Sony Xperia Z5 vs Sony Xperia Z3+ comparison: Upgrade or rush job?

sony xperia z3 plus
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The Android world turns at a rapid pace but Sony has taken that to extremes. The announcement of its new Xperia Z5 seemingly consigns the Xperia Z3+ to the history books less than three months after it was released. So has Sony been over-eager in bringing out the Z5, or was it right to act quickly? It's time to see how these two 5.2-inch flagship devices compare.

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Sony Xperia Z5 back
Is this a Sony Xperia Z3 + or the Xperia Z5? It can be hard to tell the difference. / © NextPit 

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Price and availability

The Xperia Z3+ (known as the Xperia Z4 in Japan) was released in June and struggled to justify its whopping price of around US$800. Since then, the price has tumbled in some places and may fall further in the coming weeks, with the Xperia Z5 waiting in the wings to usurp it.

The Z5 was officially presented at IFA 2015 in Berlin and will be released in the US either late this month or in October. As with the Xperia Z3+, Sony will offer it in several color options including graphite-black, silver-white, matte gold and fir-green. The price is yet to be confirmed but is expected to be about US$900.

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Design 

Sony is still stubbornly sticking to its OmniBalance guns in design terms and there is little distinction between the Xperia Z5 and the Xperia Z3+ in aesthetic terms. On first glance they appear identical, but there are some subtle changes. 

The Xperia logo has moved from the back of the phone to the side, and the power button has had an overhaul. For the Xperia Z5, Sony has abandoned the circular power button of old for an elongated and recessed button that sits on the right-hand side of the phone and includes an integrated fingerprint sensor.

Elsewhere things remain much the same. The key layout is identical, the volume keys and dedicated camera button are still found on the right side of the phone (beneath the new power button), while the SIM card slot and the microSD card slot are on the left side, behind a protective cover. The micro USD port also remains, as do the headphone jack and the water- and dust-resistant features.

Sony Xperia Z5 side powerbutton
The relocation of the power button and the integration of a fingerprint sensor are the biggest design changes. / © NextPit

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Display

This is a section of the article that could easily be left blank, such is the lack of improvement in the display from the Xperia Z3+ to the Xperia 5. The new phone retains the 5.2-inch fixed Full HD display of its predecessor. There's not much wrong with it but users may be entitled to expect a little more in exchange for the increased price. 

Sony Xperia Z5 front display 1
The display on the Z5 has barely changed. / © NextPit

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Features

As we mentioned previously, the addition of a fingerprint sensor is one of the Xperia Z5's biggest selling points. Unlike the sensors on the OnePlus 2, Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and the Honor 7, Sony's is a combination of a sensor and a physical button. In practice, this means the phone needs to be awakened with pressure in order to register the fingerprint. This system has more in common with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Sony Xperia Z5 finger scanner
The Xperia Z5 features a fingerprint sensor on the side. / © NextPit

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Specifications

This is another area where upgrades are not immediately obvious. The Z5, along with its sister devices, the Xperia Z5 Premium and Z5 Compact, still employs the Snapdragon 810 processor, has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 128 GB with a microSD card.

The big question with the new device is whether the camera app continues to crash and the device overheat, which were big problems for many Xperia Z3+ users. It appears Sony has taken steps to resolve this problem – as soon as we get a test model, we'll let you know for sure.

AndroidPIT Sony Xperia Z3 plus camera AR mode
There were numerous problems with the Z3+ camera. Have they been fixed in the Z5? / © ANDROIDPIT

A closer reading of the technical specifications reveals that the Xperia Z5 seems to be 0.6mm thicker than the Xperia Z3+ (7.5 mm compared to 6.9 mm). This may be a way in which the manufacturer has tried to avoid overheating problems.

Sony Xperia Z5 vs. Sony Xperia Z3+ technical specifications

  Sony Xperia Z5 Sony Xperia Z3+
Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 7.5 mm 146 x 72 x 6.9 mm
Weight: 157 g 144 g
Battery size: 2900 mAh 2930 mAh
Screen size: 5.2 in 5.2 in
Display technology: LCD LCD
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
Front camera: 5.1 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 23 megapixels 20.7 megapixels
Flashlight: LED LED
Android version: 5.1.1 - Lollipop 5.0 - Lollipop
User interface: Xperia UI Xperia UI
RAM: 3 GB 3 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB 32 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2 GHz 2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Camera

This section is a bit of a mixed bag, the Z5 has some new features combined with some older ones from the Xperia Z5. The front camera of the Xperia is Z5 boasts 5.1 MP with a Sony Exmor R sensor, a very slight improvement on the Xperia Z3+'s front camera, but the back camera has improved significantly – from 20.7 MP to 23 MP. As soon as we get our hands on one, we'll let you know how well the camera works.

