Notebookcheck

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Smartphone Review

Andreas Kilian (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 01/26/2016

Mirror, mirror in my hand. Sony's new Xperia Z5 Premium flagship not only shines with high-performance technology and an exceptionally high-resolution ultra HD panel, its back can double as a mirror. Our report elucidates how well the Premium smartphone fares against the smaller Xperia Z5 and established competition.

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In addition to the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact smartphones that we examined closely, Sony now has a somewhat bigger model with a 5.5-inch screen called Xperia Z5 Premium. It has many components in common with its siblings: All are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC, have a convenient fingerprint scanner incorporated in the power button, and sport the same camera modules. The top model's unique selling point is its extremely high-resolution ultra HD screen - this panel type has not been used in the smartphone world to date. Buyers who want to call this novelty their own will have to dig deep into their pockets. A minimum of 700 Euros (~$763) is presently demanded for the handset (listed price: 779 Euros/~$849), placing the smartphone in the premium league in this respect. The storage capacity of 32 GB is not variable, but the buyer can choose from three colors (chrome, gold and black). Furthermore, a dual-SIM model is available in other markets.

The flagships from the competition can be seen as the Z5 Premium's rivals. Among them we find Google's new Nexus 6P as well as established models like LG's G4Huawei's Mate S and Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge. Primarily Apple's iPhone 6S Plus and the Windows-based Microsoft Lumia 950 XL are strong opponents outside the Android cosmos.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 3840x2160 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, Triluminos display for mobile, X-Reality for mobile, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 21.5 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio combo jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 200 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, barometer, compass, pedometer, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, DLNA, MHL 3.0, MirrorLink, Google Cast, Miracast, Throw, Nano-SIM, OTG, ANT+
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), UMTS HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), LTE (bandsr 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40) Cat 6 (50 Mbit/s upload, 300 Mbit/s download), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.8 x 154.4 x 76 ( = 0.31 x 6.08 x 2.99 in)
Battery
13 Wh, 3430 mAh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 48 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Primary Camera: 23 MPix (Hybrid-Autofokus f/2.0, 2160p-Video @ 30 fps)
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix (Fixfokus f/2.4, 1080p-Video @ 30 fps)
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual, power supply, USB cable, headset with diverse ear cushions , Xperia Lounge, MovieCreator, TrackID, Spotify, AVG Protection, Playstation apps, Google apps, Vine, OfficeSuite, Facebook, Sky Go, Skizze, Kobo books, File Commander, Privilege Plus, Dropbox, Amazon Shopping, Smart Connect, Lifelog, Socialife, FM radio, 24 Months Warranty, water and dust resistant in accordance to IP65 /IP68, SAR rate (head): 0.466; SAR rate (body): 0.468, fanless
Weight
181 g ( = 6.38 oz / 0.4 pounds), Power Supply: 50 g ( = 1.76 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
779 EUR

 

Case

Fans of high-quality materials will shed tears of joy when seeing the Z5 Premium: While the lateral edges are composed of metal, the entire front and back sides are covered by glass. It has been chemically tempered and coated with a fingerprint resistant finish, at least in the screen's area. The spec sheets do not reveal what kind of glass has been used for the back, but there is no subjective difference to the material on the front. Unlike the elegant-looking, matte back cover of the smaller Xperia Z5, our chrome-colored review sample could also be mistaken for a pocket mirror. It is obvious that this design also involves drawbacks. Its surface is covered with some fingerprints after only a short time. They are, however, quite easy to remove. The feel of the applied materials does not give reason for complaint. However, the lateral edges give an otherwise standard design some character. The non-removable battery is difficult to replace, which is a negative point.

The now bigger 5.5-inch screen has an effect on the casing's size: Compared with a normal Xperia Z5, the Premium model has larger dimensions. The handset's length also demonstrates that compactness was not a priority in the device's development. It clearly towers over many 5.5-inch rivals, such as LG's G4 or Huawei's Mate S. This additional space is visible in the relatively tall, unused areas above and below the screen. Some opponents like Apple's iPhone 6S Plus or Google's Nexus 6P with a larger 5.7-inch screen are even bigger. The Xperia Z5 Premium has a thickness of 7.8 millimeters (~0.3 in) according to the manufacturer, which is true in the glass surface areas. We measure marginal 0.3 millimeters more on our review sample's slightly protruding metal frame. In contrast to many competing models, the camera is fortunately flush with the casing. Although the handset is not the slimmest smartphone on the market with these dimensions, it is still relatively thin. Its weight of 181 grams (~6.4 oz) does not necessarily reflect that; only the iPhone 6S Plus is even heavier with 192 grams (~6.8 oz) in the comparison field. Thus, it projects a certain degree of quality.

In contrast to unibody handsets, the Xperia Z5 Premium is much easier to twist. However, it does not produce any disconcerting noises. Waves form on the screen only when higher pressure is applied to the device's front or back. Like other handsets in the Z5 lineup, the review sample is water and dust resistant in accordance to IP65 and IP68 - it should not be exposed to salt or chlorinated water, though. Therefore, care should be taken when visiting the beach or swimming pool.

Connectivity

App2SD is supported
App2SD is supported

The Z5 Premium's interfaces are the same as in the smaller Z5 model. It features 3 GB of RAM, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC and 32 GB of internal storage that can be expanded by up to 200 GB via the micro-SD slot. Approximately 21.5 GB of internal storage are available in delivery state. A metal flap on the casing left has to be opened for replacing the memory card. A relatively fragile plastic tray with recesses for a nano-SIM card and micro-SD card, as well as the extensible model plate with CE marking hides behind that. It is more or less easy to access depending on the length of the fingernails. The handset inevitably reboots when the tray is pulled out or inserted. It is possible to move apps to the external storage device providing they are programmed accordingly.

Despite the premium claim, the review sample does not sport a modern, double-sided USB Type C port like found in Google's Nexus 6P, for example. The classic micro-USB port supports video output via MHL 3.0 and peripherals can be connected via USB OTG. The user first has to look for the device manually via the "Device Connection" menu and the sub-item "USB connectivity".

Wireless transmission of content is also possible via Google Cast, DLNA or Miracast. Video output to a TV via screen mirroring was easily possible in our practical test using an Amazon Fire TV stick, however audio was not transmitted. Media streaming to certified end devices via DLNA was absolutely no problem. Beyond that, the smartphone supports NFC and Bluetooth 4.1. A small yet highly visible multicolor notification LED in the upper left corner, an FM radio and a reliable fingerprint scanner incorporated in the power button round off the handset's extensive configuration.


