When Sony announces a new device in the Xperia Z series every year, it is a well-known fact that it is always accompanied with the announcement of the couple of its variants. It's especially the Compact version of the Xperia Z series that we have since long time been seeing announced alongside the flagship Xperia Z. This year as well, at the IFA 2015, we saw the same accompaniment. Alongside the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium, even the Xperia Z5 Compact was announced.
Sony has actually given the Xperia Z5 Compact the exact same hardware that has been employed by the Xperia Z5 flagship model. It uses the same processor, the same camera and even the same fingerprint sensor. You might be wondering what makes Xperia Z5 Compact a compact phone. Well, it's the size and resolution of the device, the RAM (only 2GB /16GB).
Anyway, after playing with the device for a short while, we have come up with a bit of a feedback. You might want to know what kind of impression it left with us. Well, here is what we felt?
Design-wise, Sony has used the same old OmniBalance design language in all its devices - including the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Premium and Xperia Z5 Compact. You might not be quite impressed with the design of the Xperia Z5 Compact because almost all its devices have been following the same appearance since ages and it doesn't instantly fascinate you at all. You will actually have to dig into the features and specs to actually tell whether you like the phone or not, because all the Sony phones basically look alike in terms of shape and design.
However, there are some changes that have been added for the best. The phycial buttons are much better this time. The circular and protruding power button previously seen in the Xperia Z phones has been replaced with a flatter and elongated button. Making it much likable is the fingerprint sensor engrained to the power button.
The 8.9 mm-thick Z5 Compact has all the goodness of the Xperia Z series. Featuring IP68 certification the device is water and dust resistant, which for sure everyone must have known by default. The button placements are exactly like the other two sibling of the XPeria Z5 Compact. You will also see the microSD and SIM slots on the left side of the phone.
The size of the device is pretty amazing and for users who want a pocketable device, this one should probably be the most powerful 4.6-inch device launched this year.
Screen quality may sound like a disaster when one would hear that it is just an HD display releasing the resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The 4.6-Inch Triluminos Display with X-Reality for Mobiles is however, complimented with a IPS technology to offer a better viewing angle.
Despite the disappointing resolution in terms of number, the screen was pretty sharp and crispy. The highest brightness level was challenging though. But I guess that the main objective was to bring down the display size and lower the resolution as well to make it more compact and also to bring down the price of the handset.
Everyone loves the Full HD, QHD or even the 4K now, I guess, but for the Xperia Z5 Compact, the HD is quite sufficient if you are not into all those 2K movie viewing and all those "unsmartphonely" entertainment.
Processor and memory
After you look past the display and design of the device, the new Sony Xperia Z5 Compact will not fail to impress you with its power and processor. Charged with the 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor by Qualcomm, the device is probably the most powerful device under 5-inch devices' category.
Also add the Adreno 430 Graphic unit and 2GB of RAM to it. This use of the Snapdragon 810 chipset enables the device to be capable of handling graphic-intense games, advanced connectivity features and much more.
Quite a few devices from Sony were plagued with the over-heating issue in the past and since the Xperia Z5 Compact uses the highly powerful processor with 8 cores, I hope Sony has done something about it with the new device in the Z5 range. As far as the software is concerned we are looking at the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS powered device, which makes it rich with Google apps.
Storage and Connectivity
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact has been bestowed with a 32GB internal memory, which is further expandable up to 200GB via microSDAs. In this segment, one need not complain at all.
As far as the connectivity options are concerned, the Xperia Z5 Compact has all the connectivity features seen in the other two siblings. We are basica;lly looking at the device with 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz) MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS/ GLONASS, MHL 3.0 and NFC support.
It is a not a new hardware which is being used in the smartphone for the first time. Anyway, it's a great thing to see Sony using the fingerprint senor as well, which finally brings the company against the Samsung Galaxy smartphones with fingerprint sensors and also the other phones with the similar hardware from LG, Apple and other Chinese smartphones makers like Huawei.
When we tried it, it seemed to work pretty quickly. We are not sure how Sony will bring it to use (apart from lock/unlock device and content lock). We will give a better verdict on this one when we review the unit soon.
This is the part where the phone gets exciting. All the three phones that Sony launched at the IFA 2015 is blessed with the new 23MP rear camera and a 5 MP frontal shooter.
The 23MP rear camera with Exmos RS sensor comes with the super 1/2.3″ sensor, f/2.0 aperture value, G lens and 4K video recording facility. It's not just the hardware that has been changed. The company has also made few changes to the Camera UI.
New modes have also been added. The Images appeared to be pretty amazing, but the images clicked under low-light condition were not as good as it could have been. The 0.03s autofocus speed was what impressed me the most.
Anyway, all in all, the camera is really a blessing to the device. Sony has in fact done a great job by using a premium camera to the Compact device.
Powering the entire system of the handset is the 2700mAh battery, which looks pretty promising. Moreover the device is also backed by the Sony's STAMINA Mode which is one of the most efficient power management features among all the other smartphones.
However, we can't give quick judgement on this one either. However, we will shortly let you know about the battery performance in our review.
Sony has been in the premium segment for a long time and the Compact versions of the flagship devices have always been fascinating as it offered all the goodness of the flagship devices in a smaller build. The specs are always top notch and the most important part is that it always comes with a premium looks and water-resistant build.
The new Xperia Z5 Compact has also successfully been given the likewise treatment. We are quite impressed with the device. However, the display could have been better, not that the HD quality is bad for the 4.6-incher.