Sony Xperia 1 II review: Cinematic 4K screen, 5G and better battery life, but the price is high Review

The Sony Xperia one II is Sony’s 2020 flagship handset, and the initially from Sony to help 5G (in Europe, but not in the US). As we have appear to count on from Sony, it packs in the attributes, but it is dear even supplied the prime-close technical specs. Very last year’s Xperia one expenditures £849 (inc. VAT) or $799.ninety nine in the US, but the Xperia one II moves into four figures at £1,099 or $one,199.ninety nine. That is a ton of income for a smartphone, and whilst there are some definitely superb attributes in this article, it is heading to have to be rather much fantastic to justify the rate. Let’s see.

The Xperia one II seems extremely exclusive many thanks to its tall, slim layout housing a monitor that adopts an uncommon ‘cinematic’ 21:9 part ratio. It’s the very same part ratio we saw on last year’s Xperia one (in actuality, the monitor is the very same measurement and has the very same pixel depend far too — far more on this below).

This helps make for a mobile phone that is an uncomfortable healthy for many pockets. It’s not unduly vast though, and is extremely slender. The Xperia one II’s dimensions are 72mm vast by 166mm deep by 7.9mm thick, and it weighs just 181g.


The six.5-inch Xperia one II is Sony’s 2020 flagship mobile phone, operating on the Snapdragon 865 5G chipset with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of interior storage. It has a triple rear camera setup, all with 12MP resolution.

Pictures: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The layout is extremely much in the Sony mould. A flat fairly than curved monitor, with rounded corners but flat edges. The Gorilla Glass six again is black and mirror-shiny. However it loves fingerprints and is fairly slippery.

That is even far more of an difficulty with an additional tall handset, particularly when trying to do the job 1-handed, which I often discovered exceptionally hard. I discovered sweeping notifications absent, tapping at back links in world-wide-web web pages, and even functioning as a result of my twitter feed all fairly challenging to do 1-handed. Generally it felt as though I was unbalancing the mobile phone when functioning 1-handed, and in risk of dropping it on the flooring, and that slippery again was no assistance at all. For a £1,000 handset, this could be a offer-breaker.


The fingerprint sensor is created into the a bit recessed ability button on the correct-hand facet.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Sony proceeds to use a facet-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is positioned midway down the correct edge, created into the ability button. I discovered it extremely economical. The button is a bit recessed, in distinction to the volume rocker higher than it and camera shutter towards the base. Certainly, camera shutter: the Xperia one II majors on its monitor and camera setup, and that actual physical button has an vital element to play. A push launches the camera app, a 50 %-push focuses, and a extensive push will take an impression.

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The SIM slot sits on the remaining edge, and unusually these days, only 1 SIM is accommodated. The slot will also accommodate a MicroSD card if you want to boost the interior storage. You can find a USB-C port on the base edge, whilst the prime edge has a scarce detail for a 2020 flagship mobile phone — a 3.5mm headset jack. This is a long lasting handset, rated IP65/68 for dust and water resistance.

There are no visible speaker grilles on the edges of the mobile phone due to the fact the stereo speakers are discreetly concealed in the bezels higher than and below the monitor. That is the suitable area: the speakers toss audio correct at you, and prevent becoming covered by palms when the mobile phone is held in landscape orientation. Sound quality is rather good, and Sony has incorporated ‘dynamic vibration’ just as it did with last year’s Xperia one. You can established the handset to vibrate to the beat of songs, with various stages of depth. The controller is an on-monitor slider that sits beside the volume manage. I failed to assume much of it the initially time round and I am even now not a supporter, but you do not have to use it if you do not want to.  


The six.5-inch 21:9 OLED monitor occupies eighty four% of the entrance of the chassis, which has stereo speakers embedded in the prime and base bezels.

Impression: Sony

As observed earlier the monitor is the very same six.5-inch measurement, 3840-by-1644 pixel resolution and 21:9 part ratio as last year’s Xperia one. It’s an OLED panel with HDR 10-bit help. Individuals speaker-housing bezels suggest that the monitor-to-overall body ratio is a reasonably reduced eighty four%.

Sony does not give a tremendous-higher refresh level option, so you can not dial up to 120Hz as you can with the OnePlus eight Pro or Realme X3 SuperZoom, for case in point. And while the prime and base bezels are reasonably vast, at least you will find no need for an in-monitor notch or punch-gap for the 8MP entrance camera.

