Do we have a good one for you today – the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium goes up against the new HTC 10. We have the metal and glass Z5 Premium on one side and the all-metal HTC 10 on the other side. Both are beautiful in their own ways and along with their solid build, look the premium flagship part. The Xperia Z5 Premium came out in December 2015, and the HTC 10 hit the streets in April 2016 – can the Z5 Premium keep up to the newer kids on the block? Let’s take a look at what these two devices have in common, and then we will look at each smartphone in more depth.
The Xperia Z5 Premium and the HTC 10 do have a few things in common – for starters, they both use the IPS LCD screen technology, and the displays are close in size – 5.5-inches on the Z5 and 5.2-inches on the HTC 10. They both use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but different models. Both offer 32GB of internal storage, and both can expand that storage via a microSD card. They both have excellent camera areas but go about it in a much different way. They both offer great sound through dual speakers and include Hi-Res audio for your earphones. The Z5 Premium and HTC 10 each has a fingerprint sensor, non-removable and fast charging batteries. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.1 on the Z5 and v4.2 on the HTC 10), GPS, NFC, and a microUSB port (Type-C on the HTC 10) for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Sony builds a great smartphone, but they just do not have a handle on marketing or distribution and by the time the device finally gets into the hands of the public – at least the US – the technology seems a little dated. There are a few themes within all Sony smartphones - a rectangle looking block, well-constructed out of metal and glass, a premium look and feel, good battery life and a great camera. The Xperia Z5 Premium follows that same recipe except that Sony finally took the display past the same 1080p they have been using, bypassed the QHD display, and went directly to a 4K display with 806 PPI. This would normally be a cause for excitement – however, the 4K is in service only when needed and most of the time the display is running at 1080p to conserve battery life.
The most interesting aspect of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is its unusual display – it is a 5.5-inch IPS LCD 4K with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 and an astounding 806 PPI. The 4K resolution is only ‘on’ when you are watching something that takes advantage of the 4K. The rest of the time, it operates in 1080p or Full HD mode – the resolution of choice for Sony. Sony is so focused on battery life that they refuse to jump to a QHD display that runs all of the time. While having good battery life is nice, most people charge their devices each night, so as long as we can get through an entire day or so, we are happy.
The Z5 Premium uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The Z5 Premium uses 3GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory but has the option to expand an additional 200GB via a microSD card.
Sony was one of the first mobile phones to embrace the idea of including a great camera, and that attitude continues today – even without using OIS. The Z5 Premium has a new 23MP sensor with phase detection autofocus (PDAF), f/2.0 aperture, and an LED flash. For the front facing camera (FFC) Sony put in a 5.1MP with wide-angle for selfies and video chatting. When it comes to power, the Z5 Premium uses a large 3430mAh non-removable battery that Sony claims will get you through two days and incorporates a quick charge feature.
The Xperia Z5 Premium does have dual stereo front-facing speakers and IP68 water resistance. It will work on AT&T or T-Mobile 4G LTE networks in the US. It will come in Chrome, Black or Gold and cost you about $600-$700, depending where you can buy one.
The HTC 10 finally gives the HTC fans something to cheer about and may help boost HTC’s bottom line. It has everything you want in a flagship smartphone – a beautifully carved aluminum body, a QHD display, the best processor on the market, a GPU that can handle any graphics thrown its way, and 4GB of DDR4 memory. The HTC 10 finally has a great camera, and while it is not the original BoomSound, it still looks like it may still have the best sound found on a smartphone.
HTC, like Sony, seemed to be stuck with an FHD display, but finally included a QHD resolution. The HTC 10 sports a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 565 PPI. HTC snagged the most advanced processor on the market – the 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with the dual cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15 GHz. An Adreno 530 GPU provides the graphics that should satisfy even the most avid gamer. The HTC 10 packs a full 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable to 2TB via a microSD card.
While HTC has always tinkered around with their cameras – 4MP UltraPixels or Duo Cameras – they never got it quite right. The HTC 10 is where they got it right – they went with UltraPixels, but instead of using only 4MP, this time around HTC is using a 12MP sensor for their primary camera to capture more light and image. They added laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, a large aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. The HTC 10's camera was able to tie the top rated score of 88 the Galaxy S series achieved. They added a 5MP FFC with a f/1.8 aperture, wide-angle lens, screen flash and even OIS to ensure great selfies and video chatting even in low-light. The HTC packs a 3000 mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0.
HTC rearranged their BoomSound into what they are calling BoomSound Hi-Fi that features two separate speakers with the woofer placed on the bottom of the device, and the high-end sounds originating from the earpiece, although the dual front-facing speakers on the Z5 Premium can give it some competition. The HTC 10 measures 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Carbon Grey, Topaz Gold, and Glacier Silver and it will cost you about $699 for 32GB of memory.
...And The Winner Is...
Choosing a winner of this comparison was an easy decision – the HTC 10. The HTC 10 will cost you about the same and offers a QHD display all of the time. It has a much better processor and GPU, more RAM and more expandability in memory…up to 2TB, and it will work on all of the major US networks. The HTC 10 will even take better pictures. With everything as good or in most cases better on the HTC 10, and for the same price, the HTC 10 is the clear winner.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is a solid device, but except for the occasional 4K display, IP68 water rating, and great battery life, it simply has nothing over the HTC 10. It uses last year’s processor, less RAM, and runs in 1080p most of the time. If you are in love with Sony devices, then the Z5 Premium will make you happy, but if you want the superior smartphone in this comparison, the HTC 10 is the logical choice.