Sony’s Xperia 5 II is almost like a flagship phone

The Sony Xperia 5 II is a high-end phone with the right compromises.

by Justin Choo

Just by first impressions alone, it’s understandable to think of the Sony Xperia 5 II as a more prudent Xperia 1 II. But the Xperia 5 II has all the elements to is strong enough to be its own thing.

This sleek, lean machine fits comfortably in your hand and yet it sports a flagship-class processor in the Snapdragon 865 along with 8GB of RAM. Everything on this device screams attention to detail, and you’d struggle to think about what they’ve missed out – oh – wireless charging. OK, not an issue; at least it fulfils the IPX65/68 water resistance rating. That aside, this phone checks all the right boxes with its multimedia-centric feature set.

First off, you get a 120Hz OLED display with 240Hz polling in 21:9 aspect ratio. It sports Sony’s colour reproduction tech for a more cinematic look when you put a movie on – and for that matter, it also meets Dolby Atmos specifications. Sony’s DSEE Ultimate upscales compressed tracks to almost high-resolution quality while 360 Reality Audio enhances the spatial quality of the audio tracks. There’s also a headphone jack if you are particular about music quality.

The Sony Xperia 5 II comes in a variety of subtle colour tones

The Sony Xperia 5 II comes in a variety of subtle colour tones

If you love to game on your mobile phone, you’d have noticed that the specs so far lend themselves well to gaming. You’d be right. The phone also has 240Hz motion blur reduction for even smoother turns in mobile FPS games, and they’ve included a Game Enhancer mode that helps to manage notifications and block screen edges to minimise disruption. Last but not least, there’s a high capacity 4,000 mAh battery to ensure you have enough juice to enjoy the goodies.

The cameras aren’t bad either; they sport Zeiss branding, and the lenses are decently sharp. The photos are more natural-looking compared to the software-enhanced photographs we’ve gotten used to in the last couple of years. Sony also developed apps to shoot both videos and stills in Pro mode. If you are a Sony Alpha system camera user, then the interface will be a very familiar one (yes Alpha users, Sony is calling you too). It sports the Real-time Eye AF made famous on the Alpha line, and a up to 20 fps burst shooting with continuous Autofocus to help you nail that action shot. It’s also the first phone to offer 4K HDR 120fps slow-motion capabilities.

At $1,349, the Xperia 5 II slots in just a tier below heavy hitters like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro, but it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re missing out too much.

The Sony Xperia 5 II is all about the shine.

The Sony Xperia 5 II is all about the shine