Notebookcheck

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Smartphone Review

Michael Moser (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 11/13/2015

Small giant. Despite the appended word Compact, the Xperia Z5 Compact is a very good choice and very close to the larger sibling Z5. Our review will show whether users of the predecessor Xperia Z3 Compact should think about an upgrade as well.

For the original German review, see here.

It has been almost a year since we reviewed the very good smartphone Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, and now we have the chance to review the successor. Unlike the slimmed-down mini versions from Samsung, the current Z series exclusively uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 Octa-core SoC, as well as the integrated Adreno 430 GPU in combination with 32 GB of flash storage. The camera modules are also identical. Only the amount of RAM and the display specifications differ significantly. Our review unit Sony Xperia Z5 Compact has 2 GB instead of 3 GB of RAM and a 4.6-inch IPS HD display.

In this review, we will check whether the RRP of 549 Euros (~$591) justifies switching from the predecessor Sony Xperia Z3 Compact .

Other rivals are the Apple iPhone 6S, the Samsung Galaxy S6 as well as the OnePlus 2.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (Xperia Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
4.6 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel, capacitive, multitouch, 16 Mio. Farben, IPS, 320 PPI, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 20.61 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 200 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou; Accelerometer, light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, fingerprintscanner, USB 3.0 @ MHL 3.0, Miracast, MirroLink, Screen-Mirroring, DLNA, NFC, Ant+
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), UMTS (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), LTE (B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B20/B28/B38/B40); Standards: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE-A; Bandwidth (Download/Upload): 300Mbps / 50Mbps (LTE), 42Mbps / 5.76Mbps (UMTS)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.9 x 127 x 65 ( = 0.35 x 5 x 2.56 in)
Battery
Lithium-Polymer, 2700 mAh, integrated, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 48 h, Talk time 2G (according to manufacturer): 11.5 h, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 14.8 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 520 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 520 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: 5.1 MP, videos @1080p/30fps; Main camera: 23 MP, phase comparison autofocus, LED flash, videos @2160p/30fps
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual QWERTY keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, stereo headset, Lifelog, Movie Creator, TrackID, Xperia Lounge, Spotify, Facebook, Dropbox, Amazon Shopping, AVG Protection, Playstation Store, Google Store, Vine, Sky Go, OfficeSuite, File Commander, Privilege Plus, Smart Connect, Download Manager, 24 Months Warranty, SAR head: 1.074 W/kg, SAR body: 0.707 W/kg, Nano-SIM
Weight
138 g ( = 4.87 oz / 0.3 pounds), Power Supply: 51 g ( = 1.8 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
549 Euro

 

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Although the Japanese engineers have used the design of the larger sibling Sony Xperia Z5 as a role model, there are some changes compared to the old Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. The smartphone is now slightly more angular and you cannot really see the speakers anymore. The dimensions have also changed: the 8.64 mm (~0.34 in) of the Z3 Compact has increased to a thickness of 8.9 mm (~0.35 in), but the other values are almost identical. The new Xperia Z5 Compact is also nine grams (~0.32 oz) heavier than before at 138 grams (~4.9 oz).

Sony uses plastic with a sophisticated impression and an elegant and matted glass. Unlike the flagship Xperia Z5, the frame is not made of metal, but Sony still focuses on a high build quality. This is a success for the most part, because even high pressure on the back does not result in any picture distortions, and we cannot really twist the review sample at all. The gaps, however, are not always perfect, but you will have to look very closely to see that. Due to the IP65/68 certification for dust and fresh water, you cannot open the device, and the battery is integrated.

Once again, Sony offers unusual color options: As well as a simple white or black device, you can also get the Xperia Z5 Compact in coral (red) and yellow.

Connectivity

The button design has changed. The power button is no longer exposed and round, but oval and sits in a slight depression. The latter is a result of the fingerprint reader implementation. It works very reliably and is easy to access on the right side of the case. In our opinion, the new position of the volume rocker is less ideal. It is now located between the power button and the dedicated camera button, which does affect the handling significantly. The pressure point and the travel of all physical buttons are move impressive. The slots for the microSD and Nano-SIM cards are now hidden underneath one combined large cover on the left side. The previous magnetic docking port is omitted entirely and only the Micro-USB 2.0 port can be used for wired data transfers. USB-OTG is not automatically supported by the smartphone. You will have to look for the device in the settings (USB connection), after that you can use USB devices such as mouse, keyboard, gamepad, audio devices or storage device. Once again, the 3.5 mm stereo jack delivers additional signals for noise cancelling in combination with compatible headsets.

