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Sony Xperia 5 II review: the best Compact Android top

Sony Xperia 5 II review: the best Compact Android top

A few weeks ago I had worked why I would like to have a small smartphone, in which I complained that among the top of the Android range compact devices were counted on the fingers of one hand and that in any case everyone had important compromises to submit to.

This is why, after trying a few days the Sony Xperia 5 II my passion for these items has been rekinded suddenly and with her also the desire to rediscover a Sony finally showing what it can do.

Sony Xperia 5 II is a true top of the range of compact size in which sacrifices are not required, convincing autonomy, excellent build quality and one after another impeccable numbers pitted on the data sheet.

Is it perfect? of course not, there is some smudge, but these are more of Sony's "original" choices for the photographic part and somevenial flaws for the hardware equipment. Aspects on which you can safely turn a blind eye given the experience of global use that manages to put this product in place.

Sony Xperia 5 II first of all is a compact smartphone, this aspect must be taken into account in order to fully understand its value. Its characteristics are not in fact exclusive, and indeed it shares roughly the same specifications as most top-of-the-range, with the difference, however, that this is handy and practical.

The dimensions, combined with a data sheet without giving up, make this smartphone a Unicum in the Android landscape.

158 x 68 x 8 mm by 163 grams, it is not "small" ever but it is very narrow and light. It doesn't weigh in your pocket, it doesn't clutter, and it still offers a 6.1-inch diagonal display thanks to its elongated 21:9 format.

Unfortunately it's really very slippery, almost as if the aluminum edges had received an oleophobic treatment, let me say that it is incredible that only Apple has figured out how to handle the metal frame to prevent the smartphone from becoming a bar of soap.

Slipperiness apart in addition to the aluminum edge we find two glass faces Gorilla Glass 6, particularly resistant to falls, there is no lack of IP68 certified water and dust resistance.

Note: Given the numerous protests that users have raised about the term "compact" it seems right to provide further explanation. As written a few lines above this is not a "small" smartphone in the absolute sense but is a smartphone more "compact" than the vast majority of top of the Android range. I am not referring to the iPhone 12 Mini that has just come out, nor to other Android smartphones released in recent years such as the Samsung Galaxy S10e. Among the products of 2020 on the high end Xperia 5 II is perhaps the most handy and practical Android smartphone together with galaxy S20. The first influence on this judgment is the width. It has an elongated appearance ratio and this greatly facilitates grip. Then there is a one-hand mode that is easy to activate (swipe down on home) and some gestures that allow the use of a hand without problems, in this sense the fact that it is still long does not adversely affect ergonomics. The Android landscape, especially on the top of the range does not offer small smartphones, so the term compact is clearly to refer to a context of very large products.

However, I want to dwell for a moment on the design because the Xperia 5 II is one of the very few smartphones capable of distinguishing itself from the mass. They are always more or less similar, but he may or may not like it, but it is different.

Sony follows the square design line that dates back to the time of the first Xperia Z, does not put a notch, does not put squares in the rear optical group, does not put curved edges. The result is a smartphone that I personally find extremely elegant and refined.

Another peculiarity of Sony Xperia 5 II is its data sheet with very few smudges and indeed, even some surprises.

  • Display: 6.1" FullHD+ OLED, 9:9pm, OLED panel, 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, HDR
  • Soc: Snapdragon 865 octa-core
  • Memory:
    • 8GB LPDDR5 RAM
    • 128GB UFS 3.0 expandable storage
  • Camera
    • triple rear:
      • 12MP 24mm (1/1.7"), lens with aperture f/1.7, 24mm, viewing angle of 82 degrees
      • 12MP 16mm, ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, 124 degree viewing angle
      • 12MP 70mm, canvas lens with aperture f/2.4
    • 4K HDR video recording up to 120fps
    • optical and electronic stabilization for video
    • Front:
      • 8mp
  • Connectivity: 5G sub-6GHz
  • Audio: 3.5mm jack, stereo speaker, DSEE Ultimate, Dolby Atmos, 360 Reality
  • Other: Dualshock 4, IP65/68 certification, side fingerprint reader
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh, 18W fast charging support
  • Doors: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Size and weight: 158 x 68 x 8 mm // 163g
  • Colors: black, gray, blue
  • Ip68

Let's get right to the point, what is missing? Wireless charging, Snapdragon 865+, ultra-fast charging.

They are shortcomings compared to other top of the range released in this period, it is objective. That these gaps have a real impact on everyday use is another matter.

  • Wireless charging: this is a shame, most likely it was a compromise choice due to size to avoid creating a smartphone more often than 8 mm or sacrificing the battery too much, perhaps better so but it is inevitably a mole.
  • Snapdragon 865+: I do not make a drama of it, it is really impossible to realize the difference with the 865 in daily use.
  • Ultra-fast charging: sony's precise choice, which you can share. It is understood that in any case Xperia 5 II supports 21 Watt charging (the charger in pack is 18 Watts) which is still a fast charge, Sony focuses on the durability over time of the 4000 mAh module preferring to equip its smartphone with a series of algorithms that optimize night charging and preserve battery efficiency.

In everything else Sony did its homework very well, the surprise is the presence of the 3.5 mm audio jack port, there is also room for two powerful stereo speakers of a camera with 3x optical magnification and a graphite cooling system, all with a remarkable battery.

