How well does Xperia Z5 Premium upscale to 4K? Check out a comparison against iPhone 6s Plus

by XB on 11th November 2015

in Xperia Z5 series

4K-Logo jpgThe Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the first smartphone to be released that incorporates a 4K resolution display. It has a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels giving an insane 806 PPI pixel density. To preserve battery life, the Xperia Z5 Premium does not display the OS or apps at native 4K resolution. The native 4K resolution is only used for 4K video that you can stream (e.g. YouTube) or captured yourself.

As most content is displayed in FHD 1080p, Sony uses an automatic upscaling feature so that it can be enjoyed using the full 4K display. The question then becomes: If most of the content I view will be FHD, what benefit will I see from the 4K display? Well to help answer that question, ePrice decided to test the Xperia Z5 Premium against the Apple iPhone 6s Plus.

They took some lower resolution content and then compared the upscaled output on the 4K display of the Xperia Z5 Premium against the FHD display of the iPhone 6s Plus. We have included some of the comparison below (click the source link for the full suite of images), but we think the results speak for themselves.

The comparisons shown below show a 720p video, News app video and a 2MP photo compared on both devices. A crop is included to the right of each image to give a sense of difference between both devices. Even without clicking on the images below, you should be able to tell the difference quite clearly. Sony appears to do a great job with its upscaling processing to give a more defined picture on the Xperia Z5 Premium. It shows that even with low-resolution standard definition content, the Xperia Z5 Premium should do a sterling job of making it look good.

720p Video: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

[Click to enlarge]

720p Video_i6sPlus

720p Video_XZ5P

News App: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

[Click to enlarge]

News App_i6sPlus

News App_XZ5P

2MP Photo: iPhone 6 Plus (Top) vs. Xperia Z5 Premium (Bottom)

[Click to enlarge]

2MP Photo_i6sPlus

2MP Photo_XZ5P

Via ePrice.

  • Nick .

    fake, fake and fake im no apple fanboy but i know the iphone;s shots are fake and out of focus.

    Really @XperiaBlog????

  • ZXcorr

    Interesting… Can’t wait to see it for myself

  • omar

    What?? It’s screens comparison not cameras

  • Nick .

    sorry you are right i didnt read the whole article :(

  • Still not necessary to have a 4k screen. Btw z5p isn’t first smartphone that have 4k resolution screen.

  • Jesús López Sotelo

    Then which one is it?

  • Chan Kin Cheung

    As with other “first peek of the technology” electronics, I won’t buy them, I would wait for a refined successor that perfected the previous model.

  • Alvin

    Answer jesus Lopez Sotelo’s question before we call you tech blind..

  • Joseph Kevin Yap

    no need for 4k display. X-reality engine tech of sony can do the job of making your photos and video look better.

  • Simon Setyadarma

    What’s this? :|
    So Sony try to sharpening the media that we are watching?

  • Svnjay

    Multiplying the pixels so that you view content in the native 4K. It actually prevents your content from looking blurry.

  • GigaSPX

    It’s why the costs of the Premium comes with a premium price.

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    Such a funny thing to see someone doesn’t understand and doesn’t want the great upscale perform by Z5 premium.

  • nfs2010

    No big deal. Sony’s 4K TVs are kicking ass with their upscaling. I cant decide between those & Sharp TVs :(

  • mixedfish

    But…But….iPhones have retina screens you can’t see beyond ~330ppi.

  • Chan Kin Cheung

    That’s true. From Physics and Optical Animatronics theory, the number of rod cells in your retina doesn’t recognize more than 330ppi. However, human eye (or rather, the human brain, as it controls everything) have the ability to see pixalated images as a whole, unpixalated portrayal of the brain. In this sense, human can more keenly pick up lighting/ shadows/ clarity, etc. That’s why ppi isn’t everything.

  • Chan Kin Cheung

    Premium price is still commercially viable if and only if consumers believe the product behind this pricetag is in the same league. I am talking about having tried it, does future deployment of this technology have any chance of surviving, as consumers will only pay that price if it works cost-effectively. That beings enough “BANG” for that “BUCK”

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  • Gitarooman

    the scaler is amazing, definitely noticeable differences in all shot.

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  • laci_csk

    It’s amazing, I cannot wait to buy a Z5 Premium.

  • Svnjay

    There won’t be a second gen if 1st gen doesn’t sell well.

  • hmmm

    why would you compare xperia z5 premium with such a terrible phone like iphone???iphone is just a mid range phone!only those who have iphone don’t want to admit it!

  • Matt

    Well you end up waiting forever.

    Besides upscale ist a new thing for Sony, that is whay they do a great job with it. Xperia z (the original) upscale content to 1080p(back when it was new). And then Sony has done this on their TV division with bravia for quite some time now.

