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Sony Xperia Z5 – What you need to know about Sony’s new range

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Sony Xperia Z5

Everything you need to know about the Sony Xperia Z5

Want to know everything about the upcoming Sony Xperia Z5? Here’s what we know so far, including the expected Sony Xperia Z5 release date, new features and the latest specs info.

Oh Sony, when will you learn? The company’s mobile division might be struggling to turn a profit, but that isn’t enough to shutter its unique six-month release cycle.

The Japanese technology giant is widely rumoured to be plotting three new flagship Xperia devices to finish off 2015.

That’s despite the fact that it already launched three top-end handsets this year – the Xperia Z3+, the Xperia Z4, and the Xperia Z4v.

This time around, we’re expecting to see the Xperia Z5, the Xperia Z5 Compact, and the Xperia Z5+. Here we go again...

Latest Sony Xperia Z5 news – USB-C, Z5+ with 4K display

In Brief

When is the Sony Xperia Z5 coming out? Z5 September, Z5+ late 2015

What’s new about the Sony Xperia Z5? USB-C, 4K screen, fingerprint scanner

How much will the Sony Xperia Z5 cost? £499-569 ($599-669)

Related: LG Nexus 5 (2015) – Everything you need to know

Check out our smartphone buyers guide below:

When will the Sony Xperia Z5 come out?

Back in July, German tech site WinFuture claimed that Sony has developed handsets under the codenames S70, S70+, and S60.

It reported that two of these would be arriving in September, which is generally the season for Sony Xperia releases.

What’s more, September also hosts the IFA 2015 trade-show, which is held in Berlin every year.

IFA is fertile ground for sowing the seeds of smartphones, and Sony often uses the tradeshow to launch new products.

As such, we’ll likely see both the Z5 and Z5 Compact revealed within the first week of September, in line with the event.

The case is less clear-cut for the Sony Xperia Z5+, which is tipped to arrive later than the Z5 and Z5 Compact.

It’s not clear why Sony would opt for a different release window for the phablet, but the company’s launch strategy has never really been conventional.

It’s highly unlikely that Sony will leave the Z5+ launch as late as December, because that cuts the release too close to Christmas – missed sales would be assured.

Instead, we’d say late October or November are the more likely candidate months for an Xperia Z5+ release date.

Xperia Z5 5

Related: Android 6.0 Marshmallow features

What’s new about the Sony Xperia Z5?

As is always the case with unannounced phones, we can never be 100% sure what sort of improvements will be forthcoming.

That said, we’ve been privy to a shedload of leaks and rumours, so we can make some educated guesses about Sony’s next smartphones.

The biggest talking point is a rumour that suggests the Xperia Z5+ will feature a 4K screen. We’re also expecting a QHD display upgrade for the Xperia Z5.

Then there’s been several leaks that have pointed to Sony opting for a fingerprint scanner, finally. That’s a feature that has been missed on every Xperia smartphone to date.

Also tipped to join the Xperia roster is the burgeoning USB-C port standard, which could also be set to appear on the rumoured iPhone 6S.

Don’t forget that although it might not appear at launch, Google’s upcoming Android 6.0 Marshmallow is almost assured to eventually roll out to the new Xperia phones.

Should I wait for the Sony Xperia Z5?

Sony is rumoured to be planning three smartphones for this autumn, so the company is clearly trying to tick all boxes.

As such, if you’re a fan of Sony devices, you’ll probably find something that suits from the expected Z5, Z5 Compact, or Z5+ line-up.

The Z5 Compact will likely be small – probably under 5-inches – and should sit well with anyone whose thumbs struggle to grope across huge screens.

The Z5 is the core model, and looks probable to land with a 5.2-inch display, while the Z5+ is tipped with a 5.5-inch display, just like the iPhone 6 Plus. Neither form factor is particularly huge by 2015’s standards and is a lot smaller than the ridiculously big Xperia Z Ultra released in 2013.

Of course, the Xperia trio are up against stiff competition this year, facing formidable rival offerings like the Galaxy S6 Edge, the LG G4, and the OnePlus 2.

There’s also the rumoured iPhone 6S, set for a September unveiling, so it might be worth checking out our iOS 9 vs Android 6.0 feature to weigh up the benefits of Apple’s and Google’s respective operating systems.

