Hands-on: Sony's flagship Xperia Z5 lineup

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The new Xperia Z5 is available in three different flavors(Credit: Chris Wood/Gizmag)

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Sony has taken the wraps off its latest Xperia flagship smartphones at a press event at IFA in Berlin. The new handset comes in three sizes (known as the Z5, Z5 Compact and Z5 Premium), which offer high-end, if not leading build quality.

Starting with the standard Xperia Z5, the build consists of a frosted glass back and metal sides, which on paper sounds great. Things aren't quite as great in person, with the device falling short of that premium flagship feel you'll get from similarly-built smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+.

The device also feels a smidge chunkier than much of the competition (it's a hair thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus and S6 edge+), and isn't helped by the square-shoulders design.

There's a fingerprint sensor on the Z5, but it's placed on the side of the device rather than up front. That might sound a little unnatural at first, but your finger sits over the button during use anyway, making it feel pretty natural holding a digit over the button after unlocking the display.

The 5.2-inch screen on the Z5 offers a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It's far from the sharpest panel on the market, but it still looks great to our eyes. The device is powered by a top shelf Snapdragon 810 processor, and runs on Android Lollipop. During testing the interface was ultra responsive, and we didn't find a single performance hitch.

While we'd need more time to make a judgement on the Z5's optics, we did try out both the front and rear shooters, and they produced good results. Sony's packed a brand new Exmor RS sensor into the Z5, and the color and detail from the 23 MP rear camera looked great. Photos were also snapped lightning fast, with little lag after hitting the button (there's a physical key on the side of the device, as well as a standard software button).

The Xperia Z5 Compact is similar to its big brother, with the same build, processor and cameras. The big difference is its 4.6-inch 720p display, which looked solid enough during testing, but clearly not the highest-end panel around. There's also 2 GB RAM in the Compact, as opposed to 3 GB memory in the standard Z5.

According to Sony, both the Z5 and Z5 Compact will run for up to two full days on a single charge, which could be a good selling point if it holds true during testing. There's also quick charging tech included, letting you add a claimed 5.5 hours of charge in just 10 minutes.

Sony announced one other flagship smartphone at IFA, known as the Z5 Premium. The Premium features the first ever 4K UHD smartphone display. The panel stretches over 5.5 inches, and users will be able to output video to 4K TVs using an MHL connection.

The Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact are set to launch in October, while the Z5 Premium will land in November.

Product page: Sony

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