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Sony Xperia 5 II Smartphone Review

The Sony Xperia 5 II offers similar technology that's found in the premium Sony Xperia 1 II but in a smaller and less expensive package so we're putting it to the test to see if you can save some cash but still capture great photos.


|  Sony Xperia 5 II in Camera Phones
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PA070025 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 13.0 mm | ISO 200
 

 

Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 5 II smartphone takes what we liked about the Sony Xperia 1 II but puts it into a smartphone that's smaller, easier to hold and has a slightly better price tag. We say 'slightly' as it's still expensive but if you want a smartphone with premium tech that's not priced at over £1000, the Xperia 5 II could be for you. 

+ Pros

  • Good screen 
  • Good image quality 
  • Size-friendly design
  • 4K 120fps video

- Cons

  • Still quite expensive
  • Google Assistant Button gets in the way
 

 

The Sony Xperia 5 II is designed to offer features found on high-end premium smartphones at a price more of us can afford, taking some of the technology found in the uber-expensive Sony Xperia 1 II and popping it into an upgrade of the Xperia 5 smartphone. It's priced at around £799 which is still quite expensive so we're going to find out if the investment equates to good value for money by putting the triple camera set-up, and other features, to the test. 

 

Sony Xperia 1 II Features

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The Sony Xperia 5 II inherits impressive features from previous Xperia smartphones but Sony's presenting them in a smaller, easier to hold device that has a focus on photography. On the rear is a triple camera setup, with 16mm, 24mm, and 70mm equivalent focal lengths (all 12MP) and 4K HDR video is available at 120fps for high-quality slow-motion footage. There's a 6.1-inch, tall and long 21:9 ratio screen (a USP of Sony smartphones), a 3.5mm stereo jack makes a return and the 4000mAh battery is pretty decent, too. You also get a separate Pro Camera app which offers you more control over the settings used to capture your photos. 

Those of you who have used Sony Alpha cameras will notice that some of the technology built into these products are featured on the Xperia series such as Real-Time Eye AF and up to 20fps burst shooting with continuous Auto Focus.

Other features include an 8MP f/2.0 24mm selfie camera, a Cinematography Pro mode that's separate to the Pro camera mode, 5G connectivity, water/dust resistance and Type-C USB. 

 

Sony Xperia 5 II Key Features

  • Triple Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Display: 6.1" OLED display
  • Zoom: 3X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Pro video and camera modes 
  • Video: 4K at 24/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Type-C USB
  • 4000mAh battery with fast charging but no wireless charging
  • 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)
  • Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8mm
  • Weight: 163g

 

Sony Xperia 5 II Handling

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The Sony Xperia 5 II is a smaller version of the Xperia 1 II which makes it better to hold but as it's less expensive it does mean some features are missing such as a 4K display. However, we quite like the fact that it fits in the hand easier so the 4-inch difference in screen size (6.1-inch vs 6.5-inch on the Xperia 1 II) is something we can live with. You do get the Sony USP of a 21:9 aspect ratio display which means you get a narrow smartphone with a big screen but the 158 x 68 x 8mm dimensions won't be for everyone. It does fit well in the hand, though, and you can easily control the smartphone one-handed. 

The corners and edges are now rounded, too, which makes it easier to hold when you compare it with the older Xperia 5 with its square edges which almost look sharp when compared with the newer Xperia 5 II. There's still a chin and the selfie camera sits in a slightly wide bezel at the top but along the sides, it's pretty thin. 

On the right side of the smartphone, there are volume controls, a Google Assistant button and a shutter button for when you're taking photos in a landscape orientation - nice touch. There's also a fingerprint sensor sandwiched in between these buttons as there's not one built into the screen which we found ourselves accidentally catching sometimes along with the Google Assistant button which got a bit annoying when taking photos. Perhaps it's just the way we held the phone that meant this happened but still, we thought we'd mention it. 

Turn your attention to the bottom of the Xperia 5 II and you find a USB-C port and on top is a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can charge your smartphone and use your headphones at the same time. 

On the back sits the triple camera housing which sits pretty flush to surfaces but as the back is made from glass it will slide off anything and everything so be careful if you don't have a case on it. 

As for the display, it's bright, colours are good and it has a 120Hz refresh rate which will improve your viewing experience. 

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

 

PA070015 | 1/80 sec | f/3.2 | 13.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The camera set-up is similar to that on the Xperia 1 II with just a few aperture differences and the selfie camera is also the same. You get some nice features such as Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), ZEISS optics and eye-tracking. 

Here's how the cameras line-up:

  • 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Zoom: 3X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Pro video and camera modes 

Video is captured in 4K at 24/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p with 5-axis gyro-EIS and OIS to keep footage steady and you get access to Pro camera and video modes should you want more control over ISO, aperture settings etc. 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. 

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 3410.

Battery life - The 4000mAh battery is really great and you'll easily get a full day's use out of the smartphone. It does support fast-charging but you'll need to buy a separate charger to use this feature.


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