The Sony Xperia 5 II Is a Sleek and Sneakily Sophisticated Little Phone

The Sony Xperia 5 II Is a Sleek and Sneakily Sophisticated Little Phone
Photo: Sony

Following a couple years of lacklustre releases, Sony’s Xperia phones have sort of flown under the radar — especially in the U.S. where Sony phones are typically only available unlocked and not sold through carriers. But Sony just announced the Xperia 5 II, which looks like a sleek little phone with some surprisingly beefy specs and features.

Editor’s Note: Sony no longer sells phones in Australia, but feel free to keep reading if you love some FOMO.

Sporting a 6.1-inch 21:9 OLED display, the Xperia 5 II looks to be a smaller version of the Xperia 1 II, except that the Xperia 5 II has a few new features not found on its bigger sibling. The most notable new feature is a 120Hz refresh rate, which is a first for any Sony phone.

Photo: Sony Photo: Sony

Sony has also increased the touch sampling rate of the Xperia 5 II’s display to 240Hz. Paired with the phone’s Game Enhancer mode and Sony’s new HS Power Control feature, which lets you power the phone without charging battery when plugged (which is supposed reduce heat from charging from slowing down the phone), Sony says the Xperia 5 II should be a powerful mobile gaming device.

Around back, the Xperia 5 II offers three 12-MP rear cameras with 16mm, 24mm, and 70mm full-frame equivalent lenses that Sony says were designed to cover all the main focal lengths that photographers typically demand. And just like Sony’s class-leading mirrorless camera, the Xperia 5 II also comes with real-time subject tracking, eye AF, and the ability to shoot continuously at up to 20 fps with full auto exposure and autofocus. And as another first, Sony claims the Xperia 5 II is the first phone to offer support for 120 fps slow-motion video capture at 4K with HDR.

Photo: Sony Photo: Sony

Meanwhile, on the inside, the Xperia 5 II still offers full flagship-level specs, including a Snapdragon 865 chip, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage, microSD card slot, and a Hi-Res audio certified headphone jack. And while Sony skipped the fancy in-screen fingerprint reader that is becoming more common on high-end phones, you still get a side-mounted fingerprint reader for easy access. Finally, one of its most impressive specs is that even with its smaller dimensions, the Xperia 5 II also has a 4,000 mAh battery, which is the same size battery Sony put in the Xperia 1 II, though sadly it seems you don’t get support for wireless charging.

And while I won’t say the phone is especially flashy, I also want to call out the Xperia 5 II’s design. In some ways, with its dual speakers and relatively decent-sized bezels across the top and bottom of its display, the Xperia 5 II is kind of a throwback to phone styling from a couple years back. It’s honestly kind of refreshing. I might even call it quaint. Heck, Sony even included the dedicated side-mounted shutter button for its camera, which is one feature I’ve always liked on Sony phones, but doesn’t get a lot of love from other device makers.

Photo: Sony Photo: Sony

So while I haven’t had a chance to check it out in person, the Xperia 5 II is giving me the same vibes I got from last year’s Xperia 1, which to me was the most underappreciated phone of 2019 (and I’m sticking to it). However, with a starting price of $US950 ($1,297), the Xperia 5 II definitely ain’t cheap.

Pre-orders for the Xperia 5 II begin on Sept. 29, though for some reason, actual shipments aren’t expected to begin until Dec. 4.