Sony Xperia 5 V vs Galaxy S23: Niche vs Mainstream

Xperia 5 V vs Galaxy S23: Niche vs Mainstream


The latest compact flagship from Sony is officially out and ready to take down mainstream and popular phones with its microSD card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and slew of creative pro-grade apps. The Xperia 5 V is unmistakably Sony, for better or worse, but is it ready to take on the Galaxy S23? Today, we're going to find out!

Nowadays, if you want a compact Android phone, your choice is somewhat limited. You have the vanilla Galaxy S-series, the Asus Zenfone lineup, and the Xperia 5. In this article, we're pitting against each other the Galaxy S23 and the Xperia 5 V.

Xperia 5 Mark V vs Galaxy S23 in a nutshell:
  • Both have 6.1-inch 120Hz OLED screens; the S23 can do adaptive 24-120Hz
  • Both have the same memory configurations; the Xperia 5 V has a microSD slot
  • Both come with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • The S23 has a dedicated telephoto camera
  • The Xperia 5 V has a bigger battery (5,000 mAh vs 3,900 mAh on the S23)
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Xperia, under-display one on the S23
  • The S23 is lighter and thinner, while the Xperia is taller and narrower

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Variations of the glass sandwich

There's a conceptual difference when it comes to the design approach between the Xperia 5 V and the Galaxy S23, but it's not as big as one might think. Both phones use a variation of the glass sandwich design; the Xperia is more square and has a 21:9 aspect ratio, while the S23 is a bit rounder and has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

Another difference, stemming from the above, is that the Xperia is taller and narrower, while the Galaxy is shorter and wider. What's interesting is that the S23 is thinner and substantially lighter, probably due to the smaller battery inside.

The display situation is again more similar than expected. Both phones have 6.1-inch OLED panels with FHD+ resolution, and both are capable of going up to 120Hz refresh rate. However, the S23 can go down to 24Hz and dynamically switch between different modes, while the Xperia can only use 60Hz and 120Hz. Both phones can get very bright at around 1000 nits. The S23 has a hole-punch selfie camera, while the Xperia goes for traditional top and bottom bezels.

Display Measurements:

The Xperia 5 V uses a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner, while the S23 has an under-display one. Surprisingly, they're similar in speed and accuracy. The Xperia lags behind a bit, even though it's a physical scanner.

Performance and Software


Both the Xperia 5 V and the Galaxy S23 feature the latest Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. There's an interesting "Made for Galaxy" twist in the version on the Samsung phone, but synthetic benchmark results show that these two are almost identical when it comes to performance. They even heat up and throttle in a similar way.

The memory configuration is the same on both phones (8/128GB base), but the Xperia has the advantage of a microSD card slot and can add up to 1TB more. As for the software, the Xperia 5 V rocks mostly stock Android with the addition of Sony's creative pro-grade suite (Photography Pro, Video Pro, Cinema Pro, Music Pro, etc.), while the Galaxy S23 relies on Samsung's OneUI skin over Android 13.

Performance Benchmarks:
Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V2012
Samsung Galaxy S232023
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V5132
Samsung Galaxy S235180
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V3686
Samsung Galaxy S233807
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V1564
Samsung Galaxy S232079

The software update cycle is worth mentioning, as Sony stubbornly sticks to only two years of major OS updates. Samsung, on the other hand, promises four years of major OS updates and five years of security patches, so the S23 could potentially last longer than the Xperia, software-wise.


To zoom or not to zoom?

The Xperia 5 V borrows the newly developed Exmor T sensor that Sony debuted earlier this year with the Xperia 1 Mark V. It's a dual-layer transistor pixel design that, in theory, should help with lowering the noise and gathering more light. Both phones use pixel binning to output 12MP images from their main cameras, and their ultrawide cameras are also very similar in specs.

The main difference here is that the Galaxy S23 has a dedicated telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, while the Xperia relies on 2x cropped images from the main 48MP sensor. You can see some comparisons below and make up your own mind about which one is better.

Main Camera - Day

Main Camera - Low-light

Zoom Quality

Ultra-wide Camera


Video Thumbnail

Video Thumbnail

Audio Quality and Haptics

These two feature stereo speakers. However, in the case of the Xperia, they are front-facing. This makes a substantial difference when you listen and watch something simultaneously. Having the sound come directly at you is great and also helps with stereo separation. And to top it off, the Xperia comes with a 3.5mm audio jack, so you can plug in headphones of your choice and preference. The point goes to Sony.

Regarding haptics, both have decent haptic motors and offer nice and snappy vibrations. If we had to choose between the two, we'd pick the S23, as it's vibration feels just a tad stronger, compared to the Xperia.

Battery Life and Charging

Numbers don't lie

The Xperia comes with a 5,000mAh battery onboard, while the Galaxy S23 sports a 3,900mAh cell. No software optimization can offset such a difference, and it shows. Further, both phones rock the same chipsets and have similar screens.

You get more stamina on the Xperia, and it translates to real-life scenarios, not just synthetic benchmarks. You can get a full day out of the Galaxy S23, for sure, but with the same usage, you'll be able to get a day and a half or even two days out of the Xperia.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V8h 38 min
Samsung Galaxy S238h 6 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V23h 28 min
Samsung Galaxy S2315h 21 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Sony Xperia 5 V8h 5 min
Samsung Galaxy S236h 7 min

Specs Comparison

Here's a quick specs comparison between the two phones:

You can delve deeper and check out the full Xperia 5 V vs Galaxy S23 specs comparison on our site.

Summary and Final Verdict

This one is hard! Both the Xperia 5 V and the Galaxy S23 have their strengths and weaknesses. They sport similar screens, but the S23 is more flexible with the refresh rate. The performance is almost identical. The Xperia has pro-grade creator-oriented software onboard. On the other hand, Samsung offers four years of OS updates, while Sony sticks with only two.

To make matters even more complicated, the S23 has a dedicated telephoto camera, while the Xperia comes with the new Exmor T sensor on its main snapper. The Xperia has a larger battery and better stamina, but the S23 is substantially cheaper. What a nightmare! So, which one should you buy?

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Well, in the end, it boils down to the ecosystem. If you're familiar with Samsung devices and want to stay mainstream (so to speak), choose the S23. If you want to go down the niche route and explore something a bit different, buy the Xperia.

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