Sony Xperia 5 II review

GSMArena team, 28 September 2020.

Stock Android 10, some Sony enhancements

The Xperia 5 II runs Android 10 in a mostly stock-looking state with a few Sony bits added here and there. Rumor has it that Sony will push an update to Android 11 shortly after the phone's market launch, but we haven't heard official word on that yet.

Sony Xperia 5 II review

There's little to set the 5 II apart from the 1 II, and both phones share the UI basics with Google's Pixel phones.

Lockscreen - Sony Xperia 5 II review Homescreen - Sony Xperia 5 II review Folder view - Sony Xperia 5 II review App drawer - Sony Xperia 5 II review Task switcher - Sony Xperia 5 II review Quick toggles - Sony Xperia 5 II review
Lockscreen • Homescreen • Folder view • App drawer • Task switcher • Quick toggles

That includes the options for navigation too - you get the gesture-based system from the Pixels or the classic three-button nav bar. The pill-based method that the previous-gen Xperias used and is still available on Pixels is not an option on the Mark 2 Xperias.

The Fingerprint unlocking is the only biometric unlock method available - as was the case on the 1 II. Similarly to the bigger phone, we found the side-mounted reader to work with consistently high speed and accuracy, whether using the right thumb or the left index finger. Hence, the lack of any form face unlock is perhaps forgivable, though if you're one to often handle your phone with wet/sweaty/dirty hands, you may miss the ease of use of face unlock.

Navigation options - Sony Xperia 5 II review Back sensitivity - Sony Xperia 5 II review Biometrics security - Sony Xperia 5 II review Biometrics security - Sony Xperia 5 II review
Navigation options • Back sensitivity • Biometrics security

Among the features Sony bolted on top of Android is a one-handed mode. It lets you shrink the UI to one corner by double-tapping the home button (if you're using the legacy nav bar) or by tapping on the feature's icon in Side Sense.

Speaking of, Sony's Side Sense is present as well. A pair of touch-sensitive areas on either side of the phone enables various actions, most of which user-configurable.

One particularly powerful and customizable option is the 21:9 pair shortcut feature. Through it, you simply select two apps and the relative location you want to launch them in, and then you can trigger a split-screen with the pair instantly.

One-handed mode - Sony Xperia 5 II review Side sense - Sony Xperia 5 II review Side sense - Sony Xperia 5 II review Side sense - Sony Xperia 5 II review Side sense - Sony Xperia 5 II review Side sense - Sony Xperia 5 II review
One-handed mode • Side sense

With the Album duties already offloaded to Google Photos on the Xperia 1 II, the Music app is the one piece of in-house multimedia software remaining on the Xperia 5 II as well. Again, it's likely not long until this one dies down too.

Then there's Game Enhancer, itself further enhanced on the 5 II even compared to the 1 II. The basic premise is the same - it has two main interfaces, one acting as a game hub and launcher, while the other is an overlay that can be pulled out mid-game.

Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, launcher app - Sony Xperia 5 II review
Game Enhancer, launcher app

Performance profiles (or Game Mode) can be set on a per-game basis, but now, in addition to the "Performance preferred", "Battery life preferred" and "Balanced" profiles, there's also a 'Custom' setting, and that's where the fancy stuff is. Here you can set the screen refresh rate, and you can lock it at 120Hz regardless of whether the game supports it (though, obviously, it would make sense on the games that do).

There's also a 240Hz blur reduction setting that will make things look even smoother using black frame insertion.

Additional sliders let you select Touch response speed and the touch tracking accuracy.

H.S. power control that we saw on the Xperia 1 II is here on the 5 II as well. When you're gaming, and the phone is plugged in the charger, it won't charge the battery but will only essentially meet your current power consumption. The rationale is to limit the charging-related heat generation - H.S. stands for Heat Suppression.

The Focus settings is an array of toggles that let you disable pesky notifications, turn off adaptive brightness, disable the camera button and the side sense functionality - limit distractions.

There are also screenshot and video capture features. Video capturing can also capture footage from your selfie camera along with the game, as well as sound from your microphone. Volume level adjustments are provided. There is no direct streaming to any video platforms, though. Last but not least, a quick search function can bring up YouTube videos in a floating video for you, related to the game you are currently playing.

Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review Game Enhancer, in-game features - Sony Xperia 5 II review
Game Enhancer, in-game features

Synthetic benchmarks

The Xperia 5 II is powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset. It's not the improved 865+ version that the cool kids got this fall, but that's fine. It's the same hardware the Xperia 1 II was kitted out with - for the six months or so between them, a plus would have looked better, though the regular 865 is, of course, plenty potent. There's 8GB of RAM, and two storage tiers are available (128GB and 256GB), with our unit being the 128GB one.