Left: Micro-SD and SIM card slot
Left: Micro-SD and SIM card slot
Right: Camera release, volume rocker, power button (with fingerprint scanner)
Right: Camera release, volume rocker, power button (with fingerprint scanner)
Upper edge: Microphone, 3.5 mm headset jack
Upper edge: Microphone, 3.5 mm headset jack
Lower edge: Loop, micro-USB port
Lower edge: Loop, micro-USB port

Software

Sony's user interface only subtly expands Android 5.1.1 by some useful additional features. Besides some smaller visual modifications and preloaded designs, there are a few new additional features such as a favorite bar when opening the recently used app view. In total, the modifications are kept within very tight limits - everyone who is familiar with stock Android will manage well right away. An update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow has been announced.

Unlike in Nexus handsets, multiple apps are preloaded on the Z5 Premium ex-factory. In addition to programs developed by Sony that, for example, enable Remote Play on the PlayStation 4, many third-party apps are found on the smartphone (e.g. Facebook, Sky Go, AVG Protection, Dropbox, etc.). However, except for the file manager "File Commander", all latter named can be uninstalled when not required.

The "Album" and "Video" apps play a special role in the Z5 Premium. The ultra HD panel can only really be used with them. As Sony clarified prior to market launch in the company's blog, all content is normally only calculated in Full HD and scaled up accordingly. However, photos and videos shot with the smartphone and 4K videos from streaming services are exceptions. Photos are in fact displayed in the screen's native resolution when looking at them with Sony's app. In a direct comparison with a 5.5-inch QHD panel, a small improvement is actually visible in details although the screen has to be viewed from an unnaturally close distance. A side effect of this pixel torrent: The Album app needs approximately 4 seconds to open every photo completely using enabled image optimizer before the screen can display its full potential.

Home screen
Quick settings
App drawer
Recently opened apps view
App quick access
Calculator in window (Small App)
Screen color settings
Software-Version
Stagefright Detector

Communication & GPS

GPS reception indoors
GPS reception indoors
GPS reception outdoors
GPS reception outdoors
Wi-Fi (5 GHz)
Wi-Fi (5 GHz)
Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz)
Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz)

Bluetooth version 4.1 is installed in the Xperia Z5 Premium for wireless near field communication. The review sample did not show weaknesses when using a Bluetooth mouse or transmitting data to other smartphones. The integrated Wi-Fi module supports the modern AC standard, and theoretically achieves data rates of up to 866 Mbit/s in the 5 GHz band thanks to MIMO technology. The component displayed very good reception qualities in the test with an Asus RT AC56U router; the results were rather middling in the 5 GHz frequency.

The Xperia Z5 Premium connects to mobile networks via quad-band GSM, UMTS and LTE Cat. 6 (13 frequencies; max. 300 Mbit/s download, 50 Mbit/s upload) on the move. Consequently, globetrotters should hardly have problems with network coverage. The reception in an urban area in the T-Mobile network was impeccable.

The smartphone utilizes GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou for localization. The current position was tracked down to 3 meters (~10 feet) outdoors quickly and accurately. The review sample also managed that quickly in a one-story supermarket. The direct comparison with the Garmin Edge 500 GPS bike computer shows that the Z5 Premium traces the route a bit less accurately in detail, which primarily leads to small discrepancies in difficult places like underpasses and in the area of power poles. However, that should be rather insignificant for navigation applications.

Garmin Edge 500 - turning point
Garmin Edge 500 - turning point
Garmin Edge 500 - bridge
Garmin Edge 500 - bridge
Garmin Edge 500 - underpass
Garmin Edge 500 - underpass
Xperia Z5 Premium - turning point
Xperia Z5 Premium - turning point
Xperia Z5 Premium - bridge
Xperia Z5 Premium - bridge
Xperia Z5 Premium - underpass
Xperia Z5 Premium - underpass

Telephone & Call Quality

Phone app: Keypad
Phone app: Keypad
Phone app: Frequently called numbers
Phone app: Frequently called numbers

Although the functionality of Sony's phone app does not differ from Google's stock solution, favorites and the call list are compiled in one view rather than on dedicated screens. As usual, a search box for finding contacts quickly is situated in the screen's upper third. A keypad can be opened via a button in the screen's lower area.

The Xperia Z5 Premium managed good voice quality in our test calls in the T-Mobile network. The smartphone user was impeccably audible without static on the landline side in both hands-free mode and during normal calls. The contact's voice was also always loud and clear via the smartphone's earpiece. The contact sounded a bit less natural when using the stereo speakers, but intelligibility did not decrease. The maximum volume is relatively low for use in noisier environments. The included headset convinced with good call quality at both ends in the test.

An unusual feature is found in the call settings: The feature "Slow Talk", which slows down the contact's speech a bit without distorting the voice when enabled. This option might prove useful when making calls in difficult conditions.

Cameras & Multimedia

Front camera (click for original)
Front camera (click for original)
Primary camera (click for original)
Primary camera (click for original)
4K video screenshot (click for original)
4K video screenshot (click for original)

Like in other models in the Xperia Z5 lineup, Sony installs its newly developed 1/2.3-inch Exmore sensor with 23 megapixels in the Xperia Z5 Premium. The primary camera has good preconditions for above-average image quality with this relatively large lens, wide f/2.0 lens and a focal point of 24 millimeters (~1 inch, equal to small-size pictures). It is striking that the 16:9 photos are not just sections of the 4:3 photo. Instead, additional image sections are captured in one axis while information is omitted in the other. The available sensor surface is thus never fully utilized.

Unfortunately, some weaknesses become evident in the practical test despite cutting edge technology. The photos display a good sharpness in daylight, but it decreases visibly toward the photo's edge even under these ideal conditions depending on the object (e.g. scene 1). Some competing products, such as Apple's iPhone 6S Plus, show a better performance. Furthermore, image noise caused by the sensor's higher sensitivity in low-light conditions is reduced via soft-focus. The camera in the Z5 Premium can brighten up dim environments with a simple LED flash. Although its brightness is clearly higher than in flashlight mode, it cannot quite compete with the dual-LED solutions in many higher-priced rivals. The photos often display a purplish tint at the edges when taken without the flash or in twilight or at night when the objects are too far away (e.g. scene 3).

