Technology

Sony Xperia 5 II review: The best Sony phone in years

In Could, Sony released the Xperia 1 II (learn as “one mark two”) which it filled with picture and video instruments from its popular Alpha line of full-frame mirrorless cameras. The $1,200 (£1,099) cellphone was after inventive varieties who wished extra inventive management over their images and movies. Now with the Xperia 5 II (learn as “5 mark two”), Sony is actually promoting a extra compact, extra inexpensive model of the Xperia 1 II. However with a excessive refresh-rate show, the power to file 4K movies at 120 frames per second (fps) and an overhauled Recreation Enhancer app, the brand new cellphone is greater than a mini-version of the Xperia 1 II. And better of all at $950, the Xperia 5 II provides these options whereas costing lots of of {dollars} much less.

One factor of word, nonetheless. Whereas the Xperia 5 II’s stable specs and picture and video software program are much like the Xperia 1 II (similar processor, 8GB of RAM, and so forth.), it lacks wi-fi charging, a time of flight sensor and a 4K show. But it surely does retain the great EyeAF (autofocus) characteristic that speedily finds and locks onto the eyes of individuals and pets. 


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Sony Xperia 5 II in-depth review



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On the whole, I really like the Xperia 5 II. It’s the best phone Sony has made in years. It’s an incredible phone for people who enjoy gaming, photography and recording videos. That won’t appeal to everyone, but for people like me who enjoy that kind of thing, the phone is a real treat. But my biggest gripe with the phone is its price. While the Xperia 5 II is cheaper than the Xperia 1 II, it’s also $150 more than last year’s Xperia 5 I. Add the fact that we’re in a pandemic and many people are enduring financial hardship, it’s hard for me to get behind this phone, or any phone really, that costs nearly $1,000. But if you have the money and are into Sony’s mirrorless cameras, then the Xperia 5 II is definitely worth considering.

The Xperia 5 II will be available Dec. 4, and preorders start Sept. 29. (And when you preorder, you can receive a free gaming bundle that includes a HyperX Cloud II gaming headset, a 10,000mAh portable power bank and 21,600 Call of Duty points).

Sony Xperia 5 II

On the left is the $1,200 Sony Xperia 1 II and on the right the $950 Xperia 5 II.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Xperia 5 II design: Great high-refresh rate display, not so great number of buttons

The Xperia 5 II’s display isn’t as sharp as the Xperia 1 II’s, so Sony smartly added a high refresh rate screen to the former. Now you can choose: If you want super-sharp resolution, get the Xperia 1 II and its stunning 6.5-inch 4K display. But if you want a phone with a high-refresh rate, grab an Xperia 5 II with its 6.1-inch 120Hz HD screen.

Both phones have long narrow screens with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is great for watching Netflix since most of its films are shot in widescreen. But the Xperia 5 II’s smaller form-factor really makes the tall, slender design pop. I like how well it fits into my hand.

The phone’s design isn’t perfect though. It’s a bit boring, especially when compared to a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S20. Despite the Xperia’s slender bezels on the side, it has a chunky (by 2020 standards) chin and forehead. I also miss the Xperia 1 II’s squared-off edges, which allowed me to stand up the phone on its side for filming and watching videos.

But my least favorite part of the Xperia 5 II’s design is the Google Assistant button on the side. It lives on the right edge, along with the volume rocker, a combo power button/fingerprint reader and a shutter button for the camera. It’s simply one button too many, and it got in my way a lot.

Sony Xperia 5 II

In the US, the Sony Xperia 5 II comes only in black.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Are people using Google Assistant so much that it needs its own button? Maybe? I don’t know these people. But here’s what gets me: This phone is aimed at photographers, videographers, gamers, journalists and creative types. Nearly everyone of those people are probably going to mount this phone, whether it’s on a PS4 controller for games or on a mini-tripod for shooting photos and videos. That means the fewer buttons on the edge to press (on purpose or by accident), the better.

For example, I have a C-shaped grip that goes around the sides and back of the phone so I can mount it to a tripod. On the Xperia 1 II, there was a small space on the right side between the power button and the camera shutter for the grip to grab onto. On the Xperia 5 II, however, that small space is now occupied by this Assistant button, which leaves me the recessed power button/fingerprint reader as the only place to attach the grip. As a result I lose access to that button, which is far more useful than the Google Assistant button.

Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras in a phone… kind of

The camera feature I was most excited to try out was the new 4K 120fps video capture. This only works in the phone’s Cinema Pro app. Files are saved as 30fps or 24fps, which gives videos a dreamy 4x or 5x slow-motion effect. I shot a bunch of footage using the Xperia 5 II’s Cinema Pro app and this is the best slow motion video on any phone I’ve tested. Check it out below.

Other than missing a time-of-flight sensor, the Xperia 5 II has the identical Xperia 1 II digital camera {hardware} and software program. And in order for you an in-depth have a look at all of it, read my review of the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Xperia 5 II comes with help for RAW picture information, which is tremendous helpful to me since I take pleasure in modifying images later in an app or on my laptop. Additionally, the Picture Professional app’s menus look similar to the brand new ones on the brand new Sony A7SIII digital camera, so props to Sony for a constant design language. Talking of the A7SIII, now you can join a USB-C cable between it and the Xperia 5 II to ship picture and video information to the cellphone for FTP (file switch protocol) transfers.

If there may be one criticism I’ve with the cameras, it is the quantity of leeway there may be for controlling the publicity when utilizing the Cinema Professional app. I want I had extra methods to regulate the publicity except for ISO and shutter angle (consider it like shutter pace for video). I bumped into this with the Xperia 1 II as nicely. When it is too vivid, I can not get the ISO or shutter angle low sufficient in order that my video is not overexposed. One resolution can be to get a impartial density (ND) filter on your cellphone.

However when it was too darkish, I bumped into comparable publicity challenges. The ISO tops out at 800 and since the cameras have a hard and fast aperture, I am left with solely the shutter angle to regulate. And that is not ideally suited as a result of the shutter angle additionally impacts the standard of motion within the body.

Beneath are some images I took with the default digital camera app and Picture Professional app.

Sony Xperia 5 II

This picture was taken with the Picture Professional app and saved as a RAW file. I processed the picture later utilizing Adobe Lightroom.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

You’ll be able to shoot images with shutter speeds as little as 30 seconds. This picture was taken at 1/10 of a second.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

The telephoto lens is a 70-millimeter equal and could be zoomed in to a 200-millimeter equal prefer it was right here.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

The dynamic vary on the digital camera is superb and retains issues trying pure as a substitute of closely processed.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

This picture was taken with the primary digital camera that has a 24-millimeter lens.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

This was taken with the ultrawide-angle digital camera.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

I took this simply earlier than nightfall with the 70-millimeter telephoto digital camera.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Sony Xperia 5 II

This was taken with the 24-millimeter wide-angle digital camera. EyeAF locked in on my eye and nailed the main focus.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

Recreation Enhancer, battery and excessive refresh fee

You’ll be able to set the Xperia 5 II’s refresh fee to 60Hz or 120Hz. There is not an in-between choice or adaptive software program like on the OnePlus 8 Pro. Throughout my time with the cellphone, I left it at 120Hz and did not look again. I observed the advantages of the high-refresh fee most when gaming. A part of that comes from the improved Recreation Enhancer app, which lets me select the refresh fee for video games I play. It makes use of software program to crank that 120Hz show in order that it could possibly seem equal to a 240Hz equal. The impact works nicely sufficient as if somebody added sharpness and distinction to my video games. It was significantly spectacular in a sport like Name of Obligation. Recreation Enhancer has a heads up show as nicely, so you’ll be able to preview the sport at completely different refresh charges between 40fps and 240fps earlier than committing to it.

Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony managed to suit a bigger battery into the Xperia 5 II regardless of the cellphone being the identical measurement as final 12 months’s Xperia 5 I.


