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Sony Xperia 5 Review

We take a look at Sony's latest smartphone, featuring a triple 12-megapixel camera setup and FullHD 21:9 CinemaWide 6.1-inch screen.

|  Sony Xperia 5 in Camera Phones
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Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 5 offers a good suite of photography, and especially professional videography, solutions. With a FullHD 21:9 ratio screen, you can view your footage back and watch movies as they were intended to be viewed. The 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front is a little disappointing, but the 12-megapixel camera setup on the back shows that Sony has gone for quality, over quantity this time when it comes to the number of megapixels and size of the pixels. We also welcome the return of the dedicated shutter button with half-press focus. 

+ Pros

  • Great suite of features
  • Easy to use camera app
  • Sleek, modern-looking body
  • Dedicated shutter release button
  • OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation)

- Cons

  • Images are a little soft when you zoom in
  • Smaller battery life than competitors 
  • Still only an 8mp selfie camera


The Sony Xperia 5 is the latest smartphone from Sony and features a 21:9 CinemaWide screen, the ideal ratio for watching films on the go. The phone has a triple camera to the rear, with 12-megapixel standard, super-wide and 2x optional zoom available. The phone is available to pre-order now, in black, grey, blue or red for £699. 

With 6GB RAM, 128GB internal storage expandable with a MicroSD card and a 6.1-inch FullHD screen, how does it perform? Find out here.

Sony Xperia 5 Features

The Sony Xperia 5 has the same camera setup as the Xperia 1. The main differences are that the Xperia 1 has a slightly larger screen, at 6.5inches compared to 6.1inches on the Xperia 5 and the screen on the Xperia 5 is FullHD compared to 4K on the Xperia 1.

Sony have bought back the dedicated camera button on the Xperia 1 and 5 - a feature that was notably missing on previous models such as the Xperia 10

The phone has a relatively thin bezel to the top and bottom of the screen, with the top bezel holding the selfie camera and speaker. On the bottom of the phone, you'll find another speaker, (the phone is equipped with Dolby Atmos stereo speakers - part of the cinema angle Sony have gone with) and a USB-C charging port. There's no headphone socket, so you'll need wireless headphones or ones that have a USB-C fitment. 

On the left-hand side, there's access to the SIM/MicroSD card, and on the right-hand side, you'll find a volume rocker, fingerprint sensor, power button and dedicated camera shutter button. 


On the rear, there's the LED flash and triple camera set up in a smart row. The phone is water-resistant to IP65/68 and features corning Gorilla Glass 6 to the front and rear. The phone has a very glossy finish to the rear and so is very prone to fingerprints and possibly scratching - because of this we'd highly recommend a phone case be used to protect it. 

Sony Xperia 5 main camera features

  • 12mp f/2.4 ultra-wide, 1/3.4inch sensor (1um), 130degree, 16mm equivalent
  • 12mp f/1.6 main, OIS, 1/2.6inch sensor (1.4um), Exmore RS, G lens, 26mm equivalent
  • 12mp f/2.4 telephoto, 2x, OIS, 1/3.4inch sensor (1um), 52mm equivalent
  • BIONZ XTM for mobile
  • EyeAF (Auto-Focus)
  • 10fps with AF/AE

What strikes you about this phone is the long, thin build. A 21:9 aspect ratio has been used, giving optimum viewing for movies, with the phone designed to offer the best viewing experience on the go. This is coupled with a FullHD +HDR OLED screen (1080x2520) display, which should offer a clear view of your images. 

The only problem with this screen ratio is that when you're in the camera app, you do get black stripes at either side of the image as the widest image ratio you can achieve for stills images is 16:9. 

The camera app features a bokeh effect mode allowing you to achieve out-of-focus backgrounds with a sliding scale, Eye AF for sharp selfies, up to 10fps autofocus and autoexposure and an HDR mode, along with RAW noise reduction. 

When you tap the camera app you're presented with some quick options along the top of the screen - Flash, bokeh slider, aspect ratio, brightness/temperature adjustment, switch cameras and settings. 

There is a manual mode, allowing you to alter the focus, shutter speed, ISO and plus or minus 2 stops exposure compensation along with white balance. Shutter speed offers exposures as long as 30 seconds or as short as 1/4000 of a second. ISO 64-3200 is selectable and White balance offers cloudy, sunny, tungsten or incandescent presets. 

There's also portrait selfie, google lens, slow motion, AR effect, panorama and creative effect modes. 

When using the selfie camera you also have a self-timer option at the top of the screen, there is also a soft skin effect mode that can be toggled on or off in settings. There are hand and smile shutter options, which allow you to trigger the camera to take a photo with a smile or a wave of the hand. 

The Xperia 5 has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC connectivity options, along with a whole host of sensors including ambient light and proximity sensors, useful when using the camera. 

4K HDR movie recording is possible, and there's a Cine Pro app separate to the camera app which offers you lots of options for video shooting with the phone. 


Key Features

  • Triple camera setup: 12mp, ultra-wide, wide/standard, telephoto
  • 12mp f/2.4 ultra-wide, 16mm equivalent
  • 12mp f/1.6 standard, 26mm equivalent, OIS, G lens
  • 12mp f/2.4 telephoto, 52mm equivalent, OIS, 2x zoom
  • 8mp f/2.0 selfie camera
  • 6.1inch FullHD HDR OLED screen, 21:9 "CinemaWide" display, 1080x2520 resolution
  • 10fps continuous shooting speed, with AF/AE
  • 4K HDR video recording, FullHD video
  • 960fps FullHD slow-motion video
  • IP65/68 Water-resistant 
  • Side fingerprint sensor
  • Smartphone: 6GB RAM / 128GB storage
  • 3140mAh battery
  • Android 9
  • Available in black, grey, blue and red
  • Buy now on Amazon UK (pre-order, available from 4 October 2019)

Sony Xperia 5 Handling

The phone feels solidly built and features a more modern design than some of the recent models in the series, which felt a little dated. It sits nicely in the hand and the slim design means that it's easier to reach the entire width of the phone with your thumb. 

Screen brightness is good, allowing you to see everything clearly in bright sunlight. The dedicated shutter button offers a half-press for focusing, and a full press to take an image, so we'd recommend this method of shooting rather than using the screen or side-sense (pressure sensitivity) to take images. 

The phone is very responsive in general use and when using the camera, with no signs of lag. The length of the screen means that you can easily have two apps visible at once, and there's a shortcut on the home screen allowing you to do this. 

The addition of the dedicated Cinema Pro app for shooting video will be welcomed by vloggers and those who appreciate a more comprehensive, professional setup for movies. 


Geekbench 5 gives a single-core performance score of 750, and a multi-core score of 2797 (unfortunately these scores can't be accurately compared with scores for other phones measured by GeekBench 4.)  Antutu gives a result of 355066, which is only slightly lower than the Xperia 1, placing the Xperia 5 up there with the best smartphones in terms of CPU and GPU performance. 


Battery life - The battery is listed as a 3140mAh model, which isn't the best, however you do have Sony's Smart Stamina mode, offering better battery management than other brands. With other flagship models offer in 4000+ mAh batteries, you may find it runs out quicker than others. We'd recommend investing in a power bank to top your phone battery up with on the move. 

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