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Sony Xperia Z5 (left); and Nexus 6P
Sony Xperia Z5 (left); and Nexus 6P

Reviews: Sony Xperia Z5 and Nexus 6P

Not all Android flagships are the samethese two prove variety is the name of the game

The Sony Xperia Z5 has taken over the company’s flagship smartphone mantle, just over three months after the Xperia Z3+.

And Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which is making one of the two Nexus phones this year, seems to be undercutting a lot of Android flagships with the price.

Sony Xperia Z5

52,990

The Xperia Z5 has frosted glass on the back panel instead of the clear glass used in earlier phones. The power key on the right spine integrates a fingerprint sensor. This means you cannot use the fingerprint scanner immediately if the phone is kept flat on a table—the Samsung Galaxy S6’s front-facing sensor is better positioned.

The Xperia Z5 runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, and is paired with 3 GB RAM. Whether it is by optimizing the software better or by simply throttling the power of the chip, Sony has managed to keep the 810, which is notorious for overheating, cool under use.

The Z5’s display hasn’t changed much from the Xperia Z3—a 5.2-inch IPS (in-plane switching) with Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution. It is sharp, and the screen is great for media and reading. Brightness is restrained though, and that allows the reflections to show up a bit more under sunlight. But it is hard to ignore the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a vivid Ultra HD screen, and costs less too.

The 23-megapixel camera allows the flexibility of clicking an image and cropping it later, rather than using digital zoom and compromising picture quality. The colours are well balanced, but there is the occasional image which does look too soft—that is the image-processing software overcompensating for noise or distortion.

The 2,900 mAh battery will last a day on single charge for heavy users; with moderate use you can stretch it to lunchtime the next day.

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a good phone, in isolation. But when compared with its rivals, the old design language and lack of a higher-resolution screen do hold it back. The price only amplifies the shortcoming.

Nexus 6P

39,999 (32 GB); 42,999 (64 GB)

The more expensive of the two Nexus phones, the 6P has an aircraft-grade aluminium unibody, chamfered edges and a glossy black band around the camera. At last, a Nexus phone that feels good in the hand.

Huawei has gone all out on the hardware bit. The 5.7-inch AMOLED Ultra HD (2,560x1,440) screen is bright, and the colours look really good. In fact, reflections aren’t really a problem if you’re using this in sunlight. The sharpness is fantastic too.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor is paired with 3 GB RAM. The performance is very quick, more so because of the Android Marshmallow’s (Android 6.0’s) under-the-hood improvements. You can feel slight heating on the frame when the phone is stressed.

The 3,450 mAh battery lasts a day and a bit more on a single charge. The higher-resolution screen drains the battery more than a Full HD display would.

The 12.3-megapixel camera is essentially a disappointment. It is quite inconsistent in terms of focus, and your hands must be really steady to deliver crisp photographs. Colour and detailing are not always accurate in low light.

This is a Huawei phone that doesn’t suffer from bad software customization. The 6P looks good, has a rich screen, and the performance is smooth. It runs the latest Android operating system—most other Android phones will not get one anytime soon.

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