Sony presented in September (2019) its new high-end smartphone Sony Xperia 5, which comes with a more compact size than other competing devices but with powerful technical specifications that have nothing to desire to other rivals.
The Sony Xperia 5 has a 6.1 “FullHD + OLED screen, Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, triple wide-angle rear camera (12MP, f/1.6) + ultra-wide-angle (12MP, f/2.4) + telephoto 2x (12MP, f/2.4), front camera (8MP, f/2.0) and 3,150 mAh battery.
Sony Xperia 5 Review, Price and Specifications
The Sony Xperia 5 is a smartphone with an unconventional appearance, since it has a narrow and thin body but, at the same time, more elongated than other devices. This is because Sony has incorporated a CinemaWide screen with an unusual elongated 21:9 ratio that is also flanked by frames of a certain width above and below.
While other manufacturers opt for curved designs, either on the sides of the screen or on the glass of the back (or both), Sony has opted for completely flat surfaces and mostly straight lines.
As a result, we are faced with a smartphone with a compact size that is comfortable to grip and fits in the palm of your hand.
Sony does not usually hurry to adopt the new design trends and proof of this is that it has not adopted the notch in its terminals (or other solutions such as perforated screens or pop-up cameras) to remove the frames, nor has it yet made use of a fingerprint on the screen.
On Sony Xperia 5, the fingerprint reader is located in a slit on the right side of the end, between the power button and the volume button. The reader works correctly even if you would have preferred to see it integrated with the power button as in the Honor 20 Pro.
The Sony Xperia 5 uses Corning Gorilla Glass 6 in the front and rear glass, so it should resist scratches well. Of course, it also has IP68 protection against water and dust, so there is no problem if you suffer a dip.
The Sony Xperia 5 screen has a 6.1″ OLED panel with Full HD + resolution, which offers a high pixel density (449 dpi) that ensures great sharpness. The panel overly covers the standard sRGB color range and also reaches 100% of the P3 range, which offers a wider range of colors.
The screen is compatible with HDR technology so you can enjoy high dynamic range content from Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services. Sony has included a color mode called Creator that can be activated automatically when using certain apps such as Netflix for greater breadth and color fidelity.
The maximum brightness of the screen is good, 637 nits, but it is somewhat lower compared to other high-end smartphones, which exceed 700 nits in bright conditions.
The Sony Xperia 5 arrives with the functionality of Always Active Screen (Ambient Display in Sony nomenclature) to see the time/date, battery level, and pending notifications, although by default it only turns on when noticing movement or receiving notifications. I would have liked the screen to turn on by double-tapping on it but it does not seem that this option is available.
Of course, the Sony Xperia 5 screen offers a Night Light mode to filter blue light at night and better sleep.
At the hardware level, the Xperia 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6 GB of RAM, so it is leftover in terms of power – although perhaps some more RAM memory would have been bad, especially for the future.
The Xperia 5 has obtained excellent results in the performance tests, although today all high-end smartphones get very similar results.
In the day-to-day, I had no problem with the performance of the Xperia 5, which gently moves apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, etc. and handles the multi-task with ease.
If you are fond of games, I have measured high and stable rates of FPS in demanding 3D titles such as Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2 and Call of Duty, so the Xperia 5 is a good choice for more gamers.
The Xperia 5 arrives with 128 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by micro-SD up to 512 GB. Sony does not support Adoptable Storage and therefore does not allow formatting the card as internal storage – in reality, few manufacturers allow it to do so.
In the connectivity aspect, the Sony Xperia 5 is well served since, in addition to WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 5, it offers Dual SIM connectivity and LTE connectivity with download speed Cat. 19 of up to 1.6 Gbps
The battery capacity of the Xperia 5 is 3,140 mAh, a value that is not too high for a 6.1″ screen. In the test of autonomy, the results have been correct and, in the day-to-day, we have obtained good autonomy although I would have preferred to see a little more battery even at the cost of increasing the thickness.
If you need to charge it quickly, the Sony Xperia 5 is compatible with USB Power Delivery fast charging (but not with Qualcomm Quick Charge) and the charger that includes Sony in the box is an 18W USB PD charger. In less than half an hour, 50% of the capacity is reached, and in just less than two hours, 100% of the capacity.
As usual, Sony incorporates Stamina energy-saving modes that extend battery life at the expense of dispensing with certain functionalities, as well as the Battery Care functionality that lengthens battery wear by adapting the end time of the charge at the moment you usually disconnect the phone from the charger.
Unfortunately, the Xperia 5 does not have Qi wireless charging, which is a difficult absence to justify given that other Xperia models do offer this functionality.
In the photographic section, Sony Xperia 5 arrives with three rear cameras: wide-angle (12MP, f/1.6, OIS), ultra-wide-angle (12MP, f/2.4) and 2X telephoto (12MP, f/2.4, OIS).
The main camera is capable of taking very clear pictures in good light conditions and offers a very good result in low light conditions. I would not dare to say that it is the best – for example, the iPhone 11 Pro produces somewhat sharper images and with a greater dynamic range at night – but the quality has improved significantly compared to what we saw in the past. Finally, we miss a Night mode like that incorporated by other manufacturers to take photos with longer exposures.
