Sony’s new Xperia Z5 Premium is only partly a 4K smartphone

by on September 16, 2015

Stephan Jukic – September 16, 2015

The Xperia Z5 Premium from Sony is being hailed as possibly the biggest piece of smartphone news to hit the streets and electronics sellers this year, and this is arguably true considering that this is after all the first ever smartphone with a 4K UHD screen built into it.

However, despite the at least partly deserved hype, the new phone from Sony isn’t entirely as astounding as it first seemed to be, at least according to some opinions and partly due to the actual characteristics it offers.

For starters, at least a few reviewers are calling out Sony for putting 4K resolution into something as tiny as a smartphone screen to begin with. The claim being that such a vast number of pixels won’t at all be visually distinguishable from Full HD or something slightly higher on such tiny screens. While there is definitely a lot of validity to this argument, it also ignores the fact that not all new technology needs to have essential features; that a lot of new phone design is about pleasing consumers with wow-inducing specs. With this in mind, Sony’s choice to install 4K resolution is perfectly logical.

And with that being the case, Sony has taken a rather practical and selective route to implementing the 4K resolution of its new phone. The UHD graphics will only go into effect if the Z5 Premium is being used to look at photos and videos. For all of the basic OS content, web browsing and app interface display, the phone actually only operates on Full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels, or possibly even lower resolutions.

The base OS graphics of the Z5 Premium display at Full HD resolution instead of in 4K

The base OS graphics of the Z5 Premium display at Full HD resolution instead of in 4K

Mind you, this is something most users who don’t use a magnifying glass or simply have absolute eagle eye vision won’t even notice while casually using their phone but the fact that 4K across the board isn’t the case in the Z5 Premium is apparently annoying some fans of consumer technology. This despite the fact that the partial 4K coverage also serves a very useful benefit in the form of a much better battery life of as many as two days with casual light use. Using 4K display for everything that flies across the phone’s screen would reduce this drastically thanks to the attendant processing needs in the phone’s chipset.

Thus, while the Xperia Z5 Premium is truly and fully a 4K phone in the sense that it has a display capable of really delivering 4K graphics for native UHD content and upscaled HD content, it also doesn’t deliver total 4K. Whether this is a cheap underhand tactic by Sony or not is something we leave for eventual users of the Z5 Premium to decide.

As far as we’re concerned, battery life and smooth performance across the board are more important and the phone is still a fantastic piece of technology in nearly every sense of the word while also delivering something no other phone can offer today, even if it is only some of the time.

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