[Test] Sony Xperia 5 II: powerful and comfortable, but not quite at the top yet

If there is one thing that we cannot fault the range Xperiais to lack visual identity. Aspect ratio 21: 9, borders clearly visible on the front panel, and this aspect at the same time vintage and a little out of time. Are these clear-cut choices still really a “choice” on Sony’s part, or a sign that the manufacturer is ensuring the minimum by joining the adage? “The main thing is to participate” ? With the Xperia 5 II, Sony nevertheless continues to refine its formula, with an even more compact mobile here without sacrificing performance (Snapdragon 865). The effort is commendable, but is it really enough against the armada of heavyweights in the sector? Our answer :

Not crazy design, but comfort on arrival

Out of its box, the Xperia 5 II is not really the kind of mobile that can cause the slightest “WOW” effect. Not that the smartphone is particularly ugly in terms of design (the finish is impeccable), but the most remarkable elements are underestimated by other choices that are a little more questionable. Take the compact dimensions in the form of a remote control (158 x 68 x 8 mm).

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Not only this form factor allows the Xperia 5 II to stand out from the mass of HDG smartphones, but it is also the assurance of an extremely comfortable grip, among the most comfortable indeed of all the smartphones tested on our site.

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The Xperia 5 II is in fact one of the few current mobiles that can be used easily with one hand, which is all the more significant in my case as I have small hands (we are not kidding ;)). Very well you will tell me, but why then these black bands at the top and bottom of the panel, which seem almost anachronistic on an HDG mobile launched in 2020? The presence of these bands is a real shame, because Sony could have gained a few more millimeters of compactness, not to mention the front design, a bit dated in the end… The black border is also clearly visible on each side of the screen. Because of these choices (or certain technical constraints), Sony is missing the mark here with a smartphone that is not only compact but VERY compact and which does not cut into the display surface. Really too bad we tell you …

Buttons everywhere

Not all that is dated is inherently bad though. We welcome the presence of a 3.5 mm jack port (a welcome rarity on a 2020 mobile), a Google Assistant button (very effective), another button that serves as a photo trigger, and the camera sensor. ‘fingerprints placed on the activation button (which is frankly a good idea and above all is much more practical than the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device). Let us not forget also the IP68 certification (resistance to “short” immersion and to dust).

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A 120 Hz OLED panel of excellence

The 6.1-inch OLED panel of the Xperia 5 II is a model of its kind. It’s already impressive with the “factory” settings, but the advanced settings (up to the color temperature) get the most out of it. High contrast, vibrant colors, high maximum brightness (and perfectly suited for outdoor use), anti-glare, everything is there, as well as exemplary fluidity thanks to the refresh rate of the panel at 120 Hz. Sony has been clever here: rather than keeping the useless (and unnecessarily energy-consuming) UHD panel of the Xperia 1 II, the manufacturer has chosen here a panel in FULL HD + (1080 x 2520 pixels), which allows to display in 120 HZ without drawing too much on the autonomy (a little all the same, as we will see it below in this test). In use, the 120 Hz keeps its promises: everything is more fluid, but it is once again on the scrolling of web pages that the gain is noticed the most.

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Note all the same that the 21: 9 format requires certain concessions on “non-cinema” video formats, such as those of YouTube for example. We often end up with a good big image crop on the sides, or cropping a significant part of the scene if we force the display to full screen.

Sound: not at picture level

In terms of sound, it is not quite in line with the panel. The HP are doing their job, but it is not yet at the level of what Samsung or Apple offer with their respective HDGs. Of course, we avoid saturation at high volume and the sound rendering remains rather clear, but the sound overall lacks amplitude, dynamics and especially presence. To make matters worse, the sound is hardly more satisfactory with the headphones via the Jack port, which spoils the interest of this port a little. Note that the Xperia 5 II still manages Hi-Res Audio, Hi-Res Audio wireless and LDAC, which means that with the right source files, it will necessarily be a little better.

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The Photo app is very complete and offers a real “manual” setting mode

Performance: Snapdragon 865, what else?

Perfs side, nothing to complain about, and for good reason: the Snapdragon 865 performs like a beast, around 900 points in the Geekbench 5 single-core test, and nearly 3200 points in multi-core. Tested with Asphalt 9 (yes, it is not very original), it is an understatement to say that it deposits. Not a slowdown, even on the very furious and shielded areas of the circuit with 3D elements. Juggling between several open apps does not pose any more worries to the interface, which remains fluid on all occasions. Not much more to say here, which is of course a good thing.

Qualcomm 865

Photo: my nights are more beautiful than your days

What about the photo? It’s very simple: do you see the photo block of the Xperia 1 II? Well … it’s practically the same, either a 12 Mpx with f / 1.8 aperture (28 mm equivalent), another 12 Mpx with f / 2.2 aperture (13 mm eq) and a third stabilized 12 Mpx sensor ( again!) with f / 2.4 aperture (eq 52 mm). By day the pictures obtained are good… nothing more.

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Even in broad daylight, the pictures have a slight grain and lack sharpness. The overall result is acceptable however.

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Contours a little too smooth.

The processing of the ISP seems a bit brutal to us (not enough sharpness due to excessive smoothing), and we sometimes lose colorimetric fidelity (it depends on the tints), a bit like on the Samsungs of a few years ago. years. The different sensors only vary here by their focal length and their aperture, but nothing really distinguishes them as to the quality of the final shot.

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A red that is much too red

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It is pretty to the eye, but the colors are not at all realistic (the thyme is not white-blue and the wall is a much brighter pink)

In low light, it’s surprisingly a little better (euphemism), with a good level of detail and effective digital noise management (except on the 52mm sensor of course, but hey, we’ll forget the zoom in low light, everything at least on a smartphone…). However, we should not hope to shoot in very dark conditions (not enough ISO rise).

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Still smoothing, but the ISP handles chiaroscuro contrasts rather correctly

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In very low light, the result is unusable

Autonomy: 120 Hz weighs in the balance

Autonomy is another “blah” point of this model. I took a little more than a day by varying the uses (good, with Asphalt too), which is no feat for a mobile equipped with a 4000 mAh battery. The 120 Hz is heavy (logical). It takes about 2 hours to charge the device, which again is not fantastic, but the fast charging is fortunately managed (Sony announces 30 minutes).

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Another advantage of the Xperia 5 II: video game-oriented accessorization. Sony is not the father of the PlayStation for nothing …

Conclusion: excellent choices … not always well exploited

After spending a few days with the Xperia 5 II, we really want to cry out: “Sony they are doing nothing but pissing me off!” “. The Xperia looks like a great missed opportunity again this year. The components are generally state-of-the-art (865, WiFi 6, 5G), and the strengths of the device sometimes have no equivalent on the market (120 Hz premium panel, form factor, comfort, Jack port on a HDG), but these good ideas are often undermined by other less convincing elements (very visible borders, sound average on headphones, etc.). We spend our time thinking about how perfect it would have been, really perfect, without these execution flaws that always make us wonder if Sony is not content to participate in the hypercompetitive smartphone market … while easing it off. ‘accelerator. Because we are sure of one thing: Sony is able to do (much) better, but it is probably necessary that they really want to …

At the time of this writing, thee Sony Xperia 5II is available for € 799 on Amazon, Darty, Cdiscount or Fnac.

➡️ See all prices of the Sony Xperia 5 II Smartphone (black – 128 GB) on our price comparison

➡️ See all prices of the Sony Xperia 5 II Smartphone (Blue – 128GB) on our price comparison

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