Sony Xperia 5ii Review
Sony have brought out an update to their compact range the Sony Xperia 5ii, it keeps the naming convention of “ii” like the rest of their latest Xperia range.
They added more of the company’s Alpha camera’s technology to their smartphones, which is great for people who want to take great photos and videos on their smartphones as if you have a smartphone it probably has a Sony sensor as its camera sensor.
The dimensions and weight of the Sony Xperia 5ii are approximately the same as the Xperia 5 but a little bit thinner at 158 x 68 x 8 mm and 1g lighter at 163g which is some very good engineering considering there is now a 4000mAh battery inside the phone.
When you hold the Xperia 5ii, it feels like a premium phone its really well balanced in the hand with rounded corners and its great not having a notch or punch camera to reduce the size of the screen.
The Xperia 5ii follows on from the rest of the Xperia range by having a 21:9 display which makes the phone narrower than other phones of similar screen size, but it adds the benefit of been easier to hold.
The bezels at the top and bottom of the phone allowed Sony put forward facing stereo speakers which is the best placement of speakers in a phone.
Sony have added a new physical button at the right side of the phone along which acts as a shortcut to Google Assistant, its a pity you dont have an option to re-program the button to something else. Also on the right side of the phone is the volume rocker, dedicated camera button and the dual fingerprint sensor and power button.
The position of the fingerprint sensor/power-button makes holding the phone and the action of unlocking seamless, the fingerprint sensor worked very well and is improved over the Xperia 5.
Also the headphone jack makes a welcome return so no need for usb-c adapters while using your wired headphones.
On the rear of the phone there is the raised triple lens camera setup which now has a Zeiss coating on the lens to reduce reflection.
Again like the Xperia 5, the Xperia 5ii has Corning Gorilla Glass 6 to protect against drops and also is IP65/IP68 dust/water resistant. Like most phones the rear of the phone doesn't offer too much grip so its worth putting it into a case to give it some more protection.
A really useful feature that all Sony Xperia phones including the Sony Xperia 5ii have is the ability to open the hybrid sim microsd tray (or dual sim) without the need to go searching for a special tool, aka a paperclip to open it, all you need is a fingernail and out it pops.
In the box I got a quick start guide, USB-C cable (UCB24) and a Fast charger (UCH-32)
I found the 6.1’’ FHD+ HDR OLED (2520x1080) screen bright and colour reproduction very good, scrolling with the 120Hz Refresh rate was very smooth.
You have an option to view content in Creator Mode which reproduces content the way the creator wanted it, currently only Netflix is supported.
Sony also brings their Bravia TV tech to the Xperia 5ii with X1 for mobile which improves the quality of videos that you watch on it.
Watching Netflix and Amazon Prime content the screen was bright and sharp.
Sony have their Multi Window App, which allows you to view two applications at the same time i.e YouTube and Chrome, the app has improved on older versions as you can now resize the windows that you have chosen.
There are plenty of options in the Display settings to tweak how you like your display like changing the White Balance, Increasing the refresh rate to 120Hz.
There is also the side sense, which is like a quick way to bring up multiple shortcuts.
Or one handed mode, which reduces the screen size so you can use all the phone features with one hand.
Again Sony have squeezed in a LED notification in the top bezel which is very handy so you dont miss important notifications.
The biggest upgrade is in camera for the Xperia 5ii with its triple 12 MegaPixel cameras setup with 16mm Ultra wide-angle (124 Degree Field of View) , 24mm Wide-angle (the Sensor is 50% bigger than on Xperia 5) ,70mm Telephoto with the 3x optical zoom.
As Sony merge more into one company they brought their technology from their Alpha cameras to their Xperia smartphones an example of their sharing is the ZEISS T* Coating on the camera lens.Sony say the ZEISS T* coating gives reduced reflection,which gives better contrast and image rendering.
The default camera app is the standard Sony photo/video one, with an option to select which lens you want on the right hand side, using the volume keys allow you to zoom in and out
Default Camera App with lens selection option, and mode selection
Daylight images are bright and crisp and give an accurate representation of the colours.
Real-Time Eye Auto Focus puts the cameras focus on the people/animals eyes to get sharper images of them, you can see it working when the green box appears over a persons eyes while your taking a picture of them.
Outdoor and Outdoor Zoom Example
The camera has a 20fps burst shooting with continuous Auto Focus for action shots.
Low Light photos are helped with Sony’s BIONZ X for mobile so when you take a lowlight photo the camera takes a second for it to process the image when you capture it.
Another of the Modes is Creative Effect which gives live filters of images.
