Sony’s next flagship smartphone, a followup to the Xperia 1 II released earlier this year, is the Xperia 5 II. Like the previous phone, the 5 II is a top-tier flagship with a Snapdragon 865 SoC, but it comes with a smaller screen and finally bumps the display up to a faster refresh rate.
The Xperia 5 II is named similarly to Sony’s camera line, so it’s pronounced “Xperia five mark two.” The display is the main difference from the Xperia 1 II: a 6.1-inch, 2520×1080 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 1 II had a bigger, higher-res display, (a 6.5-inch, 3840×1644 display) but it was only 60Hz. The rest of the 5 II specs include a Snapdragon 865 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4000mAh battery. There’s a side fingerprint reader, a microSD slot, a headphone jack, IP68 water resistance, and stereo speakers. There are three 12MP cameras on the back for the main, telephoto, and wide angle lenses, along with a ToF sensor. The front camera is 8MP.
Sony’s press release actually has a release date for the US: “In the US, the Xperia 5 II will be available unlocked in black and comes equipped with Android 10. The Xperia 5 II will be available for pre-order for about $950 on September 29, 2020 and ships to customers on December 4, 2020.”
I’ve never seen a company ballpark the price for its own product in an official press release, but the Xperia 5 II will cost “about $950.” In Europe the phone will launch in October for €899. The Sony-est thing about this phone is that it will officially ship in the US, and it supports sub-6GHz 5G, but it doesn’t have any 5G band compatibility in the US. 5G is apparently a Europe-only thing (bands n1, n3, n8, n28, n77, and n78, if you’re wondering). 5G networks in the US aren’t nearly ready for primetime yet, so this is not a huge deal breaker, it’s just…very Sony.
The Xperia 1 II and 5 II are both genuinely handsome-looking smartphones, and now that the 5 II finally has a 120Hz display, it actually feels like it’s in the same league as something like a Galaxy Note 20. There’s nothing Sony’s latest smartphone is critically missing, but other than the headphone jack, there’s not much that stands out, either. For Sony Mobile, though, that’s an improvement. Sony’s mobile division regularly sells under a million units per quarter, a number some of the bigger smartphone companies can beat in a day or two. After lots of cost-cutting, though, Sony Mobile projects it will see its first yearly profit in four years. Things are looking up.