Sony Confirms Why the Z5 Only Renders in 4K When Necessary

Sony Confirms Why the Z5 Only Renders in 4K When Necessary

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium is the company’s latest flagship and the first smartphone with a 4K display. We previously covered that the Z5 Premium does not run at 4K natively all the time, which actually makes sense.

Sony has now confirmed this to Phone Arena, explaining content is usually upscaled from 1080p or lower to optimize performance and battery usage. Only content that needs 4K is rendered at that resolution:

Xperia Z5 Premium features a 4K display with a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels based on SID Standard and enables all video and image content to be enjoyed in 4K resolution. All other content is displayed at 1080P or lower resolution in order to optimise the performance and battery stamina for this device, ensuring you can enjoy the 4K resolution when you need it most.

This isn’t entirely surprising since we’ve known this is the intended design in Android M ever since June, when it was mentioned in the Android M Preview API Overview. It’s worth noting that having an official API in Android for this is great, as it avoids having each OEM create their own implementations, and lets developers use a single API to have their apps work correctly on all supported devices. At least in theory, if we ignore bugs introduced by certain OEMs.

Is 4K even worth it on phones — even 5.5″ phones? Not for most users. Anything over 1440p seems to be pointless for typical real-world usage, and even that doesn’t bring a huge difference to the table: it’s not as noticeable as the switch from 720p to 1080p phones, for example. We argued before it would make sense for virtual reality, which is still a niche market at the moment but is likely to gain a wider audience. Early support would be a smart move in that case, and we even thought Samsung would make a move soon for that reason. Even then, it’s important to note resolution isn’t everything for VR: you also need to make sure the device can sustain an acceptable and stable number of frames per second to avoid sickness, something smartphones are unlikely to be capable of for more demanding applications.

Check Out XDA’s Z5 Premium Forum >>

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GermainZ
GermainZ

Currently studying for a Master's degree in Computer Science at EPFL, Germain Z. is interested in all things related to technology, mobiles and programming. Previously, he was also a Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer on the XDA forums.