Sony also have their Photo Pro app which allows you to tweak settings before taking your photos even more
The Photo Pro App, is more like having a virtual digital camera in a phone, you do get a smaller area to see the subject that your taking the image of to allow the multitude of settings to be visible on the app as you can see above like Auto- Focus control ISO, shutter speed, white balance, so you can tweak away it did take a bit of work but you can get better shots than if you had used the default camera app as your more in control.
You need to use the dedicated camera button to take photos and saving the image in RAW format is supported in the app so you modify it afterwards as RAW preserves all of the data from the camera sensor.
The front selfie camera is a 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm ,with a 84 Degree Field of View.
For Portrait Selfie Mode there are options to tweak skin tone, add a Bokeh effect, Skin brightness, eye and face shape effect. The camera did a decent job in low light.
You can get it to automatically take a photo when you use your hand or when you smile.
Main video app which is similar to the photo, is the default Sony one, while recording in video you have to select one lens, so its a pity you couldnt switch them while your recording a video. The slow motion is really simple to use and a nice feature which has the World´s first 4K HDR 120fps slow-motion movie recording in a smartphone. There is also an intelligent Wind filter that reduces wind noise when recording video, i found this worked very well.
YouTube Link for Video Samples taken with the Xperia 5ii
The Pro video app is for the person who want to make more stylized videos and wants to tweak settings including ISO, shutter speed, white balance, cinematic color gradings, focusing, and more. I liked the way you get to see more of the viewfinder once you press the REC button. Found it strange there was no zoom option though.
The Xperia 5 II offers a lot for the mobile gamer with the 120Hz Refresh rate on the OLED, Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming and also comes with 240Hz Touch scanning rate (which is 4 times that of the Xperia 5) which gives you more precise control over movement in the game.
Preinstalled on the Xperia 5 II is the game Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship Tournament 2020
It would be good if you could pair the Sound Dynamic Vibration with adds a rumble effect that matches audio when in Game Enhancer mode.
The Game Enhancer mode allows you to modify how the phone is used when your playing games, i.e. if you want High performance gaming (this will decrease battery faster as refresh rate is high), you can hide notifications etc or even record the screen.
Also when your charging and playing the battery doesnt get charged only the phone uses the power, I found the phone super responsive while playing games.
Sony have made a big increase in the battery capacity from the 3140mAh in the Xperia 5 to 4000mAh in the Xperia 5ii, and you can definitely notice the difference.I had at least 45-55% left in the battery every night after a day of very heavy usage.
Sony have always been very good at squeezing the most out of a phones battery and monitor apps that are using it and restrict them so you wont waste battery.
If you are running low you can enable Stamina mode which will enable a power-saving mode that turns off background activity and reduces high power features to extend the battery that's remaining.
And they have included Battery care which is a nice feature that increases the lifespan of the phones battery.
If wireless charging was supported on the Xperia 5ii it would be a good addition.
Using PD3.0/Quick charge at 21W the Xperia 5ii can charge 50% in 30 minutes.
The Xpera 5ii comes with two front facing stereo speakers which I found held up well when the volume was high on different music types.
There is also the 3.5mm audio jack which is great for wired headsets, also included is 3 months free access to the Tidal music streaming service.
Dolby Atoms is a new feature and it was very noticeable when for example I switched on Movie mode and listening on headphones I could hear more background noises more clearly from the faint sound of a police car passing in the distance or people talking in the background to big explosions and the sound was louder, DSEE is supported.
Qualcomm® aptX™ HD audio is supported which most good TWS earphones have.
The Xperia 5ii runs the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 865 5G Mobile Platform and 8GB RAM along with 128gb internal memory plus an option for more via the easily removable simcard/microsd hybrid tray up to 1 TB extra storage. The phone never lagged anytime I used it.
The Android 11 is available and I upgraded to it, afterwards the phone seems a bit snappier since the upgrade and the camera opened and took pictures quicker, Android 11 offers more customization over notifications and smart device controls. Its a pity face unlock is not supported by the phone.
Sony only has very light modification of the Android OS and during startup its nice you get an option not to install extra apps when your signing into google but you can disable some apps you dont want. But for older apps there isnt full screen support for some of them.
Is future proofed with 5G and WiFi 6, a nice feature is you can tell what type of wifi your connected to via the home-screen notification bar, as there is a little number next to the Wi-Fi signal strength i.e. 4 for 2.4GHz, 5 for 5Ghz and 6 for Wi-Fi 6 connection.
The Xperia 5ii also supports a connection to an external monitor via a USB-C to HDMI cable.
When I can get to a location with 5G I will try the phone out on it and put the results here.
If your looking for a long lasting phone that takes great pictures the Sony Xperia 5ii is the phone for you.
Available to buy online via
And selected Irish Operators