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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 4K display is actually a bit of a con

Sam Loveridge


Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium's 4K screen isn't actually 4K all of the time, it has emerged.

Some of the biggest smartphone news out of IFA was that the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium comes with an ultra-sharp 4K display.

But it turns out that Sony's 4K display isn't all that it seems.

In a statement passed to PhoneArena, Sony outlines that the Z5 Premium's 4K display uses the full 3,840 x 2,160 pixels only when you view photos and video.

Other content – such as the homescreen, websites, apps and more – will only ever be "displayed at 1080p or lower resolution".

It's even unclear whether virtual-reality apps will be given the full 4K treatment.

Sony explains that displaying all content in 4K would significantly reduce the phone's battery life and, by rendering the majority of content in Full HD instead, the Z5 Premium might keep going for up to two days.

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This is the second major phone feature that Sony has backtracked on in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, the company updated its support page on dust and water protection for Xperia devices, advising users not to submerge their devices. They're waterproof devices.

"Remember not to use the device underwater," reads one section.

"The IP rating of your device was achieved in laboratory conditions in standby mode, so you should not use the device underwater, such as taking pictures," it continued.

Sony's promotional materials for its Xperia devices in recent years have always pushed the fact that they work underwater.

What's going on, Sony?

Dead Words

September 16, 2015, 8:42 pm

Sony, Sony, Sony. They are in desperate need of a mobile reform.


September 16, 2015, 9:10 pm

They are more or less admitting that whilst 4K makes good marketing copy, it makes absolutely no visible difference over 1080p on a 5 inch screen. So they have done the only rational thing, included the feature for marketing purposes and simultaneously by-passed it in practical terms - genius!

As always, we await your double blind trial to find out whether the difference is actually discernable to the human eye. Personally, I suspect Sony could be on to something.

David van der Zande

September 16, 2015, 9:23 pm

I don't see the problem. Android actually doesn't support a DPI of 4K. And otherwise you wouldn't have a two-day battery life.

I would say this is the right way to do it.


September 16, 2015, 9:24 pm

What does this para mean?

Sony explains that displaying all content in 4K would significantly reduce the phone's battery life and by rendering the majority of content in 4K, the Z5 Premium might keep going for up to two days.

Makes no sense to me?


September 16, 2015, 9:26 pm

"Remember not to use hte device underwater," reads one section.

Guys do you not even use spell checkers these days? Does no one proof read your stuff before you post it?

David van der Zande

September 16, 2015, 9:26 pm

It should say "rendering in FHD". It renders everything on FHD to save battery life.


September 16, 2015, 9:33 pm

So the paragraph makes no sense then. The Z10 Platinum might keep going for weeks at 640x480.


September 16, 2015, 9:35 pm

Is the hte device the new, new htc one?


September 17, 2015, 2:09 am

Thanks, Shaddow. Now I can enjoy the confusing, illiterate article safe in the knowledge that it isn't just me that makes mistakes with grammar.

Samson Okoro

September 17, 2015, 11:11 am

What kind of caption is this? "It is a bit of a con". What kind of journalism is this? shambolic and unprofessional to say the least. The phone clearly renders 4k in video and other media related content including you tube etc and you say it's a bit of a con cause you can't view content on the home screen, web and games on 4k? Am sure all video related content via the web would also be in 4k. It just doesn't make sense pushing 4k in areas you would never see the difference like on web pages or gaming. Most applaud this feature by Sony but trust you biased bunch to label it a con.


September 17, 2015, 11:48 am

Totally agree. Trying to argue that a rather sensible decision to only use 4k for content that will benefit, and saving battery life the rest of time, is "a con" is impressively stupid.


September 17, 2015, 1:02 pm

So the screen is 4k, it will show the content that may benefit from this resolution in 4k, but for other content will just use HD res to help battery life.

How is that a bit of a con?


September 17, 2015, 4:30 pm

Sony said their NW-ZX2 walkman will last 33 hours playing. I only got 11 hours at the most and they said I am not using it the proper way whatever that means. At least I will be satisfied for 18 to 24 hours despite their claim.


