SONY Z5 Premium review: The world’s first ever 4k smartphone!

May 18, 2016 Android Reviews Sony

The world’s first ever 4k smartphone!

It’s no secret that Sony has been struggling in a smartphone game for quite a while and it’s no wonder that some remarkable steps were to be taken in order to gain the power back. It definitely managed to accomplish that goal presenting the first 4K smartphone in the world. Dear ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the amazing latest breakthrough of mobile industry – Sony Xperia Z5 Premium!

Though we all know how tough it is to be a pioneer with some extraordinary feature and not compromise on other significant functional elements. Did Sony manage to be on the safe side? Let’s review.



Before going into exploring other features of this outstanding newcomer, let’s review the absolutely amazing screen first. What is that so wanted 4K after all? In fact, it’s another name for UHD resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels. In order to impress you more, that’s around 8.3 million pixels. Wow! The maximum we saw in smartphones so far was around 3.7 million (resolution of 1440 x 2560). One thing we want to make clear though – this delightful 5.5 inch screen with the intense amount of pixels will reveal its full capacity only once you view hi-res images and videos on it. The panel used in this model – IPS LCD. The screen is beautifully bright and even though it doesn’t use its famous Triluminous technology, the viewing angles are excellent.


Just like with Xperia Z3+, it has the clear scratch-resistant glass. Looks delightful, but it does show your fingerprints. It came out pretty heavy – 180g. And the size is impressive as well: 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8 mm (6.08 x 2.98 x 0.31 in). So all in all it appears quite big. No pros or cons, it’s all up to your preferences. The edges on the Xperia Z5 Premium are an aluminium with a high-gloss texture. Just like in Z5 this model has reinforced corners to prevent them from breaking if it lands on one of them.

Performance and Key Features

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is now at Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. It claims to be switching to Android Marshmallow, but there is no specific date for that yet. You will enjoy the strong Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM, as it provides for quick switching between apps and any other multitasking. Web pages load very fast as well.

There’s plenty of pre-installed Sony-specific apps, such as PlayStation, Xperia Lounge and TrackID. Though unfortunately the most spectacular one that we love, PS4 Remote Play, is not there, needs to be uploaded.

Z5 is Sony’s first line with fingerprint sensor. Z5 Premium sure has it as well with quite interesting placement – the technology is integrated into the power button on the right-hand edge of the phone.

 Z5 premium                                 

Z5 Premium is dust-proof and water-resistant up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. No worries about using your phone in the rain, taking it with you into the bathroom. Some might argue it’s nothing too shabby. But we promise you’ll feel lack of the feature once you lose it.


Providing for extraordinary shooting experience is undoubtedly Sony’s great strength. Impressive 20.7mp in Z3 series seemed to break the boundaries of what could have been expected. But no, Sony isn’t done yet, in Z5 series we got the absolutely astonishing 23mp shooter!

Z5 premium camera                                

The pixel quality is incredible, and there's no better way to admire your shots than on the Xperia Z5 Premium's 4K display. Make sure you don’t limit yourself to 8mp photos though, which you get being on auto mode. Go through manual setting to enjoy the full capacity of those 23mp. Also explore another nice option of 5x zooming. New phase detection autofocus system is something that you will feel right away. The front 5.1mp camera gives you a nice experience of taking selfies.

As for video, there's Full HD recording as well as 4K – and now you can actually watch the 4K video you've recorded in the quality in which it's meant to be viewed.


There no built-in storage variants for Xperia Z5 Premium – it comes with 32GB as standard, with microSD support for up to 200GB.

Xperia Z5 Premium comes with Sony's own Music app preinstalled. The app has sections for podcasts, genres, albums and songs, and it's easy to scroll through your tracks.

Sony made an effort to preinstall some nice 4K content for you to watch as well, since it’s not widely available out there yet.

Speaking of gaming, you are going to love the processor that will help you to run all the games very smoothly. One thing though, and it’s pretty annoying to say the least – you are going to face some quite noticeable over-heating issues. If intense gaming is one of your biggest needs in a smartphone, then Xperia Z5 Premium is not for you. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is far better according to our tests.

Battery life

You need to keep in mind that with this extraordinary screen Z5 Premium has got, it’s going to be very touch on its battery. It has a non-removable 3430mAh battery pack, which sounds like quite a lot. But what does it come down to in real life experience? With moderate usage you are going to end up with the battery dead in the evening, that’s for sure.

Given such poor battery performance, it's a good job that Sony has included fast charging technology in Xperia Z5 Premium. You'll need a special charger to be able to use this. Unfortunately, you are going to be purchasing it separately, which leaves you with some extra costs.

We liked:

  • The 4K display is by no means a great step forward in the mobile phones industry.
  • Waterproof technology is awesome, especially with a big phone like this that can be easily dropped.
  • The fingerprint scanner is just right security-wise and it’s very user-friendly too.
  • The camera is magnificent, but it was very well expected from Sony.
  • The opportunity to enjoy PlayStation 4 games on a 4K display is unbelievably amazing. A strong point for all game lovers.

We disliked:

  • Over-heating is a big issue, especially given the fact that this model is simply designed for great gaming experience.
  • Battery life is obviously very poor. Sony should have foreseen this when implementing a cool but very power hungry screen.
  • We personally didn’t like the clear glass in the design with the fingerprints all over it. Frosted glass in Z5 and Z5 Compact looks much better.

Our verdict:

In many senses Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is a piece of art. Too bad though that its most considerable advantage, the 4K display, can be a delight to the eye with high-res content only. And that one is not widely available yet.