This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
With a revamped camera system and polished display and music playback, the Xperia 1 II is getting a lot of attention, but on the other hand, the flagship model has a price tag of over 100,000 yen. With separation plans being mandated and carrier discounts being curtailed, it may be difficult for some to get their hands on one. Sony Mobile is also sending out handsets that match those times, along with the Xperia 1 II. That's the Xperia 10 II we're reviewing here.
▲Reviewing the mid-range Xperia 10 II model
Sony Mobile changed its model number rules last year, giving a number from 1 to 10 after the Xperia brand. This number signifies a higher or lower spec, with lower numbers meaning higher performance. With the flagship "1" at the top, the closer the number gets to 10, the more performance is kept in check, but the more reasonable the price becomes. The Xperia 10 II is the second generation of such a mid-range Xperia.
However, this is actually the first time that a device bearing the Xperia 10 name has been launched in Japan. Last year's Xperia 10 was aimed at the global market. In Japan, the Xperia 8, a slightly more advanced version of the Xperia 10 with additional features such as a mobile wallet, has been launched. In contrast, the Xperia 10 II has been launched globally with the same model, but as for the version to be released in Japan, it has mobile wallet support. In effect, it could be said to be the successor to the Xperia 8.
Even though it's mid-range, the specs have gone up from the Xperia 8 and we also got the impression that it's a full-fledged device that's ready to be used. The big change is the camera, which has evolved from a dual camera to a triple camera. The triple camera consists of a 16mm super wide angle, a 26mm standard, and a 52mm telephoto. If you take the standard camera as 1x, the super wide angle is 0.6x and the telephoto is 2x. This is a bit different from the Xperia 1 II, which has 3x telephoto.
▲It's now a triple camera and the camera part looks closer to the Xperia 1 II.
The pictures are very natural and in some situations the results were better than the Xperia 1 II. Perhaps because the Xperia 1 II uses 'Photography Pro', there are some subjects that are a bit darker when taken in auto. In contrast, the Xperia 10 II's camera produces a bright and crisp picture. Especially with food, the difference may be easier to see. Maybe we shouldn't compare it to the Photography Pro, which is tuned more towards a digital camera, but the Xperia 10 II creates a more "smartphone-like" picture.
▲The colors are natural, but food photos tend to be much lighter.
▲A dish taken with Photography Pro on the Xperia 1 II. Darker than Xperia 10 II.
In terms of "smartphone-like", the Xperia 10 II comes with a recent trend, Night Mode. This is the so-called Night Scene mode, which uses continuous shooting composite to take a brighter picture of a dark place. The flagship Xperia 1 II does not have it, only the Xperia 10 II support. In fact, regardless of whether you take so many nighttime shots with your phone, these features will make you want to take pictures when you're out and about at night. It's also worth noting that it comes with features not found in higher-end models.
▲Xperia 10 II has a night mode that the Xperia 1 II does not
However, as far as the standard camera is concerned, I found the shutter lag to be a bit high when I was shooting. I would like to point out that when I tried to take a picture of a moving person, it was difficult to get the picture I was aiming for. Maybe this is due to the significantly different processing power, but it didn't feel as good as the Xperia 1 II, which I can comfortably shoot with.
▲I struggled to take a picture of a moving person, the shutter lag was a bit large, and I finally got to this one after about 10 shots.
Despite being a mid-range model, the display is a 21:9 OLED, which provides both display quality and ease of use. It doesn't have a creator mode like the Xperia 1 II, but you can choose from two image quality options, Original Mode and Standard Mode with extended color gamut, and you can also optimize the image quality during video playback. The advantage of this aspect ratio is that it doesn't cut off the edges of the image when watching a CinemaScope sized movie.
▲Two display quality options are available
We also appreciate the ease of use of the multi-window, which allows you to put two apps on top and bottom. The Xperia 10 II comes with the same multi-window app as the Xperia 1 II, which allows you to select and launch each of the top and bottom apps in order. The multi-window app can also be called up from the Side Sense, which appears when you double-tap the bar at the edge of the screen.
This may be a bit off topic, but the way the Side Sense is called up is also slightly different from the Xperia 1 II. Whereas on the Xperia 1 II you double-tap the edge of the screen, on the Xperia 10 II, you double-tap the bar on the screen. Both are the edges of the screen, but that on the Xperia 1 II is a bit more severe in its judgement. In contrast, on the Xperia 10 II, the bar is well outlined, so it seems clearer and easier to operate, as you know where to tap. I'm having a hard time getting used to the Xperia 1 II's Side Sense, but I can certainly call it out on the Xperia 10 II, and I feel that I'd rather see it come closer to this specification.
▲It also supports Side Sense.
It's responsive and moves quickly, just like a high-end model. However, compared to the high-end models, the scrolling can be momentarily bumpy. This may be the fate of mid-range models. Nevertheless, the responsiveness is so good that it makes you forget that it's a mid-range model, we got the impression that it was pretty well tuned. The score by AnTuTuTu Benchmark is 166,307 points, which is a typical number for the mid-range.
▲Benchmark scores are in the range of mid-range model.
Overall, the Xperia 10 II looks well done, but its design and materials are cheaper than the flagship-class devices. Since the frame part is resin, we can't deny that it has a more casual taste compared to the Xperia 1 II, which is made of metal. Also, the standard camera is fine, but the wide-angle camera tends to be a bit too dark. Comparing the three cameras, only one of them has a significant difference in exposure, I thought this was a necessary improvement.
▲The frame is made of resin.
▲I took a comparison of the same landscape at wide angle and standard, and the wide angle side was much darker.
The DOCOMO version reviewed here costs 41,976 yen for a new contract or upgrade. The Y! Mobile version is almost the same price as the DOCOMO version if you have a new contract, the au version is priced at 49,990 yen, which is close to 50,000 yen. The OLED and triple-camera features are commendable, but considering it's a mid-range model with the Snapdragon 665, we feel it's more expensive, especially for the au version. I think it's reasonable if it's about the docomo version.
However, this is in comparison to the mid-range models from Chinese manufacturers that can produce volume globally. Considering even the brand value that Xperia has developed in the Japanese market, we can evaluate the device as relatively affordable. If the MNP discount is applied, you can get it in the 20,000 yen range, making it a good one for those who were thinking of changing carriers. I would recommend it as a recipient of a contract change from a feature phone.
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This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.