To like

  • Lower price
  • Built smaller
  • EyeAF especially for pets
  • 4K 120fps slow motion video
  • High refresh rate display

I do not like it

  • The Google Assistant hardware button is not required
  • Boring design
  • Cinema Pro's exposure is limited in bright light
  • There is no wireless charging

In May, Sony has released the Xperia 1 II (read as "one mark two") it with photo and video tools from its popular alpha line full frame mirrorless cameras. The $ 1,200 (£ 1,099) phone was designed for creatives who wanted more artistic control over their photos and videos. Now with that Xperia 5 II (read as "five marks two"), Sony is essentially selling a more compact, cheaper version of the Xperia 1 II. With a high refresh rate display, the ability to record 4K video at 120 frames per second (fps), and a revised one Game Enhancer app, the new phone is more than a mini version of the Xperia 1 II. And best of all, at $ 950, the Xperia 5 II offers these features and costs hundreds of dollars less.

One thing should be noted, however. While the solid specs and photo and video software of the Xperia 5 II are similar to the Xperia 1 II (same processor, 8 GB of RAM, etc.), it lacks wireless charging, a time-of-flight sensor, and a 4K display. However, the wonderful EyeAF (autofocus) function that quickly finds and captures the eyes of people and pets is retained.


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Sony Xperia 5 II in-depth review

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Overall, I like the Xperia 5 II very much. It's the best phone Sony has made in years. It's an incredible phone for people who like to play, take photos, and record videos. This won't appeal to everyone, but for people like me who like that kind of thing, the phone is a real treat. But my biggest gripe about the phone is the price. While the Xperia 5 II is cheaper than the Xperia 1 II, it also costs $ 150 more than last year's Xperia 5 I. On top of that, we're in a pandemic and many people are struggling financially. I have a hard time figuring that phone, or really any phone that costs nearly $ 1,000. But if you have the cash and are interested in Sony's mirrorless cameras, the Xperia 5 II is definitely worth considering.

The Xperia 5 II will be available from December 4th. Pre-orders start on September 29th. (If you pre-order, you will receive a free gaming bundle that includes a HyperX Cloud II gaming headset, a 10,000 mAh portable power bank, and 21,600 call of service points).

Sony Xperia 5 II

On the left, the $ 1,200 Sony Xperia 1 II and on the right, the Xperia 5 II, which costs $ 950.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Xperia 5 II design: Great, high refresh rate display, not as many buttons

The display on the Xperia 5 II isn't as sharp as that of the Xperia 1 II, so Sony added a high refresh rate screen to the former. Now you have a choice: if you want super sharp resolution, get the Xperia 1 II and its impressive 6.5-inch 4K display. However, if you want a phone with a high refresh rate, consider getting an Xperia 5 II with a 6.1-inch 120Hz HD screen.

Both phones have long, narrow screens with an aspect ratio of 21: 9, which is great for watching Netflix as most movies are recorded in widescreen format. But the Xperia 5 II's smaller form factor really makes the big, slim design pop. I like how well it fits in my hand.

However, the design of the phone is not perfect. It's a bit boring, especially when compared to a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S20. Despite the slim bezels on the side of the Xperia, it has a chunky (by 2020 standards) chin and forehead. I also miss the angular edges of the Xperia 1 II, which allowed me to put the phone on its side to film and watch videos.

However, my least favorite part of the Xperia 5 II's design is the Google Assistant button on the side. It's on the right edge, along with the volume rocker, a combined power button / fingerprint reader, and a shutter release for the camera. It's just one button too many and it bothered me a lot.

Sony Xperia 5 II

In the US, the Sony Xperia 5 II is only available in black.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Are you using the Google Assistant so often that it needs its own button? Perhaps? I don't know these people. But here's what brings me to it: This phone is aimed at photographers, videographers, gamers, journalists, and creatives. Almost any of these folks are likely to mount this phone, be it on a PS4 controller for gaming or on a mini tripod for taking photos and videos. That is, the fewer buttons you have to press on the edge (intentionally or accidentally), the better.

