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Sony announces Xperia 5 II: 120Hz full-featured small phone

Today, Sony follows up on one of its newer form factors, which the company had introduced last year with the Xperia 5. The new Xperia 1 II (read as brand two) follows up on the smaller flagship’s sibling device and retains its form factor, but also significantly improves its design as well as maintains an almost complete feature parity with the larger Xperia 1 II.

The new phone also aims to differentiate itself from other Sony offerings: the company has apparently focused on the device’s more game-centric usability, even though externally it does not have the style of a gaming phone. With a new internal heat dissipation system and a 120Hz refresh rate OLED and 240Hz sampling rate touch input, the Xperia 5 II beats its weight when it comes to fluidity.

Sony has achieved all this while retaining the form factor and weight of the Xperia 5 ̵

1; even squeezing in a new 4000mAh battery just by virtue of improved internal technology. This is Sony’s apparently most competitive package this year, let’s go over the details:

Sony Xperia 1 Series

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 5 II
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

1x Cortex-A77 @ 2.84 GHz
3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.42 GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80 GHz

Adreno 650 @ 587MHz

Screen 6.5 “AMOLED
3840 x 1644 (21: 9)

2520 x 1080 (21: 9)

120Hz Update w / 240Hz Touch

Size Height 166 mm 158 mm
Width 72 mm 68 mm
Depth 7.9 mm 8.0 mm
Weight 181 grams 163 grams
Battery capacity 4000mAh

18W USB-PD adaptive charging

Wireless charging Yes
Rear cameras
Most important 12MP 1.8 .m Dual Pixel PDAF
1 / 1.7 “sensor

24mm /
f / 1.7 with OIS

Telephoto 12MP 1.0 PDm PDAF
1 / 3.4 “sensor

70 mm / / 3x zoom

f / 2.4 with OIS

Wide 12MP 1.4 .m Dual Pixel PDAF
1 / 2.6 “sensor

16 mm / 130 °
f / 2.2

Additional 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF)
Front camera 8MP 1.12 .m
f / 2.0
8MP 1.12 .m
f / 2.0
Storage 256 GB
+ microSD
128/256 GB
+ microSD
3.5 mm headphone jack
Wireless (local)
IP classification IP65 and IP68
Other features Dual speakers
Dual SIM card 1x nanoSIM + microSD

2x nanoSIM

Starting price $ 1099 / £ / 1199 € $ 949 / € 899

At the core of the phone we find a Snapdragon 865 SoC that enables the device to have excellent performance. Although the SoC is quite conservative in terms of its power consumption, the Xperia 1 II had very easy degradation under sustained workloads like games. To address this, Sony has developed an improved thermal dispersion system inside the phone, mainly thanks to a new large graphite pad that is able to transfer heat from the SoC to the larger footprint of the display panel. This should help the device achieve almost indeterminate sustained performance under normal circumstances.

In terms of memory, we still see a reasonable 8 GB DRAM and storage capacity of 128 and 256 GB that can be expanded with microSD cards.

In terms of design, the Xperia 5 II takes queues from the Xperia 1 II as it has almost identical front and rear designs. On the front, that means there are still two top and bottom frames instead of more modern notches or hole cameras, but this comes in handy for having two surprisingly good ones, and what Sony claims to be much better balanced stereo speakers than what we see in other competing smartphones.

A change in the ergonomics of the phone is the fact that the Xperia 5 II comes with a rounded side-frame design rather the more rectangular and boxy design of the 1 II – in this sense the phone seems to be more similar to the Xperia 1, and honestly it is positive as I think it gives a much better feel and ergonomics in the hand than 1 II.

This is still a pretty small phone by today’s standards (And today’s standards are big phones!). With a width of 68 mm, it is narrower than the smallest Galaxy S20 and still weighs only a reasonable 163 grams. Sony has been able to increase the battery capacity of the original Xperia 5 from 3110mAh to a new 4000mAh device at the same time by redesigning the interior of the phone and redesigning the motherboard and using a multi-stack design. The battery compartment also uses a wider footprint inside the phone and maximizes the space used in the frame.

The display on the Xperia 5 II is brand new to Sony. It is an OLED display with a resolution of 2540 x 1080, but this time it introduces a 120Hz refresh rate and even has a 240Hz touch input sampling rate. It’s a big leap from not only the Xperia 5, but also this year’s Xperia 1 II. I’ve never been a fan of Sony’s choice to hunt for 4K displays in their Xperia 1 lineup, so honestly it’s complete overkill at a great price for battery life. A 120Hz refresh rate at FHD + as on the Xperia 5 II is a much better choice for the user experience, and the resolution loss should not be so bad on this 6.1 ”display, as it is quite smaller than the norm today, so PPI is still reasonably high .

The rear camera design is very similar to the Xperia 1 II. In fact, it is essentially an identical camera setup with respect to the modules:

A primary 24mm equivalent module with a 12MP 1 / 1.76 ”sensor with 1.8 pixelsm pixels and an f / 1.7 optics system with OIS acts as an excellent primary camera. This is enhanced by a 70 mm equivalent 3x optical zoom 12MP 1.0 fm f / 2.4 module with OIS acting as a tele-camera and also a 16 mm equivalent 12 MP 1.4 fm f / 2.2- module as the ultra-wide angle unit.

The one thing missing from the Xperia 5 II that is present on its larger siblings is the depth sensor with flight time – not such a big loss for photography.

Sony’s camera experience has never been hardware, but rather their approach to software processing. The company has a more convenient approach to images, more like their digital camera or mirrorless systems – which does not always succeed in the smartphone space, as you need more computational photography to counteract the negative by having a smaller camera sensor on a phone. In that regard, while the Xperia 5 II looks great on paper, don’t expect such a great daily experience as on an iPhone or Galaxy.

The phone is only 8.0 mm thick, which is still extremely useful given its narrow width.

Sony brought back the 3.5mm headphone jack this year, and in the Xperia 5 II they even claim to have improved sound quality by improving the cross-talk and audio signal path. It’s nice to see companies admit that removing this port was a mistake and restored their previous choices – it now really gives the Xperia 5 II a quite differentiating advantage over the competition as almost no one else has this option.

With IP68 water resistance, it seems that the Xperia 5 II marks almost every feature check box for what you want in a phone in 2020, which is very unusual and extremely unexpected from Sony.

As an overall package, the phone looks incredibly competitive and I have not been able to say that about a Sony phone in ages, if ever.

The unit’s only real warning is its pricing: at $ 949 or € 899, it’s still slightly priced compared to other flagships of 2020, especially this late into the generation cycle. In Europe, the Xperia 5 II will be available in October, while the US will again get it quite late with availability only from December 4thth – which is extremely late, and at that time it is better to wait for the spring of 2021 updated from the competition.

Still, it’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about a Sony phone this way, and it’s definitely positive for the company’s new path in the mobile area.

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