Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

The world's first ever 4K phone is here

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

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  • The sensor on the Xperia Z5 Premium is even larger at 23MP
  • It's not the best on the market though
  • If you want a better camera, opt for the Xperia XZ

Sony has put a lot of effort into refining its camera experience for the Xperia Z5 series. It has offered one of the best shooters on the market for quite some time, and it's now been upped from a 20.7MP sensor in the Xperia Z3 series to a 23MP unit in the Z5s.

And it's pretty impressive – it's not going to satisfy the DSLR lovers among us, but as a standard point-and-shoot affair with a few extra modes to make pictures look great, there's not much wrong with it.

The pixel quality is incredible, and there's no better way to admire your shots than on the Xperia Z5 Premium's 4K display.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

When you launch the camera in auto mode the Xperia Z5 Premium will limit you to 8MP photos by default to save on space, but it's easy enough to switch to manual and up the quality to the full 23MP, or something in between.

I've been zooming in on a lot of the photos I've taken in 23MP mode, and been very impressed.

There's a new 5X zoom feature on the Xperia Z5 Premium's camera, but I wasn't particularly impressed with it. I kept finding myself struggling to focus in on particular subjects, and not getting a particularly impressive image.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

On the other hand the brand new autofocus system on the Xperia Z5 Premium's camera is quite impressive, and comes in useful when you're taking photos in quick succession.

It doesn't work so well for taking photos of moving objects, however – I've tried with cars, trains, animals and and I'm still not getting good results. Check out this shot of a passing cyclist…

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

In the left of the shot you'll notice a blur - that was a guy on his bike riding by

I still have some issues with Sony cameras – I find that the images I take tend to come out looking a little duller than shots taken on other Android phones. There's not enough color in the images, and it makes everything look a little dreary.

This is a shame, as otherwise it's a pretty good camera – but I really don't believe this is "the world's best smartphone camera", as Sony claims, and if you're a true pixel perfectionist then this probably isn't the phone for you.

Android Marshmallow does upgrade the camera UI and means it's easier to switch between video and the normal shooting mode. Plus there's also a new brightness toggle that makes it easier to fiddle with the lighting in your shots.


As for video, there's Full HD recording as well as 4K – and now you can actually watch the 4K video you've recorded in the quality in which it's meant to be viewed, courtesy of the 4K display.

The ability to record in 4K has felt a little superfluous ever since it started appearing on phones, but now that you can play it back in all its glory it's quite exciting. Be warned though: it's going to take up a lot of space on your phone.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

On the front of the Xperia Z5 Premium is the 5.1MP selfie shooter. It's fine for quick snaps but it's nothing stunning – the OnePlus X, by comparison, boasts a 8MP front-facing unit, which goes to show what's now possible with a secondary camera.

Overall, you're unlikely to be disappointed with the Xperia Z5 Premium's camera. It can produce incredibly detailed images, but there are a few little problems that make me feel it's not the best it can be – and not as good as Sony's marketing claims.

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.