Sony Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact review

This is the situation we find ourselves in with Sony's 2015 fall line up. Making its debut at IFA this past September in Berlin we now have the Xperia Z5, the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z5 Premium.

The Premium is still to come but the 'regular' Z5 and its smaller sibling are now available in some regions. On the face of it we're looking at yet another iterative update from Sony with a mostly similar design, similar internals and a not necessarily cheap price tag to go with it.

But the sum of the parts often outweigh the numbers on a piece of paper where it matters. Actually owning and using the phones. And with the Z5 and the Z5 Compact what we're looking at is a consistent experience across two form factors.

And so here we are. Two phones, two sizes, one review. Are either a must see or has Sony skipped a beat? There's only one way to find out.

The quick take

Here's the deal. It's so easy to want to love the Xperia Z5 in any of its forms. Sony is one of those names we want to see do well because we're all well aware of how capable it can be. It can be said that both the Z5 and the Z5 Compact are good phones, because they are. Generally. And they have very good cameras. But we're still waiting for that 'wow' factor. For Sony to do something to blow us away. Maybe that'll be the Z5 Premium, maybe it won't be.

Of the two, unless you want the larger display, the Z5 Compact is probably the one to go for. Smaller, cheaper and yet still packed with top-end hardware, Sony is catering to a market few others pay attention to.

The good

  • High-end hardware in a choice of sizes
  • Excellent camera
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Super fast fingerprint scanner
  • Dedicated camera button

The bad

  • The larger phone is awkward to hold
  • The volume button placement is just odd
  • Fingerprint scanner almost forces right handed use

About this review

This review has been written using UK retail devices of both the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact kindly supplied by Clove and Unlocked Mobiles respectively. Both have been used on EE across both LTE and HSPA and received the latest software updates during the review period, detailed here.

You can pick up an Xperia Z5 from Clove here (opens in new tab) for £529.99 and a Z5 Compact from Unlocked Mobiles here from £414.98

Facts and figures

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryXperia Z5Xperia Z5 Compact
Operating SystemAndroid 5.1 (Lollipop)Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64 bit processorQualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64 bit processor
GPUAdreno 430Adreno 430
Display Resolution5.2-inch 1920x1080 resolution (428 ppi), IPS display4.6-inch 1280x720 resolution (323 ppi), IPS display
Glass panelChemical tempered glass + Anti-fingerprint coatingChemical tempered glass + Anti-fingerprint coating
Display TechnologyTRILUMINOS display with X-RealityTRILUMINOS display with X-Reality
Rear camera23MP Exmor RS sensor
4K video
24 mm wide-angle G Lens
HDR photo and video
ISO12800 Photo / 4000 Video
SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode
23MP Exmor RS sensor
4K video
24 mm wide-angle G Lens
HDR photo and video
ISO12800 Photo / 4000 Video
SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode
Front camera5MP Exmor R sensor
Full HD 1080p for video chat
25 mm wide-angle lens
SteadyShot with Intelligent
Active Mode
Superior Auto
5MP Exmor R sensor
Full HD 1080p for video chat
25 mm wide-angle lens
SteadyShot with Intelligent
Active Mode
Superior Auto
StorageUp to 32GB
microSD™ card, up to 200GB (SDXC supported)
Up to 32GB
microSD™ card, up to 200GB (SDXC supported)
Fingerprint sensorSide-mounted, in power keySide-mounted, in power key
Battery2900 mAh2700 mAh
Quick ChargeYesYes
SIM CardNano SIMNano SIM
DesignIP65 / IP68 dust-tight & waterproof
Capless USB
IP65 / IP68 dust-tight & waterproof
Capless USB
NetworksLTE (4G), LTE Cat6, GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G), UMTS HSPA+ (3G)LTE (4G), LTE Cat6, GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G), UMTS HSPA+ (3G)
Size146 x 72 x 7.3 mm127 x 65 x 8.9 mm
Weight154 g138 g
ColorsWhite, Graphite Black, Gold, GreenWhite, Graphite Black, Yellow, Coral

There really, really isn't much to choose between the two. Check the link below for a brief comparison on what's actually different.

What's the difference between the Sony Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact?

Sony Xperia Z5

Gettin' physical

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Hardware

That Sony makes great hardware is no secret nor surprise. It's one of the things we love the most about it and the reputation is strong. How many people would love to see Sony make a Nexus phone? So color us straight faced when saying that both the Z5 and the Z5 Compact are generally excellent.

As soon as you take either one out of the box you know you're holding a quality product. Gone is the glossy glass or plastic backs of old, replaced by a matte finish, in an understated graphite color on our review units. Not only are the Z5 phones instantly less fingerprinty on the back, they're also much more pleasant to hold in your hands. There's no slimyness as oils and moisture builds up on the rear of the phone.

Both follow Sony's Omnibalance design principles that have been around since the early days of the Xperia Z range. While it's evolved over the years you're still unmistakeably looking at a Sony smartphone. Flat front, flat back, squared off edges. On the larger Z5 the frame is metal, on the Compact it's plastic. Both subtly embossed with the Xperia logo and colored the same as the back panel.

All of the physical buttons reside on the right hand side of the phone. You've got power, volume and a dedicated camera button. Throwing it out there right now: More Android phones should have a dedicated camera button. It's fantastic. But more on that later.

Beneath the power button is where you'll find the Z5's fingerprint scanner. This is the first phone to ship with this sort of configuration (Though the Nexbit Robin will soon offer something similar). On one hand it ensures the design of the phone isn't compromised by the necessity of sticking an extra piece of hardware on it. But on the other hand Sony is practically mandating right-handed use of the phone in order to actually put it to work. Unless you have big hands or long fingers, curling around to use it with your left hand is too awkward to even think about doing.

More Android phones should have a physical camera button. It's fantastic.

Though it's less of an issue on the Compact. Because, smaller.

When you do use it though, wow. It's right up there with the best of them. It does require a button press to turn the screen on first, but after that it's so nippy you'll barely notice the lockscreen flash past. Some will prefer the single tap approach the likes of Huawei and the new Nexus phones take, but given the setup on the Z5 we're getting the best we could. It's only useful (outside the U.S.) for unlocking the phone, but as Android Pay rolls out it'll come into its own.

