It is traditional for Sony to launch two flagship phones per year, so naturally, everyone expected its big IFA 2019 announcement to be the Xperia 2. After all, it released the Xperia 1 earlier this year. Instead, Sony unveiled the Xperia 5. The numbering scheme is unusual because this phone is essentially a smaller version of the Xperia 1, and that could make a lot of people very happy.
For years, Sony was the only smartphone maker that resisted the trend toward larger and larger phones. Companies that did make “mini” versions of their phones often hobbled them in some way to keep the price down. Sony simply made “Compact” editions of its larger flagship phones with all the same features and specs. It moved away from that as sales slumped, but the Xperia 5 could be a return to form.
The Xperia 1 sports a 6.5-inch 4K OLED display, but it’s a 21:9 ratio. That makes it very tall and narrow. Thus, it was more comfortable to hold in one hand than a 16:9 or 18:9 phone with the same diagonal measurement. Although, the overall length made the phone somewhat awkward at times. The Xperia 5 has a 6.1-inch OLED at 1080p, and it’s still 21:9. At just 68mm wide, it’ll be easy to use one-handed, provided you don’t have to reach up to the top of the screen too often. By comparison, the Note 10+ is almost a full centimeter wider.
On the inside, the Xperia 5 has almost the same setup as the Xperia 1. There’s a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. The battery is necessarily a little smaller at 3,140mAh (3,300mAh in the Xperia 1), but the lower resolution display should more than make up for that. The phone runs Android 9 Pie, and Android 10 just launched a few days ago. It’s not uncommon for phones launched each fall to ship with a year-old version of Android, and Sony’s track record with Android updates is spotty at best.
The Xperia 5’s triple-camera system includes a 12MP main unit, a 12MP telephoto, and a 12MP wide-angle shooter. Sony says the camera app uses the same autofocus technology found in its line of Alpha mirrorless cameras. Although, Sony’s software processing has fallen behind the likes of Google and Samsung.
The Xperia 5 should be available for pre-order next week in Europe with shipping in October. We don’t have a price, nor confirmation of a US launch timeline just yet.