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(Pocket-lint) - Sony announced three new smartphones at IFA in Berlin, including the Xperia Z5 that succeeds the Xperia Z3+ in Europe and the Xperia Z4 in Japan.

The Xperia Z3+ only graced us with its presence 3 months ago so the newly-launched Xperia Z5 is hot on its heels. Will the new device suffer the same overheating issue as its predecessor? Or is the Xperia Z5 the flagship we have all (except those after a 4K display or smaller screen) been waiting for?

We have put the Sony Xperia Z5 up against the Sony Xperia Z3+ to see what the differences are, how they compare and whether the Xperia Z5 is the Sony flagship to beat, or the Xperia Z3+ remains in a strong position despite its successor.


Sony Xperia Z5 refines the design and adds fingerprint sensor

Sony sticks with the familiar OmniBalance design we have come to expect from its Xperia Z range of smartphones, but the Xperia Z5, as its predecessors have done in the past, makes some changes here and there.

In terms of physical build and weight, the Xperia Z5 measures 146 x 72 x 7.3mm and weighs 153g. The Xperia Z3+ by comparison measures 146.3 x 71.9 x 6.9mm and weighs 144g, so the older device is a little slimmer and lighter.

The Xperia Z5 opts for flatter edges compared to the rounded sides of the Xperia Z3+ but the metal frame and glass panel build remains the same. The new flagship has a fingerprint scanner built into the signature side power button however, which is now elongated instead of round as it is on the Xperia Z3+ and there is also an Xperia logo engraved into the side of the Xperia Z5.

The designs are similar but the Xperia Z5 moves things along slightly and there are enough changes to differentiate it from its 3-month old predecessor. Both are waterproof and both have capless Micro-USB ports, unlike the IFA 2014-launched Xperia Z3.

Same display

Both the Xperia Z5 and the Xperia Z3+ have 5.2-inch displays, and despite what some may have hoped for, they also both stick with a Full HD resolution, with Sony putting all the extra pixels into the Xperia Z5 Premium instead.

The 1920 x 1080 resolution on the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z3+, as well as the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z2 for that matter, deliver a pixel density of 423ppi.

We thought the display on the Xperia Z5 was very good when we spent some time with it before IFA. As with the 2013 model, we found the colours to be punchy, there's plenty of brightness and the viewing angles are very good.

With the same size, resolution and technologies on board both the Xperia Z5 and the Xperia Z3+, you won't notice a difference in this department.

Sony Xperia Z5 has an improved camera

The camera does see a change however, with Sony replacing the 20.7-megapixel sensor found on the Xperia Z1, Z2, Z3 and Z3+ with a new 23-megapixel sensor. It isn't just about the megapixels though.

The Xperia Z5 integrates technologies that have been successful on the Sony Alpha interchangeable lens cameras, with the biggest headline being the ultrafast Hybrid AF focusing, which Sony claims will be as fast as up to 0.03 seconds in ideal conditions.

Sony has also added improved image stabilisation and clearer digital zoom to the Xperia Z5's package. The company says you'll get reasonable results from 5x digital zoom.

Aside from these improvements, the Xperia Z5's other camera numbers are pretty similar to the Xperia Z3+, with a maximum ISO of 12800 and a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper for those that love a selfie.

Similar hardware

Under the hood things don't change too much either. The Xperia Z5 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, just like the Xperia Z3+. The Snapdragon 810 processor has faced criticism for making some devices overheat, something which the Xperia Z3+ fell victim too, but Sony claims this won't be the case with the Xperia Z5.

Adreno 430 graphics are on board both devices and they both feature microSD slots for storage expansion, although the Xperia Z5 supports up to 200GB cards, while the Xperia Z3+ tops out at 128GB.

In terms of battery, the Xperia Z5 has a 2900mAh capacity, which is surprisingly very slightly smaller than the Xperia Z3+'s 2930mAh capacity. Sony still claims a 2-day battery life for both devices though, and in our experience, this hasn't been too far from the truth with previous Sony handsets.

Similar software experience

The Sony Xperia Z5 will launch with Android Lollipop, coupled with the Sony overlay and although things seem to have been simplified, the experience will be much the same as the Xperia Z3+.

For those familiar with Sony devices, you'll feel as at home with the Xperia Z5 as you would with the Xperia Z3+, with the same app bundles and interfaces present.


The Xperia Z5 doesn't change anything too dramatic compared to the Xperia Z3+, but in the same breath it changes enough. The design has been further refined, adding a fingerprint sensor to the mix, and the camera has also seen improvements.

In terms of the majority of the specs, things pretty much stay the same in terms of processor, storage, battery, display and software, so if you're upgrading from the Xperia Z3+ to the Xperia Z5, it would be questionable whether it is worth it.

That said, if design, camera and the latest crazes like fingerprint sensors are important to you and you're choosing between these two handsets, the Xperia Z5 is a clear winner over its predecessor.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.