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Everything you need to know about Sony’s Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact

$600 buys you an Xperia Z5 in the U.S., but it won't have a fingerprint sensor

sony xperia z  k ifa
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Sony officially announced the Xperia Z5 range in September, consisting of the Z5 Compact, the Z5, and the Z5 Premium. The Compact is a smaller 4.6-inch phone, the Z5 is the 5.2-inch flagship, and the Z5 Premium is a 5.5-inch phablet with the first 4K smartphone display. We’ve got everything you need to know about these sleek new Xperia phones.

Updated on 02-08-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in links to buy the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact in the U.S..

Where to buy the Xperia Z5

Sony has made the Xperia Z5 and the Z5 Compact available in the U.S. through several retailers. The Xperia Z5 costs $600, and the 4.6-inch Compact $500. Both phones can be purchased right now, without a contract, through Amazon and B&H online. Find the 32GB Xperia Z5 on Amazon here, in both gold and black, and the 32GB Xperia Z5 Compact here, in black or coral color schemes.

Related: Hands-on with the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, and Xperia Z5 Premium

B&H sells the Xperia Z5 in black, white, gold, and green for the same price, plus it sells the Xperia Z5 Compact in black, white, coral, and yellow. Finally, Best Buy sells the Xperia Z5 Compact online, and currently has a special offer where the phone costs $450. Sony also keeps a list of all official retailers on its official Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact pages.

If you pick up one of the new Xperia phones, you three movies to download, including The Walk and Hotel Transylvania 2 — both of which are licensed by Sony Pictures. Both devices will work on GSM networks, but there is a difference between the U.S. Xperia Z5 range and the models available in Europe — the U.S. versions don’t have a fingerprint sensor. Avoid them if that’s a deal breaker. All phones sold are without a contract, but with a U.S. warranty through Sony.

In the U.K., Sony sells the Z5, Z5 Compact, and the Z5 Premium without a contract through its own website, at a cost of £550, £430, and £630 respectively. Vodafone, EE, O2, Three UK, Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff, and iD Mobile all stock the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact on contract. Vodafone even offered an exclusive “Bond Edition” of the Xperia Z5 with the launch of James Bond, Spectre.

The Xperia Z5 Premium is available on EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three U.K., all with 24 month contracts. Carphone Warehouse sells the phone for £600 off contract. Clove UK has the phone in stock for £630, and the phone comes with free Sony BSP10 speakers and SBH60 headphones. GiffGaff sells the phone on contract for £26.29 per month or for £600 off contract.

What about all the specs?

The design of the Xperia Z5 has changed only slightly from previous models, with a frosted glass finish and a metallic side frame. It is also waterproof, a feature Sony has stuck to for a few years now. The home button on the side of the device now functions as a fingerprint sensor. It will work through a hard press, similar to Apple’s Touch ID, rather than a swipe like Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Apparently, the U.S. versions of the phone won’t have the fingerprint sensor.

Sony claims the Xperia Z5 has the world’s fastest autofocus time found on a smartphone at just 0.03 seconds. It also has a larger 23-megapixel sensor, which Sony advertises as a way to get more digital zoom from a photo. Like the Xperia Z3+, the Xperia Z5 camera will feature optical image stabilization, a blessing for anyone with shaky hands. Sony also added more options for recording video at a higher frame-rate for slow-motion playback.

The main difference between the three phones is in the screen size and resolution. The Xperia Z5 Compact has a 4,.6-inch 720p screen, the Z5 a 5.2-inch 1080p display, and the Z5 Premium a big 5.5-inch 3840 x 2160 pixel screen. However, that resolution only comes into effect when 4K material is being displayed, the rest of the time it shows a 1080p image.

Related:  Wena Wrist is a dumb watch with a high-tech band

Internally, all three Xperia Z5 phones run on Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, and all but the Compact have 3GB of RAM. The Xperia Z5 Compact has 2GB of RAM, and a smaller 2700mAh battery, while the Z5 gets a 2,900mAh battery, and the Z5 Premium a big 3430mAh cell. All three smartphones will come with 32GB of onboard storage, and the Z5 Premium has a 200GB microSD card slot. Android Lollipop 5.1 will be installed on the Xperia Z5 models, and Sony will continue to use its own Xperia UI on top.

There are other subtle differences between the Xperia Z5 smartphones, so we’ve put together a handy comparison which you can read here.

Engineers, Designers Discuss Main Features

Sony released a new video showing some of the key people that worked on the Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium discussing various new features. The video is one of the first from Sony that details all of the new updates to the Xperia, which shows a renewed focus on the mobile experience from the Japanese company.

Previous Updates: 

Updated on 01-15-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news that the U.S. versions of the Z5 and the Z5 Compact won’t have fingerprint sensors.

Updated on 01-14-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in news of the Z5 and the Z5 Compact coming to the U.S. on February 7, 2016. 

Updated on 11-13-2015 by David Curry: Added in news of the Xperia Z5 Premium U.K. launch. 

Updated on 11-02-2015 by David Curry: Added in Sony video on Xperia Z5