Accessibility in Sony Xperia Z5

Friday, 29 April, 2016

By Amóvil

Sony Xperia Z5 in green

The Sony Xperia Z5 is an elegant, powerful and fast smartphone that includes several state-of-the-arts features that makes it intuitive and easy to use. It also suitable to people with low vision, hearing disability, limited manual dexterity and poor comprehension skills. Amóvil was able to review this device thanks to a loan by Orange.

Features and specifications

The Z5 is powered by Android 5.5.1 Lollipop and can be upgraded to version 6 Marshmallows. It also runs on an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor at 1.5+2 GHz.

Featuring an elegant design with rounded corners, it measures 146x72x7.3 mm and weighs 154 grams. Like other Sony Xperia Z models, this device IP68 certified for dust and water resistance for up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.

The handset comes with a backside with 23 megapixels that includes autofocus and LED flash, and a front-side camera with 5.1 megapixels for videocalls and selfies. It also has an internal memory of 32 GB expandable up to 200 GB with microSD card and 3 GB of RAM.

The smartphone includes with NFC for mobile pay, Bluetooth, GPS, Android Beam and wifi support.

Accessibility Review

Unlike other smartphones powered by Android, the Xperia Z5 does not include an accessibility shortcut available immediately after turning it on the first time. To set the device to their needs, users with disabilities must launch the Settings icon and then tap on Accessibility.

The structure of the Z5’s accessibility menu is not very intuitive. The options available are not ordered by type of disabilities nor offer a brief explanation of their functions that would allow users to readily know which one fits their needs.

In addition, inserting the SIM card can be problematic, particularly for users with visual, dexterity and cognitive disabilities. Both the SIM and the SD cards must be placed in a holder that comes inside a slot. Pulling the holder out from the slot can be a nearly impossible task for some.


Although the Xperia Z5 comes out of the box with TalkBack preinstalled we cannot recommend it to blind users. The reader reads out loud the entire available visual content, but does not recognize the left/right flick gesture in the applications page. This gesture only works in the Settings menu. In order to access and interact with said content in the applications page users must use the exploration gesture (dragging one finger throughout the touchscreen).

TalkBack is also not entirely compatible with the Messaging app. While it recognizes all actionable elements available, including the keys on the virtual keyboard and the predictive text feature, typed messages won’t appear on the dialog box. Another barrier observed that hinders access to blind people is that the power button and the SIM card slot are not tactilely discernible.

Conversely, this device is suitable for people with low vision. It allows increasing the size of fonts, and the maximum size available complies with accessibility standards. A color inversion feature is also available for users with color blindness and they will be able to adjust the white balance on the display (available in the Display menu).

In addition, users with low vision can activate the Adaptive Brightness feature to adjust the screen’s the brightness level to ambient light.


The Z5 is accessible to people with hearing disabilities. It has a HAC rating of M4/T4. When making phone calls, users must first activate the hearing aid compatibility feature on Call Settings. The smartphone also supports videocalls and instant messaging.


The Xperia Z5 complies with basic accessibility requirements for people with poor manual dexterity skills. The size of the icons allows a precise touch, and users do not need to exert much force to press the physical keys.

The device’s dimensions and weight make it easy to hold and carry it. Nevertheless, we recommend users to get a cover, preferably made of rubber, to improve gripping because the glass-backed casing can be a bit slippery.

However, we cannot recommend the Z5 for people with very little or lacking dexterity skills. The voice recognition software that comes preinstalled does not recognize voice commands to make phone calls or send messages. Another barrier hindering access to these users is that the phone lacks a software that would allow them to control it using writing sticks or simple gestures.


The Xperia Z5 is accessible to people with limited comprehension skills. Icons are easy to recognize. It is also rather easy to use. However, these users may have a better experience if the device would enable them to set an EasyHome mode.

For more information about the accessibility features on this device, please consult the accessibility full report available in Amóvil.

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