Sony Xperia 5 full review

It’s an extremely quiet year for Sony at IFA 2019 but there was one interesting new product in the form of the Xperia 1. This is essentially a smaller and cheaper version of the flagship Xperia 1 as you’ll find out in our hands-on review.

Price & Availability

The Xperia 5 will go on sale 4 October and will set you back £699 SIM-free. That makes it £150 cheaper than the Xperia 1.

It’s not a mid-range device in our books then but you can look to the Xperia 10 range for something more affordable.

Pre-orders for the Xperia 5 phone are open from 18 September and some retailers will be offering a free pair of WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones.

Design & Build

In a nutshell, the Xperia 5 is a smaller version of Sony’s flagship phone, an Xperia 1 mini if you like even though the days of mini versions are long gone.

There are a few small changes like the memory card slot being in a different location. A more obvious tweak is the camera module moving to the corner.

Xperia 5 design

Otherwise, you’ve essentially got a slightly smaller edition of the Xperia 1. It feels premium and comes in three different colours - black, blue and grey.

Just bare in mind that most get extremely smudged with fingerprints within seconds of picking the phone up. It's still IP68 rated though.

Specs & Features

The key thing about the Xperia 5 is that it has a smaller screen than the Xperia 1. So if 6.5in is too big for you then perhaps 6.1in will be more appealing.

Sony has still gone for a tall 21:9 aspect ratio and an OLED panel but the resolution is a more fitting Full HD+ instead of 4K. It still looks perfectly crisp and will help with battery life and performance anyway.

Xperia 1 vs Xperia 5

INternally, the Xperia 5 has no sacrifices. That means it’s powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM. There’s 128GB of storage and although it’s rare these days, Sony continues to offer a microSD card slot so you can add more.

Even the cameras are the same, despite being moved on the back so you get the same triple 12Mp setup which compromises of regular, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. On the front is the same 8Mp camera, too.

The Xperia 5 does come with some new software features, particularly for the camera which include Eye AF, and improved burst mode with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking. It can do 30fps instead of 10.

Xperia 5 camera

Sony’s camera app will also prompt you for things like something covering the camera or a person’s eyes being closed.

Cinema Pro has been improved, allowing you to create multiple projects with different settings along with more control over white balance, manual focus and audio recording levels.

The Xperia 5 is compatible with the Imaging Edge app so you can transfer and share images from Sony Alpha or Cyber-shot cameras.

Other software comes in the form of DualShock 4 support so you can play games with the PlayStation controller using the phone’s 21:9 aspect ratio. There’s a special version of Fortnite which fits the entire screen.

Xperia 1 screen

Xperia 1 owners need not fret though, as the features will arrive thanks to software update(s). We’re not sure when though.

There’s still no headphone jack but the Xperia 5 has stereo speakers and has Sony’s dynamic vibration system. Otherwise, there’s USB-C, NFC and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

As a smaller handset, the battery is lower capacity compared to the Xperia 1 but not by much. It’s 3140mAh which is only marginally smaller than 3300mAh on its bigger brother.

Early Verdict

The Xperia 5 is good news for those who find the Xperia 1 too big and expensive. Really, this is the same phone but smaller and cheaper.

It's a nice device with some decent specs and interesting features. However, unless you're a Sony fan there are quite possibly better phones available for less money still.

Check out the best mid-range phones for some examples.

Specs

Sony Xperia 5: Specs

  • 6.1in OLED, Full HD+, 21:9 aspect ratio
  • Triple 12Mp rear cameras (wide, ultra-wide and telephoto)
  • Support for recording 4K HDR video in 21:9, 24fps
  • 8Mp selfie camera (3D support)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • 6GB RAM / 128GB storage
  • MicroSD slot
  • 3140mAh battery
  • USB-C
  • IP68 water-resistant
  • Bluetooth 5 / NFC / 802.11ac
  • Stereo speakers
  • Android 9 Pie
  • Colours: Black, Blue, Grey
  • Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 164g

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