For more on the set up and use of the Z5 fingerprint scanner, direct your digits to the link below.

All about the Sony Xperia Z5 fingerprint scanner

Sony Xperia Z5

If there's one minor gripe it's that the power button is slightly recessed from the frame of the phone. It's not a major issue but it just feels like you're pressing further to turn the screen on. But as far as the appearance, it's probably one of the best looking power buttons you'll see anywhere. And yes, I did just say that.

It's probably one of the best looking power buttons you'll see anywhere.

Below the power button is where the volume rocker resides, just above the camera button. Again, due to the size, this isn't much of an inconvenience on the Compact. But on the larger one it's just weird. It's tough to hit with one hand unless you stretch your pinky and honestly, why not just put it where it usually goes on most other phones?

Head around the front and you're presented with one of the few differences between the Z5 and the Z5 Compact: The display.

On the Xperia Z5 you're getting a 5.2-inch 1080p panel. On the Z5 Compact that shrinks to 4.6-inches and 720p resolution. And there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Both pack the Triluminos technology and X Reality for mobile. What that means in non-jargon is that they look good. Both panels are a pleasure to look at. Just be prepared to smear them both with your fingerprints.

For while the rear of the new phones remains smudge free the front isn't so fortunate. And on the larger Z5, the gap along the top of the display is a serious magnet for pocket lint. The earpiece runs along the very edge but for whatever reason there's a sizeable gap between the glass and the frame. And it'll fill up nice and fast. Thankfully the Z5 Compact isn't the same.

Oh, and Sony still likes its screen protectors. Though fortunately it isn't pre-installed on the phone, and is instead in the box. Where it stayed.

Does the Xperia Z5 get hot? Yes. Well, warm.

All that's on the outside, of course. Inside both the Z5 and the Z5 Compact are packing the best of the best. The Compact has a slightly smaller battery and 1GB less RAM but both boast Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 CPU and an Adreno 430 GPU. And immediately some of the more savvy will hear the alarm bells ringing in their heads. It's fair to say the Snapdragon 810 hasn't been the most well received high-end CPU Qualcomm ever released.

So, does the Xperia Z5 get hot? Yes. Yes it does. Well, warm, maybe. But compared to its predecessor it's not quite so serious. Some things will still present an on screen message warning that apps will shut down if the heat rises too much, and shooting 4K video is one of them.

This is where things get more complicated. There's a good argument to say that this just shouldn't be a thing. If you're including a feature on a phone that makes the damn thing overheat to these levels, why is it a feature? 4K video shooting might not be on everyone's to-do list, but it's a feature on the phone so people will, and should be able to use it.

The heat takes a while to get too much during 4K video at least, and depending on the task you'll get a varying acceleration of temperature. Start streaming a game to Twitch and you'll feel it very quickly, albeit not to the point where it's literally too hot to handle.

The Z5 seems to be better equipped to deal with the heat than its predecessor. It's still and issue, and an unwelcome one, but it's not as bad as it could have been. It takes a fair amount to get it to properly overheat and most of the time it's what you'd call "a bit toasty." Maybe don't shoot 4K video while you're roaming, though. I speak from experience.

Does the Xperia Z5 get too hot?

The previous Sony Xperia, the Z3+, also packed a Snapdragon 810 CPU and overheating was something of a problem. To see if things were improved for the Z5 we broke out a thermometer and got to work.

From what we can see, most of the time both the Z5 and Z5 Compact are running on five of eight cores. When things get warmer that drops down to four. Performance is generally good, though. Occasionally you'll run into some janky, laggy moments, but most of the time it seems fast and smooth.

We're dealing with the highest end internals available so it shouldn't come as any surprise. Whatever you throw at the Z5 it'll handle, including the latest, most graphically intense games. And you can stream those to Twitch as well, if you so wish.

Minor annoyances aside it's another case of sound hardware from Sony. Both are nice phones, but it would be nice, one day, to see something new on the design front. We've had the same basic look for a few years now. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's lacking a "wow" factor. And that stupid flap to cover the SIM tray. Seriously, don't open it much. Just feels like it's ready to snap off every time you do.

Sony Xperia Z5

More of the same

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Software

If we'd say Sony is just iterating on the hardware, we'd have to say the same on the software. But that's really not a bad thing. As far as manufacturers' takes on Android, Sony's is one of the better ones. That wasn't always the case but we're now at a point in time where it's very pleasant to use on a daily basis in the form it comes out of the box. If you went back and read our review of the Xperia Z3+ you'd find most of the words applicable here.

You've got a mixture of regular Lollipop elements, like the notification shade and the task switcher, blended together seamlessly with Sony's launcher and custom applications. Speaking of, many of the pre-loaded applications, or bloat as we often refer to them, can be removed really easily. PlayStation fans are well catered for and naturally Sony has preloaded its own music and video services, too.

Uninstall (nearly) all the bloat you want

You can still alter the size of the icons on the home screen and still theme things up as wild as you like with a selection available out of the box and a bunch more available through the Play Store. If you sign in to the Xperia Lounge app on the phone (Sony's exclusive content offers app) you'll also get special ones highlighted from time to time. Like the theme recently based upon the Until Dawn PS4 game. Plenty to choose from.

Underneath it's now based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and Sony has already been pretty forthcoming with plans to update it to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We've no idea when that'll happen, but with trials taking place already we've good reason to hope the wait won't be too long. As with its predecessor, Sony has done a good job at the design work on its own apps, with a 'Material-ish' feel all round with that unmistakable Sony hint.

A few other quick takes:

  • The small apps we've seen before on previous Xperias make a return for the Z5. And they still reside at the bottom of the task switching window taking up too much space. But a few of them are pretty useful so they're also worth checking out.
  • There are a few ways to take screenshots on the Xperia Z5. Given the button placement on the phone the most accessible is to hold down the power button as if you were turning the phone off, then hitting the screenshot option when it pops up in the box.
  • As well as screenshots you can also record your screen. Quick access is available by holding down the power button until you see the box appear on screen with the option you seek.
  • You can do more than just record your screen as well. If you're into gaming you can broadcast to Twitch and YouTube without the need for any third-party apps. More on that here
  • The fingerprint scanner itself may be lightning fast, but setting it up certainly is not. Expect to have to touch the sensor anything up to 18 times to fully register a print. Compare that to half a dozen on the new Nexus phones and others like the Huawei Mate S. Not a deal breaker by any means but still frustrating.

