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 Z5
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.

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

Wearables

This $76,000 Grand Seiko watch has something in common with a plug-in hybrid car

How can a watch that costs $76,000 possibly have anything in a common with any car, let alone a plug-in hybrid? It's all about the complex, technically incredible Spring Drive movement inside this Grand Seiko watch.
Product Review

Want to see how powerful the Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9

How fast do you want to go? If the answer to this is “as fast as possible,” then take a long look at the Xiaomi Mi 9. It’s one of the highest performance smartphones you can buy. It’s a real monster, and we’ve been using it.
Mobile

The best Sony Xperia 10 Plus cases to keep your smartphone safe

It's always a smart play to safeguard your smartphone with a decent case or cover. We've identified the best Sony Xperia 10 Plus cases here, so take your pick from rugged protection to slim style.
Mobile

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Deals

The excellent Apple iPad gets even deeper price cuts on Amazon

The humble iPad from 2018 is still one of the best tablets around -- and a solid choice for most people. Amazon has seen some great price drops for these tablets recently, and now you can own an iPad for even less than before.
Mobile

Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for and start using with your iPhone

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.
Mobile

More than a screenshot: How to record the screen on an Android device

If you've ever want to record video of your Android screen, there are plenty of apps that can help. Here's an easy guide on how to record the screen on an Android device with the right settings and apps.
Apple

Apple March 2019 Event Coverage

Apple’s next event will take place March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. PT. We’ve got a handy guide on how to watch, but don’t expect to see any new iPads, iMacs, or AirPods at the show, all of…
Gaming

Apple Arcade might be the new game subscription service worth signing up for

Apple Arcade will launch this fall bringing a new game-subscription service with cross-platform support for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. At launch, the service will feature more than 100 exclusive games, with more added to the service regularly.
Mobile

Check out 22 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

The iPhone 7 might be attractive, but it’s not rugged. To keep your device in pristine condition, you really need to think about proper protection. That's why we've rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers available.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.2 brings support for Apple News Plus and new AirPlay 2 features

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Mobile

Apple News Plus gives you access to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month

At Apple's services event, the company unveiled a new news subscription service called Apple News Plus. The service gives you access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers and costs $10 per month.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.