Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Hands-On: This 4K Screen is a Beautiful Gimmick

By Gareth Beavis on at

Let’s be clear about this phone. It’s all about one thing: sticking a 4K screen on a smartphone.

Yes, but it’s got a brilliant camer…DOESN’T MATTER, 4K SCREEN.

But Sony reckons the battery will last two da…DOESN’T MATTER, WORLD’S FIRST 4K SCREEN.

OK, yes, but there’s a pretty decent fingerprint scanne… WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING NOBODY CARES WHEN THERE’S A 4K SCREEN IN A SMARTPHONE.

That’s all anybody will be thinking when they pick up this little bit of bling, a reflectively chrome device that manages, somehow, to not look like a Premier League footballer’s shiny new Audi has done a poo.

There are other versions too: gold and black look pretty nifty, and don’t quite have the ‘Tin Man in a Tuxedo’ look to them – and the metallic rim, engraved with the Xperia logo adds a layer of shine to things. Metaphorically, as these things don’t need much more reflectiveness.

The 5.5-inch screen fits well into Sony’s boxy chassis, which manages to stay impressively thin and IP68 water and dust resistant to boot. But there’s just one problem: the 4K screen just doesn’t really add much.

The funny thing is Sony’s been moaning for months that the new trend for QHD (or 2K, if you’re being incorrect) screens is pointless, that you can’t see anything more from the extra pixels… turns out that’s only because the brand reckoned you needed to throw a few more thousand in there to make it worth viewing.

But the reality is that it doesn’t really look a lot different to the sharpness of the Full HD display on the ‘normal’ Xperia Z5, a phone that’s already looking great thanks to IPS technology imbued with Bravia and X-Reality smarts too.

But if you’re taken in by the 4K ‘gimmick’ – we’ll keep that in quote marks simply because Sony could magically add loads of content to suddenly make it perfect, but let’s be honest, won’t – then you’re still getting a good phone underneath.

That camera is great, with the world’s fastest autofocus on a smartphone, according to Sony. That 0.03-second time frame to get a clear picture really bore out in testing… you could spend time in a whirlwind and still get decent snaps.

There’s ClearZoom technology too, where five times zoom will still offer relatively clear pictures without having to move closer.

That fingerprint sensor might not be that novel, but the lozenge shape and its place on the side of the phone is – and it’s one of the fastest we’ve seen in action, removing the need to move your fingers at all.

And they say smartphone are making us lazy.

In short, while the Sony Xperia Z5 offers nearly all the technology on offer here, but in a less insane package (although the Premium does pack a large 3430mAh power pack to hopefully keep things ticking along for a couple of days), there’s still something cool about being an early adopter of something that will eventually penetrate every handset.

It’s a solid phone with great specs and some genuinely decent innovations – we’re just not sure that the 4K screen is one of them.