“Can you review the Xperia Z5? ” asked several colleagues. And with that, I requested for a review unit from Sony Singapore. I believe many consumers have had great experiences with the Xperia Z series, myself included. But most of the Z5 reviews I read online do not seem to be favourable.
After trying it out for 2 weeks, I must say it’s a mixed bag of goods and bads. The goods are unique, while the bads are actually more of disappointments.
A Welcoming Android Phone
The Xperia Z5 is a very welcoming smartphone. There a numerous apps and guides to help you ease into the smartphone, like getting your data transferred from your old phone, setting up fingerprint lock.
The Xperia Lounge displays shopping offers, content recommendations, PlayStation Music channels, videos, games.
Even the phone themes are exclusively designed with movie tie-ups (with the mother company, Sony Entertainment, no less) and popular Disney characters.
If you are a novice smartphone user, the Z5 will help you get up to speed in no time.
A Formidable Sony Product
Xperia smartphone series have incorporated most of the Sony technology and features, like the hyper-realistic image enhancement, the 23MP f/2.0 camera, and Hi-Res audio chipset.
With a dedicated shutter button, the Xperia Z5 helps you capture images in a snap. With its capable audio processor, the Xperia Z5 can play Hi-Res multi-channel digital music files that most smartphones would not support.
Then there are all the usual Xperia features that do not seem to take up by other Android makers. For instance, the phone supports video recording of the screen, supports event-based tasks (like set phone to silent when plugging into charger after 11pm). Sony still supports mini apps where you can run the calculator as floating app. Plus, PlayStation users will be able to use the Z5 to play PS4.
I always enjoy the AR (Augmented Reality) Effect mode of the camera, where the app superimposes animated objects into the live view. The objects are 3D-aware and so if you move around, move in and out of the perspective, the objects adjust accordingly too. Hello Kitty lovers will have endless fun with the free Hello Kitty AR add-on, where it applies the red ribbon and whiskers onto faces!
The fingerprint sensor placement is one of the best implementations. I can pick up the phone, press the power button, and unlock the Xperia Z5 all at the same time.
Yet, despite many years and development cycles, Sony seems to not get it right yet. The volume rocker buttons are squeezed in between the power and shutter button. I would prefer they shift it elsewhere to prevent accidental presses. The front-facing stereo speakers lack the hi-fi quality that Sony represents in many of its audio products.
Sony has also played down on the water resistant feature of the Z-series. It no longer runs ads that shows people taking videos and photos underwater, but only says it “doesn’t mind a little rain”.
Although the USB port now needs not covering up, the nano SIM and microSD slot is still covered with a primitive cap that will be prone to wear. Nonetheless, the Z5 is very safe for a wash after getting dirty in beaches or dinner table grease.
And just like previous Z-series, the Z5 gets hot ever so easily, that even the camera app warns you once it detects high temperature. Speaking of the camera, while the camera quality is easily one of the better ones in the market, I I feel that the actual usage response is similarly no better (and no worse) from other leading smartphones.
Another sore point is that Sony’s preinstalled Contact app does not support Exchange server contact search. This is a big bane for users who sync the office server email to the smartphone and needs to search for office contacts in the server.
“Should I Get Sony Xperia Z5?”
I have asked a lot of people about how their next mobile device, and most of them are not willing spend S$1000 and beyond, not when there are dozens of smartphones below S$500 with similarly great features.
If you are not price-value sensitive and love the Sony brand, it is absolutely safe to get the Z5. As a smartphone, it works brilliant, with well thought UI and companion apps. The mono-block design is also unique and minimalistically beautiful.
Besides the Xperia Z5 in 5.2-inch display, there is also the Z5 Compact in 4.7-inch and the Z5 Premium in 5.5-inch 4K resolution. All runs on the latest Snapdragon 810 (2GHz + 1.5GHz), 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory.