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

Like

  • Lower cost
  • Smaller construct
  • EyeAF particularly for pets
  • 4K 120fps gradual movement video
  • Excessive-refresh price show

Do not Like

  • Google Assistant hardware button is pointless
  • Boring design
  • Cinema Professional publicity restricted in brilliant mild
  • Lacks wi-fi charging

In Could, Sony launched the Xperia 1 II (learn as “one mark two”) which it filled with photograph and video instruments from its widespread Alpha line of full-frame mirrorless cameras. The $1,200 (£1,099) cellphone was after inventive varieties who needed extra inventive management over their photographs and movies. Now with the Xperia 5 II (learn as “5 mark two”), Sony is basically promoting a extra compact, extra reasonably priced model of the Xperia 1 II. However with a excessive refresh-rate show, the flexibility to report 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 a whole lot of dollars much less.

One factor of word, nonetheless. Whereas the Xperia 5 II’s stable specs and photograph and video software program are much like the Xperia 1 II (identical 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 fantastic 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 evaluation



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On the entire, I actually just like the Xperia 5 II. It is the perfect cellphone Sony has made in years. It is an unbelievable cellphone for individuals who take pleasure in gaming, images and recording movies. That will not enchantment to everybody, however for individuals like me who take pleasure in that sort of factor, the cellphone is an actual deal with. However my largest gripe with the cellphone is its value. Whereas the Xperia 5 II is cheaper than the Xperia 1 II, it is also $150 greater than final 12 months’s Xperia 5 I. Add the truth that we’re in a pandemic and many individuals are enduring monetary hardship, it is laborious for me to get behind this cellphone, or any cellphone actually, that prices practically $1,000. However you probably have the cash and are into Sony’s mirrorless cameras, then the Xperia 5 II is unquestionably price contemplating.

The Xperia 5 II will likely be accessible Dec. four, and preorders begin Sept. 29. (And whenever you preorder, you may obtain a free gaming bundle that features a HyperX Cloud II gaming headset, a 10,000mAh transportable energy financial institution and 21,600 Name of Responsibility factors).

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

Xperia 5 II design: Nice high-refresh price show, not so nice variety of buttons

The Xperia 5 II’s show is not as sharp because the Xperia 1 II’s, so Sony neatly added a excessive refresh price display screen to the previous. Now you may select: If you would like super-sharp decision, get the Xperia 1 II and its beautiful 6.5-inch 4K show. However in order for you a cellphone with a high-refresh price, seize an Xperia 5 II with its 6.1-inch 120Hz HD display screen.

Each telephones have lengthy slender screens with a 21:9 side ratio, which is nice for watching Netflix since most of its movies are shot in widescreen. However the Xperia 5 II’s smaller form-factor actually makes the tall, slender design pop. I like how effectively it suits into my hand.

The cellphone’s design is not good although. It is a bit boring, particularly when in comparison with a cellphone just like the Samsung Galaxy S20. Regardless of the Xperia’s slender bezels on the aspect, it has a chunky (by 2020 requirements) chin and brow. I additionally miss the Xperia 1 II’s squared-off edges, which allowed me to face up the cellphone on its aspect for filming and watching movies.

However my least favourite a part of the Xperia 5 II’s design is the Google Assistant button on the aspect. It lives on the suitable edge, together with the amount rocker, a combo energy button/fingerprint reader and a shutter button for the digital camera. It is merely one button too many, and it received in my approach quite a bit.

Sony Xperia 5 II

Within the US, the Sony Xperia 5 II comes solely in black.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Are individuals utilizing Google Assistant a lot that it wants its personal button? Possibly? I do not know these individuals. However here is what will get me: This cellphone is aimed toward photographers, videographers, avid gamers, journalists and inventive varieties. Almost everybody of these persons are most likely going to mount this cellphone, whether or not it is on a PS4 controller for video games or on a mini-tripod for taking pictures photographs and movies. Which means the less buttons on the sting to press (on objective or accidentally), the higher.

