Sony Xperia 5 II review

GSMArena team, 28 Sep 2020.

Introduction

When was the last time that the smaller phone of a high-end pair was the superior one - and not just because you prefer compact handsets? Well, that seems to be the case with the Sony Xperia 5 II we have here for review.

How is it better, you ask? For one, it has a 120Hz display while the Xperia 1 II uses a conventional 60Hz panel. Even though it's not 4K as the Xperia 1 II, the 450ppi density of the X5II's screen is more than plenty, so we won't consider that a downgrade.

The other bit where 5 II is better than 1 II is battery capacity - that's to say, it's the same - the smaller size phone comes with a battery that's just as large as the 4,000mAh power pack in the larger model. It's probably the first time we're seeing such absolute parity between two differently-sized handsets from (more or less) the same generation.

The next thing that probably qualifies as an advantage of the 5 II over the 1 II is the introduction of the Google Assistant button on the right side. Mind you, the 5 II has 5 mechanical buttons, in 2020 - we can see people liking it for that alone.

The rest of the 5 Mark II is has been more or less carried over from the 1 Mark II. The camera system, for example, has the same triple-module configuration - a 16mm-equivalent ultra-wide, a 24mm main cam, and a 70mm tele, all of them producing 12MP images. Sony axed the ToF pair for the small model, however, we'll have to see how that affects nearby low-light focusing and portrait mode results.

Sony Xperia 5 II reviewTwo Mark Twos - Xperia 1 II (left) next to the new Xperia 5 II

The Snapdragon 865 powers the Xperia 5 II (not the 865+), and the phone has 8GB of RAM. Unlike the 1 II, which only came with 256GB of storage, the 5 II can be had with either 128GB or 256GB.

Sony Xperia 5 II specs

  • Body: 158x68x8.0mm, 163g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), glass back (Gorilla Glass 6), aluminum frame; IP65/IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins); Colors: Black, Gray, Blue, Pink.
  • Display: 6.1" OLED, 1080x2520px resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, 450ppi; 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650.
  • Memory: 256/128GB 8GB RAM; microSDXC (shared with SIM slot 2 on dual SIM variants).
  • OS/Software: Android 10.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm, 1/1.7", Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm, 1/3.4", 1.0µm, PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 124˚, 16mm, 1/2.55", Dual Pixel PDAF. Zeiss optics, LED flash, panorama, HDR, eye tracking.
  • Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm; HDR.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps HDR, 1080p@30/60/120fps; 5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS; Front camera: 1080p@30fps (5-axis gyro-EIS).
  • Battery: 4000mAh; Fast charging 21W, USB Power Delivery.
  • Misc: Fingerprint (side-mounted), hardware Google Assistant button, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass, color spectrum; NFC; stereo speakers (front-mounted), 3.5mm headphone jack.

A few welcome generational improvements include the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack and the relocation of the bottom speaker to fire towards the front of the phone - both features shared with the 1 II, too.

What's not shared with the bigger model is the wireless charging capability - you'll need a cable to top up the 5 II. You can still do that over USB PowerDelivery up to 21W although Sony only ships (and, for that matter, makes) 18W chargers. Speaking of...

Sony Xperia 5 II unboxing

Our Xperia 5 II review unit arrived in a typical Sony white cardboard box with the phone's name stamped on the front in shiny letters. Inside the box, the minimalist approach continues - you get the phone, the 18W charger we mentioned, and a USB-C-to-C cable to go with it. That's it.

Sony Xperia 5 II review

It's worth mentioning that the Xperia 1 II had a pair of earbuds in the package and Sony's had a history of tailoring retail bundles to different markets, so you may end up getting a headset with the 5 II after all.

Reader comments

  • Phny

I have both Xperia 5ii and iPhone 11 pro. For me the screen brightness is not an issue as the iPhone 11 turns hot after blasting fully the screen brightness and mostly not needed as I can instead cover the screen to see under direct sunlight. I think...

"With brighter display you have an option to turn down the brightness if you need to, where the opposite won't be the case for a dim display" And in most cases, you're not gonna use the full blast brightness as well, do you? ...

You presented any facts? Sorry I missed that ... I know even as a Sony user I didn't drink Sony Kool-Aid :-D