The Xperia Z5 Premium collects plus points with its fast hybrid focus that enables quick release times. The physical release button with two clearly separated pressure points (focus and shot) also contributes to an especially comfortable handling. It can also be used to quick-start the camera app from standby.

The front-facing webcam also benefits from that. It is furnished with 5 megapixels and a 25-millimeter lens (~ 1 inch, equal to small-size pictures). Although distant objects are somewhat blurred due to the lack of auto focus, the camera produces useful selfie photos.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
Comparison: no zoom vs. maximum digital zoom (primary camera)
Comparison: Primary camera vs. front camera
Image section of photo in 16:9 mode compared with ...
... photo in 4:3 mode (primary camera)
Sample photo (primary camera)
Sample photo (primary camera)
Sample photo (primary camera)
Sample photo (primary camera)
Sample photo (primary camera)
Scene 3 with flash (primary camera)
Sample photo in daylight and overcast skies (primary camera)
Sample photo in twilight (primary camera)
Night shot with flash (primary camera)
Night shot without flash (primary camera)
Flash range in the dark (primary camera)
Night scene - automatic (primary camera)
Night scene - manual ISO 100 (primary camera)
Night scene (primary camera)
Creative effect
Creative effect
AR effekt

Panning panoramas with the Xperia Z5 is also possible. However, they suffer under heavy blurriness even when following the recording instructions closely. Furthermore, outcomes that are not distorted by errors at the edges are rarely possible.

Panorama panning (primary camera)
Panorama panning (primary camera)
Panorama panning with errors (primary camera)

The primary camera records videos in sharp 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second maximum. An image stabilizer (SteadyShot) ensures surprisingly blur-free clips when Full HD videos are enough for the user. This resolution is also the webcam's maximum for videos. The videos are very convincing for a front camera thanks to their smooth playback and sufficient sharpness at close distances. Audio tracks present good-sounding stereo sound.

The camera app was updated during the test period, which clearly altered the user interface. Selecting various modes was possible via a button in the lower right edge in factory state. That is now possible via a bar in the app's left area or via vertical swiping in the new software version. The additional video button in the "Manual" and "Superior Auto" modes has also been axed, making it necessary to always switch to the intended mode when recording videos. The multiple setting options and effect filters are positive, although they often involve restrictions. For example, the ISO sensitivity can only be adapted up to an image size of 8 megapixels in manual mode. Using effect filters results in Full HD shots.

Kamera-App ab Werk
Camera app ex-factory
Camera app post-update
Camera app post-update

Color Accuracy & Sharpness

Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of every patch.
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of every patch.

We compare the photo of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport with the factual reference color under controlled lighting conditions to test the color accuracy of the Xperia Z5 Premium's primary camera. The photos are not edited - e.g. manual white balance - afterwards.

The screenshot clearly shows that the camera has a well-functioning color management. The color hues are quite close to the reference value in most cases. Only large brightness shifts are seen in turquoise, cyan and light gray.

We take an edge-to-edge picture of our test chart in artificial light to assess the image sharpness. It is again seen that the image sharpness decreases from the center to the edges. This is primarily even more evident in the sample pictures taken in vegetation. Minor distortions are also visible.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Section of test image
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Sony Xperia Z3 Plus: Section of test image
Sony Xperia Z3 Plus
Apple iPhone 6S Plus: Section of test image
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Google Nexus 6P: Section of test image
Google Nexus 6P
Huawei Mate S: Section of test image
Huawei Mate S
HTC One M9: Section of test image
HTC One M9
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Test image
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Test image

Accessories

Despite the very promising addendum "Premium", the accessories included for the review sample is not very different from that of many other smartphones. Although the in-ear headset shines with a decent sound and useful microphone, the power supply with only 7.5 watts (5 V, 1.5 A) is somewhat undersized in this price range. Thus, it is not surprising that Sony has a quick charger in its lineup that, however, adds 29 Euros (~$32) to the price. Furthermore, a window case specially designed for the Xperia Z5 Premium is available for 39 Euros (~$43); it covers both the front and back sides.

Power supply
Power supply
Headset
Headset

Warranty

Warranty information for the review sample was not included. However, according to Sony's homepage, mobile devices are shipped with a two-year warranty. That is limited to one year for the original, included accessories and the non-removable battery.

Input Devices & Handling

The Xperia keyboard is enabled by default for entering text. Its base setting is very plain. However, various options for customization are available so that, for example, a number row and second assignment icons can be faded in when required. Compared with Google's stock layout, the lower letter row is a bit more cramped, which was not a drawback during use. Typing even long sentences was easy thanks to the large and accurate touchscreen.

All physical keys feature a good pressure point and are installed firmly enough in the casing. The lowered power button also serves as an easy to reach, reliable fingerprint scanner. However, just placing the finger on it does not activate the handset. The key has to be pressed to wake it up from standby. This fast unlocking solution proved very convenient in routine use.

As expected from a premium-range smartphone, the operating system always ran smoothly in the test thanks to its high-performance hardware. The home screen is displayed instantaneously even when sophisticated programs are closed suddenly.

Xperia keyboard
Xperia-Tastatur
Xperia keyboard
Xperia keyboard
Customizing assistent
Customizing assistent
Xperia keyboard designs
Xperia keyboard designs

Display

Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid

According to Sony, the Xperia Z5 Premium is the first smartphone to feature an ultra HD panel. The screen has a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels on a diagonal of 5.5 inches. Its pixel density of over 800 PPI outshines Samsung's high-end Galaxy S6 Edge (576 PPI) at least in figures, for example. However, the ultra HD panel only really utilizes its full resolution when looking at photos or watching videos. The screen renders all other content only in a scaled up Full HD resolution. Whether this torrent of pixels makes sense is controversial since there is virtually no visible difference in routine use - it only becomes evident at a very close distance and when directly compared with other premium smartphones.

The review sample achieves a brightness of 540.8 cd/m² in the center of a completely white screen. This is a good but not outstanding outcome compared with the competition. For example, the smaller Xperia Z5 has an even brighter screen. The resulting contrast of 1244:1 is decent, and it is on par with other rivals furnished with an IPS panel. The rates only vary marginally when the automatic brightness control is activated. However, the measurements performed with equally distributed bright and dark areas on the screen are more significant (average picture level / APL 50). The review sample reaches a much worse outcome of 426 cd/m², almost nullifying the difference to the presumed inferior rivals - such as Google's Nexus 6P - in these tests. Furthermore, the contrast drops to poor 961:1, and the illumination of 85% is rather middling.

