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Sony's Xperia Z5 has a frosted glass back, and I've already broken it

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Sony has been having such a torrid time with its smartphones lately that you might say it can't catch a break — only in this case, that's exactly what it did. I have had the company's new flagship handset, the Xperia Z5, in for review since the beginning of this week, but I've already managed to create an expansive, arcing crack in the rear of its case. Like previous Xperia Zs, this latest model has glass on both the front and the back, though the rear portion is now frosted glass, which appears to be more fragile and susceptible to cracks than the stuff used previously. Either that or I've been incredibly unlucky.

Read next: The Sony Xperia Z5 review.

The problem is that I didn't have to drop the Z5 from a great height to cause it such harm. I'm not even sure how the crack happened, but I suspect it was caused by an incautious plopping of the phone on my bedside table — which is also populated by an aluminium iPhone Lightning dock. Sharp metal edges and glass have never been the best of friends.

Sony's been using glass backs for years, but this year's model is a little different

On reflection, I could perhaps have been more careful in my handling of the phone, though I don't believe I've treated it any more harshly than any other handset. The Moto X Play that I recently reviewed, for example, has been through much worse. Having also reviewed every Sony flagship phone since the time they were still sold under the Sony Ericsson brand, I can say with confidence that the older glass backs were reliably durable and impervious to such damage. I've scratched them, sure, but never broken or cracked them.

It's possible that I've just had a hugely unfortunate, isolated incident here. But I felt it my duty to flag up a potential vulnerability in what is an otherwise very attractive smartphone. There's no denying that the frosted glass looks good — and the dark green color is essentially a matte version of Samsung's green Galaxy S6 — but that might be coming at the cost of long-term durability. Or in my case, short-term durability.


Verge Video: Sony Xperia Z5 hands-on