Sony Xperia 1 II Assessment: A Technical Triump

The Sony Xperia 1 II could have a complicated identify nevertheless it’s a transparent assertion from the corporate that doubles-down on what Sony followers like and serves because the model’s first step into 5G.

Sony has cultivated a popularity of technical excellence and as consultants within the realms of each media creation and consumption – due to the likes of its excellent cameras, its TV and audio merchandise, to not point out the PlayStation model as a complete.

Its smartphones, nevertheless, do not neatly slot into both of those camps; serving as one of many few gadgets that embody the whole thing of Sony’s shopper efforts in a single product class – the issue is, they have not grabbed shoppers in the way in which that the corporate has hoped to this point.

So, does the Sony Xperia 1 II appease Sony followers while additionally interesting to newcomers as nicely? Let’s discover out.

What’s in a reputation?

Earlier than we dive into the {hardware} Sony has delivered to the desk, when you’re not conscious, the corporate’s newest flagship comes with a reputation impressed by the wares out of its established digicam division. As such, that is the “Xperia one mark two,” which sounds nice out loud, however appears a bit of convoluted once you’re attempting to make your latest cellphone stand out on retailer cabinets.

That mentioned, the affect of its Alpha cameras runs deeper than simply this cellphone’s identify and that is the place we anticipating the Xperia 1 II to essentially shine.

Class in power

A glimpse on the Xperia 1 II and you may see that it continues the corporate’s dedication to a 21:9 side ratio show. This offers the cellphone a tall, slender type that makes its sizeable 6.5in show a lot simpler to carry than you may at first count on.

There’s some refined rounding on the chamfers that run the cellphone’s edges however typically, it is a extra angular providing total than something we have seen from the likes of Apple’, Samsung’s or Oppo’s flagship handsets previously 12 months, which provides to the cellphone’s distinct aesthetic.

It makes for a powerful, assured design model, extra discreet in its composition than such rivals, granting it distinctive attraction. That design maturity additionally carriers throughout the colourways; with flat black, white or purple choices to decide on between; no super-sized textual content or spectral, reflective holographic rainbow patterns to be discovered on this cellphone’s again.

This Gorilla Glass 6 sandwich is simply interrupted by a distinguished triple digicam setup on the again and a small brow and chin on its flat entrance. Shows with curved edges could appear like the long run however they trigger ergonomic and interactivity points if executed poorly. Sony’s form-following-function strategy does not like fairly as elegant however will not allow you to down throughout day-to-day use.

Sony is without doubt one of the few producers to implement tool-free SIM trays on its gadgets, with the 1 II’s sitting excessive on its left aspect and accessible with solely a prying thumbnail. It is a trait that is rendered extra spectacular when you think about the cellphone is IP65/68 water and dirt resistant.

The corporate has additionally managed to reintroduce an ordinary 3.5mm headphone jack alongside the cellphone’s high edge, engineered with music lovers in thoughts (extra on that later), whereas a quantity rocker, fingerprint sensor-cum-power key and dual-detent shutter button (a uncommon and appreciated inclusion) run down the cellphone’s proper face.

The most important criticism of the Xperia 1 II’s type? With polished glass and a shiny colour-matched steel body, a agency grip is not all the time assured, so take into account investing in a case.

Sluggish however gorgeous visuals

Whereas there was little question that Sony would be sure that its newest flagship would boast an excellent display, it skips out on one of many largest smartphone show traits in 2019/2020 – excessive refresh price viewing.

Fortunately, proper now that is extra of a ‘good to have’ than a vital function with the intention to stay aggressive however its absence continues to be a bit of disappointing; if solely due to the asking worth that accompanies the Xperia 1 II (Sony does embody a ‘movement blur discount’ choice within the cellphone’s settings nevertheless it’s a stop-gap measure at greatest, presumably till the Xperia 1 III).

What the cellphone’s 6.5in panel does convey to the desk is (as much as) 4K HDR visuals which might be nothing wanting astounding – particularly, contemplating this can be a smartphone we’re speaking about.

Sony has all however eradicated the color, brightness and distinction problems with its earlier 4K display-toting handsets and the outcome is without doubt one of the clearest and most arresting footage you will discover on a cellphone, notably when viewing appropriate content material that really matches the boundaries of the show’s capabilities.

When Sony dedicated to the unorthodox (within the cell house, at the least) 21:9 side ratio now discovered throughout its present smartphone vary, discovering worthwhile content material appeared like fairly the ask for customers, whose mainstays of YouTube, Twitch and even Netflix favoured 16:9 content material before everything.

Within the brief time between final 12 months’s Xperias and the Xperia 1 II, it is secure to say that the trade as a complete is now extra readily embracing 21:9; validating Sony’s choice and proving it forward of the curve on this regard.

