Unlocked Sony Xperia 1 II with 5G support goes up for pre-order in the US at an exorbitant price
UPDATE: As suspected, B&H appears to have jumped the gun here, quickly removing the initially quoted price of $1,198 and halting the pre-order process. At the time of this writing, the unlocked 5G-enabled Sony Xperia 1 II is once again listed simply as "coming soon", with no words on an expected release or pre-order resumption date.
For what it's worth, you can register on the retailer's website to be notified when the handset does become available (hopefully, for real), although that was true before today as well. Our original story follows below.
You may not remember this, but Sony unveiled its latest flagship almost three months back. The reason you probably forgot all about the curiously named Xperia 1 II (pronounced Xperia One Mark Two) is that the company has yet to commercially release the 6.5-inch mobile powerhouse anywhere in the world.
While one Japanese carrier did confirm the handset's fast-approaching regional May 22 debut and a price point equivalent to around $1,240 in Sony's domestic market a couple of days ago, mum's the word on official US dates and tags.
But surprise, surprise, pre-orders seem to have silently kicked off earlier today at B&H Photo Video. The retailer often beats its local rivals to the punch when it comes to the US availability of hot new Android phones and tablets, but its product listings are not always 100 percent reliable, occasionally vanishing shortly after surfacing for the first time only to reappear when device manufacturers actually end up giving everyone the green light to start their sales.
With that disclaimer in mind, you should know B&H is not ready to commit to a firm delivery schedule just yet, merely promising to fill Sony Xperia 1 II orders on a "first-come-first-served" basis in exchange for $1,198 a pop. While that price tag is not officially confirmed for the time being, it certainly sounds plausible given how much the phone is supposed to cost in Japan and its lengthy list of upgrades over last year's Xperia 1.
5G connectivity is perhaps the most notable add-on, as well as the most significant retail cost booster, although we don't expect to see this bad boy released on Verizon with support for the carrier's blazing fast mmWave network. Unsurprisingly, B&H sells the Xperia 1 II in an unlocked variant compatible with GSM operators like AT&T and T-Mobile.
Camera performance is another field where Sony wants to provide a substantial improvement compared to the largely unimpressive Xperia 1, but we'll obviously have to wait and see how the new quad rear-facing shooter system behaves in real life.
The rest of the specs look pretty much as great as you'd expect (on paper at least), including everything from a 6.5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 3840 x 1644 pixels to a state-of-the-art Snapdragon 865 processor, hefty 256GB internal storage space, 8 gigs of RAM, microSD support, a headphone jack, and a 4,000mAh battery.
But will all that be enough to turn the Sony Xperia 1 II into a box-office hit at the same recommended price as the not-very-popular Galaxy S20+ 5G after the Xperia 1 flopped hard at a much more reasonable $950? Only time can tell, of course, but this isn't going to be an easy mountain to climb for a slowly dying smartphone brand.