Sony Xperia 1 II review

GSMArena team, 29 May 2020.


The Sony Xperia 1 II is here, was the wait worth it? Announced back in February, Sony's latest ultimate smartphone is only making it to market now and we've got one to try and establish just how productively Sony has spent these months of final tweaking.

There are a couple of things to get out of the way before we dig deeper. One, while the smartphone is, technically, available in Japan, in Europe and the US, it's still in the pre-order state, with units shipping between mid-June and late-July, depending on where you are and how lucky you get.

Two, it's officially called the Sony Xperia One, Mark Two - don't go calling it the Xperia One-Two, or the One-point-Two, or X1.2 or something along those lines. Sony's bringing the naming convention from its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup to smartphones and generations are marked with an implied 'Mark' and a Roman numeral.

It's not just the naming that comes from the camera division, some actual camera influence is present as well. A standalone Photography Pro app mimics the interface of the A-series ILCs, but underneath the surface, you're also getting super-fast autofocus, EyeAF for people and pets, 20fps burst shooting and quick sensor readout - just like an A9. Well, almost.

Sony Xperia 1 II review

The A9, which the Xperia 1 II aspires to emulate, pairs nicely with a set of 16-35mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm lenses - Sony's current take on what's known as the holy trinity in the photographic world. The phone has those too, sort of - it's got a primary camera with a 24mm equivalent focal length, a 16mm ultra-wide module, and a telephoto rated at 70mm - all three producing 12MP images. The 'sort of' bit comes from the fact that all the other non-native focal lengths are produced by digital zoom - it's a phone, after all. The A9 doesn't have a selfie cam and Sony hasn't bothered much with the Xperia's either - it's the same 8MP unit from the previous generation. Ahem... Mark I, that is.

Straight from the Mark I, we have the industry's only 4K display. It's a 6.5-inch OLED with easily more pixels than you'd ever need, wide gamut coverage and a bundle of software adjustment capabilities.

Naturally, the Xperia 1 II packs the latest high-end Snapdragon, and while RAM might be 'just' 8GB, the 256GB of storage is more than plenty (it's the only option, and there's a card slot too). A bump in battery capacity means the 1 II now packs a 4,000mAh cell (up from the 1 I's 3,330mAh) with support for USB PowerDelivery up to 21W and wireless charging - that last bit marking a return from the XZ3. One more thing's back on a Sony flagship too, and that one we thought was gone for good - the 3.5mm headphone jack last seen on the XZ1. Yay!

Sony Xperia 1 II specs

  • Body: 165.1x71.1x7.6mm, 184g; Gorilla Glass 6 front and back, aluminum frame; IP65/68 rating; Black and Purple color options.
  • Screen: 6.5" OLED, 3840x1644px resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, 643ppi; 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 865 (7nm+): Octa-core CPU (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650 GPU.
  • Memory: 8GB RAM, 256GB built-in UFS 3.0 storage, microSD slot (shared with SIM slot 2 on dual SIM variants).
  • OS/Software: Android 10.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12MP, 1/1.7" sensor, 1.8µm pixel size, 24mm equiv. focal length, f/1.7 aperture, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS. Telephoto: 12MP, 1/3.4", 70mm, f/2.4, PDAF, OIS. Ultra wide angle: 12MP, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, 16mm, f/2.2, Dual Pixel PDAF. 4K/60 video recording; 5-axis gyro-EIS.
  • Front camera: 8MP, 1/4", 1.12µm, 24mm, f/2.0, fixed focus. 1080p/30fps video recording.
  • Battery: 4,000mAh, 21W wired charging support, wireless charging.
  • Misc: Capacitive side-mounted fingerprint reader; NFC; stereo loudspeakers; 3.5mm headphone jack.

Sony Xperia 1 II unboxing

The Xperia 1 II arrives in the exact same box as the Xperia 5 from last year (which was differently proportioned from the Xperia 1's) and it's a relatively plain white cardboard package. Inside it, a paper tray holds the phone.

Sony Xperia 1 II review

Underneath, a basic set of accessories awaits you. You're getting an 18W USB PowerDelivery adapter (yes, the phone supports 21W PD, but Sony doesn't make such an adapter yet) and a USB-C-to-C cable. A set of earbuds is also included and that's about it.

Reader comments

Idk maybe it's a software problem u can only hope that its fixed with a software update

has anyone experience the front camera suddenly is not functioning? Prompt is "Failed to camera preview".

  • Anonymous

Sony is known to put a ton of oleophobic coasting on their phones and this is no exception. It does help to reduce smudges and scratches to degree. I think repelling water is what it was meant for.