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Sony Removes Fingerprint Scanner From USA Bound Z5 Smartphones

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.

04. Z5_white_groupThe 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.

Sony Showcases 4K screen, Cameras, and Waterproofing on Family of Xperia Z5 Smartphones

Announced today. Sony took the wraps off their newest flagship phones. The Z5, Z5 Premium, and Z5 Compact.

04. Z5_white_groupSony is first to market with a 4K display on a phone. The Z5 Premium will sport the Qualcomm 810 with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of built in storage, and the ability to add more via Micro SD card. Quite a feat shrinking that resolution down to a 5.5″ screen.

The bread and butter Z5 shrinks down to a 5.2″ display and reduces the resolution to 1080p, but retains largely the same overall experience.

The 4.6″ screened Compact also returns, continuing Sony’s track record of producing a smaller form factor phone which matches most of the specs found in their larger flagships. Always happy to see a smaller premium phone rather than gimped “mini” budget phones.

12. Z5_Z50c_WhiteWhite_Group 2For all three, Sony’s hard edge rectangular design retains the Xperia feel we all understand. Water resistance seems to be improves ala Samsung, where ports no longer require awkward flaps.

Sony produces most of the top tier camera sensors found in competing phones, so it makes sense they would save “the good stuff” for themselves. Their newest sensor is a half inch 23MP beast with an f2 lens aperture, and they’re touting the world’s fastest smartphone auto focus. Combined with OIS, it should make for a solid competitor to the current crop of flagship phones.

Lastly, the side mounted power button gets upgraded to include a fingerprint sensor, a fairly ingenious design, providing one action for turning the phone on and unlocking, without resorting to a hardware Home button or rear mounted scanner.

The family of Xperia Z5 phones should be shipping in October, with country and pricing info to follow. You can catch Sony’s full press release below.

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