Left side: MicroSD, Micro-SIM, connection for the hand strap
Left side: MicroSD, Micro-SIM, connection for the hand strap
Bottom: Micro-USB 2.0, microphone
Bottom: Micro-USB 2.0, microphone
Right side: Camera trigger, volume rocker, power button
Right side: Camera trigger, volume rocker, power button
Top: Microphone, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Top: Microphone, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Software

Sony has equipped the Xperia Z5 Compact with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and added its own Xperia UI. The latter introduces subtle changes to the OS and offers handy apps like an App Drawer and "Xperia Themes", which gives you numerous ways to customize the home screen. So far, an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow has not been announced, but it is very probable when you look at the previous update policies from Sony. The manufacturer has also installed several apps like the virus scanner AVG Protection, Office Suite, the news app Sociallife as well as the Smart Connect, Vine or Sky Go apps. Lifelog works in combination with external fitness trackers like the Sony SmartBand 2. Sony’s app-suite including Music, Video, Pictures and PlayStation offer more features than their Google counterparts. These apps can be deleted if you do not want to use them.

GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors

Communication & GPS 

The small flagship from Sony is well equipped in this regard: USB port with MHL 3.0, Miracast, MirrorLink, DLNA, NFC as well as ANT+ are all included. Bluetooth 4.1 is also available.

The Wi-Fi module also supports very fast 802.11ac networks. The signal quality was good in our review and we usually had three out of four bars at a distance of around 10 meters (~33 ft) to the router and through three walls.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact supports the most important wireless standards like quad-band GSM and UMTS as well as LTE Cat. 6 with thirteen different frequencies. The maximum LTE download speed is up to 300 Mbps (50 Mbps upstream). The reception was very good and always comparable to an Apple iPhone 6, even in rural areas.

The integrated A-GPS module supports both GLONASS as well as the Chinese network BeiDou. It was easy to get a location with the app GPS Test, but the satellite fix took between one and two minutes indoors. The accuracy of the location is down to three meters (~10 ft) outdoors. This is a huge improvement over the predecessor Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which was not very impressive in this category. Our practical test on a bicycle also showed a good performance. Compared to the professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500, the overall track length is just 190 meters (~623 ft) shorter due to some signal issues in the bridge and the forest section. Our review unit is therefore not much worse than the Garmin Edge 500.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Overview
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Overview
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Bridge
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Bridge
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Forest
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Forest
Garmin Edge 500 Overview
Garmin Edge 500 Overview
Garmin Edge 500 Bridge
Garmin Edge 500 Bridge
Garmin Edge 500 Forest
Garmin Edge 500 Forest
Phone app
Phone app

Telephone & Voice Quality

Our test calls show that the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact manages a good voice quality without any annoying static, and the recipient confirmed a good quality. The phone app is the standard Google app and can be easily used. It also offers the most important features with favorites, caller groups and a mailbox.

Cameras & Multimedia

Sony promises that the Xperia Z5 Compact uses the same technology as their own digital cameras as well as the two top models Z5 and Z5 Premium. The main camera uses a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 23 megapixels (Sony Exmoor RS) and a wide-angle G Lens. The picture-editing engine BIONZ can improve colors and is supposed to reduce artifacts and color picture noise. The hybrid autofocus (0.03 s) is actually fast, but the focusing is only successful when the scene is well illuminated or when you use the LED flash. A maximum ISO value of 12800 is also supposed to enable good pictures in low-light conditions. The success is limited in the review, but the picture noise is obviously still a problem. The maximum digital zoom (8x) is also usable, and 1x up to 5x can be used almost without loss of details. The comparison pictures show that the pictures under good lighting conditions are among the best you can currently take in the mobile sector. Videos can be recorded in Ultra HD with 3840x2160 pixels at 30 fps.

The front camera takes pictures with 5 megapixels and has a 25 mm wide-angle lens, but there is no flash. Videos can be recorded in Full HD. The pictures are actually decent when the lighting is sufficient, but both the sharpness and the colors are affected as soon as the situation gets more difficult like in our sample picture with back light. The picture noise is also increased exponentially. Overall, a decent performance.

