August 12, 2020


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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 to start with...

The Sony Xperia one II is Sony’s 2020 flagship handset, and the to start with from Sony to help 5G (in Europe, but not in the US). As we have occur to assume from Sony, it packs in the capabilities, but it’s pricey even supplied the prime-finish technical specs. Final year’s Xperia one expenses £849 (inc. VAT) or $799.99 in the US, but the Xperia one II moves into four figures at £1,099 or $one,199.99. That is a good deal of funds for a smartphone, and whilst there are some really excellent capabilities below, it’s going to have to be really significantly excellent to justify the rate. Let us see.

The Xperia one II seems to be very distinct many thanks to its tall, slender style and design housing a screen that adopts an unusual ‘cinematic’ 21:nine factor ratio. It really is the exact same factor ratio we observed on last year’s Xperia one (in actuality, the screen is the exact same sizing and has the exact same pixel count far too — additional on this below).

This can make for a cell phone that is an uncomfortable suit for quite a few pockets. It really is not unduly wide however, and is very slim. The Xperia one II’s proportions are 72mm wide by 166mm deep by 7.9mm thick, and it weighs just 181g.

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

Pictures: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The style and design is very significantly in the Sony mould. A flat rather than curved screen, with rounded corners but flat edges. The Gorilla Glass six again is black and mirror-shiny. Sadly it loves fingerprints and is rather slippery.

That is even additional of an concern with an more tall handset, primarily when trying to work a person-handed, which I frequently observed exceptionally tough. I observed sweeping notifications away, tapping at inbound links in web internet pages, and even performing through my twitter feed all rather challenging to do a person-handed. Normally it felt as however I was unbalancing the cell phone when performing a person-handed, and in hazard of dropping it on the ground, 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 little bit recessed power button on the proper-hand side.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Sony proceeds to use a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is situated halfway down the proper edge, created into the power button. I observed it very successful. The button is a little bit recessed, in contrast to the volume rocker over it and digicam shutter to the bottom. Certainly, digicam shutter: the Xperia one II majors on its screen and digicam set up, and that actual physical button has an vital section to perform. A push launches the digicam application, a 50 percent-push focuses, and a very long push can take an image.

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The SIM slot sits on the remaining edge, and unusually these times, only a person SIM is accommodated. The slot will also accommodate a MicroSD card if you want to enhance the inside storage. There is a USB-C port on the bottom edge, whilst the prime edge has a exceptional detail for a 2020 flagship cell phone — a three.5mm headset jack. This is a tough handset, rated IP65/sixty eight for dust and drinking water resistance.

There are no visible speaker grilles on the edges of the cell phone mainly because the stereo speakers are discreetly concealed in the bezels over and below the screen. That is the ideal spot: the speakers toss audio proper at you, and stay clear of staying included by palms when the cell phone is held in landscape orientation. Seem top quality is really decent, and Sony has provided ‘dynamic vibration’ just as it did with last year’s Xperia one. You can established the handset to vibrate to the defeat of songs, with various stages of depth. The controller is an on-screen slider that sits beside the volume control. I didn’t consider significantly of it the to start with time round and I am even now not a supporter, but you will not have to use it if you will not want to.  


The six.5-inch 21:nine OLED screen occupies 84% of the front of the chassis, which has stereo speakers embedded in the prime and bottom bezels.

Graphic: Sony

As observed earlier the screen is the exact same six.5-inch sizing, 3840-by-1644 pixel resolution and 21:nine factor ratio as last year’s Xperia one. It really is an OLED panel with HDR ten-little bit help. Individuals speaker-housing bezels indicate that the screen-to-body ratio is a reasonably reduced 84%.

Sony does not supply a tremendous-superior refresh rate option, so you can not dial up to 120Hz as you can with the OnePlus 8 Professional or Realme X3 SuperZoom, for example. And while the prime and bottom bezels are reasonably wide, at the very least you can find no will need for an in-screen notch or punch-gap for the 8MP front digicam.

