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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: A 4K let-down with massive battery drain

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium display
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £600
inc VAT

It's very fast, has a 4K display, but the Xperia Z5 Premium's 4K display consumes a lot of battery


Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Performance

Aside from the display, there’s very little else to distinguish the Z5 Premium from Sony’s other two flagships, as they all use the same octa-core, 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip and the same 23-megapixel camera. Admittedly, the Z5 Premium proved a little faster in our benchmark scores, with a score of 1,349 in the Geekbench 3 single core test putting it around 100 points ahead of the Xperia Z5. A multicore score of 4,667 is more than 600 points in front, making it even faster than the Galaxy S6.

In practice, though, it took the Z5 Premium just as long to loads apps as the Z5. It’s still pretty quick, but does little to help justify the Z5 Premium’s higher price. Web browsing performance was also pretty equal. With a score of 1,524 in Peacekeeper, the Z5 Premium coped beautifully with complex web pages, and didn’t even stutter when it was faced with images, embedded videos and adverts within a single article.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium ports and corners

Likewise, graphics performance was nigh on identical; 1,565 frames in GFX Bench GL’s offscreen Manhattan test produced a highly respectable average of 25fps, the same as the Z5 Compact and just one frame behind the Z5. With this much power behind it, games such as Hearthstone proved no problem at all for the Z5 Premium, and simpler titles like Threes ran beautifully.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Camera

There was little to separate the Z5 Premium’s camera from the vanilla Z5’s. Images were well-exposed in our outdoor test shots, and colours and contrast levels were excellent, but look closer and there are almost identical levels of post-processing noise and grain. Objects in the centre of the frame were reasonably sharp, but further out it became noticeably fuzzier, with small details becoming all but lost in the haze. Switching to Manual mode and enabling HDR didn’t help matters either.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera test

^ The camera was a little disappointing outdoors, as there was a lot of post-processing noise present at full resolution, particularly toward the edge of the frame

Thankfully, indoor performance was significantly better. Textures in our still life arrangement were still a little blurred in low light, but grain was kept to a minimum across the frame and colours looked pleasingly neutral. There was also an excellent level of contrast on show, and the flash kept images nice and clean.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera test indoors

^ In low light, textures were a little hazy, but overall there wasn’t as much grain as our outdoor shots

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium camera test indoors with lamp

^ With our external lamp turned on, the Xperia Z5 Premium produced excellent indoor shots, showing plenty of detail and crisp, neutral colours

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Verdict

At launch, the Z5 Premium didn’t do enough to justify a £600 price tag and being chosen over the original Z5. With better 4K support on Android and generally across apps, the Z5 Premium is a fast, phone that has a stunning display. Unfortunately, this does come at a cost, where its 4K display drains a lot of battery – even at 1080p. Adding to its problems, its camera is a mixed bag, with excellent indoor shots, but noisy outdoor shots. Nevertheless, the Sony Z5 Premium is a good 4K smartphone, that now has 4K support, but does still lack the edge over non-4K smartphones.

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ProcessorOcta-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution3,840×2,160
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera23 megapixels
Storage (free)32GB (22.5GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Battery size3,430mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£600

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