Check out our smartphone group test video below:

In-Depth: Sony Xperia Z5 Specs & Features Explained

It’s a great time to be a Sony fan, with three new smartphones apparently in the works.

Unfortunately, the problem with an abundance of handsets is that it’s tough to pin a given leak to a specific handset.

However, we’ve done our best to round-up what we expect to see from Sony’s new Xperia devices when the rumoured autumn launch finally arrives.

Sony Xperia Z5 display:

We’re expecting Sony to follow suit with previous handsets when it comes to its next Xperia screen sizes.

As such, the Z5 Compact is rumoured to boast a 4.6-inch display, while the Z5 is tipped to carry a 5.2-inch panel.

Xperia Z5 13Leaked Z5 and Z5 Compact

When it comes to the resolution, it’s been suggested that the Z5 will use a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen.

That’s exactly the same panel that we saw from this year’s Xperia Z3+.

However, the US-only Xperia Z4v – also launched in 2015 – carried a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel QHD panel, which is a significant leap in resolution.

It’s anyone’s guess as to which panel Sony will opt for at this point.

The Sony Xperia Z5+ is where things really start to get interesting, because it’s widely rumoured to carry a 5.5-inch 4K screen – that’s an insane 801ppi density.

Our best evidence yet is a leak of a UAProf for a mysterious Sony Mobile device that comes courtesy of XperiaBlog.

A UAProf, or a User Agent Profile, is a file that contains information about the capability – stuff like model, screen size, character set support, etc. – and preferences of a given device.

They’re useful for developers so that they can produce content in an appropriate format for a given device.

The model numbers in this specific leak are listed as E68XX, E6833, E6853, and E6883, which follow the same naming convention as previous Xperia smartphones.

What’s interesting is that this particular UAProf lists the screen resolution of the device as 3,840 x 2,160 pixels – that’s 4K/UHD.

It’s worth questioning whether there’s any real reason why Sony should use a 4K display on its next Xperia smartphone.

Xperia Z5 9

Using a 4K panel will create a significant drain on battery life, especially if it ends up using the year-old Snapdragon 810.

What’s more, it’ll be very difficult to tell the difference between QHD and 4K resolutions on a teeny smartphone screen.

However, there’s the argument that 4K screens will eventually become mainstream thanks to the advent of virtual reality. Many VR headsets use smartphones as display inserts, meaning the devices sit very close to a user’s eyes – you’ll need higher resolutions to keep images looking crisp.

Also, Sony Xperia handsets have, in the past, struggled to differentiate themselves in the market thanks to a lack of standout features. A 4K screen could fix that.

We should also note that it’s been rumoured that the Sony Xperia Z5+ will feature the company’s 4K X-Reality engine.

That’s the Sony-built software that lets you upscale Full HD video to faux 4K-quality. It already appears on many of Sony’s Bravia TVs.

Related: Android Marshmallow vs iOS 9

Sony Xperia Z5 design:

This part of the round-up is easy, because Sony is very predictable when it comes to the Xperia smartphone series.

Once again, Sony is rumoured to be adopting its ‘Omnibalance’ design approach to the three new phones.

If you don’t know what that is, you only need to take a look at basically every Xperia smartphone ever produced.

Typical hallmarks of an Omnibalance phone? A flat, rectangular body, a glassy – or sometimes matte – rear, front-firing speakers, and reinforced corners.

Xperia Z5 17

Sony maintains this design approach across its low-, mid-, and high-end phones, so it’s often difficult to identify a specific Xperia handset at a glance.

We’ve heard from various leaks that at least one of the phones will have a 6.9mm profile. That’s exactly the same as Apple’s iPhone 6, although it’s slightly thicker than the 6.8mm Samsung Galaxy S6, not that you'd notice.

Sony Xperia Z5 camera:

While we’ve seen plenty of rumours concerning the Xperia Z5 trio, there’s been very little leaked about the camera set-up.

The best we can do right now is a rumour that we’ll see a 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

That’s compared to the 20.7-megapixel main camera and 5.1-megapixel selfie shooter that appeared on this year’s Xperia Z3+.