From the brand new Moto G 5G Plus to gaming screens from the largest producers, the recognition of 21:9 side ratios within the residence and in your pocket continues to develop and as such, will increase the probability of extra and better-quality content material, which proper now, might be greatest loved on the Xperia 1 II’s display – so far as smartphones are involved).

All we want now could be the addition of a excessive refresh price panel (and maybe the next most brightness when in strongly-lit environment) and Sony’s cellphone screens shall be unrivalled.

Severe about sound

The Xperia 1 II has been engineered to supply a stellar audiovisual expertise and as such, guarantees nice sonic capabilities to again up these top-notch visuals.

For starters, it sports activities twin front-facing stereo audio system. They’re arguably the weakest a part of the cellphone’s audio setup however nonetheless stand out above loads of different flagships, simply by that includes in any respect. The 1 II drives spectacular total loudness and readability however a skinny 7.6mm body means there is no house for a decently-sized acoustic chamber and as such, bass is wholly missing.

Having a 3.5mm jack is a blessing for individuals who need to use high-quality cans. Sony says it reintegrated the port because it delivers vastly diminished crosstalk; simply 20dB or greater than 90% lower than equal USB-C headphones could be topic to.

What’s extra, the Xperia 1 II piles on a wealth of extra audio applied sciences to raise the listening expertise additional; together with Hello-Res Audio help and DSEE Final upscaling – which improves compressed audio information.

Associated: Greatest wi-fi headphones

LDAC and Hello-Res Audio Wi-fi help additionally function if you wish to reduce cords and retain high quality (though maybe not constantly the CD-quality promised, however nonetheless), whereas Dolby Atmos and Sony’s personal 360 Actuality Audio normal function on supported content material (the latter can be utilized with appropriate media from companies like Deezer and Tidal).

There’s additionally the matter of Dynamic Vibration: showing alongside the amount slider, you possibly can differ the quantity of vibration that the cellphone places out when taking part in movies or music. The vibrations sync as much as loud beats and you’ve got the choice to differ the sensitivity of the function too.

There is not any denying that it is one other distinctive inclusion however maybe one that may doubtless solely attraction to sure customers and solely when having fun with sure varieties of content material (extra Michael Bay’s Transformers, quite than Holst’s Planets suite). Additionally, the truth that it is not obtainable when gaming is wholly counter-intuitive.

The Alpha cellphone?

There is not any denying that Sony is an knowledgeable in the case of cameras. Its mirrorless Alpha collection has risen to excellence, rivalling long-standing DSLR giants like Canon and Nikon, and the truth that the naming conference that the collection is thought for has additionally been utilized to the Xperia 1 II is a giant promise to those that recognise the connection.

Like 2019’s Xperia 1, you will discover three 12Mp sensors alongside the cellphone’s again and an 8Mp front-facer. Whereas each the principle and telephoto sensors boast OIS (optical picture stabilisation), Sony has tweaked the focal lengths, so that they are wider (24mm as an alternative of 26mm) and provide 3x optical zoom (up from 2x), respectively.

The digicam system has additionally been tweaked for velocity, that means blur-free and sharp focus-shooting is extra available, regardless of your inherent pictures expertise; with automated folks and animal-centric eye-tracking autofocus being a specific spotlight.

Click on by way of on the picture above for the complete digicam pattern gallery

One of the vital obvious issues is the consistency in color and distinction throughout the Xperia 1 II’s three rear sensors – whether or not you are capturing stills or movies, working with the imagery, whether or not it is a telephoto or an ultrawide shot, is undoubtedly simpler than it might on different multi-sensored smartphones, due to this trait.

In distinction, there is a diploma of awkwardness that comes from that Alpha affect. The Xperia 1 II is able to capturing arresting low mild images and beautiful (as much as) 4K video, however if you would like one of the best that this cellphone can ship, you are going to need to use the Picture Professional and Cinema Professional apps.

These two extra digicam apps borrow from Sony’s skilled photograph (Alpha) and video (CineAlta) cameras, with reference to their interfaces. This basically means you’ve an unprecedented stage of digicam management from the cellphone’s native software program however when you’re not technically-minded, it is an extremely intimidating toolset that doubtless will not see use.

That mentioned, the cellphone’s automated capturing chops ought to satiate the common person’s photographic wants and if you wish to push your self, the Xperia 1 II’s digicam software program is powerful sufficient to permit for a powerful quantity of additional creativity and adaptability.

By comparability, contemplating the value, the cellphone’s lowly 8Mp front-facing snapper is serviceable however we had been hoping for one thing with a bit of extra oomph; even with all magnificence options disabled, faces nonetheless look oddly easy, though hand-activated shutter management is useful.