For example, I have a C-shaped handle that goes around the sides and back of the phone so I can attach it to a tripod. On the Xperia 1 II, there was a small space on the right side between the on / off switch and the camera shutter that the handle could hold on to. On the Xperia 5 II, however, this assistant button now takes up little space, so I have the recessed power button / fingerprint reader as the only place to attach the handle. As a result, I am losing access to this button, which is far more useful than the Google Assistant button.

Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras in a phone … kind of

The camera feature that I was looking forward to the most was the new 4K video recording at 120 frames per second. This only works in the phone's Cinema Pro app. Files are saved as 30fps or 24fps, which gives videos a dreamy 4x or 5x slow motion effect. I recorded a range of footage using the Xperia 5 II's Cinema Pro app. This is the best slow motion video on any phone that I have tested. Check it out below.

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Oe9GIA-ts (/ embed)

Apart from the lack of a time-of-flight sensor, the Xperia 5 II has the same hardware and software as the Xperia 1 II camera. And if you want to take a closer look at everything, read my review of the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Xperia 5 II supports RAW photo files, which is very useful for me as I like to edit photos later in an app or on my computer. Plus, the Photo Pro app's menus look just like the new ones on the new Sony A7SIII camera. Therefore, you should recommend a consistent design language to Sony. Speaking of the A7SIII, you can now connect a USB-C cable between the A7SIII and the Xperia 5 II to send photo and video files to the phone for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) transfers.

If I have criticism of the cameras, this is the leeway for controlling exposure when using the Cinema Pro app. I wish I had more ways to control exposure besides ISO and shutter angle (think about shutter speed for videos). I came across this with the Xperia 1 II as well. If it's too bright, I can't set the ISO or shutter angle low enough so that my video doesn't get overexposed. One solution would be to get a Neutral Density (ND) filter for your phone.

But when it was too dark, I ran into similar exposure issues. The ISO value is 800 and since the cameras have a fixed aperture, only the shutter angle needs to be set. And that's not ideal because the shutter angle also affects the quality of movement in the frame.

Below are some photos I took with the standard camera app and the Photo Pro app.

Sony Xperia 5 II

This photo was taken with the Photo Pro app and saved as a RAW file. I later processed the photo with Adobe Lightroom.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

You can take photos with shutter speeds as short as 30 seconds. This photo was taken in 1/10 of a second.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

The telephoto lens is a 70 millimeter equivalent and, like here, can be enlarged to a 200 millimeter equivalent.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

The camera's dynamic range is excellent, making things look natural rather than being heavily processed.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

This photo was taken with the main camera, which has a 24 millimeter lens.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

This was taken with the ultra wide angle camera.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

I took this with the 70 millimeter telephoto camera shortly before dark.

Patrick Holland / CNET
Sony Xperia 5 II

This was taken with the 24 millimeter wide-angle camera. EyeAF held my eye and hit the focus.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Game enhancer, battery and high refresh rate

You can set the refresh rate of the Xperia 5 II to 60 Hz or 120 Hz. There is no intermediate option or adaptive software like with the OnePlus 8 Pro. During my time on the phone, I left it at 120Hz and didn't look back. I noticed the benefits of the high refresh rate the most while gaming. Part of that comes from the improved Game Enhancer app that lets me choose the refresh rate for games I play. It uses software to rotate the 120 Hz display to match a 240 Hz equivalent. The effect works well enough as if someone had added sharpness and contrast to my games. It was especially impressive in a game like Call of Duty. Game Enhancer also has a heads up display so you can preview the game at varying refresh rates between 40 fps and 240 fps before committing to it.

Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony managed to fit a larger battery into the Xperia 5 II, even though the phone is the same size as last year's Xperia 5 I.

Patrick Holland / CNET

The Xperia 5 II's battery is bigger than that of its predecessor, although the phones are physically the same size. The 4.00 mAh battery is the same size as that of the Sony Xperia 1 II. The phone lasted a day (set to 120 Hz for the display). But I found myself hooking it up to top it off towards the end of the evening, usually after dinner. We're currently testing and will update this review with the full results shortly.

The battery, together with Game Enhancer, enables a new function called HS Power Control. The HS stands for heat suppression and it essentially redirects power between charging the battery and turning on the phone directly. With HS Power Control enabled, the phone would get warm while playing, but it never got hot. It worked well enough that it would be nice to turn on HS Power Control for other purposes like video recording or photo editing, and not just gaming.

Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G

The Xperia 5 II has a Snapdragon processor and supports Sub-6 5G connectivity outside of the US. Sony said its upcoming Xperia Pro will likely be the first Sony phone to support 5G in the US.

The Xperia 5 II was lively in use. Even during intensive video recording and photo taking, the phone never got stuck or appeared sluggish. Unsurprisingly, the Xperia 5 II achieved identical results in performance tests as the Xperia 1 II, but was also comparable to the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, all of which also have a Snapdragon 865 processor.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single core

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Sony Xperia 5 II specifications compared to Sony Xperia 1 II, Sony Xperia 5 I, OnePlus 8 Pro

Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 5

OnePlus 8 Pro

Display size, resolution

6.1 inch FHD + HDR OLED; 2,520 x 1,080 pixels

6.5 inch 4K HDR OLED; 3,840 x 1,644 pixels

6.1 inch OLED; 2,520 x 1,080 pixels

6.78 inches AMOLED; 1,440 x 3,168 pixels

Pixel density

449ppi

643ppi

449ppi

513ppi

Dimensions (inch)

6.22 x 2.68 x 0.31 in

6.5 x 2.8 x 0.3 in

6.2 x 2.6 x 0.3 in

6.51 x 2.93 x 0.35 in

Dimensions (millimeters)

158 x 68 x 8 mm

165.1 x 71.1 x 7.62 mm

157 x 66 x 7.62 mm

165 x 74.4 x 8.5 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

5.75 oz; 163 g

6.4 ounces; 181 g

5.8 ounces; 164 g

7.02 oz; 199 g

Mobile software

Android 10

Android 10

Android 9 Pie

Android 10

camera

12 megapixels (standard), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide), 12 megapixels (3x telephoto)

12 megapixels (standard), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide), 12 megapixels (3x telephoto)

12 megapixels (standard), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide), 12 megapixels (3x telephoto)

48 megapixels (standard), 48 megapixels (ultra-wide), 8 megapixels (tele), 5 megapixels (& # 39; color filter & # 39;)

Front camera

8 megapixels

8 megapixels

8 megapixels

16 megapixels

Video recording

4K

4K

4K

4K

processor

Snapdragon 865

Snapdragon 865

Snapdragon 855

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

warehouse

128 GB

256 GB

128 GB

128 GB, 256 GB

R.A.M.

8 GB

8 GB

6 GB

8 GB, 12 GB

Expandable storage

Up to 1 TB

Up to 1 TB

Up to 512 GB

No

battery

4,000 mAh

4,000 mAh

3,140 mAh

4.510 mAh

Fingerprint sensor

right side

right side

right side

In-screen

Interconnects

USB-C

USB-C

USB-C

USB-C

Headphone jack

Yes

Yes

No

No

Special features

5G-capable (not in the USA), 120 Hz refresh rate display, protection class IP 65/68, adaptive charging and maintenance of the battery, Dolby ATMOS, Zeiss lens coatings, time-of-flight sensor, hardware trigger, hardware Google Assistant button

5G capable (not in the USA), wireless charging, protection class IP 65/68, adaptive charging and maintenance of the battery, Dolby ATMOS, Zeiss lens coatings, time-of-flight sensor, hardware trigger

IP65 / 68 waterproof and dustproof, 10-bit video, Eye AF, fast charge

5G activated; Warp batch; Reverse wireless charging; waterproof (IP68); 120Hz refresh rate

Out of Contract Price (USD)

$ 950

$ 1,200

$ 799

$ 899 (8 GB RAM / 128 GB), 999 US dollars (12 GB RAM / 256 GB)

Price (GBP)

£ 799

£ 1,099

£ 699

£ 799 (8 GB RAM / 128 GB), £ 899 (12 GB RAM / 256 GB)

Price (AUD)

Converts to AU $ 1,350

Converted to AU $ 1,710

Converted to AU $ 1,135

UK converted to: AU $ 1,570 (8 GB RAM / 128 GB), AU $ 1,770 (12 GB RAM / 256 GB)

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