

    16 hours battery lifetime ? or less... gg smartphone makers. welcome to the 90s again, with the need of a external battery to keep the phone alive for more than a day.
  8. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 111   +14

    These guys are getting serious. Pure Android phones and they usually have strong battery life, best cameras and all the options people miss in S6, we`ll see how they`ll cope with 4k, but still best option out there until iPhone 7 at least.
  9. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,440   +593

    Yes, from a usability standpoint it can be hard to see a clear cut difference for the average customer. I used a G3 next to my S4 and it was a noticeably nicer screen, but nothing I care to have. (Maybe I am just not as picky as I used to be I dunno.)
    But what this will do is drive the prices down on other models.
  10. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,114   +1,379

    On the positive side, this has been expected, and we just hit the bottom - we are not going to see a mobile phone with resolution higher than 4K. Time to focus on other things that actually matter.
    agb81 likes this.
  11. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 807   +270

    You probably can't see the difference between 1080p and 4K on such a small screen so I'm gonna say that this is pointless. It will just impact your performance and battery life without adding anything new to the table.
  12. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 202   +100

    ? Can someone actually see the difference between this and 1440p on such tiny display? Well Ill buy z4 when it gets cheaper as I see no point in this but at least z4 will get cheaper sooner. Would have bought this if it was lower res as I think battery life will be short with such heavy usage but now it seems that z4 is better and cheaper.
  13. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 309   +92

    Like increasing battery capacities to accommodate the extra usage from a 1440p and above screen--a long time coming.
  14. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,345   +1,939

    A 4K phone screen only now? I woulda thought they would've been out for years now. 4K has been around for quite a while now but 1080p is still more than good enough for me.
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,345   +1,939

    Been waiting for this to be announced. Now I can downgrade and save some money!
  16. thelatestmodel

    thelatestmodel TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +20

    1080p is inadequate for VR. I had the opportunity to try a Samsung Gear VR and the pixels were very visible - 4K would help a lot with that.

    I do agree that if you're not planning to use your phone for VR, then 4K is too much.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,345   +1,939

    Yeah. I'm not planning on going 4K or VR for a long while yet so all it's immaterial to me for now.
  18. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Booster Posts: 125   +49

    I'd buy this phone just because of the appealing insta focus this thing basically has. I can't count how many crappy pictures I've taken with phones just because what I'm capturing is moving. as for those complaining about battery life, why? they're claiming 2 days worth of battery life......I'm sure it can extend beyond that after uninstalling a few unneeded things, tweaking some animation settings etc.
  19. cldmstrsn

    cldmstrsn TS Enthusiast Posts: 91   +47

    Woo hoo!
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.

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