Sony Xperia Z5

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Random rants about the current smartphone I use.

It is running Android 6.0.1, 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.

Things I like

  • Small
  • Fast
  • Battery lasts comparably long (2 days or so)
  • Good software updates support (so far, Sony apparently takes care of its phones -let's hope it stays that way).

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).
  • 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

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.

Useful apps

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.

aCalendar

ACalendar.png
Replace the Google (or Sony) calendar spyware.

DAVDroid

DAVDroid.png
Link aCalendar with a CalDAV/CardDav source, (e.g. Zimbra).

CADroid

CADroid.png
Allows you to easily import self signed certificates (in case you happen to have one for your home server in the basement).

K9 Mail

K9Mail.png
Replace the Google (or Sony) mail spyware. This will also sync your GMail account and provides GPG support

OpenKeyChain

OpenKeyChain.png
The GPG extension for K9-Mail.

Firefox

Firefox.png
Replace the Google Chrome browser which always wants to phone home

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo.png
Search the web without being searched.

Keepass2Android Offline

Keepass2Android.jpg
To store your secret passwords and other stuff, even works without cloud sync.

Öffi

Öffi.png
Very usefull public transport schedule viewer.

Podcast Addict

Podcast Addict.png
One of the leading podcasting apps.

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher.png
An alternate app launcher, which is more flexible than the default one provided by Sony.

Tasker

Tasker.png
Automate everything. Even without using a cloud-based service (like IFTTT)

WarnWetter

WarnWetter.png
A usefull (and free as in beer) weather forecast app (for Germany, directly from the DWD).

TotalCommander

TotalCommander.png
A free file browser.

Aida64

Aida64.png
Android hardware and software information.