Sony lifted the lid on three new flagship Xperia Z5 phones at the IFA technology show today, as it bids to recover lost ground in the Android market and bury the overheating problems that beset recent Xperia standard-bearers.
Leading the line is the Xperia Z5 Premium, which features a 5.5-inch ULTRA HD screen and is the first-ever handset to incorporate 4K display technology that’s normally reserved for high-end TVs.
Sony has circumvented the obvious problem of a dearth of 4K content by upscaling clips and photos recorded by its on-board 23-megapixel camera, which, in a break with more conventional contemporary phone design, is activated by a dedicated physical button.
In keeping with other Sony handsets, the camera co-opts imaging tech from its range of SLRs. That’s evident in its steady shot mode and X5 clear image zoom, which impressed us during our hands-on time with the phone.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is also home to a fingerprint scanner that's mounted on the side, rather than at the rear of front as is the case on existing phones from rivals. Sony has incorporated the biometric security authentication system into the on-off button, which it claims will save users’ time and is more ergonomic and less fiddly.
Notably thinner than the likes of Touch ID and its ilk, we’re interested to see how this bears up in real-world conditions. Especially given the challenges other phone-makers have encountered when trying to implement biometric tech on thinner buttons where’s there’s less surface area to work with.
In a sop to the legion of tech fans frustrated by smartphones’ disappointing battery life, the Z5 Premium features a beefy 4500mAh battery that it’s claimed offers up to two days’ battery life.
It’s also equipped with a fast-charge mode that officially delivers five and half hours of life on a ten-minute charge. And as is de-rigeur for new top-end smartphones, it can be charged wirelessly with a wireless charging unit that’s sold separately.
Presumably to ensure users have enough room for all the 4K footage they’ll shoot with the camera, Sony has equipped the phone with 32GB of on board storage and the option to boost capacity by a whopping 200GB by adding a microSD card.
The Z5 Premium, which feels satisfyingly weighty in the hand, is fashioned from a blend of glass and metal, with the back featuring a chrome-style, ultra-polished finish. The effect isn’t a million miles from the eye-popping hues of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 in its more outré colour options.
Sony also unveiled a standard-sized Xperia Z5 and the Z5 Compact, which are equipped with fundamentally the same spec sheets but with 5.2-inch 1080p and 4.6-inch 720p screens respectively.
Interestingly, all three phones are powered by a Snapdragon 810 processor. That’s despite the fact that this component was cited by some as the cause of overheating problems with the Xperia Z3+.
In keeping with the previous Xperia Z-branded models, all three new phones are waterproof, so can handle the odd accidental dip in the bath.