    Whether there is BANG for buck on a device is depending on your needs. If you see it objectively (more hardware for money) you’ll end up with a Chinese manufacturer.

  • jxPerience

    Salut! i just want to ask if Xperia Z5 Premium will also have the single hand function of C5 Ultra? If it does, could someone post an screenshot of it? TNX

  • joseaugust

    I heard that de xperia z5 family, will now have a new member, but only in Japan. It´s de xperia z5 compact premium. I mean, it´s the best of both world´s, only in Japan. I´m from Portugal, and I would like to have that kind of phone here. Please Sony, send it to Europe.

  • laci_csk

    OK, will send it to Europe, give your address.:)

  • Stephen Raharja

    But Chinese phones only last for one year, they’re fragile as glass. Plus, after about one year you’d get an ‘update’ that slows your phone, forcing you to buy new one.

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    You forgot the troll, Troll never admit it :)

  • mukul verma

    its a fake. there is nothing about z5 compact premium. even xperia blog site had denied about this.

  • Matt

    I thought for a second youre describing a galaxy there. Ahahaha

    But as he said, from hardware standpoint Chinese phone will give you the most value for your money

  • echomrg

    the z5 premium shots look amazing, especially in the thumbnails.
    but, honestly, some of the iphone pictures look like they have motion blur or are at least taken with a different camera.

    look at the news-clip picture’s top right corner: you can see the phone metal chassis and in the iphone picture it looks blurry too while on the Z5 picture it’s much sharper. the same is true for the border between the lcd and the bezel, the border it’s much sharper in the Z5 pictures than in the iphones’.

    the Z5 pictures (which are amazingly good, i’m not dissing on the display) look so much better than the iphone because whoever took the pictures took better pictures of the Z5.

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  • kaostheory

    They really need to put out the equivalent of Sammys Gear, and make the premium work with both Morpheus and Android VR.

  • Christian Kogler

    To be honest, I thought the 4K screen would be totally useless. I stand corrected, it really makes a difference. However, I still prefer battery life over a sharper screen but maybe it won’t be that bad. Placed a pre-order right away.

  • Christian Kogler

    If your porn isn’t sharp enough, Sony will help you out :)

  • Rikimaru Azuma

    The two are excellent, but at my sens Sony bring more features and the biggest eco system. And as you said their upscaling is clearly awesome. And depending the Bravia you want you could also enjoy Hi-res ausio. My choice is made even I love sharp TV. :)
    Bravia is mine ^^ and no regret !

  • nfs2010

    Thanks! I love both Sharp & Sony TVs. I was even checking out Elite Pro (leftover/used). You probably know that thing is a killer. Like you said, Sony offers a better package. I guess I have to go with Bravia.

  • Brad Williams

    Prefer the least colour saturated Z5. Over saturation always looks fake.

  • Geese Howard

    Still contemplating whether to buy the Z5 P or the Z5 itself… screen size is only 0.3 inches apart, but the horse power is so different…

  • So… it also oversharpens the image.

  • logan


  • Christian Kogler

    If you don’t care about the size then I would go for the Z5 Premium because the Z5 has a relatively small battery.

  • Geese Howard

    Right man, forgot about the battery both device uses thanks for the suggestion!

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  • Marinko Agic

    Z5 compact Premium dont exist

  • Marinko Agic

    Xperia Z5 Premium have best camera for sure…

  • SkyMeow

    Received my Z5P gold yesterday. I absolutely love it. 4K resolution in this screen size DOES make difference. More details you can see especially when viewing pictures and video (particularly 4K resolution video) is just spectacular. Once you have this phone and then look at your old phone screen, you will never go back to it.

  • daniel ramirez

    I just got the Xperia Z5 Premium and cannot find any 4k content playable in this device. Is anyone else experiencing this issue? Also, as car as the upscale goes; is this automatic or do I have to mess around with the settings?

  • Alex

    The human eye can discern up to 700 or 800 ppi as recent university studies have confirmed, and can see a clear difference between 300 ppi and 500. So no, its not true, and stop pretending like you know Physics and Optical Animatronics theory because if you did, you’d know it depends on your visual acuity more than anything.

  • Stephen Raharja

    They do, but not from longetivity standpoint.

  • aris melachroinos


  • Eric Lam

    I still think that 4K is actually useless. The fact is Sony produce better screen than Apple. However, the 4K screen is with decent quality and can outperform her competitors. Good work Sony!
    (One new thing to try with is the VR performance should be great with the high PPI. I am looking forward when the Google Cardboard arrive ;)

  • Eric Lam

    It is a mid range phone. But the retina screen is still amazing in color. (At least most designers still prefer retina screen as their workstation)
    I think it is fair comparing the screen part @@ Of coz the result is obvious that Sony is far more advance in this.

  • Ronnie DiMaio

    How is the VR with this phone? I was thinking of trying it.

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