Sony Xperia 1 II Smartphone Review: Sample Photos & Video

We've got the Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone in for review which has separate Pro camera and video modes as well as a big display and promising photo quality.


|  Sony Xperia 1 II in Camera Phones
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Sony Xperia 1 II
 

Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone is full of features but its unusual size/dimensions, price and fiddly Pro camera mode will mean it's not everyone's ideal smartphone. However, those who enjoy watching films/tv shows on their smartphones will appreciate the longer/taller screen, improved battery life and overall display quality. If you have the patience to learn how a Pro app works, too, you'll be rewarded with great looking photos. This doesn't mean the auto modes don't perform well, they do, but no better than some other flagships available for around the same (or less) price. Sony fans will enjoy the Sony technology built-in, though. 

+ Pros

  • Good screen 
  • Good image quality 
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Good battery life

- Cons

  • Price
  • Tricky to hold
  • Complicated Pro modes 
 

 

The Sony Xperia 1 II is the latest flagship smartphone to join the Sony line-up and on paper, it suggests it should be an excellent camera phone as it harnesses technology developed for the Sony Alpha interchangeable lens camera line up but will the high price and unusual design distract some from its potential? Does it also offer enough to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung, as well as the growing less expensive Android market that's giving the big guns a fight? 

 

Sony Xperia 1 II Features

1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone has a quad-camera set-up on the rear with 16mm, 24mm and 70mm equivalent lenses that feature ZEISS optics with T* (T-Star) anti-reflective coating and real-time 20fps autofocus (AF) tracking. The Sony Xperia 1 II is also 1.5x more sensitive to light than the Xperia 10 which means AF is faster and more accurate when light levels drop. 

As well as a quad-rear camera you get an 8MP f/2.0 24mm selfie camera and there are two separate Pro modes for video and stills so you can really take control of our your finished images/videos will look. 

What is obvious is the smartphone's size which it inherits from previous Sony Xperia smartphones as it's long and tall measuring 165.1x71.1x7.6mm, but it's a great quality 6.5" 4K HDR OLED display and the design is a USP of Sony Xperia smartphones that some will be attracted to. 

Other features include 2K, 120fps video, a Cinematography Pro mode that's separate to the Pro camera mode, 5G connectivity, water/dust resistance and a 4,000mAh battery. 

The Sony Xperia 1 II is available now in black (on test) or purple with a one-off price of around £1090 from Amazon

 

Sony Xperia 1 II Key Features

  • Quad Rear Camera: 12MP Wide f/1.7, 12MP f/1.4 Telephoto, 12mm f/2.2 Ultrawide & 0.3MP TOF Depth Sensor
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Display: 6.5" 4K HDR OLED display
  • Zoom: 3X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • ZEISS Optics
  • Pro video and camera modes 
  • Video: 4K - 24, 25, 30, 60fps, 1080p - 30, 60, 120fps (5-axis gyro EIS, OIS)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Type-C USB
  • 4000mAh battery with fast charging 
  • 256GB/8GB RAM + MicroSDXC slot 
  • Dimensions: 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6mm
  • Weight: 181.4g

 

Sony Xperia 1 II Handling

Sony Xperia 1 II

 

The Sony Xperia 1 II's overall shape and design hasn't changed that much when compared with other Xperia flagship smartphones but it does look rather different when sat alongside devices from Huawei, Samsung and Apple. This doesn't mean it can't compete in terms of looks, as it certainly has a premium feel, it's just very different. Instead of rounded edges and corners, it's much more square which is a signature look for Xperia phones and it's also much longer with a 21:9 ratio display which makes it harder to hold one-handed (although it fits the palm well). You do get used to it and it's also safer to use a smartphone with both hands but those who are firm fans of small dimensions probably won't be the Sony Xperia 1 II's biggest fan. 

The overall body-size measures 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6mm and it weighs 181.4g which is quite light in comparison to other flagships and it shares a similar 6.5-inch display when measured corner to corner diagonally but obviously, it's much longer than this thanks to the aspect ratio. The display fills almost all of the front of the smartphone with just a tiny frame encasing the screen and a small top bezel housing the selfie camera and speakers. 

Quality-wise, there's nothing to complain about as screen colours are accurate and brightness levels are good. 

Gorilla Glass 6 can be found front and back so it has a premium feel but do be careful where you place the Xperia 1 II down as it has a tendency to slide.    

 

Sony Xperia 1 II
 

Also on the back is the quad-camera unit which is situated top left in a column that looks neat but it does protrude slightly. On the right side, you find the volume controls, power button and a camera button - something that's a feature of Sony smartphones. The power button also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor which is in a useful place but Sony seems to be missing a trick not having an in-screen fingerprint scanner as other flagships now feature as they're pretty cool. 

On the bottom is a USB Type-C port and on the top is a headphone jack port which some will be very pleased to see. 

The Xperia 1 II also has an IP65 / IP 68 dust and water resistance rating, a 4,000mAh battery and it's also 5G-ready. 

 

Sony Xperia 1 II
 

When it comes to the camera, Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone has a quad-camera set-up on the rear with 16mm, 24mm and 70mm lenses that feature ZEISS optics with T* (T-Star) anti-reflective coating and real-time 20fps autofocus (AF) tracking. The Sony Xperia 1 II is also 1.5x more sensitive to light than the Xperia 10 which means AF is faster and more accurate when light levels drop. 

As well as a quad-rear camera you get an 8MP f/2.0 24mm selfie camera, and there are two separate Pro modes for video and stills so you can really take control of our your finished images/videos will look. 

The rear quad-camera has the following set-up:

  • 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide), Dual Pixel PDAF
  • 0.3 MP, Depth Sensor, TOF

Video is can be captured in 4K at various frame rates and there's also a 1080p mode available.  Both are supported by 5-axis gyro-EIS and OIS to keep footage steady. The selfie camera captures video at 1080p, 30fps. 

The camera app is very similar to other camera apps you'll have used with basic modes such as panorama, selfie assistance and creative filters built-in. There are also round buttons to switch to the different lenses, modes found across the top of the screen and a big shutter button. You can click the screen to focus and adjust the exposure of an image, too. You'll occasionally see a symbol pop up which is the AI looking at the scene in front and ensuring the optimal settings are selected to capture the best photo. A message will appear when your finger is over the lens as well.

 

Sony Xperia 1 II

 

As mentioned, there's a Pro video and Pro camera mode (two separate apps) which some will be impressed with and use all of the time but for most, the normal auto mode will be their go-to choice as it's simpler to use and produces great results without too much effort. If you do take the time to learn how the functions available in the Pro modes work, you will be rewarded with top images but it will take a lot of patience to get to grips with the app. You can't 'snap and go' with it either so won't be a tool that's suited to everyone. 

For those of you who like stats, the benchmarking stats for Geekbench is 3294.

Battery life - The 4000mAh battery is really great and you'll easily get a full day's use out of the smartphone. 


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