Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review: Pint-sized powerhouse wows us all over again
Many years ago, when I announced my plans to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, my friends were astonished that I’d go for anything quite so big. I’d look ridiculous, they claimed, holding that to my face.
Well if I did – and there’s no guarantee the phone was to blame for that – then everyone else is looking silly, too. Nowadays, you’re hard-pushed to find a handset under 5in, and with Sony’s latest flagship arriving at 5.2in (or 5.5in for the truly ridiculous 4K premium model), the “compact” version of it is just 0.6in smaller at 4.6in. If this is compact, the iPhone 4s looks positively adorable.
Still, this is clearly the pocket-sized cut-off point now, and that’s largely a good thing.
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact: First impressions
Out of the box, the Xperia Z5 Compact does indeed look like a cut-down version of the larger handset. Obviously, it’s shorter at 4.6in and, oddly, a touch thicker at 8.9mm compared with the Z5’s slender 7.3mm frame. It’s also quite a bit lighter at 138g to the Z5’s 154g.
Sony’s style hasn’t changed a great deal over the years, and it’s quite a divisive look, with squared-off edges and sharp angles. All smartphones are essentially slabs of electronics, but Sony wears this assessment on its sleeve – and proudly. The Z5 Compact curves its edges off slightly, but it’s still a lot more angular than the iPhone 6s, HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
As with the Xperia Z5, the back plate is now frosted glass, which looks quite nice, but will probably not survive many encounters with a pocketful of keys. You have been warned. Also, as with the Z5, the power button has changed from Sony’s traditional protruding circle to a flat, metal oval. This is to incorporate a fingerprint scanner, on the right hand side where the thumb naturally sits.
The result is a revelation for me. I’m used to fairly unreliable Bluetooth unlocking with Android Wear, but being able to quickly get to the homescreen with a light touch of the thumb is something I’m going to find very difficult to give up. On the other hand, I’ll certainly not miss the positioning of the volume rocker on this phone: it’s at the bottom right-hand side, which is just weird for the sake of being weird.
One of the major selling points of Xperia phones in recent years has been their waterproofing, with Sony boasting of the ability to shoot video underwater with previous models.
That suggestion has been quietly withdrawn from all Sony’s marketing materials this time around, but the phone retains its IP56/IP68 rating, which means that it’ll withstand a dunking or two.
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact specifications
Octacore (quad 2GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
720 x 1,280, 323ppi
23MP (f/2, phase detect autofocus, OIS)
Memory card slot
Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, apt-X
76 x 7.8 x 154mm
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
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