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The monitor-connected decisions all pay back off. I discovered looking at movie footage an particularly satisfying knowledge. Colors are prosperous but do not have that around-saturated search that from time to time will come with OLED. The refresh level was high-quality and I am not confident what boosting it would definitely increase to day-to-day use. Most of the movie I watched wasn’t in the screen’s 21:9 part ratio, so there had been black bars on either facet of the material. A quick finger-distribute extend will zoom 16:9 or 18:9 movie to fill the monitor, and it is typically properly watchable in this point out.


You can configure the dual app method utilizing Sony’s ’21:9 Multi-window’ utility.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Getting two apps open at the very same time is a trick that many handsets give, but it is often not extremely sensible. With the 21:9 part ratio making a taller than standard monitor in portrait method, dual app use gets to be feasible. To persuade this, Sony presents a utility known as ’21:9 Multi-window’. Pairs of pre-configured splits these kinds of as YouTube / Chrome sit alongside the option to decide on specific apps from a list. It’s properly imagined-out, and would persuade me to make far more use of the split monitor method.

Sony is definitely pushing the camera abilities of the Xperia one II, which can shoot Raw visuals, make rapidly autofocus and publicity calculations at up to 60 periods a second, and has eye monitoring for people and animals that aids with autofocus. The aforementioned shutter button is also much far more usable than tapping on the monitor. What you won’t obtain is fancy tremendous-zoom operation that inevitably breaks up as the software program loses its grip — or, without a doubt, any other arguably gimmicky attributes.

With flagship smartphones sporting four or even 5 cameras at the again these days, a triple-camera setup could appear to be guiding the periods. But the Xperia one II bucks the pattern, and does so extremely correctly. All 3 cameras have 12MP sensors, and there are 24mm f/one.7 (vast-angle), 70mm f/2.four (telephoto, 3x optical zoom) and 16mm f/2.2 (ultra-vast-angle, 124°) lenses.

The software program is nice, far too. Turn the handset into landscape orientation and pitch into ‘pro’ method and you get a seriously wise split monitor with impression framing on the remaining and numerous controls on the correct, furthermore a nifty pop-out remaining facet wheel for flicking as a result of numerous capturing-method tastes and other options. If you happen to be geared up to tweak, you will find an terrible ton you can customise rather quickly, and Sony has completed a great task of making professional method extremely accessible.


Sony’s camera software program helps make the ‘pro’ method options admirably accessible in landscape orientation.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Geared up with Qualcomm’s prime-close Snapdragon 865 5G chipset and 8GB of RAM, the Xperia one II done very well under the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark, turning in common scores of 905 (single main) and 3362 (multi-main). With 12GB of RAM commencing to crop up in flagship handsets like the OnePlus eight Pro, the Xperia one II even now provides comparable Geekbench scores (the OnePlus managed 907 and 3375). 

You can find 256GB of interior storage, and Sony provides a ton of additional bits and pieces to Android 10, much of which can be declined at startup if you desire. Accepting almost everything on give will take up 21.5GB, but that even now leaves 234.5GB free for your own info. 

The four,000mAh battery is on the smaller facet these days, but it lasted for 10 several hours 52 minutes under the Laptop Mark Work 2. battery rundown exam. Looking at movie is 1 of the vital use instances for this handset, so I fully charged the battery and remaining a YouTube movie operating for 3 several hours, right after which it experienced fallen to eighty%. A lot more anecdotally, I generally concluded a day’s common use with at least thirty% remaining. This is a major advancement on last year’s Xperia one with its 3,300mAh battery, which lasted for just under eight several hours when we tested it.

Quickly charging (21W) and wi-fi charging (Qi, 11W) are out there on the Xperia one II.


Impression: Sony


Sony’s Xperia one II is not for all people — and even all those who are drawn to its attributes and can tackle the kind aspect could be place off by the four-figure rate tag. After all, there are a great deal of very well-specified smartphones that expense 50 % as much as this 1.
On the furthermore facet, you will find a superb cinematic OLED monitor and a very well-applied triple rear camera array. Sony also presents a prime-close 5G chipset, a great deal of RAM and storage, and modern industrial layout. It’s Sony’s greatest mobile phone for some time, but rate is probably to be the key difficulty.

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