Clear Android, significant variations

The Xperia 1 II’s Android 10 person expertise is characteristically Sony, which is to say much like the likes of Motorola and Nokia. The corporate has reined in any duplicate apps, in addition to a few of its extra area of interest experiences in favour of Google’s personal, which might function regardless. As such, apart from the elongated side ratio, these transferring to the Xperia 1 II from different Android gadgets should not really feel in any respect misplaced.

Talking of that tall show, split-screen multitasking is especially sturdy on the 1 II, due to a strong 21:9 Multi-Window app switcher that makes it simple to pair two apps and transfer between them to maximise productiveness.

Sony has stored some distinctive options and importantly there’s little right here that does not add worth. Facet Sense provides fast entry to your favorite apps and sure options, alongside Recreation Enhancer, which in addition to silencing notifications and liberating up reminiscence (if you would like it to) may also be used to file gameplay and bypass the battery (dubbed ‘HeaT Suppression Energy Management’) so you possibly can play with the cellphone plugged in for longer, with out unnecessarily shortening the cell’s lifespan.

Loads of energy

Whereas there is no denying that the Xperia 1 II brings flagship efficiency to the desk, it is definitely a extra modest association than a few of 2020’s greatest and brightest. At its coronary heart lies Qualcomm’s glorious 865, together with a 5G modem and 8GB of RAM.

As long as Sony retains on high of software program updates and optimisations, there’s little cause for concern about the truth that the reminiscence does not push into double digits (or that the 865 has been out-ranked by the tweaked Snapdragon 865+ for the reason that cellphone’s launch).

The cellphone benchmarks extremely nicely and because of this, ought to serve you nicely over a number of years of use, from a efficiency standpoint. The flexibility to release reminiscence and the like when gaming, solely lessens any considerations about long-term competitiveness even additional.


As for the battery, Sony has upped the 3330mAh cell inside the unique Xperia 1 to a 4000mAh effort within the Mark II, in addition to including help for each sooner 21W PD charging and wi-fi charging – one of many massive omissions from the earlier technology.

Whereas 4000mAh nonetheless lags behind a lot of the Xperia’s rivals by way of capability, it will see you thru round six hours of screen-on time, which is wholly respectable and may equate to a day’s regular use with cost to spare.

In a decidedly Apple-like transfer, the Xperia 1 II does not include a 21W fast-charger in-box, and Sony as an alternative provides the cellphone with a slower 18W adapter. That is irritating from a price standpoint, particularly contemplating it is solely a 3W distinction we’re speaking about right here.

The distinction could sound small nevertheless it’s an essential distinction to make because it renders Sony’s Xperia 1 II messaging considerably deceptive. One of many listed highlights of the Xperia 1 II is that it will probably obtain a 50% cost in simply 30 minutes – one thing that is solely really attainable when you fork out for a sooner energy adapter. In fact, the in-box 18W adapter will get the cellphone to round 46% in the identical time-frame.

Whereas there’s little sensible distinction, such transparency is essential once you’re dropping a substantial sum of money on the desk.

Value & Availability

The Sony Xperia 1 II is in the stores SIM-free, direct Sony’s Xperia official companion retailer, in addition to the likes of Currys, Carphone Warehouse and Amazon, within the UK.

With an RRP of £1099, it sits simply above the iPhone 11 Professional and is notably costlier than similarly-specced Android rivals, such because the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus eight Professional. The saving grace is that it’s dropping in worth, albeit slowly, so hold your eyes peeled.


Whereas there is no faulting the Sony Xperia 1 II on a technical stage, it makes for a really explicit mix of Sony applied sciences that lacks the diploma of mass attraction that telephones just like the Galaxy S20 convey to the desk.

Apple successfully units the suitable worth ceiling for flagship smartphones every year and any cellphone that dares to move this threshold calls for appreciable thought earlier than buy.

Severe digicam capabilities that may solely be unlocked by a demanding skilled person interface and audio applied sciences applied with audiophiles in thoughts; Sony is not chasing after the identical viewers as Apple or Samsung – that was true of 2018’s Xperia 1, too – however when you’re not already invested in Sony’s world, the Xperia 1 II is not the simplest jumping-on level.

That mentioned, when you’re merely after the smartphone with one of the best audiovisual talents on the planet proper now, there’s little else that may match the Xperia 1 II.

Learn subsequent: Greatest Sony telephones

Sony Xperia 1 II: Specs

6.5in 4K HDR 21:9 ‘CinemaWide’ OLED show

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor


256GB storage

microSD expandable as much as 1TB

12Mp f/1.7 24mm large digicam w/ OIS

12Mp f/2.4 70mm telephoto digicam w/ 3x optical zoom + OIS

12Mp f/2.2 16mm ultrawide digicam

8Mp f/2.zero front-facing digicam

Android 10

Stereo audio system

3.5mm headphone jack

Gorilla Glass 6

IP65/68 licensed

4000mAh battery

As much as 21W PD charging

11W wi-fi charging


Bluetooth 5.1

181 grams


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