The Sony Xperia Z5 Dual sits between the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Dual. Reading that, you may feel inclined to believe that it will neither have the small, yet powerful nature of the Compact nor the 4K display of the Premium. So what is the point?
Well, to your amusement after spending a little time with this device you might even consider it to be the best Xperia out there and it really is.
It is an immensely impressive device with an ace camera, vibrant display and plenty of power tucked underneath its frosted glass back.
Sony has come up with a lot of different display configurations for its devices. Be it the Triluminous or the Bravia mobile screen technology or any other, and a lot of it seemed to be more of a marketing drive.
This device however, has an amazing screen in every which way. It is bright, vibrant, accurate at representing colours and packed with detail.
This screen does not have a pixel-dense Quad-HD display. But Sony argues that a Quad-HD screen does not make a lot of difference for a screen of this size, and they are right. You will not be able to pick out individual pixels on this 1080p screen.
The IPS LCD pannel displays colours with brilliant saturation levels, accuracy and vibrancy. The reds do not get overly saturated and the whites are clear. The brightness level if not cranked up to the maximum also allows the black to be deep and inky.
Sunlight visibility is very good. There does not seem to be much reflection on the screen which does come as a surprise; thus viewing angles too, are superb.
Sony has not tinkered much with the now-standard design elements. While it suggests that Sony has a lot of confidence in this design, the fact is that Sony hasn’t brought anything new to the table for a long time now. So things are getting a bit boring in the Appearances department.
Having said that, there is no doubt that this phone is a sleek unibody affair that continues to feel solid in-hand.
The back of this phone is made of frosted glass with a brilliant matte finish. Glass backs come with an issue of cracking up upon the slightest fall, and that is the reason why they are somewhat unpopular. You cannot ignore the fact that they look amazing though.
Apart from that there is another issue of the glass backs attracting smudges, but this issue has been solved on the Xperia Z5 thanks to the frosting.
As far as the toughness of this glass panel goes you can only determine it by dropping it, which i don’t think any of you will be in a hurry to do
Being glass then, should you be any more careful than you would with a metal back? No. Treat the device with care and gentility, but be carefree with it.
Sony has finally done away the circular metal power button that was present on all other Xperia devices and replaced it with a flatter, longer version. This change is supported by a good reason, as it now has a fingerprint sensor baked in. Fingerprint readers on Android have hit the big time, but no one is really sure yet where the best place for them to go is. On the back below the camera? On the front? Nope. Sony’s side-mounted version is the best yet. It’s out of the way, and it unifies the experience of unlocking the device into a single act.
Putting the sensor into the button you always use to unlock the device just makes sense and Sony’s interpretation is fast and accurate. Out of twenty tries, the scanner worked flawlessly every time.
The vanilla Z5 when compared to the chunkier Z5 Compact is relatively thin, measuring just 7.3 mm. Like the previous Xperia Z phones, the Z5 is also water resistant. When a company makes that statement or a claim rather, what does it actually mean? Is it water resistant in a way that you can use it in pool or even shoot under water.
Well, what Sony means here is that it will protect your phone from accidentally falling in a cup of tea or water and you need not worry if u have left it in the rain. Though, Sony does not want you to play with this Xperia phone in the pool or go underwater with it.
Sony has used the Qualcomm SnapDragon 810 processor which was also the one used on its performance plagued sibling the Z3+. This chip has the known tendency to heat up. Though Sony says that this 810 is a slightly upgraded version of the previous one, the heating issue seems to still exist. But basis our testing, it won’t fry the device, or your hands; but it’s not a comfortable feeling. Let us explain.
Playing games is not too much fun on this device as even games that you would not call graphically intensive make this device rather hot in the area under the camera. A slight hike in the temperature is no big deal but when you have to take your fingers off – there is a problem. This problem gets even more serious if you open games like Asphalt 8. Heating up then becomes a real issue as the processors try very hard to keep up and actually end up exciting themselves into more thermal energy.
Another problem that the Z3+ had was, while recording in 4K, when you exceeded the 4 minute mark the phone get hot and the camera app crashed. This problem seems to have been solved in the Z5 Dual.
Apart from the gaming issues on this phone the phone really feels classy and smooth. Opening and closing of apps, switching screens and opening new tabs are tasks that can be done very smoothly and there is no hint of any lag whatsoever.
Sony still retains its Android skin which is a little frustrating to say the least. Running atop Android 5.1.1 (Sony has already announced the Marshmallow update is coming), the custom UI certainly isn’t as heavy as say, Huawei’s awful EMUI, but it still takes away from the OS user experience.
The icons, fonts and widgets look a little dated. There is however, a certain likability about how you can arrange, add and take away icons in the drop-down settings menu. So thumbs up for including that Sony. There is also a suite of Playstation apps here. It is under a different name however, which is PSN but it really is the same as Spotify.
The overview multitasking pane has been altered slightly, with mini apps that can be popped out and used at the same time as other apps. The feature is restricted to Sony apps though, so if you tend to replace all the native apps with Google’s alternatives this feature won’t be of much use.
Sony makes camera sensors for some of the best mobile cameras around. And you would think the Xperia line would naturally benefit from this. Well, yes. Sony benefits from this big time. So much so that it can really crush most Android competition in this segment.
The Xperia Z5 Dual comes equipped with a Sony Exmor sensor and it is the first of this line to come packing 23 megapixels. While it exclusive to the Z5 line, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up on other phones this year.
Funny thing is, Sony doesn’t seem to showboat your experience at 23 megapixels. When you start shooting straight out of the box, the Z5 Dual will only capture 8 megapixel stills. But you should manually switch to the full function 23 megapixels which will allow you to zoom and crop and enlarge without losing out on quality. n.
That’s odd, and slightly misleading, as I doubt the majority of people will delve into the settings to alter the resolution. This said, what really matters is the quality of the camera, which indeed is awesome.
The camera does not require ideal shooting conditions to capture stunning pics. Daylight snaps are understandably the best snaps you can capture from smartphones and the low light shots are also very impressive.
Unlike the majority of other phones I’ve tried, the pictures captured don’t suddenly deteriorate when the conditions do, which might come as a surprise as there’s no optical image stabilisation at play. Sony uses its own SteadyShot software to ensure that the pics are not blurry.
Night-time shots look really good. The camera doesn’t fall into the trap of over-exposing lights and there’s still plenty of detail in captured images. When you zoom in noise becomes apparent around the edges and shots taken in low light do have the tendency to look a little fake, but that’s only a minor issue that won’t become apparent in day-to-day use.
The auto-focus locks on in a matter of milliseconds, and even when the lights are turned off there is no problem with it finding focus.
The dual front-facing speakers are well positioned, but they fall into many of the same traps as other phones. Volume is loud enough, but audio is tinny and lacks any sort of oomph. It’s fine for YouTube, but not really for music.
The screen however, is fantastic, so this makes it a mixed bargain it terms of entertainment.
However, the biggest downside in the Entertainment arena, is (as stated earlier) the Z5 Dual’s tendency to get hot under the bonnet thanks to the choice of the processor.
We did not notice any heating during music or video usage though. So if you’re not really a gamer then you could consider this phone seriously.
There is not much of software dedicated to business. The usual stuff like mail and account sync is there. Logging onto mails or setting up an account requires a username and password.
The finger print scanner on this device is one of the best there is. It is not on the top or at the front. Neither is it on the back of the phone.
It is very conveniently placed on the side of the phone which makes it the most effective of the fingerprint scanners around. That said, it’s usage is a little limited at this time, and may increase with software upgrades in the coming months.