Front camera
Front camera
Main camera
Main camera

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. 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
click to load images

Accessories

Sony ships the Xperia Z5 Compact with a modular USB power adaptor plus USB cable as well as a white stereo headset. There are also several optional dedicated accessories like the Smart Style Cover SCR44 for 39 Euros (~$42), the noise-cancelling headset MDR-NC750 with support for high-resolution files for around 70 Euros (~$75) or the new SmartBand 2 (starting at 129 Euros/~$139).

Warranty

The warranty period is 24 months. Power adaptor and headset are covered for only 6 months.

Input Devices & Handling

The fingerprint is registered by repeated scans.
The fingerprint is registered by repeated scans.
Up to five fingerprints can be stored.
Up to five fingerprints can be stored.

The touchscreen is precise up into the peripheral areas and has a conveniently smooth surface. A glove mode is available as usual, the screen recognizes up to ten inputs simultaneously, and multi-touch gestures work perfectly.

The fingerprint reader on the other hand works only after you have pushed the power buttons once. Just putting your finger on the sensor is not enough. After that, however, it recognizes your fingers very quickly and reliably. The setup process for each finger is quick and you can store up to five fingerprints. Right now, it is only possible to unlock the smartphone with your finger. Sony could implement other functions via an update, like payments in the Play Store.

Users can adjust the keyboard according to their preferences. For instance, you can adjust the layout of the "Xperia Keyboard" and add additional buttons. Pretty much all usual input methods like swipes, dictates or an intelligent auto correction are available, only handwriting recognition has not been integrated yet.

Sony offers ...
Sony offers ...
... several settings ...
... several settings ...
... for the keyboard. Layout and key allocation ...
... for the keyboard. Layout and key allocation ...
... can be customized.
... can be customized.
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

The Xperia Z5 Compact has a 4.6-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1280x720 – Full HD is reserved for the Z5. However, this is not really important considering the size and the resulting pixel density of 320 PPI. On the other hand, the review unit can impress with a maximum brightness of 547 cd/m². Only the Apple iPhone 6S can be slightly brighter. The very even brightness distribution of 94% on the other hand is great.

543
cd/m²
545
cd/m²
546
cd/m²
533
cd/m²
547
cd/m²
531
cd/m²
513
cd/m²
515
cd/m²
519
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 547 cd/m² Average: 532.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 547 cd/m²
Contrast: 1013:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.37 | 0.8-23.34 Ø6.5
ΔE Greyscale 8.39 | 0.64-98 Ø6.7
99.9865% sRGB (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.28
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPhone 6S
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Screen
23%
1%
23%
24%
Brightness
532
549
3%
500
-6%
446
-16%
345
-35%
Brightness Distribution
94
87
-7%
94
0%
90
-4%
89
-5%
Black Level *
0.54
0.39
28%
0.41
24%
0.3
44%
Contrast
1013
1415
40%
1251
23%
1503
48%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.37
3.4
54%
8.54
-16%
3.84
48%
2.51
66%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
8.39
4.16
50%
9.88
-18%
3.97
53%
2.59
69%
Gamma
2.28 105%
2.21 109%
3.03 79%
2.46 98%
2.43 99%
CCT
9074 72%
7288 89%
8659 75%
7283 89%
6424 101%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.9865
95.93
-4%
90.14
-10%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62.18
58.07

* ... smaller is better

Our review unit cannot keep up with the competitors in terms of the black value and contrast at 0.54 cd/m² and 1013:1, respectively. Subjectively, the display still creates a sharp and high-contrast picture with vivid colors.

In general, the colors are good and black appears rich. As with the predecessor Z3 Compact, you can adjust many settings to improve the picture. We also checked the display with the software CalMAN and a spectrophotometer. Sony offers a manual white balance, which is why we tested the device with the factory settings and an adjusted white balance.

Ex-works, the ColorChecker shows a comparatively high DeltaE deviation of 7.37 and we can see a slight blue cast. This is also the case for the grayscale with a high DeltaE of 8.39 and a significantly increased color temperature of 9074 K. The gamma value of 2.28 on the other hand is pretty close to its ideal value.