573
cd/m²
545
cd/m²
495
cd/m²
578
cd/m²
560
cd/m²
492
cd/m²
575
cd/m²
558
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 578 cd/m² Average: 540.8 cd/m² Minimum: 4.14 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 560 cd/m²
Contrast: 1244:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.19 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 10.58 | - Ø
99.41% sRGB (Calman) 73.19% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.7

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 495 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
3840x2160 px 5.5'' (IPS)
Sony Xperia Z5
1920x1080 px 5.2'' (IPS)
Google Nexus 6P
2560x1440 px 5.7'' (AMOLED)
LG G4
2560x1440 px 5.5'' (IPS)
Huawei Mate S
1920x1080 px 5.5'' (IPS)
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
2560x1440 px 5.1'' (AMOLED)
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1920x1080 px 5.5'' (IPS)
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2560x1440 px 5.7'' (AMOLED)
Screen
-8%
35%
9%
13%
29%
17%
20%
Brightness
541
624
15%
365
-33%
536
-1%
350
-35%
338
-38%
560
4%
297
-45%
Brightness Distribution
85
85
0%
90
6%
90
6%
87
2%
94
11%
91
7%
93
9%
Black Level *
0.45
0.68
-51%
0.47
-4%
0.46
-2%
Contrast
1244
984
-21%
1204
-3%
1267
2%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.19
7.96
13%
2.34
75%
6.17
33%
4.95
46%
2.2
76%
3.55
61%
2.67
71%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.58
10.95
-3%
1.03
90%
6.26
41%
6.54
38%
2.37
78%
3.88
63%
2.81
73%
Gamma
2.7 89%
2.61 92%
2.23 108%
2.48 97%
2.27 106%
2.41 100%
2.2 109%
2.08 115%
CCT
9760 67%
7402 88%
6429 101%
8171 80%
6943 94%
6425 101%
7280 89%
6379 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
73.19
65.48
-11%
87.77
20%
59.05
-19%
66.31
-9%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
98.63
92.8
99.79

* ... smaller is better

The user generally has three options for image optimizing: "X-Reality for mobile", "live color" and "off". Differences between these modes are primarily seen in color saturation. Deficits in color reproduction are common for all modes. The average DeltaE shift of at best 9.19 (mixed colors) and 10.58 (grayscale) are remote from the ideal (DeltaE <3). That is also true for the gamma rate of approximately 2.7 (ideal: 2.2) and color temperature of approximately 10,000 K (ideal: 6,500 K). In any case, these rates lead to a visible bluish tint that is particularly evident in the grayscale. These unimpressive rates place the Xperia Z5 Premium in last place in the competition field. The heavy bluish tint is primarily striking in a direct comparison with other screens subjectively. The color looks very vivid with enabled image optimization otherwise. However, similar to other devices in the Xperia lineup, the screen can be improved via manual white balance.

Something good can be said again in terms of the AdobeRGB color space coverage: With a rate of 73.19%, the review sample places itself even before Apple's iPhone 6S Plus, Microsoft's Lumia 950 XL and LG’s G4. It cannot quite hold a candle to Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge furnished with an AMOLED panel.

ColorChecker (without image optimization)
ColorChecker (without image optimization)
Grayscale (without image optimization)
Grayscale (without image optimization)
Saturation Sweeps (without image optimization)
Saturation Sweeps (without image optimization)
Colorspace (without image optimization)
Colorspace (without image optimization)
ColorChecker (X-Reality)
ColorChecker (X-Reality)
Grayscale (X-Reality)
Grayscale (X-Reality)
Saturation Sweeps (X-Reality)
Saturation Sweeps (X-Reality)
Colorspace (X-Reality)
Colorspace (X-Reality)
ColorChecker (live color)
ColorChecker (live color)
Grayscale (live color)
Grayscale (live color)
Saturation Sweeps (live color)
Saturation Sweeps (live color)
Colorspace (live color)
Colorspace (live color)
sRGB color space coverage (99.41 %)
sRGB color space coverage (99.41 %)
AdobeRGB color space coverage (73.19 %)
AdobeRGB color space coverage (73.19 %)

The screen remains easily legible outdoors as long as direct reflections are not seen on the screen's panel. The device should not reach very high temperatures because they lead to a clear brightness reduction. For example, this dimming occurred while playing "Asphalt 8" in a sunlit room. Although other smartphones, such as LG's G4, display a similar behavior, the reduction is made visible. Sony's smartphone indicates that it is still shining at full brightness. We observed this mannerism half a year ago in Sony's Xperia Z3+.

Screen in direct sunlight
Screen in direct sunlight
Shaded screen in sunlight
Shaded screen in sunlight

There is not much to complain about in terms of the new ultra HD IPS screen's viewing angle stability. Colors remain stable, and nothing inverts. It is obvious that the screen dims when viewed from the side.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Discussion

Performance

Like in the entire Xperia Z5 lineup, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC is also installed in the premium model. The upper-range SoC is designed in ARM's big.LITTLE architecture and has four frugal Cortex A53 cores (max. 1.5 GHz) and four fast Cortex A57 cores (max. 2.0 GHz). Beyond that, the processor can fall back on 3 GB of working memory.

The Xperia Z5 Premium presents very good performance in many benchmarks that are sometimes even slightly better than that of rivals based on the same SoC. Only Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge can boast with better scores throughout. Apple's iPhone 6S Plus also leads the way in the single-core performance test of Geekbench 3. However, the placing of the review samples in AndEBench PRO is conspicuous: The Xperia Z5 Premium ends up behind LG's G4 although it has a marginally slower SoC. A reason might be the SoC's throttling behavior that generally leads to increasingly deteriorating results when the benchmark is performed multiple times in succession.

