Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review: shaken and stirred by the ‘Bond’ phone

1 Dec 2015

The Sony Xperia Z5 sports a 23Mp camera and its battery can be programmed to last seven days

If the Sony Xperia Z5 is good enough for James Bond then it was good enough for me as I brushed down the old tuxedo and fired up the Aston Martin to hit the casino for roulette and a few dry martinis.

In reality, Dinger, my tuxedo cat, sniffed dismissively as I snapped some pictures of him trying to rest by the fire before I put on my hoodie to go out and fill up my Audi with some diesel before cooking a beans and toast dinner as the countdown to payday picked up an urgent pace.

Well, we can’t always be stylish and sophisticated and neither can smartphones, but in the case of the Sony Xperia Z5 style and substance are in abundance.

The Xperia Z5 is Sony’s flagship phone and has featured in the new Bond movie, Spectre, and has pretty much everything you would expect to have in a smartphone market awash with Apple iPhone 6s devices and rival devices like the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy S6.

The key differentiators are its profile – a quite diminutive 4.6-inch display in this time of phablets – and of course its 23Mp camera.

Look and feel

On first perusal, it looks like every other smartphone – a slab of glass – but once you pick it up you know its no ordinary smartphone. The most obvious thing is its display, which is bright and tactile, but also the materials of the phone are quite interesting. The frosted glass on the back of the device gives it a velvety smoothness.

Also, it’s handy size makes it stand out in a world of large phones that are getting a bit tiresome and are awkward to use with just one hand.


The operating system is Google Android 5.1 (Lollipop), which Sony has personalised in a minimalist way rather than throwing too much at you.

As you touch the screen it pings delightfully as it swiftly flits from screen-to-screen and app-to-app.

The most impressive thing of all about the device is its camera and, in fact, you get the feeling that the entire phone was built around the camera. When you switch to camera mode, the entire device works in harmony around your need to take pictures and not delay by pressing the wrong buttons. Zooming is seamless and smooth and the pictures are instantaneous. You’ll miss nothing.



As someone who probably charges an old iPhone 5 twice a day to keep it running, the two-day battery life on the Sony Xperia Z5 was a welcome relief. The device is intelligent enough to manage itself when it comes to power management and a really useful Stamina mode can be utilised to make your battery last an astounding several days.

Not only that, but the phone can be charged to 5.5 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes – or a full day’s usage in 45 minutes.

With this power behind you it is possible to watch 10 hours of high definition movies or listen to up to 160 hours of music non-stop.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit Octa Core processor, the phone feels fast, particularly when you are using the 23Mp camera, which is capable of recording videos in 4K.

As I mentioned, it feels like once you switch into camera mode the phone goes into the background and it is a camera first and the 5-times digital zoom is intuitive and effortless to use.

Display-wise, the 1280×720 display gives everything a nice sharp feel.

The device also features a Hi-Res Audio speaker system that provides a fantastic sound experience.

Verdict: 4/5

What I love about this device in this time of phablets and big screens is its perfect 4.6in display, which is compact and handy. It is also pretty light at 138 grams.

What won it for me, in fairness, was its really discreet fingerprint sensor, which unlike Apple or Samsung, which put the sensor at the front of the device, Sony has thought differently and placed the sensor on the right-hand side, so it’s much more natural to unlock your device using your thumbprint

The device costs around €499 to buy prepay, while various networks like Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse offer it for free with a new billing account.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years