- Heavy and slippery
- Camera produces dull and cold images on basic setting
- Processor heats up during intense gaming sessions
- Hard to see advantages of 4K over 2K
The Xperia Z5 Premium is the biggest phone in the Z5 lineup. Measuring in at 6.1 inches it sits firmly in the phablet range and at 180 grams it is also one of the heavier smartphones on the market. The size and weight made it difficult for experts to use especially when combining the size with the clear glass back. Not only did they find it unwieldy they also worried about its overall slipperiness. Sony seems to have thought of that issue as they included reinforced corners for protection against accidental drops. Despite the premium in the name, it comes with plastic edges instead of the metal ones found on the Xperia Z5. Like the rest of the Z line, the Z5 Premium is IP68-rated, meaning it is dust-proof and water-resistant up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is the first smartphone to offer a 4K screen. What does that mean? The 5.5 inch panel has a resolution of 2160 x 3840 for an eye searing pixel density of 806 pixels per inch. To put that into perspective, the iPhone 6S Plus has a resolution of 1080 x 1920. While a higher resolution screen might seem impressive, many reviewers were a bit underwhelmed as they could barely see any differences between the one on the 6S Plus and the Z5 Premium. They also didn't notice any additional benefits of the screen during day to day tasks or even viewing multimedia files. With that said, most agree the screen is gorgeous as it offers superb colors, viewing angles and sunlight legibility.
Behind the screen are a 2GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM, which is the same as the Xperia Z5. For the most part it performed quite well for experts even when playing the latest 3D games or shooting 4K videos. CNET states, "There's very little you can throw at this phone to slow it down." The only drawback others noticed was heating issues with the back heating up to the point where they were hesitant to play intense games for very long. In order to power the screen and processor Sony opted for a 3,430mAh battery. During everyday usage, reviewers were able to get around a full day out of it, but streaming back 4K videos constantly resulted in only around 5 hours.
The 23MP main camera impressed reviewer, but they do not back Sony's claim that it is "the world's best smartphone camera." While they agree it takes decent pictures, many found the images dull when compared to shots on other phones with the camera skewing to a colder white balance, which led to less vibrant colors. Of course, the camera app does allow for manual calibration of white balance and other modes so users can choose adjust as necessary for the perfect pictures. Besides an upgraded megapixel count, Sony has also included a new 5X zoom and a new autofocus. While welcome features, experts were a bit let down with the results as the zoom did not focus properly on the intended target and the autofocus had issues capturing moving objects.
Despite its overall solid performance, reviewers have a hard time recommending it. Recombu states, "…you'll pay a premium price for this phone, and with no real advantages over the standard Xperia Z5, plus poorer battery life and more difficult handling, we'd say go with the original flagship instead." Tech Radar adds, "…the Xperia Z5 Premium is the go-to phone for enthusiasts who want the next big thing. It's just a shame that isn't not a more rounded package…"