Sony Xperia 5 II review

Predictably, the Xperia 5 II posted benchmark results in line with other Snapdragon 865 devices - average ones, you could say. The 865+ equipped Zenfone 7 Pro, ROG Phone 3, and Galaxy Z Fold2 have an edge in single-core CPU performance, easily explained by the higher clock of the Prime CPU core. It's an advantage that diminishes in multi-core tests where S865 overachievers post slightly higher numbers than S865+ ones.

GeekBench 5.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    1333
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    996
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    975
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    950
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    930
  • OnePlus 8
    919
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    910
  • Motorola Edge+
    910
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    905
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    902
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    897
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    895
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    890
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    886
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    880
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    780

GeekBench 5.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    3466
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    3411
  • OnePlus 8
    3399
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    3374
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    3357
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    3331
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    3322
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    3318
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    3302
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    3301
  • Motorola Edge+
    3295
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    3289
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    3197
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    2715
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    2703
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    2603

The differences aren't as clearly defined in Antutu where the performance of all components goes into play. The Xperia 5 II does okay and outperforms the Exynos-powered Galaxy S20s and the Note20 Ultra, as well as the Kirin-powered Huawei P40 Pro, though the Sonys are around the bottom of the SD865 pack in this benchmark.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • vivo X50 Pro+
    621433
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    602934
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    601858
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    595246
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    578056
  • Motorola Edge+
    574155
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    573276
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    564907
  • OnePlus 8
    564708
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    534701
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    532655
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    527612
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    508760
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    500114
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    496356
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    489371

This middle of the road performance continues into the graphics tests. The Xperia does indeed deliver flagship-grade numbers; it just does so without standing out.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    178
  • Motorola Edge+
    128
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    128
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    128
  • OnePlus 8
    127
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    127
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    126
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    124
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    123
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    123
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    123
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    120
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    119
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    118
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    116
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    106

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo X50 Pro+
    122
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    111
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    101
  • Motorola Edge+
    89
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    89
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    88
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    88
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    88
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    84
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    84
  • OnePlus 8
    60
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    60
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    60
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    59
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    58
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    57

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    118
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    92
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    91
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    90
  • Motorola Edge+
    89
  • OnePlus 8
    88
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    86
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    86
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    86
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    86
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    85
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    85
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    85
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    84
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    84
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    80
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    75

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    83
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    82
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    78
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    76
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    75
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    75
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    74
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    73
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    71
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    60
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    59
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    59
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    53
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    52
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    43

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    66
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    56
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    55
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    54
  • OnePlus 8
    52
  • Motorola Edge+
    52
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    51
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    51
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    51
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    51
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    50
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    50
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    50
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    50
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    44

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
    57
  • Motorola Edge+
    48
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    48
  • OnePlus 8
    46
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    46
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    44
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    43
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    42
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    42
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    42
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    42
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    41
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    39
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    33
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    31
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    25
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    24

Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    32
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • OnePlus 8
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    29
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    29
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    27
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    26
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    23
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    22
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    20
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    17
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    14

Aztek OpenGL ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    33
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    32
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    32
  • OnePlus 8
    31
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    31
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    29
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    29
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    28
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    27
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    22
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    19
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    17

3DMark SSE OpenGL ES 3.1 1440p

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    7687
  • Asus ROG Phone 3 (144Hz)
    7645
  • Motorola Edge+
    7409
  • OnePlus 8
    7290
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    7253
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    7138
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    7132
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    7127
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    7035
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    6819
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    6735
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    6716
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    6543
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    6062

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1440p

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    7002
  • OnePlus 8
    6720
  • Motorola Edge+
    6666
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    6579
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    6490
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    6425
  • vivo X50 Pro+
    6393
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    6354
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    6311
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
    6248
  • Sony Xperia 1 II
    6167
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    5879
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    5637

The Xperia 5 II does get warm under sustained load, in a similarly 'average' fashion - it's not uncomfortably hot, and it's not entirely cool either. Its performance does decline with repeated benchmark runs - for example, a drop of 10-12% in Antutu scores after a few runs is expected, but that's really the norm with mainstream designs (it's no ROG Phone 3 this one). In actual use, the phone never stuttered and was as fluid as any other top-tier device - just as you'd expect.

Reader comments

the network reception is shit in this phone. stay away

  • Suru82

New system update fix this now work flawlessly

  • Suru82

New system update fix this now work flawlessly