No Fingerprint Reader for the Sony Xperia Z5 in the USA
Back in August of 2015, when the first details about Sony’s Xperia Z5 line came out, I had a wrote a blog post called, “The Sony Xperia Z5: The End of a Once Great Line“. You can read the story, but the main point that I was making is that a great line of products–the Sony Xperia line–was coming to an end because they were adding in fingerprint readers across the board. Biometrics in any way shape or form are provable failures, and fingerprint readers as late have been proven to be a security flop (to say nothing of the 5th Amendment rights they relinquish in the US).
Previously, Sony was making great waterproof devices that were–as Sony called them themselves–“open devices“. “Open devices” meant that all of the underlying source code for Xperia devices is available to download, allowing you to easily create custom ROM installations for Xperia devices (like CyanogenMod), or to even run AOSP. All of this made for a Dark Android Project approved series of products, from tablets to smartphones (as much as you can trust smartphones). But with fingerprint readers being added, even with all the previous things that Sony was doing right and could continue to do right from a security and privacy standpoint…I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending Xperia devices any more from the Z5 line onwards.
But there seems to be some light at the end of the “no security for you” tunnel. It has just been announced that at least the standard Xperia Z5 will NOT include a fingerprint reader, though only with US models. It appears that the Xperia Z5 Compact will still have the fingerprint reader, however. So I spoke to soon. The Xperia Z5 will not be the end of a great line. Particularly since–as far as I know–it also does not have the voice co-processor that has invaded Android phones recently (to empower Google Now…supposedly). But if you’re interested, here are the rest of the specs for the Xperia Z5:
Not the best specifications (but don’t forget that it’s waterproof), but the Xperia Z5 will be selling for $599 in February 2016 on Amazon (you can buy it with Bitcoin!) and other online stores. Granted it’s not coming with the latest version of Android, but considering how open Sony is with its Xperia software, that’s not really a problem, and Sony will likely upgrade the Z5 to Marshmallow officially in short order, anyway. Xperia devices have always been solid, and you don’t realize how much fun it is to have a waterproof phone until you own one…and for it to be a flagship Sony phone with a beautiful Sony-designed camera…I would recommend the fingerprint reader-less Xperia Z5, if it’s in your price range.