Today marks the beginning of the last major world tech conference for the year 2015. The first major conference was Mobile World Congress (MWC), which takes place around February-early March. IFA in Berlin, Germany, however, is the last world tech conference that tech enthusiasts will witness between now and 2016. What does this mean? Tech companies that have been deemed behind or weak in innovation put their best foot forward in order to win customers come the holidays like Thanksgiving (with its Black Friday offers) and Christmas. Customers have more time to shop around the holidays, so small competitors like Sony have taken up the torch and decided to run with the very best it can give against its larger Android competitors like Samsung.
The result? Three new smartphones: the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, and the Xperia Z5 Premium. Sony decided to name its high-end smartphone “premium,” but there are factors that justify the name and factors that do not.
Let’s get into the details. First, the elephant in the room: the Xperia Z5 Premium is the world’s first smartphone with a 4K resolution. As I’ve discussed in the new series on 4K Resolution For The Future (see the series introduction), 4K resolution is also known as Ultra HD in the industry (although the two aren’t exactly the same, though pretty close), so you can expect a whopping resolution of 3,840 x 2,160p (or, simply known as 2160p) for your smartphone display. Smartphones just started featuring Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440p) displays last year with LG’s G3 – so introducing 4K resolution into a smartphone just a year after introducing Quad HD resolution seems to be little more than “spec-stuffing,” hidden under the label “future-proofing.”
In any case, there are other features that will appeal to you. Among these, is the microSD card slot that provides for additional storage. Yes, Samsung has removed this capability in its latest smartphones (Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note5), but Sony is moving forward with microSD cards, slow speeds or not. Sony has provided 128GB microSD card slots in the past, but the new Xperia Z5 Premium has a 200GB microSD card slot. You’re reading this right: you can now buy a 200GB microSD card and use it on your new Xperia Z5 Premium. 128GB is no longer enough, in Sony’s reasoning.
There are other features, such as the new fingerprint sensor on Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium, that has been placed on the side of the device (not on the home button), and the new 23MP camera that reduces each photo taken down to just 8MP to save on storage. This seems great for consumers, but professional photographers will appreciate maintaining a 23MP image – even if just for the precise details and a life-size photo.
Added to all this is the 3,430mAh battery that Sony says will provide up to 2 days of battery life. Sony has led the Android market, being matched only by Samsung with the Galaxy S6 edge+, so Sony’s claims here are certainly true and we see no reason to disbelieve them. The Xperia Z5 Premium will go on sale in November, but the price has not yet been disclosed.
There are other features about this smartphone worth seeing, but we’ll refer you to Sony’s own press release. At any rate, understand that the 4K resolution smartphone we’re talking about this week has now surfaced. Our series on 4K resolution is more pertinent than we first thought.