Slight frustrations from the Z3+ carry over here, too. Like the cobbled together feel of the dialler app. But on the whole what Sony has is a visually appealing user interface that keeps just enough of Google around for Android purists, while keeping it bright and friendly for the more casual buyers.

Sony Xperia Z5

So. Many. Pixels.

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Cameras

Until the Xperia Z5, Sony has been using the same camera sensor for a while on its top end phones. This time out there's finally a change and we're up to 23MP sitting behind Sony's customary G Lens. And some big claims come with it. But here's the kicker. There's still no OIS. And in the current market we'd hope to see it in a flagship smartphone.

Actually, hope isn't strong enough in this case. Sony also makes cameras. Pretty damn good cameras. The Xperia Z5 should definitely have OIS. LG has it in the G4 and Samsung has it in the Note 5 and Galaxy S6. And that's the competition right now when it comes to Android. Apple also includes it on the iPhone 6S Plus if you're also tallying up competing platforms. Even Microsoft on its forthcoming high-end Lumias. You probably see where I'm going.

The Xperia Z5 should definitely have OIS

It's hard to take Sony completely seriously when you see advertising boasting of the camera prowess when it's missing a feature that you'd now start to expect a high-end phone to have.

Anyway, enough complaining about what we don't get. How good actually is what we do get? Very. Well, most of the time.

Sony Xperia Z5 camera tips and tricks

If you're looking for a few quick tips and tricks to get yourself up and running with the camera on your new Xperia Z5, you're in luck. We've pulled together a quick five to get you going in the right direction.

Sony still provides the default shooting mode as 8MP, oversampled images from that 23MP sensor. What you get from this is better capacity to zoom in and not lose details as well as create clearer, less noisy images all round. Slap it in Superior Auto and just snap away and you'll be pretty happy. When you're in more challenging lighting situations though you'll probably notice some blurry spots around the edges of features. Over exposure problems in bright daylight don't seem as much of an issue as they have been on past phones but it's still too easy to come away with a washed out look in an overcast scene.

Superior Auto still does an excellent job though of trying to match the scene and shoot with the right presets accordingly. Though document does come up a little too often when you're not shooting documents for some reason. If you want a little more creative control you have Manual mode available and the decision to go up to the full 23MP resolution images.

Sony's camera app still has its different mini-apps available, with more on offer from Google Play to expand your experience even further. These include 4K video and a bunch of AR effects. But seriously, don't use the AR effects. It might be fun to see little cutesy characters spread themselves all over the scene in front of you but the punishing truth is that its a dog. The phone will slow up ridiculously, start to get warm and, well it's just not worth it.

The same could be said of 4K video as well. While the phone won't spontaneously combust in your hands it will start to warm up. More importantly your battery will drain much faster than the temperature will rise. Just ask yourself, do you really need those pixels? If yes, then go for it and be happy. The quality seems pretty good. I say seems, because I don't have any equipment on hand capable of viewing at 4K resolution.

It's probably a better feature on the forthcoming Xperia Z5 Premium. Because you can actually view the content as it should be viewed.

Sony Xperia Z5

More like one full day

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Battery life

While Sony used to be all about actual two day battery life, truth now is it's about up to two day battery life. In truth you should comfortably make it through a day so long as you stay away from things like 4K video and streaming to Twitch. Expect around 4 hours screen on time in that, maybe more depending on your use, which isn't horrible.

The Compact is the stronger of the two phones, though. The battery isn't much smaller than that on the bigger phone and with only a 4.6-inch 720p display to light things just don't suck as much juice. If you're looking for longevity it edges out its bigger brother.

Screen on time and how long the phone has been awake is all well and good, but it also doesn't translate that well into real world use. There's nothing really wrong with the battery life on either of these two phones, considering how much hardware is squeezed into a slim or small package depending which you're looking at.

If you're looking for longevity, the Compact edges out its bigger brother

What's more exciting is all the good stuff Sony includes to help you maximize your time away from an outlet. The first of those is Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 for super speedy top-ups. You'll have to pony up for a compatible charger, though frankly any high output one should do the trick. I've been using both phones with an Anker 5 USB charging brick at home and both have charged up in what I'd call "damn fast" time. An extra bonus is that if you pick up a QuickCharge compatible external battery pack you can take those super speedy top ups on the go with you. Check out some of our favorites here.

On the software front Sony has brought Stamina mode back for the Xperia Z5 phones. It's with this that they're putting some credence behind that "up to two day" battery life claim. In short it has a series of user defined presets that will change how your phone behaves while away from the charger. But the truth seems more that you can comfortably make it through even a tough day of use before you'll need to charge up at night. Getting to two days will require compromise on your part. And you shouldn't really have to do that.

But sadly compromise is something we've had to do just by picking the phone up. Sony was the battery life champ of old, packing big batteries and proper two day life into its high end phones. In the fashionable pursuit of slimmer devices with bigger displays something has to give. It's just a shame it's the battery that has to make way.

Sony Xperia Z5

Wrapping up

Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact Bottom line

If you're in that upgrade cycle where it's been a couple of years since your last new Xperia phone, the Z5 or Z5 Compact will be a worthy upgrade. Sure, there are frustrations aplenty throughout the hardware and software, but there's nothing inherently wrong with either of them. The Omnibalance based design has been refined over each generation of new phone and the Z5 is the best example yet. The Z5 is a handsome phone. But I'd be lying if I didn't say the lack of anything truly new on this front disappoints.

And that's probably where the conclusion finds itself. Neither of these two phones presents a real wow factor. They're very good, but very good doesn't cut it anymore. With such competition as the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, LG G4, the new Huawei Nexus 6P and an increasingly strong mid-range category, Sony's in a tough place to sell phones. Serious photogs will lament the lack of OIS, others the downturn in battery life over past devices.