AnTuTu Benchmark v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
60598 Points ∼75%
Sony Xperia Z5 (v5.7.1)
44878 Points ∼56% -26%
Google Nexus 6P
55718 Points ∼69% -8%
LG G4
49941 Points ∼62% -18%
Huawei Mate S
47732 Points ∼59% -21%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
72094 Points ∼89% +19%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
58869 Points ∼73% -3%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
4492 Points ∼23%
Sony Xperia Z5
4414 Points ∼23% -2%
Google Nexus 6P
4587 Points ∼24% +2%
LG G4
3556 Points ∼18% -21%
Huawei Mate S
3970 Points ∼21% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
5619 Points ∼29% +25%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4429 Points ∼23% -1%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1335 Points ∼28%
Sony Xperia Z5
1325 Points ∼28% -1%
Google Nexus 6P
1335 Points ∼28% 0%
LG G4
1107 Points ∼23% -17%
Huawei Mate S
941 Points ∼20% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1503 Points ∼32% +13%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2538 Points ∼53% +90%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
461.076 MFLOPS ∼16%
Sony Xperia Z5
499.014 MFLOPS ∼17% +8%
Google Nexus 6P
262.042 MFLOPS ∼9% -43%
LG G4
506.507 MFLOPS ∼17% +10%
Huawei Mate S
282.524 MFLOPS ∼10% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
839.138 MFLOPS ∼28% +82%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1295 MFLOPS ∼44% +181%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2956.69 MFLOPS ∼100% +541%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
240.97 MFLOPS ∼24%
Sony Xperia Z5
251.752 MFLOPS ∼25% +4%
Google Nexus 6P
87.088 MFLOPS ∼9% -64%
LG G4
361.351 MFLOPS ∼35% +50%
Huawei Mate S
129.572 MFLOPS ∼13% -46%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
625.622 MFLOPS ∼61% +160%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
669 MFLOPS ∼66% +178%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
369.586 MFLOPS ∼36% +53%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
986 Points ∼78%
Sony Xperia Z5
675 Points ∼53% -32%
Google Nexus 6P
791 Points ∼63% -20%
LG G4
881 Points ∼70% -11%
Huawei Mate S
834 Points ∼66% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
778 Points ∼62% -21%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1199 Points ∼95% +22%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
837 Points ∼66% -15%
Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
3137 Points ∼36%
Sony Xperia Z5
3095 Points ∼36% -1%
Google Nexus 6P
2424 Points ∼28% -23%
LG G4
1995 Points ∼23% -36%
Huawei Mate S
962 Points ∼11% -69%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
2489 Points ∼29% -21%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4299 Points ∼50% +37%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
2040 Points ∼24% -35%
System (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
2737 Points ∼44%
Sony Xperia Z5
2360 Points ∼38% -14%
Google Nexus 6P
1798 Points ∼29% -34%
LG G4
2368 Points ∼38% -13%
Huawei Mate S
2129 Points ∼34% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
3989 Points ∼64% +46%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
3925 Points ∼63% +43%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1386 Points ∼22% -49%
Overall (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1649 Points ∼50%
Sony Xperia Z5
1437 Points ∼44% -13%
Google Nexus 6P
1405 Points ∼43% -15%
LG G4
1596 Points ∼49% -3%
Huawei Mate S
1222 Points ∼37% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1821 Points ∼55% +10%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2206 Points ∼67% +34%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1465 Points ∼45% -11%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
4540 points ∼99%
Sony Xperia Z5
4268 points ∼93% -6%
Google Nexus 6P
4332 points ∼94% -5%
LG G4
4118 points ∼90% -9%
Huawei Mate S
4293 points ∼93% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
4498 points ∼98% -1%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
8235 points ∼44%
Sony Xperia Z5
5200 points ∼28% -37%
Google Nexus 6P
10823 points ∼57% +31%
LG G4
8940 points ∼47% +9%
Huawei Mate S
5932 points ∼32% -28%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
13558 points ∼72% +65%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
5094 Points ∼63%
Sony Xperia Z5
5184 Points ∼64% +2%
Google Nexus 6P
4716 Points ∼58% -7%
LG G4 (Android 5.1 Lillipop)
4579 Points ∼56% -10%
Huawei Mate S (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop)
4872 Points ∼60% -4%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Android 5.0.2)
5050 Points ∼62% -1%
ANDEBench PRO
3D (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
43.96 fps ∼34%
LG G4
35.39 fps ∼27% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
37.8 fps ∼29% -14%
Platform (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
137.6 Points ∼2%
LG G4
187.6 Points ∼3% +36%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
191.9 Points ∼3% +39%
Memory Latency (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
2446 KOps/s ∼30%
LG G4
2479 KOps/s ∼31% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
5030 KOps/s ∼62% +106%
Memory Bandwidth (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
6828 MB/s ∼34%
LG G4
8773 MB/s ∼44% +28%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
10467 MB/s ∼53% +53%
CoreMark-PRO/HPC (Base) (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
2173 Points ∼37%
LG G4
3046 Points ∼51% +40%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
4366 Points ∼74% +101%
Device Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
7087 Points ∼44%
LG G4
8741 Points ∼54% +23%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
10328 Points ∼64% +46%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1857 Points ∼56%
LG G4
2179 Points ∼66% +17%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
2345 Points ∼71% +26%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1972 Points ∼59% +6%
2D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
5907 Points ∼85%
LG G4
4850 Points ∼69% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
5274 Points ∼75% -11%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4818 Points ∼69% -18%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
6631 Points ∼35%
LG G4
6223 Points ∼33% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
6924 Points ∼36% +4%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
18062 Points ∼95% +172%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
127736 Points ∼47%
LG G4
103512 Points ∼38% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
176225 Points ∼65% +38%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
47850 Points ∼18% -63%
System (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
7332 Points ∼83%
LG G4
7695 Points ∼87% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
8438 Points ∼95% +15%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
7975 Points ∼90% +9%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Google Nexus 6P Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992, Qualcomm Adreno 418, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Mate S HiSilicon Kirin 935, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP8, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6S Plus Apple A9, Apple A9 / PowerVR GT7600, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
 
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash

The Adreno 430 GPU responsible for video output does a good job and - with the exception of Basemark X 1.1 - places the review sample up front before all Android rivals. The comparatively resource-sparing internal calculation in the Full HD rather than ultra HD resolution likely contributes to that in many benchmarks. Only Apple's iPhone 6S Plus achieves even better outcomes.

GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
56 fps ∼5%
Sony Xperia Z5
49 fps ∼4% -12%
Google Nexus 6P
44 fps ∼4% -21%
LG G4
33.7 fps ∼3% -40%
Huawei Mate S
10 fps ∼1% -82%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
53 fps ∼5% -5%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
78.9 fps ∼7% +41%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
27.11 fps ∼2% -52%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
52 fps ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z5
49 fps ∼13% -6%
Google Nexus 6P
33 fps ∼9% -37%
LG G4
24.9 fps ∼7% -52%
Huawei Mate S
11 fps ∼3% -79%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
32 fps ∼9% -38%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
59 fps ∼16% +13%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
18.75 fps ∼5% -64%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
18 fps ∼6%
Sony Xperia Z5
16 fps ∼5% -11%
Google Nexus 6P
16 fps ∼5% -11%
LG G4
10 fps ∼3% -44%
Huawei Mate S
3.9 fps ∼1% -78%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
13 fps ∼4% -28%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
28 fps ∼9% +56%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
19 fps ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z5
18 fps ∼21% -5%
Google Nexus 6P
9.5 fps ∼11% -50%
LG G4
5.7 fps ∼7% -70%
Huawei Mate S
4.4 fps ∼5% -77%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
6.1 fps ∼7% -68%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
28 fps ∼33% +47%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
25 fps ∼5%
Sony Xperia Z5
24 fps ∼5% -4%
Google Nexus 6P
25 fps ∼5% 0%
LG G4
15 fps ∼3% -40%
Huawei Mate S
5.8 fps ∼1% -77%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
25 fps ∼5% 0%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼8% +54%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
17.54 fps ∼4% -30%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
27 fps ∼24%
Sony Xperia Z5
26 fps ∼23% -4%
Google Nexus 6P
17 fps ∼15% -37%
LG G4
9.5 fps ∼8% -65%
Huawei Mate S
6.3 fps ∼6% -77%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
15 fps ∼13% -44%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼34% +42%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
11.81 fps ∼11% -56%
3DMark
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1402 Points ∼55%
Sony Xperia Z5
1024 Points ∼40% -27%
Google Nexus 6P
1317 Points ∼52% -6%
LG G4
1216 Points ∼48% -13%
Huawei Mate S
1051 Points ∼41% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1320 Points ∼52% -6%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Metal)
1676 Points ∼66% +20%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1074 Points ∼20%
Sony Xperia Z5
1103 Points ∼20% +3%
Google Nexus 6P
1589 Points ∼30% +48%
LG G4
440 Points ∼8% -59%
Huawei Mate S
259 Points ∼5% -76%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1152 Points ∼21% +7%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Metal)
2601 Points ∼48% +142%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
1132 Points ∼29%
Sony Xperia Z5
1084 Points ∼28% -4%
Google Nexus 6P
1519 Points ∼39% +34%
LG G4
513 Points ∼13% -55%
Huawei Mate S
311 Points ∼8% -73%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1186 Points ∼31% +5%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Metal)
2318 Points ∼60% +105%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
12852 Points ∼20%
Sony Xperia Z5
11442 Points ∼18% -11%
Google Nexus 6P
14983 Points ∼24% +17%
LG G4
11178 Points ∼18% -13%
Huawei Mate S
11671 Points ∼18% -9%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
19260 Points ∼30% +50%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
12854 Points ∼20% 0%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
37725 Points ∼8%
Sony Xperia Z5
37738 Points ∼8% 0%
Google Nexus 6P
34758 Points ∼8% -8%
LG G4
23390 Points ∼5% -38%
Huawei Mate S
8931 Points ∼2% -76%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
23954 Points ∼5% -37%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
41615 Points ∼9% +10%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
26380 Points ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z5
24980 Points ∼13% -5%
Google Nexus 6P
26876 Points ∼14% +2%
LG G4
18821 Points ∼10% -29%
Huawei Mate S
9423 Points ∼5% -64%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
22723 Points ∼12% -14%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
27795 Points ∼15% +5%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
14.52 fps ∼41%
LG G4
8.74 fps ∼24% -40%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
9.97 fps ∼28% -31%
Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (1800x1080)
60.1 fps ∼100%
LG G4 (2392x1440)
38.7 fps ∼64% -36%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (2560x1440)
53.8 fps ∼90% -10%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
23747 Points ∼54%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
27059 Points ∼61% +14%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
32020 Points ∼71%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
38701 Points ∼86% +21%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
33082 Points ∼74% +3%

A similar impression is also conveyed in the browser tests. While Apple's iPhone 6S Plus remains unmatched, only Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge offers a slightly higher performance than the Xperia Z5 Premium among the Android-based handsets.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
8851 Points ∼20%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
8627 Points ∼19%
Google Nexus 6P (Chrome 47)
8804 Points ∼19%
LG G4 (Android 5.0 Lollipop Stock-Browser)
7832 (min: 6791) Points ∼17%
Huawei Mate S (Stock Browser Android 5.1)
4106 Points ∼9%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
8650 Points ∼19%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
15967 Points ∼35%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
8059 Points ∼18%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
577.2 ms * ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
578.6 ms * ∼14%
Google Nexus 6P (Chrome 47)
529.7 ms * ∼13%
LG G4 (Chrome 39)
719 ms * ∼18%
Huawei Mate S (Stock Browser Android 5.1)
1041.8 ms * ∼26%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
347.1 ms * ∼9%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
223 ms * ∼6%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
409.7 ms * ∼10%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
4377.1 ms * ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
5693.1 ms * ∼10%
Google Nexus 6P (Chrome 47)
4193 ms * ∼7%
LG G4 (Android 5.0 Lollipop Stock-Browser)
4770.8 ms * ∼8%
Huawei Mate S (Stock Browser Android 5.1)
11028.7 ms * ∼19%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
4037.4 ms * ∼7%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
1743 ms * ∼3%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
5552.9 ms * ∼9%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
106 Points ∼19%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
73 Points ∼13%
Google Nexus 6P (Chrome 47)
116 Points ∼21%
LG G4 (Android 5.0 Lollipop Stock-Browser)
82 Points ∼15%
Huawei Mate S (Stock Browser Android 5.1)
73 Points ∼13%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
190 Points ∼34%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
113 Points ∼20%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
8986 Points ∼46%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
5633 Points ∼29%
Google Nexus 6P (Chrome 47)
8622 Points ∼44%
LG G4 (Android 5.0 Lollipop Stock-Browser)
7818 Points ∼40%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
9334 Points ∼48%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
15529 Points ∼79%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
7362 Points ∼38%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
48.2 Points ∼0%
Sony Xperia Z5 (Android 5.1.1, Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76)
37 Points ∼0%
Google Nexus 6P
47.4 Points ∼0%
LG G4 (Chrome 44)
43.118 Points ∼0%
Huawei Mate S (Stock Browser Android 5.1)
25.412 Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Chrome 44)
49.193 Points ∼0%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus (Safari Mobile 9.0.1)
118.7 Points ∼0%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
46 Points ∼0%
Browsermark - 2.1 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
2348 points ∼33%
LG G4 (Chrome 39)
1931 points ∼27%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
2731 points ∼38%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
0 points ∼0%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL (Edge 13.10586)
988 points ∼14%
Vellamo 3.x - Browser (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium (Chrome 47)
5395 Points ∼71%
LG G4 (Android 5.0 Lollipop Stock-Browser)
4053 (min: 4006) Points ∼54%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Samsung Browser 3.0)
5463 Points ∼72%

* ... smaller is better

Although the AndroBench storage tests show that the poor results of the smaller Xperia Z5 in "random read 4K" do not affect the premium model as heavily, the performance gain is not enough to stand up against the strong competition. The other measurements deliver very mixed results. While the review sample is only surpassed by Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge in sequential read, it ends up last place in sequential write. Its behavior in random write places it midfield.

