The Android world turns at a rapid pace but Sony has taken that to extremes. The announcement of its new Xperia Z5 seemingly consigns the Xperia Z3+ to the history books less than three months after it was released. So has Sony been over-eager in bringing out the Z5, or was it right to act quickly? It's time to see how these two 5.2-inch flagship devices compare.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Price and availability
The Xperia Z3+ (known as the Xperia Z4 in Japan) was released in June and struggled to justify its whopping price of around US$800. Since then, the price has tumbled in some places and may fall further in the coming weeks, with the Xperia Z5 waiting in the wings to usurp it.
The Z5 was officially presented at IFA 2015 in Berlin and will be released in the US either late this month or in October. As with the Xperia Z3+, Sony will offer it in several color options including graphite-black, silver-white, matte gold and fir-green. The price is yet to be confirmed but is expected to be about US$900.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Design
Sony is still stubbornly sticking to its OmniBalance guns in design terms and there is little distinction between the Xperia Z5 and the Xperia Z3+ in aesthetic terms. On first glance they appear identical, but there are some subtle changes.
The Xperia logo has moved from the back of the phone to the side, and the power button has had an overhaul. For the Xperia Z5, Sony has abandoned the circular power button of old for an elongated and recessed button that sits on the right-hand side of the phone and includes an integrated fingerprint sensor.
Elsewhere things remain much the same. The key layout is identical, the volume keys and dedicated camera button are still found on the right side of the phone (beneath the new power button), while the SIM card slot and the microSD card slot are on the left side, behind a protective cover. The micro USD port also remains, as do the headphone jack and the water- and dust-resistant features.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Display
This is a section of the article that could easily be left blank, such is the lack of improvement in the display from the Xperia Z3+ to the Xperia 5. The new phone retains the 5.2-inch fixed Full HD display of its predecessor. There's not much wrong with it but users may be entitled to expect a little more in exchange for the increased price.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Features
As we mentioned previously, the addition of a fingerprint sensor is one of the Xperia Z5's biggest selling points. Unlike the sensors on the OnePlus 2, Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and the Honor 7, Sony's is a combination of a sensor and a physical button. In practice, this means the phone needs to be awakened with pressure in order to register the fingerprint. This system has more in common with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Specifications
This is another area where upgrades are not immediately obvious. The Z5, along with its sister devices, the Xperia Z5 Premium and Z5 Compact, still employs the Snapdragon 810 processor, has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 128 GB with a microSD card.
The big question with the new device is whether the camera app continues to crash and the device overheat, which were big problems for many Xperia Z3+ users. It appears Sony has taken steps to resolve this problem – as soon as we get a test model, we'll let you know for sure.
A closer reading of the technical specifications reveals that the Xperia Z5 seems to be 0.6mm thicker than the Xperia Z3+ (7.5 mm compared to 6.9 mm). This may be a way in which the manufacturer has tried to avoid overheating problems.
Sony Xperia Z5 vs. Sony Xperia Z3+ technical specifications
|Sony Xperia Z5||Sony Xperia Z3+|
|Dimensions:||146 x 72 x 7.5 mm||146 x 72 x 6.9 mm|
|Weight:||157 g||144 g|
|Battery size:||2900 mAh||2930 mAh|
|Screen size:||5.2 in||5.2 in|
|Screen:||1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)||1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)|
|Front camera:||5.1 megapixels||5 megapixels|
|Rear camera:||23 megapixels||20.7 megapixels|
|Android version:||5.1.1 - Lollipop||5.0 - Lollipop|
|User interface:||Xperia UI||Xperia UI|
|RAM:||3 GB||3 GB|
|Internal storage:||32 GB||32 GB|
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 810||Qualcomm Snapdragon 810|
|Number of cores:||8||8|
|Max. clock speed:||2 GHz||2 GHz|
|Connectivity:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1|
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Camera
This section is a bit of a mixed bag, the Z5 has some new features combined with some older ones from the Xperia Z5. The front camera of the Xperia is Z5 boasts 5.1 MP with a Sony Exmor R sensor, a very slight improvement on the Xperia Z3+'s front camera, but the back camera has improved significantly – from 20.7 MP to 23 MP. As soon as we get our hands on one, we'll let you know how well the camera works.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Battery
The extra 0.6 mm in the newer phone hasn't signaled an increased battery size, in fact the battery capacity of the Xperia Z5 is 30 mAh less than that of the Xperia Z3 (2,900 mAh compared to 2,930 mAh). In practice though, this should make little difference to how long the battery lasts.
Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Early conclusions
It seems Sony has learnt quickly from the mistakes it made with the Xperia Z3+. The Xperia Z5's camera app appears to be much more robust while the addition of a fingerprint sensor should prepare the device for the arrival of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Z5 is undoubtedly the better phone of the two. It is expensive; it's up to you to decide if it's value for money. But if you're thinking this might be a good time to snap up a bargain Xperia Z3+, we'll refer you back to those overheating and crashing issues. The Z5 might cost more than the Z3+ does now, but we think it's worth paying more for reliability.
What do you think of the Xperia Z5? Will you be buying one? Let us know in the comments.