But all that aside, Sony has done a good job. Over the course of this review the Xperia Z5 grew on me. I'm not afraid to admit my first few days out of the box with it were filled with frustrated cries to Alex Dobie, our regular Sony expert. If you want a high-end Android phone, sure, consider the Xperia Z5 or Z5 Compact when making your decision. Not perfect, but given what they've done with what they had to work with, it's a job well done.

Should you buy the Xperia Z5? Go for the Compact

Sony continues to cater to a market that other manufacturers ignore. If you want a high end phone without a large display and the form factor to go with it, you go Sony. And if you're interested in an Xperia Z5 at all, the Compact is the one to go for. It's cheaper while offering the same experience as the larger phone in a package that's virtually identical. Just smaller.

You should ask yourself how important the extra half an inch of display really is. In the UK it translates to around £100. That's a lot extra to pay for basically the same phone.

The Z5 Compact carries on the tradition of being one of our favorite phones. Just because it exists. It has its flaws, but we're better off for it existing.

Richard Devine
  • Really considering this phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm getting the white Z5 compact.
  • You should buy the phone without blinking an eye. I really don't understand what the reviewer means by it doesn't have the wow factor, and the only thing he could say it didn't have compared to the competition is OIS in the camera. From various tests and comparisons i have seen the Sony images beat the S6 and G4 in most conditions losing marginally to the g4 low light without the flash. Use the flash the Sony beats both the S6 and G4 in tricky low light situations. He also forgets to state that in good light or under direct sunlight for landscape and other modes the Sony kills the competition. There's a reason dxo mark rates it as the overall best camera and its software stabilization for video is miles ahead of what Samsung, LG and Apple have to offer. It's been reported that Samsung are already negotiating with Sony to use the exact same sensor in the Z5 for the next S7. If it was not as good as what is in the S6 why would Samsung want it for their next flagship? Clearly it's better and Samsung themselves know it and want it to make the S7 a beast of a smartphone camera.
    The Z5 apart from having a better camera than its rivals has noise cancelling tech, hi res audio, is water proof, micro sd card for memory expansion and a host of other things that none of its rivals have yet they say it doesn't have the wow factor or standout feature. I would really love them to list the things that make the Samsung, the Lg and nexus have the wow factor that isn't in the z5. I guess they will jump to the edge design of the S6 curved screen or is it the quad hd screen? I wonder what they'll say when the 4k premium is available? If you think the design has been around for a while and feel it's getting boring that's a personal thing. One shouldn't say it doesn't have anything that makes it stand out when it has lots of hardware and software features not seen on any other Android phone. Lastly it's still the king when it comes to battery life compared to its direct rivals so what really is the fuss?
  • Z3c is the first phone I've kept for more than 6 months. I got it when it came out and I'm still using it with no intention of replacing it yet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just like you I've had a z3compact for a year but thought i would have a bigger screen so moved to the Z5 after initially thinking I'd spent a lot more money for no big difference after having it for two weeks think it's absolutely brilliant especially the camera
  • I wanted the compact as an upgrade to my Nexus 4, however they seem to have abandoned the US market. My thoughts for the next series.. Put pretty much stock Android on to save dev cost and speed up upgrade time. Sell unlocked in the US like Motorola does with the option for financing. Make sure it is compatible with all US carrier frequencies. Then just keep on doing minor improvements. Don't try for a huge costly change like the media suggests. You don't need it. You need better availability and price. Sad to say I compromised and got a Nexus 5X. I love everything about it but it's size. Maybe next time Sony. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You can buy this in the US Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not officially. The ones for sale in the US are imported models and don't have complete domestic LTE support.
  • If you want to buy the Xperia Z5 Compact the only model to go for is E5823
  • Tempting, but I'm looking for phones with better support for T-Mobile. While that model lists support for LTE bands 2, 4, and 12, it's not certified to work with band 12 and VoLTE on T-Mobile. So no-go there, and that's a big issue in some areas. The Nexus 5x has out of box support for bands 2, 4, and 12, as well as VoLTE and WiFi calling. If Sony isn't selling this phone in the US, there's no motivation for them to pay the fee and go through the certification process with T-Mobile to get band 12 activated on that carrier. So I wouldn't buy that phone. It doesn't meet my needs.
  • Can buy in the US doesn't translate to officially supporting the US. Lacks some bands, and kills the warranty.
  • I was waiting for the Compact, and like you, I'll probably settle for the Nexus 5X. What I really want is the Lumia 950 (removable battery), but I rely on too many apps/services that don't work on Windows Phone.
  • Dat rite Der iz wun perty powr buttn! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Disappointed to see the Z5 only gets around 4 hours screen on, when my Z3 can get almost 9 across a 36 hour period, or about 6 across a 48 hour period. The gap around the display is there for impact protection. Something that in my experience, Sony are pretty good at. Re the fingerprint sensor requiring right handed use, what they should have done, is made the phone work upside down, like the Idol 3. What's more 'omnibalance' than an ear piece and mic at both ends? Oh and I wish they'd get rid of the small apps. They're mostly pointless on a phone, they clutter up the multitasking, and are just bloat in my opinion. I think I'll be skipping the Z5. I love my Z3 and hope to use it for another couple of years. By which time hopefully there will be a Z6 or Z7 to consider, with OIS and a processor that doesn't over heat. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure if their impact protection is that great. My Z1 cracked easily, while I've seen a plethora of Z3 cracked as well. Mostly the back panel Posted by a Nexus 6
  • Yeah I cracked the back of my beloved Z3 Compact straight down the middle, but I think that was a direct impact to the center of the back panel vs a corner impact, which is what Purple Zebra's comment refers to. I buy the Z line for the camera and the dedicated camera button, they're my "going out" phones, and I also appreciate the excellent Bluetooth music playback (it really is noticeable when I compare it to other phones without apt-x). Richard said at the top of the review there would be more about the camera button, but then I didn't see any further mention. I'd like to know what the button action is like, how the two-stage feels, can you press it without mucking up your shot (the camera button on the Sony ZL for example was too stiff and cause you to move the camera as you took the shot).
