Why Sony? Why do this?
Our on-going saga of scattered support and terrible relationships between Sony, USA carriers, and customers continues. Their new line of Z5 smartphones was announced back in September of 2015. We’re only a couple weeks away from Mobile World Congress, where it’s likely we’ll start hearing about new Samsungs and LGs, but we’re only just now getting word from Sony about them selling their phones unlocked here in the United States.
The Z5 and the Z5 Compact will be shipping unlocked to retailers like Amazon and B&H starting February 7th. The flagship Z5 will sell for $599 and the smaller Z5 Compact will sell for $499. There’s no word about selling the Z5 Premium, which is the first phone to feature a 4K display.
The phones are sleek devices, and feature very good cameras. Lifestyle features like waterproofing are certainly appreciated, but they’re saddled with 2015 tech like Qualcomm’s 810 processor, which has a nasty reputation for running hot and draining battery life. We’re only weeks away from phone announcements featuring a new 820 processor which is performing well enough to get Samsung back on board Qualcomm’s CPU for their next batch of phones. Samsung opted to use their own Exynos processors last year due to performance concerns.
To add insult to injury, we now have confirmation from Sony that because of a “business decision”, USA bound Z5s will not have fingerprint scanners built into the power button like international versions of the phone currently include. This is a terrible feature to remove, as more consumers are starting to embrace biometric security solutions not only for locking their phones, but also for utilizing banking and payment services.
This really isn’t a great strategy for building a fan base here in the USA. Months late to market, denying us the high end 4K version, and withholding features that consumers are starting to embrace. But if you do still decide a Sony is the right fit for you, at least Sony has the decency to charge you full “new phone” price for the privilege.