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Sony Xperia Z5 officially launched: Everything you need to know

Sony just launched the Xperia Z5 at IFA 2015, its first fully-fledged flagship of the year, packing upgraded camera tech and plenty of updated features to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy S6.

For the Xperia Z5, Sony has finally unleashed its next generation of camera sensor – surprisingly, the first time the Xperia flagship camera has been updated since the original Xperia Z1. Combined with much-wanted features such as a fingerprint sensor and quick-charge support, the Xperia Z5 looks to be the best Sony smartphone yet. We’ve already gone hands-on with the Xperia Z5, but here’s all you need to know about Sony’s flagship specs and updated features.

Read next: Sony also launched the world’s first 4K smartphone, the Xperia Z5 Premium; plus the all-new Xperia Z5 Compact

Xperia Z5 design

Despite lots of rumblings before the event, Sony hasn’t completely rehashed the Xperia’s Omnibalance design for the Xperia Z5, once again opting for a glass-and-metal construction. The stainless steel frame and frosted rear combination is still attractive however, even if it’s far from revolutionary (and let’s face it, if it’s good enough for Samsung to rip off, there’s reason enough to debate the point in changing things up).

However, there are a couple of changes – you’ll now find the Xperia logo branded on the right edge of the handset. Additionally, the Xperia Z5’s power button has been flattened out to incorporate a fingerprint sensor. Thankfully you just need to press your thumb against the button to unlock the phone, rather than swiping your digit.

And once again the Xperia Z5 is water-resistant, so you can have a play in the bath.

The Xperia Z5 will launch in a number of colours including white, gold, black and green.

Xperia Z5 camera

One of the big updates on the Xperia Z5 is the all-new 23-megapixel camera, packing a 1/2.3 6-element lens. This slick new hardware boasts a number of benefits over previous models, including a super-fast autofocus and improved digital zoom.

In the official Xperia Z5 launch, Sony identified a number of ‘smartphone camera pain points’ which it aims to eliminate with this new camera tech, including missed opportunities through slow autofocus, low quality zoom and blurry low light photos.

So for instance, the camera’s 0.03-second Hybrid autofocus (a combination of some very clever hardware and imaging software) means your photos will take the moment you tap the shutter button, with pretty much no lag. You can re-focus almost instantly with a tap of the Z5’s screen and the lens can automatically track a subject in the centre of the picture with continuous autofocus. That’s great news if you take a lot of action shots, or like to film hyperactive pets or kids who move around a lot.

You also have 5x Clear Image Zoom, which allows you to get closer to your subject without any loss in photo quality. The Z5 basically analyses a 23-megapixel image and compares patterns found in adjacent pixels to create new pixels in-between, creating an 8-megapixel photo that appears to be ‘zoomed in’. Kind of a cheat, but we’ll see how well it works in real life.

The Xperia Z5 can also capture even better low-light shots than the Xperia Z3 (which already had pretty decent chops in dingy locations), with the f/2.0 sensor sucking in more light to reduce grain and also smartly reducing noise in specific areas of the photo.

When it comes to shooting video, the Xperia Z5 also has an improved Steadyshot feature, which aims to cut down on video judder while recording HD footage. And around the front you get a 5-megapixel secondary camera for sexy selfies.

Xperia Z5 screen

The Xperia Z5 rocks the usual 5.2-inch screen size found on the last few Xperia flagships, once again packing a 1080p Full HD resolution – so none of the Quad HD visuals of the LG G4 and Galaxy S6, or a crazy 4K Ultra HD resolution like the Xperia Z5 Premium.

Water resistance has also been improved; you can now happily use the Xperia Z5 when the screen is a little wet, with no funny behaviour like we’ve seen on the other Xperia handsets. Although if the display is being pelted with rain, it’ll still go all screwy. 

Xperia Z5 performance and battery life

For the Xperia Z5, Sony is once again promising two full days of battery life from the 2900mAh cell – although we’re expecting closer to a day and a half, the same life we wrung out of the Xperia Z3 and Z3+. Good news is, the Xperia Z5 now supports fast charge, with 5.5 hours of use from just ten minutes at the mains (using the quick charge adapter).

As for performance, the Xperia Z5 packs in a Snapdragon 810 processor – we’re yet to determine if this is the exact same model as seen in the toasty Xperia Z3+, but we’re hoping that the Xperia Z5 won’t get too hot during intensive use.

Xperia Z5 other features

All of your favourite Sony features are present and correct on the Xperia Z5, including Remote Play support for gamers. And Sony will be launching a number of optional accessories with the Xperia Z5 too, including the new MDR-NC750 headset which allows you to enjoy Hi-Res music with built-in digital noise cancellation and a new Style Cover Window case.

Xperia Z5 UK price and release date

The Xperia Z5 will be hitting UK stores in October 2015, with networks such as O2 already taking pre-orders, although a UK price is still to be revealed. We’re expecting £499 SIM-free.

Read next: Our hands-on review of the Sony Xperia Z5

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