This blue cast is almost gone with our custom settings and is only slightly evident in the grayscale; both the deviations for the ColorChecker (4.51) as well as the grayscale (3.59) are lower. The color temperature is better at 6984 K and the gamma value is just slightly raised at 2.7.

CalMAN ColorChecker factory settings
CalMAN ColorChecker factory settings
CalMAN Colorspace factory settings
CalMAN Colorspace factory settings
CalMAN Grayscale factory settings
CalMAN Grayscale factory settings
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps factory settings
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps factory settings
CalMAN ColorChecker custom
CalMAN ColorChecker custom
CalMAN Colorspace custom
CalMAN Colorspace custom
CalMAN Grayscale custom
CalMAN Grayscale custom
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps custom
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps custom

Thanks to the high luminance, you can use the smartphone outdoors. You can even see the display content under direct sunlight, even though like all other smartphone, the display surface is very glossy.

Thanks to the IPS technology, the viewing angles of the Xperia Z5 Compact are very stable. You can see the content without distortions even from very flat angles, only the brightness is slightly decreased.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Like its larger siblings Z5 and Z5 Premium, the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact uses the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Octa-core SoC with a clock rate of 2 GHz and the integrated Adreno 430 graphics card. This means that it can clearly surpass the old Xperia Z3 Compact in almost all benchmarks. However, the picture is pretty mixed in a comparison with the direct rivals. Our review sample can beat almost all rivals in Geekbench 3 or the GFX Benchmarks, only the Apple iPhone 6S is even faster in this case, while the rivals Samsung Galaxy S6OnePlus 2 or the Apple iPhone 6S are faster in all the other tests.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
4078 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
2670 Points ∼9% -35%
OnePlus 2
4154 Points ∼13% +2%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1375 Points ∼30%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
966 Points ∼21% -30%
OnePlus 2
1066 Points ∼23% -22%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1472 Points ∼48%
OnePlus 2
1517 Points ∼49% +3%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1137 Points ∼21%
OnePlus 2
846 Points ∼16% -26%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1198 Points ∼31%
OnePlus 2
938 Points ∼24% -22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1100 Points ∼36%
OnePlus 2
1414 Points ∼46% +29%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
2353 Points ∼30%
OnePlus 2
1854 Points ∼24% -21%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1878 Points ∼38%
OnePlus 2
1734 Points ∼35% -8%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
13065 Points ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy S6
17400 Points ∼24% +33%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
14404 Points ∼20% +10%
Apple iPhone 6S
13097 Points ∼18% 0%
OnePlus 2
10985 Points ∼15% -16%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
37319 Points ∼8%
Samsung Galaxy S6
28192 Points ∼6% -24%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
21034 Points ∼5% -44%
Apple iPhone 6S
42686 Points ∼9% +14%
OnePlus 2
31858 Points ∼7% -15%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
26420 Points ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy S6
24777 Points ∼13% -6%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
19082 Points ∼10% -28%
Apple iPhone 6S
28419 Points ∼14% +8%
OnePlus 2
22400 Points ∼11% -15%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
56 fps ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy S6
54 fps ∼4% -4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
27.2 fps ∼2% -51%
Apple iPhone 6S
79.6 fps ∼6% +42%
OnePlus 2
48 fps ∼4% -14%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
57 fps ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy S6
37 fps ∼8% -35%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
41.1 fps ∼9% -28%
Apple iPhone 6S
59.1 fps ∼13% +4%
OnePlus 2
47 fps ∼10% -18%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
25 fps ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy S6
23 fps ∼4% -8%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
11.9 fps ∼2% -52%
Apple iPhone 6S
39.5 fps ∼7% +58%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼4% -8%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
45 fps ∼12%
Samsung Galaxy S6
15 fps ∼4% -67%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
25.5 fps ∼7% -43%
Apple iPhone 6S
56 fps ∼15% +24%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼6% -49%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
4326 points ∼94%
Samsung Galaxy S6
4489 points ∼98% +4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
4413 points ∼96% +2%
OnePlus 2
4325 points ∼94% 0%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
7148 points ∼38%
Samsung Galaxy S6
13612 points ∼72% +90%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
9879 points ∼52% +38%
OnePlus 2
10472 points ∼56% +47%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
727.011 MFLOPS ∼25%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
605 MFLOPS ∼20% -17%
Apple iPhone 6S
1225 MFLOPS ∼41% +68%
OnePlus 2
818.77 MFLOPS ∼28% +13%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
250.998 MFLOPS ∼25%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
300 MFLOPS ∼29% +20%
Apple iPhone 6S
685 MFLOPS ∼67% +173%
OnePlus 2
630.326 MFLOPS ∼62% +151%
AnTuTu Benchmark v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
50098 Points ∼62%
Samsung Galaxy S6
69642 Points ∼86% +39%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
40951 Points ∼51% -18%
Apple iPhone 6S
59084 Points ∼73% +18%
OnePlus 2
58535 Points ∼73% +17%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
976 Points ∼58%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
785 Points ∼46% -20%
Apple iPhone 6S
1207 Points ∼71% +24%
OnePlus 2
923 Points ∼54% -5%
Graphics (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
3094 Points ∼33%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
2633 Points ∼28% -15%
Apple iPhone 6S
4323 Points ∼47% +40%
OnePlus 2
2631 Points ∼28% -15%
Memory (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
963 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
619 Points ∼14% -36%
Apple iPhone 6S
1281 Points ∼29% +33%
OnePlus 2
1297 Points ∼29% +35%
System (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
2082 Points ∼20%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
1326 Points ∼13% -36%
Apple iPhone 6S
3466 Points ∼34% +66%
OnePlus 2
2536 Points ∼25% +22%
Overall (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1569 Points ∼41%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
1141 Points ∼30% -27%
Apple iPhone 6S
2194 Points ∼58% +40%
OnePlus 2
1681 Points ∼44% +7%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
4084 Points ∼48%
OnePlus 2
4282 Points ∼50% +5%

