The next compact flagship phone from Sony
is here, following the tick-tock cycle established with the Xperia 1
and Xperia 5
models. The Xperia 5 II promises the same compact treatment that Xperia 1 received in order to reincarnate as Xperia 5, only this time we’re talking next generation. So, it’s only logical to pit both Mark II devices against each other and find out what’s what.
Is the Compact moniker back?
Well, not really. Although Sony markets the new Xperia 5 II as a “compact flagship”, just like its predecessor, there’s no real Compact lineup happening here. Sony just wants us to know that the Xperia 5 II is smaller than the Xperia 1 II
. As you can see from the comparison below that this is true, the new phone is 4 millimeters narrower and 8 millimeters shorter that the Xperia 1 II. The Xperia 5 II is also nearly 20 grams lighter at 163g. No real surprises here, as the previous generation sported almost exactly the same proportional difference in size and weight.
As far as other design elements go, both phones feature the same glass sandwich package we're seeing over and over again in modern flagships. Both panels are Gorilla Glass 6, while the frame is made of metal. The camera bump in the back also follows the same design language in both devices. There's one brave design decision with the Xperia 5 II, though. The phone sports a dedicated Google Assistant
button just above the shutter key on the right side of the phone. Whether or not people will actually use this added feature, remains to be seen.
Maybe the biggest difference between the Xperia 5 II and Xperia 1 II is the screen. Bearing in mind the size difference, a smaller panel is kinda expected in the Xperia 5 II and this is exactly the case. We have a 6.1-inch FHD+ HDR OLED display in the Xperia 5 II versus the 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED panel in the Xperia 1 II. Both screens feature Sony's proprietary X1 engine, coupled with Creator mode and other eye-candy, taken from various professional divisions of Sony Corp. The difference in display size and resolution translates into pixel
density difference between the two phones (643 vs 449 PPI in favor of the Xperia 1 II.) The Xperia 5 II fights back with a 120Hz display refresh in its sleeve, and it's a really nice feature to have.
Hardware and camera
The hardware specs of both phones are identical. Both are built around the Snapdragon 865 chipset, both sport 8GB of RAM, and although the Xperia 5 II has "only" 128GB internal storage, there's another version that doubles that amount to match the Xperia 1 II to the dot. Both phones support microSD cards with capacity up to 1000GB, and both have 4,000mAh batteries. Where's the catch? Maybe we should look more closely into the camera system?
Well, there is a difference here, but it's not that big. The ToF sensor found in the Xperia 1 II is missing on its compact cousin but besides that, the triple camera system is exactly the same on both devices. The three main cameras feature 12MP sensors with ZEISS optics on top, covering three focal lengths (16mm, 24mm, and 70mm). The selfie camera on the front was also carried over from the Xperia 1 II and it's an 8MP snapper. You can record 4K HDR 120fps slow-motion
clips on the Xperia 5 II, and while this feature is lacking on the Xperia 1 II, it probably won't make much of a difference in day-to-day use.
Which one should you buy?
Sony has delivered on the promise to bring a compact version of its flagship model each year, and that's a good thing. Basically, the main difference between the Xperia 5 II and Xperia 1 II is the display (hence the size). Everything else is pretty much identical between both devices. It's a stretch to call a 6.1-inch 21:9 phone "compact" but for some people the Xperia 5 II will be a welcomed option. The price difference will make things a bit easier for those on a budget, as the Xperia 5 II is almost $400 cheaper than its bigger sibling. The price tag of the Xperia 5 II in the US remains a bit of a mystery right now, but it's expected to be somewhere in the vicinity of $799.