For a long time Sony has made great products, some would argue their portfolio is so wide they struggle to focus their marketing efforts on some of the better products they have. Here in Berlin at the annual IFA show they’ve revealed three new smartphones which, if they get the marketing attention, should be world beaters.
Impressive screens, great cameras, solid build quality – all great traits for any phone these days. Sony’s new Xperia Z5 range has all that and then some.
The Xperia Z5 is a very square looking smartphone taking solid design cues from its older siblings the Xperia range that have gone before it. The edges are more squared off and have less angled edges, and the entire outer rim feels very comfortable in the hand.
Around the edges the Xperia brand is etched into the side, as is the camera icon for the dedicated camera button.
Gone is the charging dock contacts, and gone are the flappy panels that had to cover all the slots and openings to allow for an waterproof rating.
Yet the waterproof rating stays, these things are among the most waterproof phones you will get, not just splash proof, proper drop it in the water protection.
The “standard” Z5 is a 5.2 inch display running 1080p.
Underneath that sits my personal favourite the Z5 Compact with a 4.6inch screen at 720p.
Both have a frosted glass finish on the back and come in a range of colours.
The big news is the addition of the Xperia Z5 premium to the range. This phone sports a 5.5inch display – and wait for it, it’s 4K resolution. So we’re not just shooting in 4K on phones now, we’re watching content too.
At the premium end of town, gone is the frosted glass, instead, it’s a mirror-like finish, in Chrome and Gold this looks like the kind of bling you’d expect from a US rap-star.
Sony claims two-day battery life on these three, and we’re inclined to believe that based on previous phones, but we’ll put that to the test over the next few weeks.
Top Class Camera
Ok, the Premium phone with 4K wasn’t the only big news. The cameras on all three are going to be class leading.
You see Sony makes the camera chips for almost all the big smartphones, do you think they give their competitors their very best and latest chips? Nope.
Enter the Z5 range. Super fast auto focus, and a hybrid focus system which means you’re not just getting spot focus on that center part of the image.
These Z5 cameras are using auto-focus technology from the Sony Alpha camera range, and that allows for a multi-point focus at any part of the image so you’re going to get amazing results on fast-moving images, or for those urgent snaps of a funny or crazy thing the kids are doing.
A little something else
Joining Apple, Samsung, Huawei and others, Sony has added a fingerprint scanner to the Xperia Z5 – on all three models you’ll be able to press and hold your finger on the power button (on the side) to unlock with your fingerprint.
In Case you worried
There was a lot of reports of the older Xperia’s sliding off smooth surfaces – the glass on glass would mean little or no friction and the phones went sliding. To stop that, the X5 has an every so slightly raised lip around the back which means the glass is protected, and isn’t in direct contact with the surface. Not a huge deal, but important nonetheless.
Now consider this. The iPhone 6 is a top seller – it’s a 4.7 inch screeen, The Xperia Z5 compact has potentially a better camera, is waterproof, and also has a solid premium feel to it. The Z5 premium is the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus and a touch smaller than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5.
This is a compelling offer in the market. The only thing that will hold them back is share of voice. Can they change the perception of buyers walking into a store or telco – we’re going to have to wait and see.
Regardless, these are some of the best phones we’ve seen, and they’ll be available globally from September (for the Z5 and Z5 Compact) and October (For the Premium) – Australian release dates are yet to be confirmed.
Trevor Long traveled to IFA in Berlin as a guest of Sony