It’s very likely that the rumour of a 20.7-megapixel camera is true, as that sensor featured on the Xperia Z3 too. As such, it would be strange to downgrade.

Xperia Z5 11

It’s also not a huge leap of faith to suggest we’ll see an upgrade from a 5-megapixel front-facing sensor to an 8-megapixel unit.

Sony camera set-ups on top-end Xperia phones are usually fleshed-out affairs, so we can also expected to see autofocus, an LED flash, HDR, and probably ISO 12800.

Related: Best Smartphone 2015

Sony Xperia Z5 specs:

Right, remember that UAProf we mentioned earlier in the display section? Well aside from the mention of a 4K screen, it also gave us a clue regarding the Z5+ processor.

The UAProf in question made reference to an “MSM8994” chip, which we already know to be Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor – it’s already appeared on the Xperia Z3+.

Unfortunately, the Snapdragon 810 hasn’t received the best reviews thanks to reported overheating issues. Those alleged lofty temperatures might not fare so well trying to support the aforementioned 4K screen.

There’s also an outside chance we might see Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 820 chip appear on the device.

Qualcomm has confirmed its existence, but the top-end processor isn’t due to appear on smartphones until late 2015 or early 2016.

Xperia Z5 7

As such, there’s a possibility that a late-launching Xperia Z5+ might land in time to use the 820.

Qualcomm was rumoured to be giving manufacturers access to Snapdragon 820 samples in the second half of 2015, so Sony may already have its hands on the chip.

The Snapdragon 820 is built on Samsung’s highly efficient 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, and will use four custom-built ‘Hydra’ cores. Expect serious power as a result.

Other rumoured specs include 4GB of RAM (up from 3GB on the Z3+), and 32GB of built-in storage.

Related: Best Android Apps 2015

Sony Xperia Z5 Battery Life:

There’s one rumoured Sony Xperia Z5+ component that we feel warrants its own section entirely.

That’s the battery, which is reported to offer a staggeringly large 4,500mAh battery capacity.

That’s well up on the comparatively paltry 2,930mAh battery featured on this year’s Xperia Z3+.

We’ve seen huge batteries on smartphones before. Take, for instance, the upcoming Acer Liquid X2 with its 4,000mAh battery. Or the Doogee S6000, with its aptly sized 6,000mAh cell.

However, such meaty batteries are hardly the norm, so here’s a list of flagship smartphones with more conventional battery sizes, for comparison:

It’s plainly evident that a 4,500mAh Sony Xperia Z5+ battery would trump the core competition.

With a cell that large, we’d expect the Xperia Z5+ to comfortably last two days, but we’ll need to wait for the actual handset – should one exist – to really test its capability.

Sony Xperia Z5 software:

There are only two real choices for Sony when it comes to mobile operating systems, and they both belong to Google.

The first is Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is a nearly year-old OS that’s featured on most of Sony’s latest devices.

Lollipop is getting on a bit now, but it’s undoubtedly formidable software, and it looks pretty good too thanks to Google’s new ‘material design’ aesthetic.

In all probability, Sony’s new smartphones will carry Lollipop straight out of the box.

The handsets will likely have been in development for months now, and Lollipop will have been immediately to hand during the process.

However, there’s also a chance we might see Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow making an appearance.

Xperia Z5

A handful of sites have been peddling rumours that this might be the case, although we’re not so sure.

Google only announced Marshmallow back in May, and the software isn’t due to roll out on Nexus devices until this autumn.

As such, it would seem a little premature if a Sony device turned up rocking the new software as soon as September.

The most likely candidate for out-of-the-box Marshmallow is the Xperia Z5+, which is tipped for a late 2015 launch.

If the Z5+ does end up with Android 6.0, it will be one of the first handsets to tout the new software.

At the very least, it’s very likely that all three rumoured Sony smartphones will eventually get an upgrade to Android 6.0.

Unfortunately, the Sony Xperia Z3, which originally launched in September 2014, didn’t get Android 5.0 Lollipop until April this year.

That sets a bad precedent for Sony upgrades, as the handset was one of the last to receive the update.

Hopefully Sony can turn around Marshmallow much quicker this time around, although we wouldn’t count on it.