Patrick Holland/PJDM

The Xperia 5 II’s battery is bigger than its predecessor, regardless of the telephones being bodily the identical measurement. The 4,00mAh battery is identical measurement because the one discovered within the Sony Xperia 1 II. The cellphone made it via a day (set to 120Hz for the show). However I did discover myself plugging it in to high it off close to the top of the night, often after dinner. We’re at the moment conducting assessments and can replace this evaluation with the total outcomes quickly.

The battery together with Recreation Enhancer, permits for a brand new characteristic known as HS Energy Management. The HS stands for warmth suppression and it basically reroutes energy between charging the battery and instantly powering the cellphone itself. When HS Energy Management is enabled, the cellphone acquired heat whereas gaming, but it surely by no means acquired scorching. It labored nicely sufficient that it would be good to activate HS Energy Management for different makes use of like video seize or picture modifying and never simply gaming. 

Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G

The Xperia 5 II has a Snapdragon processor and helps sub-6 5G connectivity outdoors the US. Sony stated that its upcoming Xperia Pro will seemingly be the primary Sony cellphone to help 5G within the US.

In use the Xperia 5 II was peppy. Even throughout heavy classes of video recording and picture taking, the cellphone by no means lagged or appeared sluggish. In efficiency assessments, the Xperia 5 II unsurprisingly posted an identical outcomes to the Xperia 1 II, but in addition was on par with the OnePlus Eight Professional and Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely, all of which even have a Snapdragon 865 processor.

3DMark Slingshot Limitless

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.Zero single-core

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.Zero multicore

Notice:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Sony Xperia 5 II specs in comparison with Sony Xperia 1 II, Sony Xperia 5 I, OnePlus Eight Professional

Sony Xperia 5 II Sony Xperia 1 II Sony Xperia 5 OnePlus Eight Professional
Show measurement, decision 6.1-inch FHD+ HDR OLED; 2,520 x 1,080 pixels 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED; 3,840 x 1,644 pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 2,520×1,080 pixels 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440×3,168 pixels
Pixel density 449ppi 643ppi 449ppi 513ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.22 x 2.68 x 0.31 in 6.5 × 2.8 × 0.Three in 6.2 x 2.6 x 0.Three in 6.51 x 2.93 x 0.35 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 158 x 68 x Eight mm 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.62 mm 157 x 66 x 7.62 mm 165 x 74.Four x 8.5 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.75 oz; 163g 6.Four oz; 181g 5.Eight oz; 164g 7.02 oz; 199g
Cell software program Android 10 Android 10 Android 9 Pie Android 10
Digital camera 12-megapixel (customary), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (customary), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (customary), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 48-megapixel (customary), 48-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (telephoto), 5-megapixel (‘colour filter’)
Entrance-facing digital camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 16-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Storage 128GB 256GB 128GB 128GB, 256GB
RAM 8GB 8GB 6GB 8GB, 12GB
Expandable storage As much as 1TB As much as 1TB As much as 512GB No
Battery 4,000mAh 4,000mAh 3,140mAh 4,510mAh
Fingerprint sensor Proper aspect Proper aspect Proper aspect In-screen
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Sure Sure No No
Particular options 5G-enabled (not in US), 120Hz refresh fee show, rated IP 65/68, adaptive battery charging and care, Dolby ATMOS, Zeiss lens coatings, time of flight sensor, {hardware} shutter button, {hardware} Google Assistant button 5G-enabled (not in US), wi-fi charging, rated IP 65/68, adaptive battery charging and care, Dolby ATMOS, Zeiss lens coatings, time of flight sensor, {hardware} shutter button IP65/68 water and dirt resistant, 10-bit video, Eye AF, Quick charging 5G enabled; Warp Cost; reverse wi-fi charging; waterproof (IP68); 120Hz refresh fee
Value off-contract (USD) $950 $1,200 $799 $899 (8GB RAM/128GB), $999 (12GB RAM/256GB)
Value (GBP) £799 £1,099 £699 £799 (8GB RAM/128GB), £899 (12GB RAM/256GB)
Value (AUD) Converts to AU$1,350 Converts to AU$1,710 Converts to AU$1,135 UK converts to: AU$1,570 (8GB RAM/128GB), AU$1,770 (12GB RAM/256GB)

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Author

Patrick Holland