The other benchmarks also indicate a weakness of the installed storage where the Xperia Z5 Premium and its technological twin - Xperia Z5 - are always in last place.

Rates of approximately 22 MB/s were reached when transmitting files from the PC to the smartphone's internal storage via USB cable. Around 26 MB/s were possible in the other direction. Both are not good results even for the underlying USB 2.0 standard.

We also tested the micro-SD slot's speed with our Toshiba Exceria SD-CX32UHS1 memory card (UHS-I Class 3, max. read: 85 MB/s, max. write: 50 MB/s). The results for both sequential read (17.42 MB/s) and write (11.21 MB/s) clearly remain behind the memory card's potentials. The interface is also weak in random read (7.19 MB/s) and random write (0.11 MB/s).

AndroBench 3
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
14.53 MB/s ∼28%
Sony Xperia Z5
11.46 MB/s ∼22%
Google Nexus 6P
11.79 MB/s ∼23%
LG G4
15 MB/s ∼29%
Huawei Mate S
17.74 MB/s ∼35%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
19.84 MB/s ∼39%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
19.11 MB/s ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z5
3.59 MB/s ∼3%
Google Nexus 6P
20.1 MB/s ∼15%
LG G4
31.5 MB/s ∼23%
Huawei Mate S
27.25 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
77.43 MB/s ∼56%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
99.4 MB/s ∼62%
Sony Xperia Z5
115.48 MB/s ∼72%
Google Nexus 6P
122.51 MB/s ∼77%
LG G4
153 MB/s ∼96%
Huawei Mate S
103.44 MB/s ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
139.12 MB/s ∼87%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
256.75 MB/s ∼53%
Sony Xperia Z5
219.84 MB/s ∼45%
Google Nexus 6P
236.33 MB/s ∼48%
LG G4
251 MB/s ∼52%
Huawei Mate S
143.96 MB/s ∼30%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
319.25 MB/s ∼66%
BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
876 Points ∼33%
Sony Xperia Z5
865 Points ∼32%
Google Nexus 6P
1136 Points ∼43%
LG G4
1558 Points ∼58%
Huawei Mate S
1304 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1426 Points ∼53%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1124 Points ∼42%
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
1945 Points ∼73%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - Disk Tests (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
34121 Points ∼25%
LG G4
67837 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
68872 Points ∼50%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
96768 Points ∼71%
ANDEBench PRO - Storage (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
3456 KB/s ∼33%
LG G4
9878 KB/s ∼94%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
7878 KB/s ∼75%

Games

The Adreno 430 GPU in the Xperia Z5 Premium always ensures smooth gameplay thanks to the internal graphic calculation in the Full HD resolution. Both restrained games, such as "Angry Birds 2" as well as graphically demanding games like "Asphalt 8" can be enjoyed without lags in high quality. Furthermore, the integrated position sensors and the accurate touchscreen function extremely reliably in games. Beyond that, it is a pleasure to find the front-sided speaker is not covered by the hands when the smartphone is held in landscape mode.

Screenshot "Asphalt 8"
Screenshot "Asphalt 8"
Screenshot "Angry Birds 2"
Screenshot "Angry Birds 2"

Emissions

Temperature

A bigger casing usually makes it possible to cool the installed components more efficiently. The Xperia Z5 Premium has the upper hand on its smaller siblings here. However, it soon becomes clear that the review sample cannot utilize this advantage. While it reaches similar idle temperatures of 31 to 34 °C (87.8 to 93.2 °F) as the smaller Xperia Z5, the average load rates of over 40 °C (104 °F) are much higher. The maximum temperatures are not critical since the temperatures are largely distributed over the handset's front and back, and they are even below those of some rivals such as LG's G4 or Apple's iPhone 6S Plus.

This temperature increase despite the casing's higher volume gives hope that the Snapdragon 810 SoC, which tends to throttle, will not be as limited in this case. We use the battery test of GFXBench, which runs the T-Rex test thirty times in succession and records temperature increase as well as battery consumption, to check that. And in fact: While a clear performance decrease is noticed after only one run in Sony's Xperia Z5 and Google's Nexus 6P based on the same SoC, that first sets in after the fourth run in the review sample. The performance loss of 10 to 15% up to the 23rd run also remains within a tight limit for a long time. However, the Z5 Premium's computing power drops to a similar degree as both comparison models (25%). The much higher performance decrease of almost 50% in Sony's Xperia Z3+ tested six months ago shows that the results could be worse. Seen that way, Sony has done its homework.

GFXBench: Performance
GFXBench: Performance
GFXBench: Frame times
GFXBench: Frame times
GFXBench: Battery consumption
GFXBench: Battery consumption
Max. Load
 41.3 °C40.1 °C38 °C 
 41.6 °C40.2 °C39.6 °C 
 40.6 °C40.1 °C39 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 40.1 °C
38.6 °C42.1 °C43.1 °C
38.6 °C41.8 °C42.1 °C
38 °C41.2 °C41 °C
Maximum: 43.1 °C
Average: 40.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  35.8 °C | Room Temperature 22.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

Speaker characteristic: Base noise (green), 50% volume (blue), 100% volume (red)
Speaker characteristic: Base noise (green), 50% volume (blue), 100% volume (red)

The Xperia Z5 Premium is furnished with a stereo sound system that is situated on the front. Its advantage is that the sound is directed directly toward the user. The system provides a good sound quality that clearly outperforms the mostly more basic solutions. However, the sound of Google's Nexus 6P is somewhat better. Subjectively, the maximum volume is not exceptionally high, but it is sufficient for most applications. Annoying static noise is not produced, either.

We also measured the speakers' sound and created a pink noise diagram. While the middle and high frequencies of 1 to 7 kHz are covered almost homogeneously, both the ultra-high tones and bass range are clearly under-represented. The smartphone achieves a maximum of 85.63 dB(A). 

