The sun. The day’s first cup of coffee. Florida. The list of things most tech junkies think of at the mention of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 is already fairly long, but it appears we have a new entry. The brand new Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is already being assailed with reports of overheating in the wild, likely due to its small size. The newest branch of Sony’s Xperia Z family of premium devices utilizes every trick in the book to dissipate heat, from redesigned internal layout to heat pipes and thermal paste. The Xperia Z5 family uses the redesigned Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 V2, also featured in high-end phones such as the Huawei Nexus 6P and OnePlus 2, which was purported to have fixed the notorious overheating issues of the first version of the chip. The first version of the chip gave all phones featuring it, from the Sony Xperia Z4 to the LG G Flex 2, one common feature; poor heat management leading to bugs and throttling. With the Xperia Z4, for example, you couldn’t use 4K video recording for more than a few seconds.
Overheating reports featuring the revised Snapdragon 810 have thus far been fairly sparse, but it seems a redesign and considerations on Sony’s part were not enough to save the Xperia Z5 Compact from overheating. The poor little phone just can’t vent heat effectively enough to keep up with the fairly insane processor. Reports have been pouring in bearing such scary news as processor throttling, becoming too hot to comfortably handle and even completely disabling the touch screen, rendering the device unusable. This is most likely the single most debilitating case of widespread overheating since the inception of the Snapdragon 810 line of chips.
Sony has been tight-lipped about a fix at this time, apparently caught with egg on their faces. With defects this extreme, a recall or at least a voluntary buyback looks likely. A software fix may help the issue, but it will likely be at the cost of performance. Bringing to bear a strange implementation of the saying, “you get what you pay for”, it seems that users wanting a compact phone with modern specs cannot, at least in this case, have their cake and eat it, too.
This blunder is sure to have a negative effect on Sony’s already-shaky brand image, leaving the small premium phone niche to be filled by another manufacturer, if anybody dares. Hopefully, whether Sony tries again or a new manufacturer steps up to bat, they’ll either wait for Qualcomm to further optimize the Snapdragon 810 or use a different chip entirely.