It’s been a while since Sony announced a new flagship model was coming to Australia, but in the next couple of months, you’ll find three, and one of them manages to outdo every single smartphone screen out there.
If you had asked us which of the many phones we reviewed last year was our favourite, this writer — who just so happens to do most of the reviews — would have told you that it was the Sony Xperia Z3, a 5.2 inch device that packed so much excellence into one body, it was hard to argue with it. There was a lovely screen, elegant design, an excellent camera, and a battery life capable of two days, something few phones have managed in the past year.
But that phone is now a year old, so what does Sony have up its sleeve?
This year, we’re going to see three models, as Sony announces the Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium.
A bit of a precursor, though, you may want to know how we’re jumping from the Z3 to the Z5.
Earlier in the year, Sony did produce a Z4 in Japan which was called the Z3+ everywhere else, and in a surprise move, the company didn’t release it here. That’s unusual because mobile phones have tended to be on six month release cycles, especially from Sony. We would normally get one in the first half of the year, usually launched at Mobile World Congress in Spain, and then another later in the year, usually launched at IFA in Germany.
This year, however, Sony in Australia skipped the regular cycle and waited until something more substantial arrived, as the Z3+/Z4 was a minor upgrade of sorts.
With the Z5 models, however, that major update is here.
Just like last year, there will be two main models, with the Z3 and Z3 Compact bettered by the Z5 and Z5 Compact. Like those two models, Sony isn’t changing some of the things that worked, keeping the screen sizes and resolutions identical, with the Z5 relying on a 5.2 inch Full HD display, while the Compact variant will be 4.6 inches with 720p HD.
Under the hood, the specs have taken a shift moving to a 64-bit eight-core processor made by Qualcomm, with the same Snapdragon 810 that appeared in the HTC One M9. The processors work with either 3GB RAM (Z5) or 2GB RAM (Z5 Compact), with Google’s Android 5.1 “Lollipop” running here, as well as up to 32GB storage and room to upgrade it via microSD, something at least one smartphone maker has given up on (we’re looking at you, Samsung).
The design language is still the same, with a flattened soft rectangular prism, with aluminium and glass still at play, with frosted glass now on the back, and Sony is also bringing in a fingerprint reader to the button on the side making the phones more secure across the board.
You’ll also find an upgraded camera here, updated to 23 megapixel on the back using a large sensor (1/2.3 inch) reliant on a phase detection technology for autofocus delivering more clarity, an focus speed of 0.03 seconds, and up to 5x zoom handled by a processing technology that makes the digital zoom a little clearer and easier to work with.