Display size has always been a big part of the Compact series and its allure, but definitely not in the conventional "the bigger, the better" way. As already mentioned, loyal fans of the Compact line and especially the Z3 Compact value it as a representative of a rare breed of small and pocket-friendly devices with powerful hardware.
As such, it is great that Sony has realized the need to retain the phone's small footprint and consequently, its sub 5-inch display, though we gotta tell you that we would say the perceptions have been on the move this past year and now a 5-incher can easily pass as a compact device in a flagship duo. Then again, that may have put it way too close to the Xperia Z5.
The screen on the Xperia Z5 Compact is 4.6 inches in diagonal and with the same 720 x 1280 pixel resolution as a year ago. It is also the same IPS LCD variety, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering the name length of all the tech Sony has reportedly put inside - things such as Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2, Triluminos technology and X-Reality engine for mobile come to mind (and being able to quote those on the top of our heads can't be a healthy thing for sure).
That aside, we would have appreciated a higher resolution screen, especially considering that more budget-friendly phones are rocking FullHD panels nowadays. The size of the screen could have also used some improvement, or rather its proportions relative to the bezels, which seem to be bigger compared to those of the Z3 Compact (68.9% screen to body ratio, instead of 70.65). But that may be us just nitpicking.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact's IPS LCD has an ordinary RGB matrix and our tests revealed that it is a pretty nice panel. The maximum display brightness is spectacularly high at 680 nits. Unlike some other Xperia phones we've seen, this brightness level is available in both auto and manual brightness modes. The display contrast ratio in both modes is very good but not excellent mostly due to the comparatively grayish blacks.
Color rendering without image enhancements is off to a higher extent than we're used to seeing lately (Avg deltaE 6.3 for the primary colors plus black and white). It's the whites to blame as they have a relatively high purplish tint (deltaE 14.5). Still, you would certainly have a hard time noticing the color cast without some sort of a reference.
Color accuracy of course takes an extra hit when you turn on the screen image enhancements such as the X Reality for mobile mode. The maximum brightness however is reduced in these modes down to about 630-640 nits but the overall contrast is improved (blacks get deeper) as long as you're checking out photos or watching videos.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
As usual, display colors are a matter of personal taste and perception so if you don't need calibrated color output, you will probably be quite happy with the default settings of the Xperia Z5 Compact display.
You can fine tune the display color rendering to an extent as Sony gives you fine grain sliders for adjusting the Red, Green and Blue channel, but the UI is far from user friendly and unlikely to produce any serious results without a reference point sitting side by side with the display. Even worse, as soon as you start fiddling with those sliders, the maximum brightness will take a hit.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is powered by a 2700 mAh battery, sealed-in, as expected. That is just a tad less than the Z5 at 2900 mAh, but still poses an upgrade over the Z3 Compact, with its 2600 mAh battery.
Overall, the phone offers excellent battery performance with a total endurance rating of 86 hours, but sadly, if we measure it by the high standards set by its predecessor and its whopping 101 hours, it is not nearly as impressive.
Still, it is a nice and solid performance and well above average too. It means that the Z5 Compact should be more than happy to facilitate two days of average use, or at least our understanding of it - one hour of browsing, video playback and calls a day, respectively and the rest - standby.
Such usage pattern is of course entirely artificial, but we've established it so our battery results are comparable across devices.
We were particularly impressed with the 28 hours of talk time the Z5 Compact managed to score. The web browsing and video playback performance are also solid, but if you are a heavy talker, it is worth noting that the small phone excels in this department.
And if the aforementioned usage scenario, just doesn't fit your bill, you can easily hop on to our battery life chart and adjust the pattern to your liking for an even more comprehensive comparison.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact comes only in a single SIM variant, which was also the case with its predecessor. Perhaps, Sony could have spiced things up in this generation with a dual-SIM offer.
The handset offers quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA support. LTE is enabled and Sony has multiple regional models to make sure the Xperia Z5 Compact will work with the most widespread 4G networks.
Local connectivity features dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP. Satellite navigation is also a given, with additional A-GPS and GLONASS or Beidou (market dependent) support.
The Xperia Z5 Compact also has an FM radio with RDS. The phone doesn't offer an IR port, but it does come with NFC.
There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections and now, thanks to special coating, it no longer needs to be covered by a flap. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory and microSD card over the USB cable. USB host functionality is present, but requires a little more work than simply plugging in a device. There is a special menu under Xperia Connectivity in the setting that allows you to "discover" a plugged USB device. It still works as expected, but it requires some extra legwork.
Being part of the premium "Z" line has a few other benefits, like MHL 3 TV-out support. You can also output your phone's screen wirelessly via the Miracast protocol or Sony's Xperia Connectivity Throw option.
The app also lets you share your media over DLNA by creating a media server, as well as connect to a PlayStation DUALSHOCK 3 (or 4) wireless controller