Can we have a moment of warm appreciation for Sony? Raise a toast perhaps? The Japanese company has — after all — given us the first ever 4K smartphone, ala, the Xperia Z5 Premium. Unlike LG which had Oppo and Vivo to share the name and fame for being one of the first companies to launch a 2K (QuadHD) phone, Sony has no competition. Well, at least for now. Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium is the world’s first 4K smartphone, period!
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is not perfect. Just like any other gadget with a new piece of technology, it is flawed and there will be moments when you’ll have to see through them to get to the other side of the proverbial wormhole. We dare say you do that. The Xperia Z5 Premium after all is the gateway to the future of the “premium” smartphone. As Sony puts it, the Xperia Z5 Premium is “a future-proof device for the imaginations, developers and apps of the future.” And it is. Sony’s Omni Balance design — which is basically all about the boxes and sharp contours — you either like it or you don’t.
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It’s entirely subjective. If anything, the Xperia Z5 Premium is a little more boxed out than the Xperia Z3+. You get used to it after sometime. But what you won’t like is the phone’s sheer size. The phone weighs 180 grams and measures 7.8 mm in thickness. We understand that not all Sony phones have been slim and light-weight in the past. But, the Xperia Z5 Premium is really pushing it too far. Even the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (which is a 5.7-inch phone by the way) is slimmer and sleeker than the Xperia Z5 Premium. And that thing has a stylus inside it!
The boxy appearance sets the Z5 Premium apart from the Galaxies and the iPhones. It certainly looks premium (and well worth that huge price tag, to some extent) but it most certainly doesn’t feel that way. Sharp edges — understandably there to protect the glass — are a little too sharp to our liking. On a phone, as gigantic as this, a softer or textured finish would have been nicer. On the plus side, the Xperia Z5 Premium has been designed to withstand harsher environment. Sony’s super phone comes with IP68 certification which makes it dust-proof and water-resistant over 1.5 meters and for 30 minutes, something that rival top tier phones fail to offer.
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Best part, it’s free from any flimsy flap or covering to hold on to its water-proofing credentials. Note that Sony advises against dunking the phone in water directly, but it should hold well against accidental spillage and rain. The Xperia Z5 Premium also includes a new fingerprint scanner on the side. It’s fairly quick and very responsive even though this is Sony’s first attempt at giving you one. The “numbered” times it does do 4K, it does beautifully.
This includes “4K content you’ve captured using your device or third-party 4K content from streaming services” like Netflix (not available in India). There’s a catch in that latter part too. Majority of 4K content streaming and subscription services and YouTube haven’t been optimised for mobile yet. YouTube, for instance, recognises the Xperia Z5 Premium as a FullHD phone and doesn’t offer 4K content directly on it. It is the phone that upscales it to 4K. Sony’s upscaling algorithm is extended and limited to the phone’s gallery (album and video) app. The Xperia Z5 Premium boosts all content that’s available in gallery to 4K automatically.
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This can be best seen while viewing images. The difference is there though how useful you are going to find it depends on how much you care about the display and sharpness of the image. At all other times the screen of the Xperia Z5 Premium is an average affair when compared with rival phones. It doesn’t get as bright and punchy as the Super AMOLED panel of the Note 5. On the contrary it appears slightly on the dimmer side. This affects outdoor legibility to an extent.