The ultra-wide-angle and telephoto cameras offer good image quality but are not intended for low light conditions, so the quality suffers at night or indoors.
Sony has incorporated a Portrait mode that makes use of the telephoto camera offers quite good results in terms of separation of the subject and the background, although the degree of blurring is not adjustable afterward.
The problem it has is that it uses the telephoto camera and, therefore, the noise is quite visible in low light conditions. Other smartphones with better telephoto cameras offer better results.
The video recording is good, especially in the stabilization aspect, where SteadyShot returns to give good results.
We can record 4K video at 30 fps even with HDR but, surprisingly, we can’t record 4K video at 60 fps even in non-HDR. We do not know why Sony does not enable this recording mode that other manufacturers offer.
Sony has included a video app with professional options (24 fps recording, different color looks, etc.) called Cinema Pro that can be useful for amateur film directors. Its main drawback is that, given a large amount of information displayed on the screen and its small size, the image viewer we are recording looks quite small.
The front camera has an 8MP sensor and an f/2.0 aperture and produces good selfies in good light conditions but with a lot of noise when the light is low. It also offers a Portrait mode that is accompanied by other touch-ups such as smoothing and shine of the skin, increased eye size and thinning of the face.
Sony has paid special attention to sound, incorporating support for Dolby Atmos, stereo speakers that sound with great power and a good number of sound settings to improve playback. However, Sony has dispensed with the 3.5mm headphone jack. The Music app is one of the most complete I’ve seen since it is even able to download album covers from the Gracenote service.
The Sony Xperia 5 has a system called Dynamic Vibration that makes the phone vibrate to the rhythm of the sound when playing music or videos (but not games) and which, in my opinion, is more a curiosity than anything else.
Xperia 5 arrives with Android 9.0 Pie, although some units are already receiving the update to Android 10. Its customization layer offers some interesting features such as power-saving modes, advanced sound settings or Side Sensor functionality.
Sony has pre-installed a good number of third-party apps such as Netflix, Amazon (2 apps), Booking, Fortnite Installer, Facebook and more. In some cases, it is possible to uninstall the app but, in others, we have to settle for disabling it.
The Side Sensor functionality offers quick access to the eight applications you use most by double-tapping anywhere on the sides of the phone, as well as going backward or opening two apps at the same time by dragging your finger along the side.
Sony has included a Game Optimizer that allows you to squeeze the maximum performance of the phone, hide notifications while you play, take bursts of screenshots, record games including your face with the front camera and ambient sound, etc. If you just play on mobile, it is an interesting addition.
I miss some functionalities in the Sony layer such as a second private space, protection of access to apps and certain photographs by password/fingerprint, cloning of apps for those that do not offer multi-account, gesture control, etc.
Sony Xperia 5 Full Specifications
|Key Features||* Triple lens camera with 16mm, 26mm, and 52mm lenses|
* Eye Autofocus
* 21:9 CinemaWide™ 6.1″ FHD+ HDR OLED display
|Weight & Dimensions||164.4 grams||6.2 x 2.6 x 0.3 inches|
|Main camera||A triple-lens camera system|
12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP
2x optical zoom
|Front camera||8 MP|
1/4 sensor size
Pixel pitch 1.12 μm
HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo
|SteadyShotTM with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization)|
Portrait selfie effects
Hand and Smile Shutter
|Memory and storage||6 GB RAM|
128 GB UFS memory1
microSDXC support (up to 512 GB)
|SIM capability||Single SIM|
|Operating System||Android™ 9 Pie|
|Processor (CPU)||Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform 3|
Xperia® Adaptive Charging
USB Power Delivery (USB PD) fast charging
Ambient light sensor
Game rotation vector
Geomagnetic rotation vector
Significant motion detector
The best and Worst of Sony Xperia 5
The best of Xperia 5:
The Worst of Xperia 5:
Price and competitors
Sony Xperia 5 is on sale for $698.00 on online sites like Amazon, a price that is below many other high-end smartphones on the market.
Next, we will review some smartphones that compete in technical specifications with the Sony Xperia 5.
The Huawei P30 Pro ( $685.00 (128GB), $733.99 (256GB) and $947.99 (512GB) ) is an interesting alternative as it has an OLED screen of 6.47 Full HD +, Kirin 980 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128/256/512GB of storage, quad rear camera 40MP + 20MP + 8MP + ToF, 32MP front camera and 4,200 mAh battery with direct and reverse wireless charging.
The Samsung Galaxy Note10 + ( $1,099.99 ) has a large 6.8 OLED screen, Exynos 9825 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of expandable storage via micro-SD, 12MP + 12MP rear camera (telephoto) + 16MP (wide angle) ), 10MP front camera and 4,300 mAh battery with fast charging at 45W.
The OnePlus 7T Pro ( $878.00 ) has a 6.7 display, Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8/12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, 48MP rear camera + 8MP (telephoto) + 16MP (ultra-wide-angle) , 16MP pop-up front camera and 4,085 mAh battery.
Another interesting competitor is the Pixel 4 ( $ 899.00 ), which has a P-OLED screen of 5.7, Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage, dual 12MP rear camera (wide angle) + 16MP (telephoto), 8MP front camera and 2,800 mAh battery. There is also a larger version, the Pixel 4 XL.
All image credits: Xperia 5 official website.
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