Legend

 
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP8, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6S Apple A9, Apple A9 / PowerVR GT7600, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
 
OnePlus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 64 GB eMMC Flash

We performed all the browser-based benchmarks with Google Chrome 46. The review unit manages good results and can surpass the rivals in SunSpider and Kraken 1.1 in particular, but it falls behind all the rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S6 in Google V8 Version 7 and Octane 2.0. The Z5 Compact performs well in WebXPRT2015 as well as the current JetStream 1.1 and is only beaten by the Apple iPhone 6S.

In practice, web pages build up quickly and the web browsing experience is very good, even with complex HTML5 sites and browser videos; the handling is always smooth.

Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
566.1 ms * ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy S6
356.5 ms * ∼9% +37%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
825.5 ms * ∼21% -46%
Apple iPhone 6S
223 ms * ∼6% +61%
OnePlus 2
739.6 ms * ∼18% -31%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
5691 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy S6
9253 Points ∼19% +63%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
5294 Points ∼11% -7%
Apple iPhone 6S
16200 Points ∼33% +185%
OnePlus 2
6955 Points ∼14% +22%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
4210.4 ms * ∼7%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
6528 ms * ∼11% -55%
Apple iPhone 6S
1715 ms * ∼3% +59%
OnePlus 2
6585.3 ms * ∼11% -56%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
5617 Points ∼29%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
6297 Points ∼32% +12%
Apple iPhone 6S
15533 Points ∼79% +177%
OnePlus 2
7650 Points ∼39% +36%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
104 Points ∼13%
Apple iPhone 6S
187 Points ∼23% +80%
OnePlus 2
80 Points ∼10% -23%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
49 Points ∼0%
Apple iPhone 6S
118.6 Points ∼0% +142%
OnePlus 2
44.286 Points ∼0% -10%

* ... smaller is better

Internal storage is provided by a 32 GB flash module, which can be expanded by up to 200 GB via microSD-card. Apps can easily be transferred to the memory card and back. Compared to the predecessor Xperia Z3 Compact, the Z5 Compact is once again much faster, especially in terms of the sequential performance. The rival OnePlus 2 on the other hand is usually much quicker. The situation is not as good with smaller files, but subjectively, the access times are always fast enough.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
7.81 MB/s ∼5%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
1.6 MB/s ∼1% -80%
OnePlus 2
13.94 MB/s ∼8% +78%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
14.15 MB/s ∼8%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
14.7 MB/s ∼8% +4%
OnePlus 2
21.87 MB/s ∼13% +55%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
88.91 MB/s ∼43%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
17.5 MB/s ∼8% -80%
OnePlus 2
125.51 MB/s ∼60% +41%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
248.15 MB/s ∼31%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
133 MB/s ∼17% -46%
OnePlus 2
234.21 MB/s ∼29% -6%

Games

There is no criticism of the gaming performance since the Xperia Z5 Compact uses the fast GPU Adreno 430. More demanding games like “Asphalt 8” and “Modern Combat 5” as well as simpler games like “Angry Birds 2” always run smoothly on high settings. The controls via the precise touchscreen and exact sensors complement the gaming experience. Game streaming via Remote Play from the PlayStation 4 also worked well.

