Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

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  • This phone will get hot if you push it to its limits
  • You can now upgrade the software to Android 6 Marshmallow
  • It won't look like stock Android though, thanks for Sony's own UI

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop installed but you can now upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Sony adds its own UI over the top of Android, and it doesn't look anywhere near as nice as the stock version of Lollipop.

I've often complained about the styling of Sony's phone UIs – the app icons and interactions with the different stock apps don't look nice at all, and make the interface's feel dated compared to the fresh look of some other manufacturers.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

I much prefer the look of Android's stock applications rather than what Sony is trying to do here with its own design.

There's no noticeable lag when skipping through different applications at speed, and that's down to the strong Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM inside. It's snappy, and apps load quickly.

Web pages load quickly too, and multitasking with a variety of apps open works smoothly.

I never had to wait long for an app to boot up, and that's exactly what you want from the top of the line phones. Games sometimes took a bit longer to boot than I've found on other phones, but it's not anything in particularly to worry about.

I personally get very fustrated with the Sony experience due to the amount of bloatware applications on the Xperia Z5 Premium. Samsung's TouchWiz software has dropped a lot of its bloatware apps in recent iterations but Sony shows no sign of letting up by seemingly adding even more for this latest phone.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Sony throws in apps such as Kobo Books, Amazon, Dropbox and AVG protection that just take up space on the Xperia Z5 Premium. You can delete these, but they shouldn't be taking up space on the phone in the first place.

Then there's a huge variety of Sony-specific apps, such as PlayStation, Xperia Lounge and TrackID, which take up more space again.

If you wanted any of these on your phone you could download them very easily from the Google Play Store, so I can't see why Sony feels it has to force them on us.

And the irony is that Sony hasn't included its best app here – you have to manually download PS4 Remote Play, which is the most useful and innovative app Sony has released so far.

I'd recommend downloading the latest in Google's software. It's all down to whether your carrier or mobile network has the update to Android 6.0.1 ready though.

The latest update adds a variety of system stabilization work and a a slightly improved battery life. It also brings with it the Doze Mode feature, an upgraded camera UI and the option for app permissions. App permissions means you now have greater flexibility over what certain apps can access from your phone.


On top of that Sony has included brand new sticker packs with its Sony Messenger app and offers up some added emoji options that you can download and send to your friends. If you've got the ability to download Android 6 Marshmallow, it's certainly worth doing so.

It also sets up the phone up ready for Android Pay, which recently came to the UK and is available in the US but not in Australia.

Mobile gaming titles run smoothly on the Xperia Z5 Premium with no processing issues. However, as with the Xperia Z5 there are some heating-up issues with the Xperia Z5 Premium. It's especially noticeable when I'm gaming, with the phone becoming hot to the touch.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

If you're looking for a phone that can handle intense gaming, I wouldn't recommend this one. It can handle it, but the Xperia Z5 Premium heats up way too much for it to be a pleasant experience. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ doesn't get anywhere near this hot when gaming.

This is an issue Sony really needs to sort out in its next phones, although the heating is nowhere near as bad as it was with the Xperia Z3+.

I ran some GeekBench 3 testing on the Xperia Z5 Premium, and got a single-core score of 1,262 and a multi-core score of 4,073. That's quite an impressive result – the Xperia Z5 came out with a multi-core score of 4,015, so the Premium is similarly powerful.

It didn't come out with anything like the score of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ though – that phablet managed to score an incredible 4949, a similar number to the iPad Air 2's.

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.