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Sony Xperia Z5 Premium DoCoMo SO-03H

Many people in the overseas press have mentioned that they find the Z5 premium to be expensive - but the average price for top of the line phones in Japan is around 80,000 JPY.  In that sense, the Z5 premium isn't terribly expensive, though it does cost more than many other models - including the plain Z5.

  • Like the Z4, the Z5 and Z5 Premium support normal USB and do not support the magnetic dock.  (The USB port is waterproofed, so that the phone can be used in wet environments).
  • Also like the Z4, the Z5 and Z5 Premium have only a single flap, which holds both the Nano-SIM card and MicroSD card.
  • Whereas the Z4 supported "only" 128GB MicroSD cards, the Z5 and Z5 Premium support cards of up to 200 GB.  I don't think that difference will matter for many people.
  • The Z5 and especially the Z5 Premium have a bit of heft, especially when compared to the anemic Z4. 
  • The battery life on the Z5 is very decent, though probably not really up to the two days Sony claims, unless you don't actually use it for those two days.
  • The screen is 4K resolution.  Yay.  Seriously, there are a lot of reasons to buy this phone, but the resolution is really not one.  The Z5 premium is only slightly larger than the normal Z5, which is to say that it is not even close to large enough to warrant a 4K display.  The main advantage I can see to having a 4K display would be that photos and videos can be decided and displayed as is without downsizing them.    
    • Note that while the Z5 Premium has a much higher resolution than the normal Z5, the actual size of the phone is not much larger.
  • The fingerprint sensor on the Z5 and Z5 Premium is very nice.  When you unlock the screen by pressing the button, it simultaneously reads your thumb print, so normally the screen is unlocked in one pass.
  • Good sound from the build in speakers - on par with the Z2.
  • 23MP Camera which performs well in low light and focuses quickly - The camera is seriously nice.  Probably about as nice as we are likely to ever see in a phone.
  • Nylon corners like the Z4 for dent resistance.
In fact, I think a lot of ways, this is about the evolution of smart phones.  It can do just about everything a smart phone could do, and do it smoothly and quickly.  It has lots of storage space (up to over 200 GB if you opt to purchase such a MircoSD Card).  It has a display with a higher resolution than you could possibly ever hope to use, the sound is about as good as can be expected from such small speakers.  I really have to wonder what they might come up with in the next two years that might entice any Z5 Premium owners to buy a new phone.  

DoCoMo Specifics:
  • Verified that this version is shipped by DoCoMo SIM Locked, but unlockable.
  • Verified that boot loader is not unlockable
  • Verified that this model has the typical DoCoMo APN override for Tethering mode, which does not work with MVNO or other carriers.
  • Verified that tethering APN issue can be solved by the method listed here.

Final Verdict:
  • All of our complaints about the Z4 are fixed, and then some.
    • Except that we miss the magnetic dock.
  • 4K screen is maybe cool, but not worth spending a lot extra for.
  • But the Z5, Z5 Compact, or Z5 Premium based on your preference for screen size.