Subjectively, the 3.5 mm audio jack renders a clear signal that can be customized via various equalizer presets and sound enhancements. The included headset is shipped with differently sized ear cushions to ensure a comfortable fit. Its sound is also convincing; even the bass range is present.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Xperia Z5 Premium does not give an outstanding performance in terms of power consumption. Disregarding the unusually high minimum idle rate of LG's G4 and the marginally higher load consumption of Google's Nexus 6P, the review sample drains the most energy from its battery following Microsoft's Lumia 950 XL. The considerably increased idle rate is noticed especially in comparison with Google's reference model, which is likely due to the new ultra HD panel.

The included 7.4-watt power supply fully recharges the 3430 mAh battery after 2 hours and 45 minutes. Some competing products with stronger power supplies are twice as fast. However, it should be possible to reduce the waiting time with a corresponding power supply that supports Quick Charge 2.0.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.02 / 0.23 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.83 / 2.36 / 2.42 Watt
Load midlight 7.27 / 9.18 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z5
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 6P
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
LG G4
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Mate S
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Power Consumption
20%
20%
7%
35%
44%
31%
-66%
Idle Minimum *
0.83
0.7
16%
0.83
-0%
1.1
-33%
0.6
28%
0.5
40%
0.5
40%
2.85
-243%
Idle Average *
2.36
1.7
28%
1.09
54%
1.5
36%
1.2
49%
0.9
62%
1.9
19%
2.95
-25%
Idle Maximum *
2.42
1.8
26%
1.17
52%
1.9
21%
1.6
34%
1.3
46%
2.2
9%
3.26
-35%
Load Average *
7.27
5.6
23%
7.49
-3%
6.6
9%
4.1
44%
3.8
48%
3.2
56%
8.92
-23%
Load Maximum *
9.18
8.7
5%
9.51
-4%
8.8
4%
7.4
19%
6.8
26%
6.4
30%
9.39
-2%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

As presumed in view of the high power consumption, the generously sized 3430 mAh battery in the Xperia Z5 Premium cannot prevent the rivals from usually lasting longer. It comes in third last in the more practically relevant Wi-Fi test with a runtime of 6 hours and 12 minutes. When playing video material the review sample even takes last place in the group. It is only enough for a place in the midfield in the load test.

Various energy-saving features can be enabled depending on how the smartphone is used. While the Stamina mode disables Wi-Fi and limits, the SoC's performance when the screen is inactive, Ultra-Stamina mode affects the smartphone's functions significantly. Neither Wi-Fi nor mobile data is available here. However, the handset can still be used for making calls, writing short messages, listening to music and taking pictures. A battery-savings mode can also automatically disable specific features, such as GPS, Bluetooth or vibration feedback at a predefined energy level.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
21h 17min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Chrome 47)
6h 12min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 51min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 30min
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z5
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 6P
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
LG G4
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Mate S
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
24%
19%
-2%
29%
15%
34%
4%
Reader / Idle
1277
1669
31%
1447
13%
1654
30%
1124
-12%
1349
6%
1655
30%
1078
-16%
Load
210
213
1%
280
33%
114
-46%
282
34%
224
7%
197
-6%
179
-15%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
372
438
18%
375
1%
326
-12%
575
55%
534
44%
513
38%
369
-1%
H.264
411
600
46%
533
30%
501
22%
569
38%
417
1%
714
74%
611
49%

Pro

+ high-quality casing material
+ reliable fingerprint scanner
+ AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 & NFC
+ App2SD, USB-OTG & MHL
+ Miracast & Google Cast support
+ water & dust resistant
+ very good phone features
+ stereo speakers
+ dedicated camera button & fast auto focus
+ decent headset included
+ high-performance SoC
+ very sharp screen, …

Cons

- … which shows weaknesses in color reproduction
- screen dims when temperatures increase
- blurry edges from primary camera
- fingerprint susceptible casing material
- throttles under permanent load
- slow SD card interface
- no USB Type C port
- below average battery life
- non-removable battery
- Quick Charger not included
- no Qi charging

Verdict

In review: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. Review devices courtesy of Sony Germany and Notebooksbilliger.de
In review: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. Review devices courtesy of Sony Germany and Notebooksbilliger.de

The extravagant mirror design makes Sony's new Xperia Z5 Premium flagship a real eye-catcher at first sight - and that is meant literally. A drawback of this unusual, shining presentation will certainly be the omnipresent fingerprints on the casing that are, however, quite easy to remove. The smartphone plays in the upper league in terms of technology: The Snapdragon 810 SoC achieves good performance rates, and throttling only set in after long, extensive load. Furthermore, the smartphone communicates via all common radio standards, and even the conventional micro-USB port is versatile thanks to MHL 3.0 and USB OTG support. The review sample compiles a few extra points with its convenient and reliable fingerprint scanner, the dedicated camera keys and the speakers' good sound. Besides that, calls with the smartphone were static-free.

Then again, the installed primary camera caused mixed feelings: Primarily the fast auto focus, the pictures mostly natural colors as well as the extensive video features are pleasing. The image sharpness at the edges and the low-light performance were not as convincing. A fine line between light and shadow is also found in the display. The contrast, viewing angle stability and image sharpness do not give much reason for complaint, but the color reproduction ex-factory is not compelling. It may also be questioned whether a 5.5-inch ultra HD panel really makes sense in a smartphone that will not use its native resolution in most situations. Even if marginal differences are visible compared with a conventional QHD panel, they can only be seen with a lot of effort. It is also too bad that the despite its large size, battery life suffers under the pixel-marvel panel, seeing that it is much shorter than that of its rivals.

Sony's designated Premium smartphone turns out to be a bigger twin of the Xperia Z5 with the same technological basis apart from the screen.

Buyers willing to pay approximately 150 Euros (~$164) more for a 0.3-inch bigger screen than in the smaller sister model, the feel of looking at a 4K screen and the glossy design will not experience a much higher premium sensation, but will get an Xperia Z5 in an XXL size.

 

 

 

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium - 01/27/2016 v4.1(old)
Andreas Kilian

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
74 / 75 → 99%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
51 / 61 → 84%
Weight
90%
Battery
91%
Display
82%
Games Performance
70 / 57 → 100%
Application Performance
65 / 65 → 100%
Temperature
84%
Noise
100%
Audio
81 / 91 → 89%
Camera
83%
Average
81%
88%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Smartphone Review
Andreas Kilian, 2016-01-26 (Update: 2016-02- 1)