For instance, I’ve a C-shaped grip that goes across the sides and again of the cellphone so I can mount it to a tripod. On the Xperia 1 II, there was a small area on the suitable aspect between the ability button and the digital camera shutter for the grip to seize onto. On the Xperia 5 II, nonetheless, that small area is now occupied by this Assistant button, which leaves me the recessed energy button/fingerprint reader as the one place to connect the grip. Consequently I lose entry to that button, which is much extra helpful than the Google Assistant button.

Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras in a cellphone… sort of

The digital camera characteristic I used to be most excited to check out was the brand new 4K 120fps video seize. This solely works within the cellphone’s Cinema Professional app. Recordsdata are saved as 30fps or 24fps, which supplies movies a dreamy 4x or 5x slow-motion impact. I shot a bunch of footage utilizing the Xperia 5 II’s Cinema Professional app and that is the perfect gradual movement video on any cellphone I’ve examined. Test it out beneath.

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 take a look at all of it, learn my evaluation of the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Xperia 5 II comes with help for RAW photograph information, which is tremendous helpful to me since I take pleasure in enhancing photographs later in an app or on my laptop. Additionally, the Photograph 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 photograph 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 manage 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 effectively. When it is too brilliant, I am unable to get the ISO or shutter angle low sufficient in order that my video is not overexposed. One answer could be to get a impartial density (ND) filter on your cellphone.

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

Beneath are some photographs I took with the default digital camera app and Photograph Professional app.

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

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/CNET

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

Sony Xperia 5 II

This was taken with the ultrawide-angle digital camera.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Sony Xperia 5 II

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


Patrick Holland/CNET

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 target.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Recreation Enhancer, battery and excessive refresh price

You’ll be able to set the Xperia 5 II’s refresh price to 60Hz or 120Hz. There is not an in-between choice or adaptive software program like on the OnePlus Eight Professional. Throughout my time with the cellphone, I left it at 120Hz and did not look again. I seen the advantages of the high-refresh price most when gaming. A part of that comes from the improved Recreation Enhancer app, which lets me select the refresh price 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 effectively sufficient as if somebody added sharpness and distinction to my video games. It was notably spectacular in a sport like Name of Responsibility. Recreation Enhancer has a heads up show as effectively, so you may 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 dimension as final 12 months’s Xperia 5 I.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The Xperia 5 II’s battery is bigger than its predecessor, regardless of the telephones being bodily the identical dimension. The four,00mAh battery is similar dimension 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 tip of the night, often after dinner. We’re at the moment conducting exams 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 primarily reroutes energy between charging the battery and immediately powering the cellphone itself. When HS Energy Management is enabled, the cellphone received heat whereas gaming, however it by no means received sizzling. It labored effectively sufficient that it would be good to activate HS Energy Management for different makes use of like video seize or photograph enhancing and never simply gaming. 

Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G

The Xperia 5 II has a Snapdragon processor and helps sub-6 5G connectivity exterior the US. Sony mentioned that its upcoming Xperia Professional will doubtless 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 photograph taking, the cellphone by no means lagged or appeared sluggish. In efficiency exams, the Xperia 5 II unsurprisingly posted equivalent outcomes to the Xperia 1 II, but additionally 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

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Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench v.5.zero single-core

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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 dimension, decision 6.1-inch FHD+ HDR OLED; 2,520 x 1,080 pixels 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED; three,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 zero.31 in 6.5 × 2.Eight × zero.three in 6.2 x 2.6 x zero.three in 6.51 x 2.93 x zero.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 Eight.5 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.75 oz; 163g 6.four oz; 181g 5.Eight oz; 164g 7.02 oz; 199g
Cellular software program Android 10 Android 10 Android 9 Pie Android 10
Digital camera 12-megapixel (commonplace), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (commonplace), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 12-megapixel (commonplace), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (3x telephoto) 48-megapixel (commonplace), 48-megapixel (ultra-wide), Eight-megapixel (telephoto), 5-megapixel (‘shade filter’)
Entrance-facing digital camera Eight-megapixel Eight-megapixel Eight-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 four,000mAh four,000mAh three,140mAh four,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 price 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; water-proof (IP68); 120Hz refresh price
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)