  • You should check out the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. They have amazing cameras.
  • You have anything other than manufacturer claims?
  • Meh Windows Phone and its app ecosystem is laughable
    Not worth it at all Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm actually considering it, I'm all in on Windows 10 (desktop, personal Surface Pro 3 and a world Surface Pro 4 with dock & dual monitors). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sony's excellent BT audio is something that they don't get enough credit for. My G4 has occasional skips when playing audio over BT (especially when connected to a Ford vehicle, oddly), and I've experienced that to some extent with every Android device I've used, with the exception of the Z3C. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sony dont get enough credit for a lot of things for example:
    -audio settings and quality
    -SD card slot
    etc etc...
  • I think they get plenty of credit for their actual devices. The **** we all give them is mostly for neglecting their once-great camera and their absolute refusal to sell to the North American market in a reasonable way.
  • Yeah if it falls flat on its face, that's likely to break it, not much you can do about that. But most falls land on an edge, which is why manufacturers focus on it. You may recall 'gap-gate' with the Note 4, same deal there, the gap around the glass was for impact protection. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, glass breaks, it happens. But from my experience, side or corner impacts on Sony phones have never resulted in any damage (YMMV), and I'm pretty clumsy. Actually, I say no damage, the polycarbonate on my original Z chipped a bit, but the glass never broke. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I absolutely love my Z3C. Might be upgrade time when the Z7C comes around. I think your idea of enabling 180 degrees rotation to use the phone "upside down" is an excellent idea. Then again, it's a fingerprint sensor, not a thumb-print sensor. I don't see why I can't use my index finger to register a print.
  • I for one love the small apps and wish they'd show up on more phones. I use the calculator one all the time :)
  • The calculator is literally the only one I ever use, and honestly, that could just be a separate uninstallable app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You should check out more on the Play Store though :) there are a lot more kind of Sony small apps that are very functional for daily operation.
  • Exactly the same. Calculator is very handy Posted via the Android Central App
  • I for one love the Browser small app on my Tablet Z. I use it all the time when I am writing in English in order to find translations for words I don't know. ;)
  • Agreed on all points. I can understand the small apps feature being useful for some users, but it should be customizable and removable if you want. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Small apps are by far the most irritating part of the software. All it needs is an optional toggle to disable them, stop them cluttering up the multitasking view.
  • There're some pretty useful on the Playstore for me, but I think they should change the design. They just feel odd on their place, like something alien.
  • That's really incredible. I almost bought a Z3. I actually cancelled my order to buy a Nexus 6. I love my Nexus 6, but I am regretting the decision just a tiny little bit; especially when I read this kind of thing.
  • Did you find that the 2 gb RAM on the compact vs the 3 gb RAM the regular sized Z5 resulted in any performance differences between the two? Would love to go compact, but just not certain 2 GB would do it for me with other flagships regularly providing 3 GB or more.
  • Gerry Hildenbrand has implied several times that this RAM is shared for video ram purposes, and on phones like the Compact the lower res screen lessens the need for 3GB of RAM. However I noticed in a few other sites' reviews they commented there was lag switching between apps when they had a bunch open on the Z5C and they attributed that to the smaller RAM pool. All I know is my Moto X 2015 Pure Edition can be laggy switching between apps depending on how much I have open, and it has 3 GB of RAM.
  • I can't comment on the Z5C, but the Z3C flies on Android 5.1. It's the smoothest performance I've seen on a non-Nexus device. More memory would obviously be better, but I've never had a moment while using the Z3C when I've thought that more RAM would improve my experience. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I didn't mind having to register lots of different positions of my fingers. It means that I can unlock it holding it in many different ways ie with my index finger picking it up off a surface, face down on a surface, with my left hand taking it out of a coat pocket etc. It works really well. So far I'm enjoying having a high end phone in a manageable size. Looking forward to seeing how Marshmallow improves things too.
  • I feel like this was the same review that was written last year for the Z3 (which I own) and the Z3C. I suppose that's the problem...more of the same incremental upgrades by Sony. I was interested in the Z5 line but I'll wait until next year... Posted approved via Moto Maxx
  • May not be a next year the way they are talking Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's what Sony hasn't realized yet. Everyone is waiting for them to fix the two big issues: 1) Make the camera better (OIS, and better software)
    2) Give the people a reason to buy the phone It's the same review since the Z2...very good phone, workmanlike but with no personality and reason to buy it over the other stuff on the market. Approved by the Z3 Tablet Compact!
  • It's difficult to make the camera better when DxoMark - who know what they are writing about - rate the Z5 camera the best of the lot.
    As a serious amateur photographer who has done some pro work in the past, I have to say that the iPhone results tend to look best to people who are used to television/video with its exaggerated color, but the Sony cameras give the best "photographic" results, especially video. Obviously nowhere near DSLR standards, but if you really want iPhone results it's easy to tweak a Sony high-res image, whereas nothing will get you more out of an iPhone image after all the processing in-phone.
  • Using the z3c and going to order the z5c soon. I had the s6 then g4 and then iPhone6s after I broke my z3c. Thought I'd pick up a "better" phone. I sold the iPhone because.. It's an iPhone still, then picked up my son's old z3c to use until I figured out what to buy next and fell back in love with it. The size of the phone alone makes it better that any others to me. I can't wait to get the z5c with the fingerprint scanner faster processor. I'm in the US but I've ordered from Clove before and the bands work with t-mobile on the Sonys so I'm good. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice write up Rich. This is hands down the best review on AC in 2015. You said it best with Sony just not delivering that WOW factor. Other than the compact for those that prefer smaller displays, there's really no reason to choose this device over the Note 5 or 6p.
  • Did you try using your left index finger for the scanner? I am having a hard time seeing how it would be difficult for left handed use.
  • Hi,
