Xperia 5 II

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

Sony Mobile's latest smartphone, the Xperia 5 II, is now available from au and Softbank. I used a loaner unit of Xperia 5 II, and I feel that it is "a completed form of the new generation Xperia" in terms of finish. By the way, please note that I am talking about the finish as an Xperia, not how it compares to other manufacturers' products.

The Xperia series has been reborn as a new lineup from Xperia 1, which was introduced last year, and this year the second generation has been launched. And basically, the Xperia 5 II stands as a compact version of the Xperia 1 II, with the same specifications and other features. So why is the Xperia 5 II more complete than the Xperia 1 II? First of all, it is the size of the unit. Because the display is a little smaller (6.1 inches), the overall size is also smaller, and because of the rounded design of the edges is also easy to grip.

Xperia 5 II
It's a great size in your hand, easy to grip and use.

The refresh rate of the display is also 120Hz, with smooth scrolling, etc. The difference between 60Hz and 90Hz isn't surprising, but at 60Hz and 120Hz it's quite different. I rarely play games, but I feel that I can comfortably play games that support a high refresh rate.

Of course, the larger screen is better suited to watching videos and playing games, but since there is only a 0.6-inch difference, I don't feel that much difference. The Xperia 5 II is on the edge of a size, with a display large enough to enjoy high-quality video content, yet easy to use.

Xperia 5 II
The Xperia 1 II (right) is certainly larger in comparison, but this size difference doesn't make much of a difference in video impact.

Xperia 5 II
There's enough practical display space for a split display.

The battery capacity is also the same 4000 mAh as the Xperia 1 II, so you can expect the same amount of battery life.

The camera performance of the Xperia 5 II is also the same as the Xperia 1 II, although there is no "3D iToF sensor" and the focus speed in the dark is a little less than the Xperia 1 II. The image quality itself is not inferior to the Xperia 1 II. On the contrary, there is a casualness that allows you to take it out and shoot quickly because it is compact.

Xperia 5 II
The camera's performance is almost identical to that of the Xperia 1 II and includes the original Photography Pro camera app.

And the biggest difference is the sound. It's hard to convey in the text article, but the sound from the built-in speakers is much better than the Xperia 1 II. It is said that this is achieved by adjusting the balance between the left and right stereo speakers, the sound quality is natural, not to mention the stereo feel, and there is no unpleasant unbalance. If you're curious about this, I'd like you to try out the actual device at a retail store.

Xperia 5 II
I want you to experience the sound from the built-in speakers in person.

As a smartphone, the Xperia 5 II is better than the Xperia 1 II in terms of usability and completeness. If you asked me whether you should buy the Xperia 1 II or the Xperia 5 II, I would definitely recommend the Xperia 5 II.

However, there are some things that I am concerned about. One is the use of the Google Assistant button; the Xperia 5 II has all the physical buttons on the right side of the device, which gives the impression that it's full of buttons. It is located between the shutter button and the fingerprint/power button, so you are likely to press it by mistake. It's also difficult to use it when tucked into a holder, as there's no space for it.

Xperia 5 II
The side is full of buttons, which is something I'd like to see improved

Google's latest smartphones, the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, don't have a button for the Google Assistant, and I'm sure they didn't need to include it on the Xperia 5 II either. Or put it on the left side of the device, or integrate it with the shutter button and switch it in the settings.

Another thing that concerns me is that when a good model is developed in the Xperia series, it tends to get lost afterward. They may be very conscious of the need to change things, or they may try to force a new approach and end up with a baffling brush-up.

Before, Sony Mobile used to release a flagship Xperia every six months, but since the Xperia 1, the company has been releasing on a yearly cycle, so it's become easier to figure out what needs to be done and what needs to be brushed up. I think that this release period has had a big impact on the fact that the Xperia 5 II is now considered to be a completed form.

Due to the changes in the way smartphones are sold, expensive high-end models are struggling, but we hope that Sony Mobile will continue to develop models that will make us feel that they are "completed" every year.

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.