Review: Sony's new Xperia 5 is smaller and cheaper than the top model Xperia 1, but offers the same good experiences. Xperia 5 is Sony's best mobile in a long time.
Sony Xperia 5
The time has come again to take a look at a Sony smartphone. Last we tested the flagship Xperia 1, which was very close to taking home 5 out of 6 stars. An excellent phone, which unfortunately could not quite compare with the best of the best. The Xperia 5 offers the same good hardware, software and design, but with a few essential differences.
The Xperia 5 is both smaller and cheaper than the Xperia 1, and so it looks dazzling. It still can't handle the very best smartphones, but it's closer than ever.
Here's our test of the Sony Xperia 5.
Sony Xperia 5: Pros and Cons
- Excellent screen
- A good all-round camera
- Most clean Android software
- Good stereo speakers
- Nice and well built
- Slv vibrator motor
- Too much bloatware
- Side Sense rarely works
- No wire charging
- Unreliable fingerprint scanner
- Slow and unreliable face resolution
Sony Xperia 5 is lovely to look at.
Designed on Sony Xperia 5
The Sony Xperia 5 is one of the best smartphones I've ever held in my hand. The combination of the elongated and slender shape, the red color, the polished frames and the relatively compact size really does it for me. The same goes for acquaintances who have had Xperia 5 in their hands.
At the same time it is incredibly well built and sturdy, yet reasonably lightweight with a weight of 164 grams. The Xperia 1 is moved with the large 6.5 inch screen large and clumsy, and the experience I do not even get with the Xperia 5, which is shorter, in fact almost a whole centimeter, and narrower. With the 21: 9 screen format, it's still hard to reach the top of the screen on the Xperia 5, but much lighter than the big brother.
There is no notch to be found on the 6.1-inch OLED display. Instead, it has the bigger edge at the top and bottom than you see the competitors' latest high-end smartphones and the screen is also not curved. Personally, it does absolutely nothing to me, on the contrary. The Xperia 5 is nice to use and the size is almost perfect – a good balance between a large screen and a compact size. Unfortunately, the practicality is in the sink when we come to the unit's resolution. Neither the fingerprint reader nor the facial solution has worked well during the test period. Both are slow and I often have to try more than once, which has made me oldschool and solved it with a PIN. Quite annoying, especially when resolution takes place much faster and fluid with competitors.
On the right you will find all the phone's physical buttons: power button, volume and a dedicated camera button. They work as they should, but they are too small, especially the camera and power buttons.
On the back, you'll find the excellent triple camera we already know from Xperia 1. More on that later in the Xperia 5 test.
Specifications on Sony Xperia 5
|Ml and vgt||158 x 68 x 8.2 mm
21: 9 format
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Up to 1TB MicroSD
|Camera||12MP f / 1.6 with OIS
12MP Ultra wide angle f / 2.4
12 MP f / 2.4 2x zoom OIS
Front 8MP, f / 2.0
|software||Android 9 Pie|
IP68 dust and water resistant
The physical buttons on the Sony Xperia 5 are too small and the fingerprint reader is unreliable.
Xperia 5 reminiscent but still a top model
The Sony Xperia 5 is equipped with the same amazing OLED display that one finds in the big brother, Xperia 1. And so not quite. It's still equipped with fancy things like the X1, HDR, Trilumino's display and the X-Reality Engine, but the resolution is a bit lower in the smaller Xperia 5. Where the pixel density of the Xperia 1 can reach up to 643 ppi, the Xperia 5 "only "449. By default, they are both set to full HD and these are the first ones to see the difference.
Just like on Xperia 1, the screen is nothing short of amazing. Clearly one of the best screens on the market. The colors are great, the contrast is good and so are the viewing angles. It is surprisingly fluid. Usually I experience the shift from 90 to 60Hz much more clearly, but the Xperia 5 is incredibly fluid – sometimes as if it has a 90Hz screen. It is difficult to explain, but must be experienced instead.
The hardware in Xperia 5
The Xperia 5 has the same high-end hardware as found in the Xperia 1. That means Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that can be expanded with a memory card. It is lightning fast, fluid and runs the cleanest Android software with ease. It is certainly not the forces one lacks in Xperia 5.
The software in Xperia 5
The software is also completely identical to Xperia 1, which is why we won't go into this. Instead, check out our test of Xperia 1. The software is based on Android 9 Pie and is almost pure Android.
Sony has added its own features around the UI, such as Page Sense and the camera app. The idea of the former, Side Sense, is to facilitate operation with one hand. Unfortunately, it seems quite miserable. It is incredibly difficult to get activated and works 1 in 10 times.
As mentioned earlier, I also miss faster and safer face resolution, faster charging, reverse wireless charging and a screen that automatically turns on when you pick up the phone and more. The software in Xperia 5 is certainly excellent, but lacks many "cutting-edge" features. In addition, you will find some bloatware in Xperia 5 that cannot be uninstalled. A mobile for 5,999 kroner with removable bloatware? Come on.
The sound is also good in Xperia 5
Like the Xperia 1, the Xperia 5 has also been equipped with stereo speakers. They play quite well and make it even more fun to watch content on the great screen. The sound may not match Samsung's and Apple's, but is definitely among the better ones on the market.
The sound during conversations is also clear and with plenty of sound. I have experienced dropouts in both calls and mobile data, which was also the case with Xperia 1 – though not at all bad.
The triple camera in the Xperia 5 does well.
Holds the battery well
The Xperia 5 does not offer a kmp-sized battery, but still manages to squeeze a lot out of the available milliamps. More precisely, the battery is 3140 mAh. The Xperia 5 lasts well for a very active day and I experience an average of one and a half days of battery life.
Fortunately, it supports fast charging, which in about half an hour in the charger provides about 50 percent battery. Unfortunately, there is no wire charging find in the Xperia 5.
Well known triple camera
The Sony Xperia 5 contains exactly the same good camera as the Xperia 1. It is the manufacturer's first triple camera:
- Primary sensor of 12 megapixels, f / 1.6
- 12 megapixel, f / 2.4 telephoto
- Ultra wide angle of 12 megapixels, f / 2.4
The hardware certainly fails nothing and it also delivers some really nice pictures. The power of the camera is natural in color, but the dynamic range is not at its best. The quality and especially the camera experience is not at par with Huawei, Samsung and Apple, but more than good enough for most. In our test of Xperia 1, we dig deeper with the camera, where you can also see pictures taken with the camera.
Also read: Testing of Sony Xperia 1
Conclusion: Sony Xperia 5 is a good kb
Sony Xperia 5 is an excellent mobile phone. I love the design, the build quality, the shape, the cleanest Android and the really good screen. The camera is doing really well too. There is great flexibility with the three camera lenses and it delivers natural images with good contrast. Personally, I would choose Xperia 5 over Xperia 1, solely because of the more manageable size.
On the other hand, I am tired of the unreliable fingerprint scanner, facial resolution and uninstallable bloatware. Compared to its competitors, Sony is far behind, but fortunately you learn to live with it. I hope Sony has done something about this for the next generation, as we are looking for a winner.
I can't imagine anyone will regret the purchase of the Sony Xperia 5, for that is a good smartphone. You have to buy Xperia 5 if you want something different. For the same money you can get Samsung Galaxy S10 or Apple's new iPhone 11, which is immediately easier to recommend. The suggested retail price of Sony Xperia 5 is DKK 5,999, but we have seen it drop to DKK 4,560, which makes it much more attractive.
Sony Xperia 5 lands on 5 out of 6 stars.