A return to excellence: Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium reviewed

Extra features

There are also some extra features worth mentioning about the Z5 Premium, because while many companies just push the phone in all its glory, Sony likes to up the ante, essentially sweetening the pot to bring people back to the Sony camp, or in some cases over to the Sony camp for their first outing.

We’ve seen that on pretty much every flagship Xperia phone in recent years, and the Z5 Premium is no different, delivering the same impressive set of extra bits and bobs that its Z5 and Z5 Compact siblings received.

As such, you’ll find support for Sony’s PlayStation 4 here, allowing you to log on in your own home and play the PS4 remotely. Called “Remote Play”, it’s basically what it sounds like, with an app that not only supports the PlayStation 4 over a network, but also a PS4 DualShock controller. Hey, Sony even makes a mount to connect the phone to a game pad, if you’re into that.

Sony's fingerprint sensor is in a great location.
Sony’s fingerprint sensor is in a great location.

A fingerprint sensor is also found in the phone, in the very convenient spot of being under the power button along the right edge, and it is — just like on the Z5 and Z5 Compact where it first appeared — very good, especially for a first effort.

We found you could not just map the fingertip, but the joins of the finger, meaning that if you naturally grip the phone, this grip can be turned into a form of security, with your first and second finger grip bringing the phone out of lock. It’s very impressive, and one of the more useful fingerprint sensors and locations we’ve ever experienced.

The fingerprint sensor won’t be too thrilled with you using it when you have wet hands, though, but that’s an issue every fingerprint sensor tends to struggle with.


You can also expect support for high resolution audio here, delivering 24-bit playback across audio files as high as 192kHz, meaning any FLAC files you buy from big websites should technically be supported, though you may need some new headphones to hear the complexity in those tracks.

Sony has also included one new feature in the 2015 Z5 models, and that is in-built noise cancellation technology, relying on the phone to talk to special headphones to reduce wind and transit engine noise, though you do need specialised headphones to make this work.

It’s a good thing, though, that Sony’s Z5 Premium arrives with those headphones, the one phone in the Z5 range to do so.

Yes, you should find a pair of Sony’s noise-cancelling MDR-NC31EM in the Z5 Premium pack, sweeting the pot just one more bit.

We're also big fans of the upgradeable storage, a feature that feels like it is beginning to disappear on mobiles.
We’re also big fans of the upgradeable storage, a feature that feels like it is beginning to disappear on mobiles.

Testing these, we found the sound quality to be fairly balanced if not a little weak on the mids, while the cancellation was decent, even if it did cut out with every song end, almost as if the end of the track had to restart the noise cancellation technology in the phone.

Still, cancelling in-earphones for free is one step better than paying for them, and you can always go better with an upgrade to a better pair later on if need be.

Beyond these “extra features”, the Xperia Z5 Premium still arrives with a neat trick, and it’s something no other flagship phablet offers. Quite literally, this one feature is something the Z5 Premium gets all to itself: water-resistance.


Yes, just like like the Z5 and Z5 Compact, you can run this phone under water and go taking photos thanks to that physical camera button. You can spill beer on it and dip the phone in water almost like a magic trick for all your friends.

Don’t worry about that exposed 3.5mm headset jack or open USB port, either, because this port is waterproof.


Go ahead, pour your water in, just make sure the door for the nanoSIM and microSD are closed. If they are, you’re good.

And while the IP65/68 protection is rated for freshwater only, you should still be able to take a dive in the pool or a swim in the ocean with this phone and wash it off under a tap when you’re done to at least continue to verify its water-resistance.

Frankly, we like knowing that if we’re ever taking photos of friends at the beach and we (or the phone) inadvertently goes in, it’s not going to need a bag of rice or silica gel to fix it, not to mention the amount of screaming, over-obsessive worrying, and potential loss of money that a dead phone tends to cause.



Easily Sony’s best phone of the year, the Z5 Premium may make it into the list for the best phone of the year, offering a solid version of Android, a ton of features, and one of the most lovely screens you’ll ever see. Simply put, this phone is a return to excellence for Sony, offering a truly high-end experience.

If an iPhone isn’t on the cards and you’re after the best Android around, it would be hard to go past Sony’s beautiful and upgradeable Xperia Z5 Premium. Highly recommended.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Great specs; Feels excellent in the hands; One of the best mobile screens you’ll ever see; Upgradeable storage; Pretty much water-proof; Arrives with a pair of noise-cancelling in-earphones; Can play high-resolution audio; Able to control a PlayStation 4 console; Fast 4G speeds; Decent battery life;
Still the odd bug slowing it down; Camera still loads slowly; Camera performance could be a little better in low-light; Gets very toasty to hold;