Devices – March 2016

Sony-Z5

This month we are looking at Sony’s flagship Z5, have they finally made something that can rival the big brands out there? Samsung has produced another low end phone at a wallet pleasing price, see how they both got on below.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 14.29.29Samsung has made itself synonymous with making excellent cheap smartphones, perhaps they have made too many. The Galaxy Core Prime is the latest entry into the low end of the market which has become a tough area to compete in. At £110 I was intrigued to find out what technology Samsung has managed to pack into this device.

At 8.8mm thick it’s fairly comfortable in the hand, it also weighs a 130g which is about the same as an iPhone 6. Design wise it’s basically a pebble shape and built very well. It comes with a streamlined version of Android OS which is simplified and less taxing on the processor.

It was no surprise to see a Snapdragon 410 entry-level 1.2GHz quad-core CPU as it has become renowned for doing the basics well at a reasonable price. The 1GB of RAM is a little less than I would have liked to see and it also comes with a 2000mAh battery.

While these stats are completely unremarkable the combination of the battery and the screen, 4.5 inch 800 x 480 and 207ppi, actually give this phone close to two days of power from just one charge. Unfortunately the trade-off is that the screen looks a bit shabby and next to any moderately new phone you can really see the difference in quality. As for the camera, they really shouldn’t have bothered including one. It’s just taking up space which could have been used to further its good features.

The problem I have with this phone is it’s too unremarkable. There is too much focus on the price which is hard to beat, but the end result is a bunch of average features which does an OK job. For just a little bit more money you can do a lot better. In newer markets I can see this doing well but in an established market like the UK I wouldn’t expect to see many of these out and about.

Sony Xperia Z5

Sony-Z5Sony has struggled with their flagship range in recent years after they have rushed to launch new models with few new features and have left consumers feeling hard done by when it came time to upgrade. Currently only available in the US we should see the Z5 hit our shores sometime in early 2016.
Price wise, it’s looking like Sony is opting for £549 which is under its launch price of £599 announced last year. The 5.2-inch 1,080 x 1,920 pixel resolution IPS LCD display is excellent but those expecting 4K will have to opt for the Z5 Premium which is now available.

One of the big selling points on the Z5 is the microSD support which supports up to 200GB. That means you could be walking around with up to 232GB in this phone which is great for those that like to store huge files and have them to hand.

The chipset is a quad-core Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.5GHz and another quad-core Cortex A57 clocked at 2GHz, as well as an Adreno 430 GPU. That’s backed up by 3GB of RAM which keeps everything running smoothly. However, this is the same chipset that Sony included in its last model which had widely reported issues with running too hot and crashing certain apps. Sony has claimed it has sorted these issues.

Sony has decided to shrink the battery yet again down to a 2,900mAh cell, it has done this as it favours a sleek design over battery life. Although the Z5 is gorgeous the battery barely limps towards one day of use from one charge. I think this is a major mistake! This is the best phone Sony has produced to date, however they have once again gone after a segment of the market where they won’t ever win. The best thing Sony could do is knock £75-100 pounds off the price tag, that would be a very compelling proposition!