Whatever operating system Sony opts for in the end, it’s almost assured that there’ll be some tweaks made before it reaches consumers. You’ll get some bundled features, like added camera settings, plus a host of Xperia apps pre-installed.

Xperia Z5 3Android Pay is a key feature of Marshmallow

Related: Android Pay vs Apple Pay

Sony Xperia Z5 features:

Perhaps the most exciting addition that’s rumoured for the new Xperia handsets is a fingerprint scanner.

It’s a feature that’s been sorely missed on previous Xperia smartphones, despite many competitor devices having offered the technology for a while.

Google has confirmed that its next mobile OS update – Android 6.0 Marshmallow – will include standardised support for fingerprint scanners, so now is as good a time as any to finally upgrade to the sensory tech.

Also, Google is set to launch Android Pay this autumn, so fingerprint scanners will be in greater demand thanks to the extra security required to power the mobile payments platform.

There’s also a chance that at least one of the new Sony phones will feature a USB-C port.

That’s the latest USB standard that’s going to start appearing on most mobile devices over the next year.

Nexus 6 21USB-C, as seen on the OnePlus 2

Aside from offering faster transfer speeds, the new connector also features a reversible tip, just like Apple’s Lightning cables.

Sony has already admitted that it’s having “internal discussions” about whether to adopt the new technology.

Back in June, a FocusTaiwan article revealed Sony was “investigating” USB-C, but there was no confirmation that the port would be included on a future phone.

Don’t forget that Google made a big deal about USB-C at this year’s I/O developer conference, confirming that it is “heavily involved in creating a new USB Type C standard”.

The upcoming Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system will support USB-C, so it’s likely that Sony will eventually utilise USB-C, even if it’s not featured on the next round of Xperia phones.

Sony Xperia Z5 price:

It’s always difficult to pin down pricing for unconfirmed smartphones, but we can look to previous Sony launches for clues.

Interestingly, Sony’s Xperia handsets have actually decreased in launch price over the last few iterations.

The Sony Xperia Z2 retailed at £569.99, the Xperia Z3 was sold for £525, and the Xperia Z3+ priced up at just £499.

We don’t expect Sony will slip below the £499 for the Xperia Z5, and certainly not the Xperia Z5+.

As such, it’s probably that the Xperia Z5 will cost somewhere in the region of £500 to £570.

Xperia Z5 15

The Z5 Compact, which should boast similar specs to the Z5, will likely tout a similarly high-end mark-up – we’d expect between £400 and £500.

Then there’s the Xperia Z5+, which is a bit more difficult to predict.

As that’s expected to be a seriously top-bill handset, it’s probably going to match flagship rival handsets on pricing.

Unfortunately, competitor phablets are very pricy, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (£749) and the iPhone 6 Plus (£619).

Share your thoughts on what you’d like to see from the Sony Xperia Z5 in the comments below.

fried_egg

August 21, 2015, 12:53 pm

I like the 6 month schedule. Other than iphone no make sells well after they are a couple of months old. Who wants to buy a 9-11 month old model. Other manufactures have "warmed up" their offering mid year but kept the general name in the past. samsung release new phones every few months but make it look like they only do "year" releases. Sony just need to get the message across better that when you buy, you buy the latest and the old model gets the same software upgrades (with only hardware needing features missing)... while each phone z,z1,z2,z3,z3+ has only needed a warm up because so much (like the camera lens) was got right the first time... the style is good, but styles are subjective, i dont like clarks shoes but they appeal to some people... and the media needs to be a little more honest when it comes to reporting the cycle

ASIM SIDDIQ

August 21, 2015, 6:45 pm

The author of this article has no.idea what they are on about, the Z Ultra is not ridiculously large, it is the perfect device, those users, like myself, who have used it for many months will.all testify that it's a brilliant all round device.and the perfect size. If the Z5+ is the successor to.the Z Ultra then Sony have honestly gone soft. How cab they downgrade the size by 1 inch to 5.5", it's mad, it needs to be kept to the same size.and it will look great with that 4k screen, although to be honest we don't really need it. If these rumours are true then I shall stay with my Z Ultra and then upgrade to either the 8" Z3 Tablet Compact or hopefully it's successor which should be released next year. Anything below 6.4" for me is now too small.

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