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Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review: One year on

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Our Rating :
£209.99 from
Price when reviewed : £429
inc VAT (SIM-free)

Great battery life, an excellent screen and superb performance, the Xperia Z5 Compact is Sony's all-time high


Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Screen Size: 4.6in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 23 megapixels, Storage (free): 32GB (22.5GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 127x65x8.9mm, Weight: 138g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1
See all of the best Sony Xperia Z5 Compact deals on uSwitch

‘Plus’ looks to have superceded ‘Mini’ phones these days, making tiny, compact smartphones an ever-growing rarity as more and more manufacturers ditch their diminutive flagship spinoffs for jumbo-sized phablet versions. Fortunately, Sony’s still firmly ensconced in the Compact camp, even if its latest effort, the rather underwhelming Xperia X Compact was a bit of a disappointment.

This makes last year’s Z5 Compact even more attractive. It’s the perfect antidote to the prevailing phablet mania, and even a year on it’s still a fantastic smartphone that can more than hold its own against its newer competitors.

That’s mostly down to it sharing a lot of the same DNA as its big brother, the Xperia Z5, including its octa-core processor, 23-megapixel camera and flush fingerprint sensor. However, as its name implies, it’s all packed into a much more petite chassis and has a smaller display and screen resolution to go with it.


Measuring just 127x65x8.9mm, the Z5 Compact is delightfully easy to hold in one hand, and you don’t have to stretch to reach the top or opposite side of the screen. Instead, everything is in easy reach, making a refreshing change from larger screen devices. It is comparatively chunky, and its lightly rounded corners can feel a touch slippery at times, but nothing serious enough to take the sheen off this pleasingly diddy design.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact hands on colours

Admittedly, it’s a shame the pearlescent reinforced corners of the Z3 Compact have been swapped for a more uniform, matt aluminium frame, but the new engraved Xperia logo in the top right corner of the phone does go some way to help make up for it.

Likewise, I’m a big fan of Sony’s new frosted glass effect on the rear of the handset, and the yellow and pink coral models look particularly stylish. Even better, the frosted finish means it doesn’t pick up half as many fingerprints as its glossy glass-backed predecessors either, making it look much smarter than its competitors.

Fingerprint sensor

Another brilliant new addition is the Z5 Compact’s fingerprint sensor, which has been built directly into the power button on the side of the phone. This is a better idea than having it on the back of the phone, as on the Nexus 5X, and it’s nowhere near as awkward to use as the home button sensors of the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6. Instead, it’s already in the most natural place possible when you go to turn on the phone, and its support for multiple fingerprints means you can instantly turn it on and unlock it no matter which hand you use to pick it up.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact hands on fingerprint sensor

The Z5 Compact is dust resistant and waterproof up to one metre of fresh water for 30 minutes, but its handy capless Micro USB port doesn’t need to be covered up if you decide to take the phone for a dip. The only thing you do need to worry about is making sure the plastic flap covering the microSD and Micro SIM card slots is firmly sealed, as you wouldn’t want to ruin a 200GB microSD card if you happened to drop the phone down the loo or take it for a dip in the bath. Either way, it comes with 32GB of integrated storage, of which 22.5GB is available to the user, so you should have plenty of space for your music and photos.


As well as being practical, the Z5 Compact’s 4.6in 1,280×720 resolution display is one of the best around, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying an impressive 98.8% of the sRGB colour gamut. This is fantastic for an IPS panel, and it’s not far behind the Z5‘s nearly perfect 99.4% coverage. It’s certainly one of the most accurate displays I’ve seen in this price range, and it beats the similarly-priced Motorola’s Moto X Style by almost 6%.

Colours were beautifully rich and punchy, and there was plenty of detail on show thanks to a contrast ratio of 1,161:1. Admittedly, the screen isn’t as bright as the Z5, as I only measured a peak brightness of 461.05cd/m2 as opposed to nearly 700cd/m2. Still, it’s perfectly bright enough to use outside, and it also means the Z5 Compact’s black levels are much lower than the Z5’s as well, coming in at 0.39cd/m2 to deliver deeper, inkier blacks. Continues on Page 2

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact display

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ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Screen size4.6in
Screen resolution1,280×720
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera23 megapixels
Storage (free)32GB (22.5GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Battery size2,700mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£429
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £35-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)£450
Contract/prepay /
Part codeE5823

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