Angry Birds 2
Angry Birds 2
Modern Combat 5
Modern Combat 5

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures are slightly higher than the predecessor Xperia Z3 Compact, which is mainly a result of the more powerful SoC and the brighter display. However, the perceptible difference is very small when you consider the significantly higher performance. The average temperatures are conveniently cool while idling at 31.6 and 29.6 C (~89 and 85 °F) at the top and the bottom. We can measure up to 40.4 °C (~105 °F) at the bottom under sustained load, but the averages are around 2 to 4 °C (~3 to 7 °F) cooler than that. The comparison devices Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6S manage much lower averages, but the OnePlus 2 gets much warmer. Our review unit never gets uncomfortably hot; the power adaptor does not reach critical temperatures either and only gets lukewarm.

We used the GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test, which repeats the T-Rex benchmark thirty times, to check for temperature related throttling of the processor. The analysis shows a steadily decreasing frame progress, so there is a performance reduction, but it is not severe.

GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Performance
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Performance
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Temperature
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Temperature
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Battery
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Battery
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Clock Speed
GFXBench 3.1 Battery Test Clock Speed
Max. Load
 38.4 °C39.1 °C37.5 °C 
 40.4 °C39.7 °C38.4 °C 
 39.4 °C39.5 °C36.6 °C 
Maximum: 40.4 °C
Average: 38.8 °C
32.2 °C38.5 °C35.5 °C
34.5 °C39.9 °C33.9 °C
33.9 °C39.8 °C36 °C
Maximum: 39.9 °C
Average: 36 °C
Power Supply (max.)  35.4 °C | Room Temperature 22.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the Xperia Z5 Compact are still faced towards the user and have a more subtle position compared to the old Xperia Z3 Compact. Once again, the sound is rich and clear, and the maximum volume is good. You can even notice some bass, medium and high tones sound impressive and there are only some distortions when you crank it up. Sony has also implemented some technologies to improve the sound, including DSEE HX, which improves heavily compressed audio files, as well as a comprehensive equalizer and ClearAudio+ to optimize the balance. There are also different virtual surround settings. Not every setting improves every sound file, but we generally preferred DSEE HX.

Sony has also provided digital noise reduction in combination with a compatible headset. More information about this is available in the review of the predecessor. The music features with Spotify support, Throw (music transmission via Wi-Fi) as well as the support for high-resolution files like .flac are impressive.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Xperia Z5 Compact is average in terms of power consumption. Because of the higher performance and the brighter display, the review unit consumes slightly more than the Xperia Z3 Compact, only the Apple iPhone 6S and the OnePlus 2 usually consume even more power. However, our review sample consumes more than the rivals under maximum load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.6 / 1.4 / 1.7 Watt
Load midlight 5.3 / 8.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
0.6 Watt * ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S6
0.4 Watt * ∼67%
Apple iPhone 6S
0.5 Watt * ∼83%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
0.4 Watt * ∼67%
OnePlus 2
0.6 Watt * ∼100%
Idle Average (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1.4 Watt * ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy S6
0.6 Watt * ∼35%
Apple iPhone 6S
1.6 Watt * ∼94%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
0.9 Watt * ∼53%
OnePlus 2
1.7 Watt * ∼100%
Idle Maximum (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
1.7 Watt * ∼89%
Samsung Galaxy S6
1.2 Watt * ∼63%
Apple iPhone 6S
1.9 Watt * ∼100%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
1.1 Watt * ∼58%
OnePlus 2
1.8 Watt * ∼95%
Load Average (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
5.3 Watt * ∼93%
Samsung Galaxy S6
5 Watt * ∼88%
Apple iPhone 6S
2.5 Watt * ∼44%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
3.6 Watt * ∼63%
OnePlus 2
5.7 Watt * ∼100%
Load Maximum (sort by value)
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
8.4 Watt * ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S6
6.8 Watt * ∼81%
Apple iPhone 6S
4.8 Watt * ∼57%
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
5 Watt * ∼60%
OnePlus 2
6 Watt * ∼71%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The 2700 mAh battery of the Xperia Z5 Compact is only surpassed by the OnePlus 2 with 3300 mAh. We do not expect any new runtime records with the consumption values, but some of the results are better than expected. Two days are possible in standby and deactivated Wi-Fi, which is advertised as the maximum runtime by Sony.

