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Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review

The Sony Xperia 5 III almost offers all of the same specs as the flagship Sony Xperia 1 III but for less cash so we're interested to find out how it performs on test.


|  Sony Xperia 5 III in Camera Phones
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P1010020 | 1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

 

Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone shares some of the excellent features found on the more expensive Sony Xperia 1 III but in a smaller, easier to hold body that's also got a better price tag. The camera is great, taking true-to-life photos and if you have the patience to learn how to use the Pro Mode then you'll capture even better shots. If you can get on with the unusual dimensions and want a smartphone with premium tech that's not priced at over £1000, the Xperia 5 III could be for you. 

+ Pros

  • Good screen 
  • Good image quality 
  • A useful line-up of cameras 
  • Compact shape
  • Excellent battery life 

- Cons

  • Still quite expensive
  • No wireless charging
  • The design won't be for everyone
 

 

The Sony Xperia 5 III updates the Sony Xperia 5 II and as its predecessor did with the Sony Xperia 1 II, The Sony Xperia 5 III shares quite a few of the specs found on the Sony Xperia 1 III but as a price point more of us can afford.  

It's priced at around £899 which is still quite expensive and £100 more than the Sony Xperia 5 II was priced at launch so we're going to be taking a close look at this new smartphone to find out if the price equates to good value for money or if your cash will be better spent elsewhere. 

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Features

P1010011 | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Sony Xperia 5 III features the same cameras as the Xperia 1 III but there's no time-of-flight sensor for judging depth and it has a 6.1-inch screen as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. A new 30W charger is included in the box of the Xperia 5 III, too. 

As for the cameras, you get a 16mm ultra-wide, 24mm wide and a 70-105mm telephoto lens (all 12MP) with 20fps continuous shooting on offer as well as Sony's Dual PDAF technology. There's a 6.1-inch, tall and long 21:9 ratio screen (a USP of Sony smartphones), a 3.5mm stereo jack and a 4500mAh battery (improved over the Xperia 5 II). You also get 4K video, a Pro video mode, two memory options that are expandable with a MicroSD, water/dust resistance and an 8MP 24mm selfie camera. 

If it's all sounding a bit familiar, that's because quite a few of the specs are shared with the Xperia 5 II:

 

Specs Sony Xperia 5 III Sony Xperia 5 II
Rear Camera 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm - 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF 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 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
Display 6.1" OLED display 6.1" OLED display 
Video 4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS) 4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
USB USB-C USB-C
Battery 4500mAh (no wireless charging) 4000mAh (no wireless charging)
Weight 168g 163g
Dimensions 157 x 68 x 8.2mm 158 x 68 x 8mm
Memory 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage) 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Key Features:

  • Triple Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm - 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x 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-.4X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Pro video and camera modes 
  • Video: 4K 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Type-C USB
  • 4500mAh battery with fast charging but no wireless charging
  • 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)
  • Dimensions: 157 x 68 x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 168g

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Handling

P1010022 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As mentioned, if you've read our review of the Sony Xperia 5 II or have held it in your own hands, you may be experiencing some deja vu as they are very similar in looks and specs. In fact, the Sony USP of a 21:9 aspect ratio display has been around for some time now which means you get a narrow smartphone with a big screen but the dimensions still won't suit everyone. It does fit well in the hand, though, and you can easily control the smartphone one-handed. It's also easier to hold and use than the Xperia 1 III it it shares specs with. 

The rounded edges/corners remain which makes the smartphone comfortable to hold and there's still a chin as well as a slight bezel where the selfie camera sits 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. There's also a fingerprint sensor sandwiched in between these buttons as there's not one built into the screen.

Turn your attention to the bottom of the Xperia 5 III 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 so there's no rocking when it's placed down but the back is a magnet for fingerprints (it doesn't have the lovely matt finish the Xperia 1 III has) and its slipperiness means it has a habit of sliding so we recommend popping a case on it for added protection. 

 

P1010014 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As for the display, it's covered in Gorilla Glass 6 so it'll be slightly more prone to scratches/cracks than the Xperia 1 III which has Gorilla Glass Victus but brightness levels are good and colours are accurate. There's also a 120Hz refresh rate available for selection in the settings which will improve your viewing experience. For those creating visual content, there's a Creator mode that will provide even better colour reproduction. 

It's good to see an official IP rating which means the smartphone will survive a dunking up to 1.5m for 30 minutes and the 4,500mAh battery is impressive, providing plenty of power for a day's use and improving on the 4000mAh battery found in the Xperia 5 II but it's a shame wireless charging is still missing from a device at this price level. 

The camera set-up is similar to that on the Xperia 1 III with just the time-of-flight sensor which is used for judging depth missing but this didn't cause any problems. However, as we've come to expect from Sony, you get some nice camera features built-in including Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), ZEISS optics and eye-tracking. 

Sony Xperia 5 III Camera Features:

  • 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm and f/1.8 105mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x-4.4x 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 and 4.4Xoptical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • 20fps burst mode
  • Pro video and camera modes 

 

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. 

To access the many Pro modes that are built-in you have to click the 'basic' wording that's found top right. When you do, a wheel with various options such as P, S, M and Auto will appear along with explanations of what they're used for. The tools on offer are in abundance and it can take some time to get used to how they all work but if you have the patience to harness their power, your photos will improve. The only mode you can't access is aperture priority (there isn't one) and you won't find a dedicated night mode either. 

The two zoom lenses on the telephoto sensor is a different approach but there's no real difference in speed when you compare with other smartphones that have separate telephoto cameras. 

 

P1010025 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Video is captured in 4K at 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p with 5-axis gyro-EIS and OIS to keep footage steady and you get access to a Pro video mode should you want more control over the settings used. 

Some will be impressed with the Pro modes on offer and use them 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. 

Battery life - The 4500mAh battery is really great and you'll easily get a full day's use out of the smartphone. It does support fast charging but not wireless. 


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