Sony Xperia 5 Review

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The brand new Sony Xperia 5 landed on my desk last week. I set it up and have been using it as my day to day phone for a week now. Here are my thoughts.

With any smartphone, spec specifics are quite important and they are plentiful (, so here are the need to know specs for the Sony Xperia 5:
– 3 camera rear system, all 12MP with varying lenses (16mm/26mm/52mm)
– 16mm 1/3.4″ sensor with F2.4 lens. Includes SteadyShot (5-axis stabilisation)
– 26mm 1/2.6″ sensor with F1.6 lens. Includes OIS photo stabilisation & hybrid OIS/EIS video stabilisation.
– 52mm 1/3.4″ sensor with F2.4 lens. Includes hybrid OIS/EIS video stabilisation.
– 1 front facing camera, 8MP with F2.0
– Camera features include Cinema Pro (21:9 movie recording), 4K HDR, Eye autofocus upto 10fps.
– 6.1″ FHS+ HDR OLED display (1080×2520 | 21:9 | 449ppi)
– 6GB RAM | 128GB storage with microSDXC upto 512gb
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor running Android 9 Pie
– Retails at £699

Design

The Xperia 5 oozes premium feel and looks. It comes in three different colours, black, grey and blue, and it’s got Corning Gorilla Glass 6 to both the front and back. It looks great, it protects the screen but it’s a huge fingerprint magnet and on several occasions, I’m rubbing my prints away on my shirt or trousers. It’s got that 21:9 ratio display, so it’s a lot taller than it is wide, which is not all that common in today’s market but opens up options on what and how to display content. Slim bezels all round, the top is a little thicker due to the speaker and camera but not too off-putting for me.

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To the front of the phone is the 8MP front-facing camera and the speaker at the top. On the right side is the on/off button, volume up/down, the fingerprint sensor and a dedicated camera button. Now if you’re right-handed, you can use your thumbprint and if you’re left-handed, your index or middle finger. As the phone is so slim in the width department, my average-sized left hand could easily unlocked with either index or middle finger. On the left-hand side is a slot for combine microSD and sim cards. To the rear are the three cameras and a flash. No headphone jack.

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The overall design is very sleek and stylish. It’s very well constructed, it very much feels premium and it’s not overly heavy. In fact, it weighs about the same as my iPhone 7 but it’s an extra inch taller. One issue I did have with the height of this phone when it was in my pocket and I sat down, if the pocket was too small, I could feel the phone pushing into my hip.

Performance

The Xperia 5 has performed superbly for me but appears to do well on paper too when benchmarked against other flagship devices. In an AnTuTu test, the Xperia 5 raked up 354695, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 got a lower score of 329546. However, on a GFXBench test, the Galaxy S10 hit a mark of 56, while the Xperia 5 got one less at 55. Without having a variety of phones in front of me to test, it’s hard to compare but viewing the results from other sources, the Xperia 5 can hold its own.

The Xperia has that Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, backed with 6GB Ram memory, which is more than capable of undertaking any task you throw at it. It also comes with 128gb storage, which can be increased by a further 512gb microSD card if desired, offering plenty of space to store some 4K video footage. The phone comes with Android 9 pre-installed and since the last time I used Android OS, they’ve come leaps and bounds on functionality and marries up nicely with the Sony ecosystem.

Sony have fitted an OLED panel within the 5, just like on the 1. It’s got a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio, 1080x2560px resolution with 449ppi density. There are various settings for the display, offering colour modes and brightness levels, allowing you to find a set up suitable for your content or activity. There is a creator mode option, which offered a higher nit output and allowed me to view HDR video content. Watching YouTube or Netflix was fantastic. One thing I really enjoyed was the split-screen option, which allows you to select two applications and show one above the other. This means you can watch video content while texting your friends and it works, it’s brilliant.

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Sony has installed three cameras into this phone, one for every occasion it seems. There is the ultra-wide-angle, regular angle (main camera) and a telephoto option too. The lenses are complimented with Sony’s Eye AutoFocus, which will fix the focus on a subjects eye and track it. Apparently it’s the same tech that’s in Sony’s mirrorless cameras, which I’ve not had the pleasure of trying yet. However, in the 5, I was really impressed with our accurate and fast it was. You can switch between the three lenses within the camera app by sliding through and then to take a picture, you either touch the button on-screen or use the physical button on the side of the phone. When taking a photo in landscape mode, the button will, in fact, be on the top and you can trigger it with your index finger. It’s a great feature for photographers and to me, it’s more fulfilling pushing a button-down over touching something on-screen. The photos I’ve taken have been rich in colour and very crisp, on par with my Canon M50 I may say and when in manual mode, you can really dig deep into settings like ISO and shutter speed to get the picture you want. Selfies? Yes, more than adequate.

The 5 can record video upto 2160p @ 30fps or 1080p 60fps, which covers most areas, although some competitors now offer 4K @ 60fps or higher. At 4K you can also record with HDR turned on which looks great of HDR-enabled displays. There is also a 120fps option, which was great fun for getting slow mo footage of my kids jumping in the air and running around. Sony does state there is electronic video stabilisation built into the phone and it’s ok. Panning around a room with my hand looked good, walking with the phone was ok and any more than that, It didn’t really help. There is a new app which can be used with the 5, ‘Cinema Pro’, which is a rather in-depth, professional video editor. I did dabble with it and found it a bit too serious for my liking but I imagine you can achieve some professional footage with it.

Lastly, it comes with a 3140mAh battery, which is less than an iPhone 11 Pro Max @ 3969mAh and the Note 10+ which has 4300mAh. That being said, I did manage to get a days charge out of it with my usual consumption of social media and texting.

Verdict

Over the last week of using the Xperia 5, I’m a converted fan of Sony’s smartphone range. The 5 has a crisp and vibrant display, decent internal spec with that 855 chip, it takes great photos and videos and it’s IP68 rated so it’s protected from accidental falls in the toilet. It doesn’t have a headphone jack (who does now) and it doesn’t have wireless charging which is odd.

Overall, a real contender in the current market that Sony can be proud of. For more info, head over to the official Xperia 5 webpage.

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