The practical results also show that you should easily manage a whole day with the smartphone. Continuous web browsing at an adjusted brightness is possible for almost 7.5 hours, but the rivals are sometimes much more enduring. The predecessor Xperia Z3 Compact (2600 mAh) was particularly impressive with 22 hours.

Demanding apps quickly drain the battery due to the high performance and the bright display. The load test with the app Stability Test runs for around four hours before you have to recharge the battery. Still, only the Samsung Galaxy S6 (2550 mAh) runs 15% longer.

Full HD video playback with an adjusted brightness and deactivated wireless modules is possible for 8:45 hours. Once again, the rivals show more stamina: The Apple iPhone 6S, for example, manages 11:39 hours.

The battery runtime can be further increased with the extreme energy-saving mode "Ultra Stamina", although it limits the features of the smartphone to the essentials like making calls and text messages, while web browsing is not possible anymore.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
37h 29min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Google Chrome 46.0.2490.76, Android 5.1.1)
7h 20min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 45min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 02min
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPhone 6S
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Battery Runtime
1%
77%
-5%
12%
H.264
525
699
33%
1478
182%
580
10%
WiFi v1.3
440
492
12%
356
-19%
475
8%
Load
242
137
-43%
173
-29%
229
-5%
278
15%
WiFi
1326
575

Pros

+ high application performance
+ enduring battery runtime
+ good stereo speakers
+ bright and high-contrast screen
+ great user interface
+ modern operating system
+ numerous settings
+ high-resolution camera
+ 4K video recordings
+ fast ac-Wi-Fi and LTE
+ supports many frequencies
+ sophisticated chassis
+ waterproof and dust-resistant
+ low temperature development
+ game streaming from PS4
+ GPS location pretty precise

Cons

- poor camera quality in bad lighting conditions, mediocre front camera
- display with a slight blue cast
- no Full-HD resolution
- position of the volume rocker is not ideal
- comparatively high price

Verdict

In Review: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.
In Review: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. Review sample courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is a very good and compact smartphone with an impressive set of features and a powerful SoC. There are some positive aspects to consider: A current operating system and a powerful SoC with 2 GB of RAM plus 32 GB of storage, which can be expanded by up to 200 GB. Furthermore, you get a high-contrast and bright HD panel with wide viewing angles and good colors as well as a surprisingly good sound quality. We also liked the camera modules, the good call quality as well as the great battery runtimes. That the well-built and sturdy chassis is made of plastic and the low-light performance of the cameras is rather disappointing is actually not that big a deal, because our review sample does not reveal any serious problems. The signal quality of the wireless modules is decent and the GPS module is quick and precise. The application performance and the game streaming from the popular PlayStation 4 are also good. The handling of the smartphone is also very intuitive and there are numerous ways to adjust and customize the user interface. Handy additions like the virus scanner and the generally comprehensive software suite would result in a higher rating, but the slight temperature based throttling prevents that. Overall, you do not have to make any compromises compared to the flagship Xperia Z5.

If you are looking for a modern smartphone with high-end components and compact dimensions and you are not scared off by the high price, there is hardly any alternative for the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. Less expensive devices with similar hardware equipment are still very rare. The improvements over the predecessor Xperia Z3 Compact, which is inexpensive by now, are small though, so it is actually the biggest rival for the review unit.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact - 04/13/2016 v5
Michael Moser

Chassis
93%
Keyboard
72 / 75 → 96%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
51 / 60 → 85%
Weight
93%
Battery
90%
Display
85%
Games Performance
55 / 63 → 87%
Application Performance
51 / 70 → 72%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
74 / 91 → 81%
Camera
84%
Average
79%
89%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Smartphone Review
Michael Moser, 2015-11-13 (Update: 2015-11-16)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.