September 17, 2015, 9:01 pm

Sorry but not every article is worth reading, yours is among them


September 18, 2015, 9:27 am

so true.


September 18, 2015, 9:29 am

absolutely. They should be writing Sony's 4K screen is genius because it can shut down 4K when need to preserve battery life


September 18, 2015, 11:23 am

It is a con as a 4k screnn should be 4k if wanted, and it's use ouside of sonys definition should also include 4k usage with others for example with the sharpness on text in ebook readers - I can still see slight blockyness in 2K rendered text. Text in general and I can think of others. We should have a choice of resolutions, 4k all the time, mixed as they currently used, user defined 4k apps mixed, 2k all the time, 1k all the time.


September 18, 2015, 11:27 am

sorry, some poeple would see benefit of text in 4k - me being one, and we should have the option if we can. I wont be buying this if it is not possible to have text rendered in 4k in ebooks for example.

Samson Okoro

September 18, 2015, 11:42 am

If I may ask have u looked at Web pages and games on a Samsung or lg with 2k resolution and compare with a 1080p screen? If u can tell the difference you must be blessed with microscopic eyes then. There's very little 4k content so most games and Web pages aren't even rendered with such resolution in mind. So you won't see the difference even if the screen was in 4k that's the point brother. U'll see the difference in media content cause there's available content. Am sure Sony will release a software that gives u the option to turn it on and off in future.


September 18, 2015, 11:55 am

Yes, I have. I have a note 4 with 2k and I see a big difference between this resolution and the 1080p resolution of my old phone, a Note 3. I see the difference in everything (being better and clearer - especially text). I can still see the pixels at 2k and at 4k it will truly not be possible.
There are quite a lot of people with high visual acuity and in addition, people who are short sighted can comfortably hold a phone much closer to the eyes and so see greater acuity. What I'm saying is that we should have the choice to turn it off -right from the start! And not being able to do so does make the 4k claim a bit of a con.

Graham Boreham

September 18, 2015, 12:02 pm

I think you'll find they're Water Resistant - like watches and other devices... the reason they say resistant is because they're not 100% proof, they just resist water. So, I think people are playing on a misunderstanding of water resistance ratings vs interpretations. I am not happy with Sony though, my last Z3 got wet from a few spots of rain, it developed patterns behind the screen consistent with water damage, they wouldn't take responsibility and instead they insisted I send the phone to them, which I didn't want to do, I didn't want them saying "you've damaged your phone, now you'll need to pay" - I couldn't trust them and they wouldn't budge - I think this is more of an issue than misunderstanding the difference between resistance to water and water proofing.

Samson Okoro

September 18, 2015, 12:02 pm

You really do have Microscopic eyes then, cause I have checked out both the Samsung S6 edge and Sony z3 side by side and I couldn't tell one bit with texts. And am sorry it's no way a con, it renders media content on the Web and downloaded in 4k. Like I said Sony will probably release a software to give u the option to turn it off n on.

Graham Boreham

September 18, 2015, 12:04 pm

Well perhaps they'll allow people to override the setting, and then you'll be crying at the battery hammering and decide that actually you want to use HD when not using 4K media. I don't think it is a con. The screen IS 4K and not always utilising it will NOT making it less than 4K, it will just be down-scaled... on a 4K screen!


September 18, 2015, 12:16 pm

No, obviously the battery life would be less in and is acceptable if using it in 4k mode and irrelevant if being used while plugged in. If I need to have long battery life then I would switch it over to 1080p, such as on a long plane trip. The fact that this is marketed as a 4k screen and it wont give the possibility to display text in 4k is a con, however you try to look at it. Your logic says that it is perfectly OK for a 4k TV NOT to upscale 1080p, 720p or even SD, simply because it is not 4k!!


September 18, 2015, 12:19 pm

Yeap, some of us do and probably more than you might think :-) The fact that this is marketed as a 4k phone and it wont give the possibility to display text in 4k is a bit of con, however you try to look at it. Your logic says that it is perfectly OK for a 4k TV NOT to upscale 1080p, 720p or even SD, simply because it is not 4k!!

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