Sony Xperia Z5 review

Sony's last Z series phone packs some impressive tech

Sony Xperia Z5 review

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Ever since the Z1 we've seen the same hardware camera set up on the Xperia line of phones with slight tweaks and new features added along the way. It's only now Sony has mixed up the hardware.

It's now a 23MP shooter, one that Sony is claiming to be "the worlds best smartphone camera" according to a batch of adverts scattered all over the UK.

Sony Xperia Z5

Although the sensor now has a higher pixel resolution, the most exciting element of the new camera is autofocus. There have been some major improvements here and the new hybrid autofocus works within 0.03 seconds.

That's fast – and it means when you're shaking or you're taking a real quick shot you're going to get the best possible image. It's unlike anything else on the market at this speed and I'm really impressed how well it does when I'm flailing around with the phone.

Sony Xperia Z5

I took that shot at night – but then tried moving really fast to see if the autofocus could handle it. The results prove this feature is just to combat the odd involuntary hand movement.

Sony Xperia Z5

As for video recording you've got the same options as on previous Xperia handsets. You can film in 4K video on the rear camera, but it uses up a good deal of the space and there isn't really much point with a Full HD screen to watch it on.

If you're really interested in 4K video recording you may be interested in the Xperia Z5 Premium that is coming in November this year with a 4K display on the front.

Other video options are 1,080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps. Other features on the camera also include face detection, HDR, an LED flash and phase detection autofocus.

One of the main problems I've previously had with photos taken on Sony phones is that they come out dull, as if their sensors couldn't absorb enough light. To some extent that's still an issue with the Sony Xperia Z5. I put it up against some of the latest flagships in a camera test and you can see the results in the video below.

As you can see, images are often dull and a little soft compared to those taken on the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S, but while the Z5 isn't at the same level as those cameras it does appear to be a lot better than on Xperia Z3+. Zoom is much improved as well, now going up to 5x and keeping a lot of the clarity you don't always see on other phones.

Sony Xperia Z5

On the front is a 5.1MP selfie shooter which is the same we saw on the last phone. Nothing seems to have been changed here but there doesn't really feel like much needed to be. It's going to film 1,080p video that looks great and is good for video chatting while there are a lot of pixels here to make your selfies look gorgeous.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.