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (no cost PDF) (TechRepublic)

The screen-relevant selections all shell out off. I observed seeing video clip footage an extremely enjoyable experience. Colours are loaded but will not have that over-saturated seem that sometimes will come with OLED. The refresh rate was high-quality and I am not positive what boosting it would really include to day to day use. Most of the video clip I watched wasn’t in the screen’s 21:nine factor ratio, so there have been black bars on either side of the information. A quick finger-unfold extend will zoom 16:nine or eighteen:nine video clip to fill the screen, and it’s usually completely watchable in this point out.


You can configure the dual application mode working with Sony’s ’21:nine Multi-window’ utility.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Obtaining two applications open up at the exact same time is a trick that quite a few handsets supply, but it’s frequently not very functional. With the 21:nine factor ratio building a taller than regular screen in portrait mode, dual application use will become viable. To stimulate this, Sony delivers a utility identified as ’21:nine Multi-window’. Pairs of pre-configured splits this kind of as YouTube / Chrome sit together with the option to select unique applications from a record. It really is properly thought-out, and would stimulate me to make additional use of the break up screen mode.

Sony is really pushing the digicam capabilities of the Xperia one II, which can shoot Raw visuals, make rapid autofocus and publicity calculations at up to sixty situations a next, and has eye monitoring for people and animals that can help with autofocus. The aforementioned shutter button is also significantly additional usable than tapping on the screen. What you will never obtain is extravagant tremendous-zoom functionality that inevitably breaks up as the program loses its grip — or, without a doubt, any other arguably gimmicky capabilities.

With flagship smartphones sporting four or even 5 cameras at the again these times, a triple-digicam set up might feel behind the situations. But the Xperia one II bucks the craze, and does so very properly. All three cameras have 12MP sensors, and there are 24mm f/one.7 (wide-angle), 70mm f/2.four (telephoto, 3x optical zoom) and 16mm f/2.2 (extremely-wide-angle, 124°) lenses.

The program is good, far too. Transform the handset into landscape orientation and pitch into ‘pro’ mode and you get a very seriously sensible break up screen with image framing on the remaining and different controls on the proper, plus a nifty pop-out remaining side wheel for flicking through different capturing-mode choices and other options. If you happen to be organized to tweak, you can find an terrible good deal you can customise really simply, and Sony has done a terrific position of creating professional mode very obtainable.


Sony’s digicam program can make the ‘pro’ mode options admirably obtainable in landscape orientation.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Geared up with Qualcomm’s prime-finish Snapdragon 865 5G chipset and 8GB of RAM, the Xperia one II carried out effectively less than the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark, turning in typical scores of 905 (one main) and 3362 (multi-main). With 12GB of RAM starting off to crop up in flagship handsets like the OnePlus 8 Professional, the Xperia one II even now delivers similar Geekbench scores (the OnePlus managed 907 and 3375). 

There is 256GB of inside storage, and Sony adds a good deal of more bits and items to Android ten, significantly of which can be declined at startup if you want. Accepting everything on supply will choose up 21.5GB, but that even now leaves 234.5GB no cost for your own knowledge. 

The four,000mAh battery is on the little side these times, but it lasted for ten hours fifty two minutes less than the Personal computer Mark Perform 2. battery rundown examination. Viewing video clip is a person of the essential use scenarios for this handset, so I absolutely billed the battery and remaining a YouTube video clip operating for three hours, just after which it experienced fallen to 80%. More anecdotally, I constantly completed a day’s typical use with at the very least thirty% remaining. This is a important enhancement on last year’s Xperia one with its three,300mAh battery, which lasted for just less than 8 hours when we examined it.

Quick charging (21W) and wireless charging (Qi, 11W) are available on the Xperia one II.


Graphic: Sony


Sony’s Xperia one II isn’t for anyone — and even these who are drawn to its capabilities and can cope with the sort element might be put off by the four-determine rate tag. Following all, there are plenty of effectively-specified smartphones that price 50 percent as significantly as this a person.
On the plus side, you can find a excellent cinematic OLED screen and a effectively-carried out triple rear digicam array. Sony also delivers a prime-finish 5G chipset, plenty of RAM and storage, and sleek industrial style and design. It really is Sony’s best cell phone for some time, but rate is possible to be the main concern.

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