The performance is clearly excellent, there are never slowdowns and overheating, smartphones always ready and snappy, just what you would expect from a top. All this is confirmed even with the 120 Hz option of the display turned on, frequency evidently digested without difficulty by the Adreno 650.

Mention should be made of the gaming industry, which is supported by the securities management app, with which you can take advantage of a number of additional features. Dynamic vibration is supported in some games, screen recording but above all sampling rate at 240 Hz and 240 Hz of simulated screen update (120 Hz + motion blur reduction).

The 240 Hz can only be activated in games, in fact it is an algorithm that inserts a black frame for each 120 fps frame, a technology borrowed from the world of Sony Bravia TVs. The 120 Hz of the display can be activated by default throughout the system.

I don't have much to tell you about the phone and connectivity part instead, everything works as it should. In the norm the reception of the signal (SAR body 0.95 W/Kg- SAR head 1.03 W/Kg), there is even WiFi 6, no snag with Android Auto and GPS.

I remember that the memory is expandable but the slot is shared with the second SIM. Sony Xperia 5 II a 5G smartphone with support for 6 Ghz divers, no mmWave. By now it is a standard the crippled support for the crippled 5G network that we deal with and that really struggles to take off.


Sony Xperia 1 II's extreme 4K display has rightly been abandoned to adopt a 'smarter' FullHD+ OLED HDR display on BT.2020 color space. In fact, it is a panel that is anything but trivial, equipped with refresh rate at 120 Hz, great brightness and almost perfect color calibration (100% DCI-P3).

The creation mode it is the one that manages to express the best calibration and is designed for the review of multimedia content made with Sony professional cameras and cameras with colors as true to reality as possible. If desired, however, you can opt for a more captivating display with the classic colors particularly bright and in any case the user can choose to act on different parameters for a personalized calibration.

Numbers aside, that removed specific uses maybe aren't that important, Xperia 5 II is a smartphone with excellent multimedia, thanks to this brilliant display and a strong audio compartment of two powerful stereo speakers with a decent presence of bass.

No less interesting is the sphere dedicated to listening to audio, there is in fact the 3.5mm audio jack port, without a dedicated DAC but with support for high-resolution audio files and Dolby Atmos. Present the technology Sony DSEE Ultimate It upscaling adds information to lossy audio files to simulate high-resolution files. There is also the LDAC codecs for Bluetooth as well as aptx HD for 24-bit wireless transmission. Finally, technology is supported 360 Reality Audio with Tidal-compatible hardware decoding. Difficult to find such complete smartphones and otherwise with expandable memory, often used to store high-resolution files from audiophiles).

Sony has had a pretty simple approach to Android for several years now, mostly stock software with some slight additions.

Altogether Sony Xperia 5 II offers a rather lean and enjoyable user experience, although some shortcomings are beginning to be felt for such an advanced product. For example, there is no dedicated desktop mode that can take advantage of the video output of the Type-C, you can not program dark mode, clone apps, use a private space for some apps.

We find some typical Sony features such as dynamic vibration, virtual side button functions and very few gestures. Customization is almost absent, for example, it is not possible to reverse the position of the back and recent keys in case you do not use gestures. It is not a tragedy but now all the builders try to give something more available to the user.

A few more words about usability, in particular we talk about the fingerprint reader and the other keys, all placed on the right side of the smartphone.

For a left-handed it is not so convenient to reach the fingerprint reader, perfect for a right-handed man. The player is set in the power button, just rest your thumb for instant recognition. But there are a couple of problems that I want to point out to you: the first aspect is that you can not press the button and have the fingerprint recognized at the same time, which instead would be natural to awaken the phone from the standby, the other critical aspect is the continuous activation of the sensor while holding the phone in your hand resting the fingertips or the palm of your hand on the reader, with the result that you often have to unlock with code due to the reached limit of attempts with the reader , what a hassle!

The historical flaw for some Sony smartphones is the too much proximity sensor sensitivity, a problem that is also present on this Xperia 5 II. What does it mean? In call slightly moving the ear will activate the screen, listening to voice notes in your ear will happen that the note unexpectedly passes to the speakers because you have just moved the smartphone, finally carrying your smartphone in your pocket or purse the display will try to turn on all the time with each small movement, this is because the pocket mode deactivates due to an incorrect signal brought by the sensor. It would take so little to fix this grain! Sony are you there?

On Xperia 5 II there is an additional button for the recall of Google Assistant, unfortunately it is not customizable in the feature. Also confirmed the button for shooting double-stroke photos, this time instead customizable for the activation of the standard camera or the "pro" camera.

Sony Xperia 5 II battery is 4000 mAh, a remarkable figure considering the global size of the smartphone. Even more surprising, however, is the resulting autonomy.

With the display set to 60 Hz you cover about 6 and a half hours of active display for an average day and a half of use, no problem to end even the most demanding days perhaps outdoors and with 5G/4G active data connectivity.

Taking advantage of the 120 Hz the range drops but not dramatically, I managed without problems to close the day but without long periods dedicated to gaming. Clearly with the 240 Hz and game the consumption is definitely high but it is more than understandable.

The conservative charging system is interesting. {313}{314}


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