Sony Z5 Xperia Review: The Unification of a Company
Written by Ameer Ibrahim on October 7, 2015
Straight off the bat, one of the things Sony has done right was the timing of its release. It has chosen to reveal the latest addition to the XPERIA Z series at the crack of dawn in the metaphorical new generation of mobile devices. “Brand A”’s latest phone had just been announced, but “Brand S” and a bunch of other tech heavyweights have not had their say in the matter yet. Having one of the first says in something as huge as this can be seen as more of a blessing than a curse. The way Sony sold their product, it seems they have learned a thing or two from their previous models. Throughout the duration of the Z series, Sony has been known for its fantastic battery life, but not much else. It would leave anyone familiar with Sony dumbfounded. How could Sony, a company that created the Walkman, amongst other great products like the Alpha series cameras, Bravia series TVs and the Playstation not capitalize completely on this? “Brand H” <<HTC>> was using a special “Brand B” <<Beats by Dre>> audio to sell their product, and “Brand N” always used their “Brand C” <<Carl Zeiss>> lens to sell their phone cameras. So why not slap a Walkman, Alpha Series and Playstation logo onto the back of their phones? You have to admit, they’re pretty cool logos. Well, the logos aren’t there per se now, but you can see how they’ve integrated the brands into the three Z5’s just from sheer performance in those respective areas. Here of the some of the things the Z5 gets right, or rather, some of the things that only the Z5 gets right, or better than everyone else at least.
I feel that a lot of things come under here are unique to Sony’s XPERIA series, and it’s the minor details in everything that make the phone that much better when used in every day life. It’s really the little things. One of the things is how the fingerprint scanner is located on the unlock button, at the side of the phone, which saves you a gesture you need to unlock your phone. It’s minor, but it’s really convenient. Another thing is how they decided to bring back removable MicroSD storage. It always puzzled me what made all the major companies take away removable storage, other than the fact that it affected their profits. Well, honestly it doesn’t matter that much for Sony, since they also make SD cards as well, to go with their cameras and such. Also, one more thing that maybe isn’t as minor is the fact that the phone is waterproof. And it doesn’t have that flap over the USB charging point like it used to. Which means you don’t have to worry about accidentally spilling stuff anymore, you can even use it at the pool or in the shower, and honestly, it’s pretty great.
Everyone knows the term ‘Walkman’. It’s in the dictionary for heaven’s sake. Lord knows why they haven’t used their name for so long, but at least they’re putting their skills to good use now. XPERIA Z5’s new audio system does a lot of things right. It is one of the only ones to support true Hi-Res audio, and even does digital audio upscaling too. Although the digital upscaling doesn’t help that much in terms of making your music sound better than it already does, it’s still welcome. One more thing it offers is a digital equalizer and noise cancellation, which are some things other phones can’t dream of achieving without an external amplifier or noise cancelling headphones.
The best thing about the camera? Its’ fast AF. (Auto-Focus) It uses a mix of passive autofocus and phase detection autofocus to fixate on a target almost instantly. Seriously, it takes 0.03 seconds, faster than an average blink. I can see it being important to a lot of different people, who don’t want to miss any moment. Even in lowlight, it performs well without having grain. It also shoots 4k video now, but that’s not something all the new phones will be foreign to, at this point. Personally, 4096 x 2160 is not that fundamental a resolution as of yet, it’s too expensive as of now for everyone to have it, but the added definition is always welcome, and could be really useful in the future. But the most impressive part of the video ability is the fact that it can recognize objects as they move and stay focused on it throughout the video. It doesn’t even get distracted when the key subject gets obstructed, which is pretty impressive.
The Z5 Premium is the first smartphone ever to have a 4K screen. It looks beautiful, and according to them it doesn’t compromise the battery life. It uses Sony BRAVIA’s technology to enhance the colours to really make them pop. Even in the non-Premium versions, it’s there to make everything look better. One more impressive thing, is how the screen has its on memory cache, so it doesn’t have to re-render every single frame of static text or picture you see, and it saves a lot of processing power, and by extension, the battery life as well.