    Under Fingerprint Scanner Z5 Heading, last para, 2nd line: The Z5 seems to be better equipped to deal with the heat than its predecessor. It's still and issue, and an unwelcome one... Not to nick pick, It's still AN issue and an unwelcome one... :) -----------------------------------------------------------
    I do agree with your assessment Richard. Design wise. It's great. But... the other things, is what lets it down. The smaller stuff. Having said that, coming from the Z3 Dual which broke down and I got a M5 as replacement, the camera PDAF is fantastic and blinkering fast which leaves the Z3 in it's dust. But I guess, if you almost want a stock Android experience, great possibility of 2 years Google updates, and waterproof-ness, this is a phone you can't go wrong... But in the world filled with the 6S, G4, S6 and many good mid rangers coming from Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and others, I don't know how long can they survive...
  • The glass back. Sorry. It's pretty. I will smash it. Guaranteed. The right hand fingerprint scanner. I never thought of that! Well, no good for me either.
    (There's a market for phone covercases for left handers, as a side note. That don't get in the way.)
  • You can get cheap glass back and front protectors for Sony without difficulty from a well-known website beginning with e.
    The other day I got pushed into a stone pillar by an idiot so hard that the bottom of my phone bruised a rib. Zero damage to phone, though.
  • You will not. It doesn't smash that easily, unbelievably as it may seem.
  • Well, in terms of heat, it's a big improvement over the Z3+. That thing overheated after 4 minutes of 4K video recording. Another solid phone from Sony, but I can't fathom why they would choose to omit OIS because they "hate camera humps". Here's a tip. Add OIS and make the phone slightly thicker to eliminate the hump. Plus, there'll be space for a bigger battery as well.
  • The irony here is that the 5X and 6P have camera humps and no OIS.
  • Well, that's what Sony said. And I think it's a pathetic excuse.
  • YES. Camera humps actually do drive me crazy, but a uniform extra millimeter of thickness does not bother me all. Especially when that extra millimeter gets me an exceptionally useful camera feature and potentially some extra battery life. Sony needs to realize that no one buys their phones for thinness; they buy them for crazy battery life and great cameras. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a Sony Alpha a6000. It's effin' brilliant. Sony KNOWS how to make brilliant cameras, but they seem to put half-hearted efforts in their phones. The Z5 actually takes great shots in the right hands, but Sony STILL hasn't bothered to put in OIS and proper manual controls.
  • This is a perfect example of the major problems that Sony is having. They are a large company with several different areas of expertise, but for whatever reason they can't leverage that to make a great phone. They can make a good phone, but for some reason can't make the leap to a great phone. And its really sad. I loved my Z3 but over time the small issues became more and more apparent.
  • Agree, they already use battery as a selling point, why not go all in? Put a 4000mah battery in it, add a tiny bit of thicknesses, as OIS, boom, 99% of people will be happy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I remember when Sony proudly claimed "2-day battery life". There was no "Up to". You can actually get 2 days out of it.
  • For reference, my Z3 is currently on 9%, cell standby is 2d 5h 0m, screen on is 6h 58 mins. So yeah, 48 hours is no biggy at all. It manages it easy. If the Z5 doesn't, that's a shame. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OIS in a phone lens actually has an adverse effect; it is a tradeoff. For serious long distance stuff I use a Pentax where the OIS is achieved by moving the sensor, not elements in the lens. Basically, moving any lens element disturbs the optical alignment, affecting resolution and chromatic aberration. If you sell a phone with a 23MPx sensor, a good rigid optical path is a necessity.
    Perhaps movable sensors will come to phones but as they are much bigger than a tiny movable lens element, it's difficult.
  • Someone knows what they're talking about. Thank you.
  • Indeed the Z5 uses a closed-loop actuator which means the sensor shifts for stabilization. It still uses digital stabilization and therefore only works well in 1080p. I still think lens-based OIS has its advantages mainly for cameras that use an optical viewfinder plus it can be optimized for the lens. For many years with the alpha-mount Sony only used sensor-based stabilization (main advantage is it works with any lens you attach), but with the E-mount they have released some optically stabilized lenses.
  • Upon launch, I saw loads of comments (even some reviewers) bemoaning how the Z5 Compact was so 'thick'. It's because of people like that that we're stuck in this situation.
  • "It's a Sony" - tired, hackneyed slogan that the insipids have swallowed whole.
  • What?? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Still a has glass back albeit frosted, huh? Is a shame the USA Sony online store was closed because you could buy a phone + warranty to cover damage for any reason. It saved me when I cracked both front and back of my Z3. They sent me a full refund and said keep the phone. Put a skin on back trying to extend the life. Love the phone but I'm a klutz. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Large phone is awkward to hold". You can't be f-ing serious.
  • ROTFLMAO! I think he was f-ing serious.
  • Am I the only one that is really disappointed with the Z5 camera?, I have been looking at some shot on XDA and the quality in Auto is really bad :/
  • No me too. It's just not good enough compared to the competition for me to choose it.
  • From reading a bunch of PRIOR reviews. I had the impression that the pros of the phone were: slim, good looking, great camera, great battery life, fast processor, good finger print reader. Cons: over heats, expensive, I seriously think AC should do a better job promoting this phone with video review and actually showing off how great a phone this is in such a thin package. how many other phones can say 2900 mah battery, great camera, water resistant, expandable storage micro sd, great industrial design. not many. oh yeah they make a smaller version thats just as fast. No one else does this.
  • And of those cons, the second is actually wrong, at least in the UK. The price is pretty much in line with the competition, if not better. If you're in the US and importing, that's a different story. Posted via the Android Central App Posted via the Android Central App
  • The SD810 is such a beast! Really time to review the LG Flex 2 , which you can buy for 259$ now. Is there any SD810 powered 2015 Flagship out there which you can buy for 200bucks? Think not.
    So give it a second look, AC Posted via my LG Flex 2
  • Uh, not really. It's too damn hot to keep running at full-speed for more than a few minutes. It has to be pegged back seriously to maintain temperature limits. The later phones that have the SD810 (Z5, Nexus 6P, etc.) don't seem to be as badly affected, but the Flex 2 you mentioned throttles a lot, to the point where it can even be slower than an LG G3.
  • You do realize that you can register your other fingers if you're left handed, right? I have. And it works fine. I don't know why you even put the placement of the power button/finger print scanner as a con.
