Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: What's new in the Sony Xperia Z5?

The Sony Xperia Z3+ smartphone disappointingly introduced only minor upgrades over the Xperia Z3, but there's a lot more to get excited about with the new Sony Xperia Z5. Here we examine the specifications to see what's new in the Sony Xperia Z5. It's Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+. For more in-depth information also see our Sony Xperia Z3+ and Sony Xperia Z5 hands-on reviews.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Price and UK availability

The Sony Xperia Z3+ is today available for £399 SIM-free from Amazon. That makes it significantly cheaper than the forthcoming Z5, which will go on sale in October at somewhere around £525 according to Clove. That's not surprising for a four-month-old Android phone, however, especially one that has a lower specification. For more details see our release date and price article for the Z5.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Build and design

Sony Xperia Z5

In terms of design the Z5 is instantly recognisable as a member of the Sony Xperia Z-series. It has the same industrial-looking rectangular design, but with a few tweaks. See all smartphone reviews.

For a start, despite being a fraction of a millimetre shorter, it's ever so slightly wider and also thicker, measuring 146x72x7.3mm against the Z3+'s 146.3x71.9x6.9mm. It's also 10g heavier, at 154g.

You're unlikely to notice those differences, but what you should appreciate is the new fingerprint scanner. Sony's incredibly late to the party on this, but it has arrived in style. We've seen fingerprint scanners built into home buttons before, but never a side-mounted power button. This means it falls easily under the thumb as you pick up the phone, and you don't even need to think about it. Also see: Best Android phones 2015.

Necessarily, then, with the Z5 Sony has replaced the once-circular power button with a flat, rectangular button. It's also moved the volume rocker a little further down the side.

As before the Z-series flagship comes in black and white versions, plus a new shade of green and a gold model replacing the copper Z3+. There's a new frosted glass rear cover and a graded metal frame. Also see: Best smartphones 2015.

The Z5 retains the Z3+'s waterproofing, rated IP65- and IP68-certified, and the Z5 should work even better when wet, with the screen fully responsive when covered in water droplets. Sony has removed some of the fiddly protective flaps, too.

Something that hasn't changed from Z3+ to Z5 is the screen. Sony still fits a 5.2in full-HD (1920x1080) Triluminus IPS panel with X-Reality for mobile. Also see: Sony Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Premium vs Xperia Z5 Compact.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Hardware and performance

Very little has changed in terms of core hardware, although we were pleased to find during our hands-on time with the Xperia Z5 that it didn't seem to get too hot in use.

Both phones run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, an octa-core 64-bit chip with four cores running at 2GHz and four at 1.5GHz, plus 3GB of RAM, Adreno 430 graphics and 32GB of storage. Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2015?

The only difference is that the Z5 can accept microSD cards up to 200GB in capacity, and the Z3+ 'only' 128GB. That sounds impressive, but 200GB microSD cards are not only rare but expensive - SanDisk's card costs £145.39 from Amazon.

Battery capacity has once again seen a small drop, here from 2930mAh to 2900mAh (in the Z3 we saw 3100mAh), but Sony promises up to two day's battery life. Quick charging is supported, as it was in the Z3+, although we don't know yet whether Sony will supply the necessary adaptor in the box (it didn't with the Z3+). The company says you'll get 5.5 hours usage from a 10-minute charge.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Connectivity and extras

Sony Xperia Z5

Aside from the aforementioned fingerprint scanner, the Sony Xperia Z5 mimics the Z3+ on the connectivity front. Both are 4G LTE Cat 6 phones with Bluetooth 4.1, aGPS and GLONASS, NFC, DLNA certification, Miracast support, Wi-Fi with MIMO and Wi-Fi Hotspot.

The pair are also great multimedia phones, with PS4 Remote Play and S-Force surround speakers with support for high-res audio.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Cameras

In the photography department you find one of Sony's touted upgrades for the Z5 over the Z3+: the new 23Mp camera. On paper many of its specifications look the same, for example the 8x digital zoom, support for 4K video with SteadyShot stabilisation, possible ISO 12800 for photos and 3200 for videos, and so on. Also see: Best phone camera 2015

However, Sony says that as well as the greater number of megapixels this new camera introduces 5x Clear Image Zoom, a super-fast hybrid autofocus system that works in 0.03 seconds and the clearest low-light performance in any phone.

At the front you find the same 5Mp 25mm wide-angle-lens Exmor camera as on the Z3+.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+: Software

Don't expect any major differences in the software department - although the Xperia Z3+ comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, you'll be able to upgrade it to the 5.1 version running on the new Z5.

Sony messes with the standard Android interface very little, and aside from a few of its own wallpapers, widgets and apps, for example Walkman and PlayStation, it will be very familiar to users of other Android phones.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2015.

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.

Sony Xperia Z5: Specs

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 5.2in Triluminos Display IPS (1080x1920, 424ppi)
  • 2.2GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU
  • Adreno 430 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD slot (up to 200GB)
  • 23Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash
  • 5Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 2160p
  • Wi-Fi up tp 11.ac
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 6
  • Nano-SIM
  • 2900mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 72x146x7.3mm
  • 154g
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 5.2in Triluminos Display IPS (1080x1920, 424ppi)
  • 2.2GHz Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU
  • Adreno 430 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD slot (up to 200GB)
  • 23Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash
  • 5Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 2160p
  • Wi-Fi up tp 11.ac
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 6
  • Nano-SIM
  • 2900mAh battery
  • Dust and waterproof (IP68)
  • 72x146x7.3mm
  • 154g

OUR VERDICT

The Sony Xperia Z5 introduces some nice upgrades over the Z3+, with an improved camera and a new fingerprint scanner. There's also support for more removable storage via microSD, although we suspect few users will take advantage of the full 200GB. However, with more than a £100 price difference between the Z3+ and Z5 when it launches, and no upgrades in the screen or core hardware, we would consider waiting for the price to drop a little before rushing out to upgrade. (Or looking to the Z5 Premium, with its super-high-resolution Ultra-HD display.)

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