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Battery

The extra 0.6 mm in the newer phone hasn't signaled an increased battery size, in fact the battery capacity of the Xperia Z5 is 30 mAh less than that of the Xperia Z3 (2,900 mAh compared to 2,930 mAh). In practice though, this should make little difference to how long the battery lasts.

Sony Xperia Z3 plus final test 7
Sony seems to have tackled some of the problems that plagued the Z3. / © NextPit

Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z3+: Early conclusions

It seems Sony has learnt quickly from the mistakes it made with the Xperia Z3+. The Xperia Z5's camera app appears to be much more robust while the addition of a fingerprint sensor should prepare the device for the arrival of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The Z5 is undoubtedly the better phone of the two. It is expensive; it's up to you to decide if it's value for money. But if you're thinking this might be a good time to snap up a bargain Xperia Z3+, we'll refer you back to those overheating and crashing issues. The Z5 might cost more than the Z3+ does now, but we think it's worth paying more for reliability.

What do you think of the Xperia Z5? Will you be buying one? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Jakob B Dec 9, 2016 Link to comment

    how is the camera in the z3+ compared to a iPhone 6

  • Dave Highe Sep 8, 2015 Link to comment


    Right, I've had an xperia z3, galaxy s6 and now I'm on the xperia z3 plus.

    The Z3's battery is the best by a long chalk. I used to go to bed and the phone would have 50% battery life left.

    I moved to the Galaxy s6 because of the reviews about the camera. The camera is phenomenal on the phone. However I ditched the phone after one month of usage as I was charging it three times a day! And im not a heavy user!

    So I missed my Sony, so I went for the latest version (at the time) I got the z3 plus in copper. Beautiful looking phone, thinner than the z3 and a lot quicker..... Happy days. Now to the over heating issue. This has now been corrected with a 2gb software update, not to 5.1.1 but the same slightly tweaked 5.0.2 and it's flawless (imo)

    I think once android 6 comes out it will be even better. So stop moaning about the" overheating issues " as this is a thing of the past now. I won't be upgrading.

    • Pigumon Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

      I'm trying to decide which phone to buy, the Z3+(Z4) or the Z5. Do you think the overheating is truly solved?

      • Highe Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

        Hi, I'd go for the z5. Not to say that the z3 plus isn't a great phone (I've still got mine) but the camera is better and it's got a fingerprint scanner. (z5)

        As for the over heating, mine gets warm from time to time, but no way near as bad as it used to.

      • jack lin Dec 28, 2015 Link to comment

        I've been using Z5 premium for 1 month, the heat problem is solved without doubt, and is really a great one, especially in taking pictures and watching movies.
        Have a nice one!

      • Jenci8888 Feb 20, 2016 Link to comment

        There's why Z5 premium has dual heat pipes. (Z5 and Compact has added more heatsink due thicker adds 0.6mm)

    •   2
      Deactivated Account Jan 7, 2016 Link to comment

      Agreed, I own a z3 plus and no overheating here

    • Alex Tuffnell Mar 5, 2016 Link to comment

      So what's the battery life like after this 2gb software update Dave? How many hours of screen on time are you managing?

  • djp4nfa Sep 7, 2015 Link to comment

    I've got the z3, not overly impressed by it. I wouldn't upgrade to the z5 from the z3. I'm waiting on the rumoured surface phone from MS

  • Joseph Duong Sep 6, 2015 Link to comment

    Saw one you need to stop making your batteries smaller. This is something no one asks for. The reason I love my z3 is because I can confidently go to bed with about 30% battery life remaining each day. I would love if my battery could go for 2 days like you guys claim. I'm am not upgrading until I see an xperia phone with a bigger battery and a cpu that isn't as power hungry as the 810

    • Ian Holmes Sep 7, 2015 Link to comment

      I'm a Samsung user and am thinking about going to a Sony Z5 if Samsung don't improve, i'll see what the S7 brings to the table. I like the look and sleekness of the Z5 but as you mention I was confused when I looked at the specs spotted that the Z5 has a smaller battery, I was quite disappointed that the specs on the Z5 literally match the Z3+ however I guess we'll have to wait for a proper review of the phone to see if its worth it. I do like the look of the Z5 but its left me thinking is it worth it if the specs haven't changed much, I worry that the phone maybe left behind already when we see what the likes of Apple and Samsung are to announce.

  • Barry Plunkett Sep 6, 2015 Link to comment

    I want to upgrade to the new Xperia Z5 with the 4K display and the 5.5 inch screen. Sony Rock's!

  • jack lin Sep 6, 2015 Link to comment

    We'll see, Z5 will be a good choice when it leaves the overheat/crash problem of Z3+ behind.

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