  • I see no reason to even buy this phone... No personality, bland, over heating, don't like their version of material ui... It's like they copy and pasted must of the review from last year's phones into this year's. Just no innovation. Posted from my Nexus 6
  • In my opinion, Sony's UI is by FAR the BEST looking if any Android phone. Though I prefer many elements of the KitKat version over the lollipop version of their UI, I still think it's well ahead of the competition. Also the touch noises are sound sort of like a digitalised clink of glass (the same sound as you get on a psp/ps3) which I *really* like for some reason. I also think the hardware design is neat and sensible looking, if not a bit uninspiring. My main beef is the lack of OIS (I have a Z2, but the Z5 doesn't have OIS either) in a flagship phone. The fingerprint sensor seems to be (though I HAVEN'T been able to try it myself) in EXACTLY the right position (much better than the back or front of the phone) considering how I one-hand my phone. Though because of their 6 month release cycle and the forthcoming Snapdragon 820, I'm going to be waiting for the Z6 if I'm to upgrade my phone to another Xperia (really hoping there'll be a Z6 Compact with a 1080p screen, but they only seem to do it for the odd numbered phones). Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Shield
    Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Lol I thought I was the only one that loves this touch sound.. Its elegant or something. Gar superior to the obnoxious Samsung touch sound. Not like this is a main point of the phone but I do quite enjoy it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was maybe a tad too excited when I realised it was still around after the lollipop update lol Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Shield
    Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Agree about the UI, much better than other 'skins', though I also preferred some of the KitKat style (that's true of stock Android as well). And I love the design of them too. Some people say it's boring, but I think it is minimal and elegant. Flat, clean lines, just like material design has. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love my Z3. It had a pretty good camera compared to its peers when I got it and it's battery life was brilliant compared to the competition. The Sony skin on Android was light and it's been a great phone for me (especially after the purple camera issues I had with HTC one M7). But the Z5 just offers no stand out features that make me want to buy it; the battery life isn't leaps ahead, the camera isn't as good as much of the competition. With the Z3 I knew at least one thing (battery and probably water proofing) was better than the competition. With the Z5 there's nothing that another phone doesn't do as well, if not better
  • Z5 Compact is great and I think will really come into it's own when the Marshmallow update is released.
  • Loved this review Richard! I miss having you around Android Central, so it was nice to have you come back. You should just ditch Windows and come back full time lol. Also, please continue saying damn in reviews!
  • Liking my z5 compact. Nicer in the flesh than in photos, go have a play with one if you're trying to make your mind up. Fingerprint sensor makes it easy to unlock with either hand, though less easy if its sitting on a table. I thought the volume keys would be annoying but I got used to them quickly, really not an issue, great sound quality too. Still see some lag occasioinally, mostly when opening the camera app, but it takes such great pictures its not the end of the world. The amount of detail it resolves at the 23mp setting is astounding, as is the dynamic range. I've actually been impressed by the image stabilisation as well, even if it sin't optical. Still not the rapidfire point and shoot camera you get in an iphone or galaxy, but capable of much better results than either, more of a thinking photographers camera. Going back to a compact phone is a revelation too, don't feel like I'm missing anything, but my pockets have gotten a lot comfier, though its a bit easier to lose down the back of the sofa now.
  • Refreshing take. Reviewers have made issues of non-issues. I agree with your comments. "It's not the end of the world". But for everything that this small phone can do, I can't imagine using anything else. I think these reviewers missed the "WOW" factor, which is the phone itself. It just works! And why do most people always talk like they're all so busy and life is so fast paced that they can't take a moment to breathe? Real photography isn't point and shoot. What this phone's camera represents is almost like a dslr experience that no other phone ever has. I agree with you again when you said that this is a "thinking photographers camera".
  • I would absolutely by the compact, but I feel like if I did I would need to at some point buy a tablet as well. On long trips where my phone keeps me entertained, I thing the compact would fall short with its small screen and low res. I would need a tablet as a tweener. That said I feel I would need a sony tablet, because the playstation integration is compelling to me as well. Just using a ps4 remote to play normal android games is awesome. I just wish I could get these in google play versions. Only because I still cant trust anyone other than google on the software front.
  • I have the Z4 Tablet and it is amazing! I have the Z5 Compact as well. Both products are just perfect together! You can't go wrong.
  • So I'm going with the z5 compact and have accounts with both Tmobile and AT&T. Would anyone advise hooking in up on AT&T because of missing Tmobile bands? Any bands missing on AT&T? Posted via the Android Central App
  • For those who are interested on this phone, read the white paper. It will tell you what bands, etc. it supports, and so much more info. Here's the link: You're welcome. PS. I have the Z5 Compact E5823 Networks
    E5803 UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1900 (Band II),
    2100 (Band I) MHz
    GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
    LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40) E5823 UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1900 (Band II),
    2100 (Band I) MHz
    GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
    LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40)
  • Is the E5823 better than the 5803?
  • Sony supposedly includes hi-res audio support in these, correct? I'm surprised time and time again with AC's smartphone reviews, there is usually only a passing mention of audio quality, if any! In this review there isn't even a mention of call quality, the quality of the built in speaker, etc. Especially as you're saying it's missing a "wow factor", maybe it's there and you missed it. I know most people don't notice a difference but for those of us who do, that could be a big differentiating feature. I read online it even supports DSD playback, which is a big deal in a smartphone... Also, it seems a bit silly to review a smartphone that can record 4K video without having the equipment to view and evaluate that video. What if it blows the competition out of the water and that's the "wow factor"? Not saying it would be but, seems like the reviewer was unimpressed with this phone without properly evaluating what it may have to offer.
  • Iphone has been selling quite well without the "wow factor" sony has no clue how to market Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're right it does support high res audio. And no review EVER mentions it. I don't think AC ever talks about sound quality in any review
