Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Random rants about the current smartphone I use.
It is running Android 7.0, it is pretty much a mainstream-device, not hacked (no intention of doing so as long as the warranty lasts and/or Sony provides decent software updates) so there will be no hard-to-find secrets on this page.
- 1 Things I like
- 2 Things I don't like
- 3 Things which might have prevented me from buying the phone had I known them before
- 4 Useful apps
- 5 Verdict
Things I like
- Battery lasts comparably long (2 days or so)
- Good software updates support (so far, Sony apparently takes care of its phones -however, no indication, that there will be an update to Android O).
Things I don't like
- Bloatware can't be fully deinstalled (I knew that)
- 2 GB RAM (I don't see why there would be an issues to put in 3 GB like in the non-compact Z5). However, this is no real issue so far for me.
- Button layout (camera and sound are in the wrong place). Same for the power button sort of (if you want to use the phone with a standard car or bike clamp-holder). Not too anoying, but...
- The standard keyboard is sometimes hard to use (due to the "small" screen). Kind of anyoing, but as I dislike touchscreens anyways and there is no decent phone with a hardware keyboard out there...
- Android (and Android apps in general) feel like an excuse to spam people with advertisements and nag-screens. WTF? Even paid apps sometimes still show adverts or start being anoying by asking for Play-store ratings etc.
- Many apps (also well-known and high-rated ones) are not exactly stable
- The onboard video app crashes reproducibly when filming for more than ~ 1:30 while storing the video on the SD-card. As this is the default Sony app, and Sony is quite proud of their video and photo capabilities, this is a shame
- The phone died recently for no good reason and is away for repair now. We will see, if things improve (i.e. if it was just a faulty device and not a problem with Sony-style Android phones in general). After being
repairedreplaced, it is much more stable. The video-app-crashing still occurs though.
- Apparently, there are no updates any more as of the end of 2017. Even not security updates to fix things like WiFi issues related to KRACK. Thank you Sony.
Things which might have prevented me from buying the phone had I known them before
Yes, I could have send it back after finding out, but I was too lazy, and overall it is a decent phone -as advertised.
- SD-Card support: No Adoptable storage mode available. So -no app storage on the card. Also, some apps seem to have issues using the card for data storage. The reader is also quite slow apparently. Crap. The phone has 32 GB internal storage, so no too big deal, but still...
- adb and local access is not very well supported -apparently, Sony took great pains to actually prevent people from doing local backups. Would have been a showstopper had I known that before. Helium backup does not work reliably, I have not tested other tools (most require root).
- Camera is good -for a smartphone-camera (emphasis on "smartphone) -in other words, it is quite crappy. No big deal, I use a DSLR if I need decent quality. The phone camera might be good enough for the occasional snapshot under good light conditions.
- There are issues with voice calls on that line of phones (also seems to affect other Sony Z5 series): See https://talk.sonymobile.com/t5/Xperia-Z5-Z5-Compact-Z5-Premium/People-can-t-hear-me-well-during-calls/td-p/1066660/page/1. Basically, the other party during a voice call can't hear me any more all of a sudden (for around 5-10 seconds). This is extremely annoying and there appears to be no fix for this so far.
- Video recording issues.
Beware, I support most of what Tristan Harris has to say about Smartphones -in short, I think most apps are shit and a means to occupy your attention. On top of that, Android (and iOS) are some sort of scam to make you give away your private data. Find the more elaborate and more differentiated arguments on his website: http://timewellspent.io/
- First thing: Install some self hosted calendaring and cloud software (I use Zimbra, as I don't have much need for file storage). Otherwise ownCloud or Nextcloud may be your thing.
- Second: Encrypt your device and it's SD-Card
- Follow one of the various How Tos for securing your device and disabling/uninstalling unwanted apps.
- Pay for the non-advertisement version of the apps you like (none of them cost serious money). Also -or especially- the Open Source ones. Even if they are only donationware.
|Replace the Google (or Sony) calendar spyware.|
|Link aCalendar with a CalDAV/CardDav source, (e.g. Zimbra).|
|Allows you to easily import self signed certificates (in case you happen to have one for your home server in the basement).|
|Replace the Google (or Sony) mail spyware. This will also sync your GMail account and provides GPG support|
|The GPG extension for K9-Mail.|
|Replace the Google Chrome browser which always wants to phone home|
|Search the web without being searched.|
|To store your secret passwords and other stuff, even works without cloud sync.|
|Very usefull public transport schedule viewer.|
|One of the leading podcasting apps.|
|An alternate app launcher, which is more flexible than the default one provided by Sony.|
|Automate everything. Even without using a cloud-based service (like IFTTT)|
|A usefull advertisement-free weather forecast app (for Germany, directly from the DWD). Since they lost a lawsuit, you have to cough up a few bucks for it.|
|A free file browser.|
|Android hardware and software information.|
|A simple gallery application. Open Source, no advertisements. In case you hate the constantly-phone-home-bloatware provided by the phone company.|
DO NOT BUY (it is not on sale anymore anyways).