  • Lol design is one of, if not the primary reason I'm looking to buy a Z5 or Z5 Premium. If this design doesn't have a "wow" factor, then no smartphone design currently on the market does. Most reviewers seem to praise the design effusively. But those that don't tend to do the complete opposite, and it boggles my mind. It's incredibly gorgeous, and the notion that it hasn't changed is simply confounding. Put it next to the Xperia Z, the Z2, etc. If you think all these phones look the same you might want to visit an eye doctor.
  • This is one of the worst, laziest reviews I've ever seen. No mention of waterproofing, aptx, Bluetooth sound quality, front facing speakers, and barely a mention of the camera button? And no "wow"? Wtf? Everything I just listed does it for me, in addition to the awesome omnibalance design!
  • Yet again Sony falls short of presenting the perfect phone with the Z5C because they are stubborn and insist in not adding OIS and putting effort into the camera software.
    It's more than disappointing at this point, it's really infuriating. They're the ones sabotaging their own success. Really liked the review, Richard. I confess, though, I'd love to watch Alex's reactions while reading it.
  • I wondered why it took so much time to see the review live, and I'm left with no answer here. I understood you liked the phone as a whole experience, but we do see 1294839 articles about the Note 5, or the 6p, or whatever mainstream phone (the Priv nowadays), I guess you could have been a little more precise.
    The mention of the physical camera button with no follow up paragraph is worth rethinking the review alone...
    I like your writing style, and the review shows you ultimately like the phone, so for many that would be it, I get it.
    As for everybody who says Sony can't market their phones, they're right: if they spent half what Apple and Sammy have spent in the last 5 years on publicity, we'd have at least 1/4 of the population with a Sony phone in their hands.
    But hey, as long as they stay in the market and make awesome phones, I guess I'm happy to have the "exclusivity". ;)
  • I had one for a day but sadly sent it back due to issues with the camera blurring shots around the edge. Check a thread here for details, it's a lens issue on some devices as the blur moves to the other side if you rotate the camera 180 degrees and take the same shot.
  • I really wanted a Z5 compact and was setting to import, but had to get a G4(& it is too big) with T mobile, because of timing and life. Sony is unlikely to give me the chance to use jump. Really the waterproofing and small size with camera, audio, sd media, and good hardware are a wow factor to me. I'd still prefer this phone, but it might as well be vapor ware. ciao droids
  • I got the hell out of Jump! I'm sick of that crap and I'm super happy with my Z3c.
  • which one should i buy? xperia Z5 or Nexus 6P???
  • Love my Z3 and would love to get a Z5 but it's just not a big enough upgrade for me plus when are they going to give us wireless Qi charging?
  • Why taunt us with this review? So many Verizon customers desire a human-sized phone, and yet, we can't get it.
  • Very disappointed in Sony. I love my Z3 compact. The size battery life and overall experience have been very positive. I assume I would say the same about the Z5 Compact. This smaller segment of 4.7 inch flagship spec phones is a big gap and they need to be capitalizing on it. Or as Phil put it in his editorial .. An Xperia phone may be one of the nicest things you'll never try. or cant buy because they dont know how to sell it.
  • I am way late to the party here but it really bothers me how a solid phone that runs very smoothly, has the highest rated camera by DxOMark, waterproofing, doesn't get too hot, a fingerprint reader that compares to the Nexus devices, and is *literally* the only flagship in the world under 5" doesn't wow. And maybe what you're saying is, there's nothing that people in the store look at and say, "I want that feature," but if you stack this up to the other flagships, you realize it should be contender for best Android handset. I'm not being a fanboy, I'm actually confused why reviewers act this way about the Xperia lineup. If anything, the S6/M9/G4 are the derivative and underwhelming handsets of 2015. Having used Samsungs, LGs, HTCs, Sonys, and Googles, I'd say, confidently, that the Z3 Compact is the best device I've ever owned. It's a confidence I wish Sony had in their own devices.
  • "Even Microsoft on their forthcoming high-end Lumias."
    Lumias were doing OIS before Samsung, or LG, or Apple. Nokia (and Lumia devices) were some of the first devices to support features we take for granted today like OIS, wireless charging, and double-tap-to-wake. So there's that.
  • I've loved my green z3 compact. I did buy an unlocked Emerald green s6 edge but sold it after 2 weeks of use and went back to the z3c. The s6 edge had horrible battery, at least compared to the z3c. And problems with apps crashing. That was enough to get rid of it. Now I want a bigger screen so standard z5 it is. Would go for the premium after having a note 3 but battery life is bad and the whole 1080, 4k debacle can't justify the pricing, at least for my $! Posted via the Android Central App
  • If that Compact had a full HD screen it would be a no brainer for me... but noooooo... they had to compromise on something, and the display got it..
  • for any one that has the Z5 Compact: I have the galaxy S6 active and that was a huge mistake. It freezes up all the time because of the lack of ram. Is that a problem with the Z5 Compact? I see it has the same ram available and I dont want to waste my time and money. It took a month to become a problem. I can't run snapchat or instagram without having to clean the junk files, sometimes up to 3 times, before hand and during. I want the compact more but if I have to go with the bigger ones I will.
  • There's definitely lag, I don't why anyone would thing there isn't.
  • I upgraded from z2 to the s6 edge and didn't like it at all. Sold it and bought a z5 compact and i think it's brilliant. Yes the camera is better than the s6 edge ( pics so white/ contrasty/ colourless), audio is excellent, size and looks are perfect in my book. Others that pick up my phone want to play around with it for a bit. With the marshmallow update about to roll, from what I'm hearing it only gets better! Posted via the Android Central App
  • quite tempted by the Z5 question, I see previous Sony xperia phones have had complaints re call volume. Could anyone comment on whether this is an issue with the Z5 ? i dont have the worlds best hearing so this really is a deal breaker for me
  • I bought the z5 compact few months ago. Definitely don't worth the price. Lot of overheating issues, especially using the camera. It heats so much that switches off. Now it have just broken the screen after overheating during a skype call. Keep yourself out of this harassment.
  • I just bought the Z5 compact and received it last week. Here are my observations so far:
    - battery life isn't as amazing as touted. 3-4 hours of on screen time but I can literally watch the battery drain down if I use Hangouts a lot. This is probably my biggest letdown
    - the phone gets hot when it's doing almost anything, not just when the camera is being used
    - camera is not bad but low light shots are not good
    - maybe it's just my unit, but I'm encountering quite a bit of lag mostly when I've got other applications like Hangouts open