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Sony xperia mark ii. Sony Xperia 1 II review

Sony Xperia 1 Mark II (XPERIA1MII)

The Sony Xperia 1 Mark II (XPERIA1MII) smartphone released in 2020. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage.

Android OS v10.0 brings various performance enhancements, security updates, and optimizations, ensuring that the Xperia 1 Mark II delivers smooth and efficient performance right from the moment it is turned on. The POLED display of the Sony Xperia 1 Mark II typically offers smooth and responsive touch sensitivity. The touch panel is designed to accurately register touch inputs, providing a seamless and enjoyable user experience for various interactions, including gaming, scrolling, and typing.

The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone with multi-camera setup offers an intuitive and user-friendly camera interface. With OIS, users can confidently capture high-quality photos in challenging lighting conditions and record stable videos, making the Sony Xperia 1 Mark II a versatile tool for capturing and preserving memorable moments. The selfie camera of the Xperia 1 Mark II is also well-suited for video chats and video calling applications.

Sony Xperia 1 Mark II (XPERIA1MII) specifications

Body

The optimized weight of the Xperia 1 Mark II allows for easy handling and seamless navigation through its features and functionalities. The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone features moderate dimensions, measuring around 166 x 72 x 7.9 mm. This smartphone provides a multitude of color choices for users to select from. The SIM card serves as a unique identifier for the subscriber within a mobile network. The Nano SIM’s compact size allows mobile device manufacturers to design slimmer and more compact devices. It frees up space within the device, enabling manufacturers to include other components or features.

System

Sony regularly releases software updates that include the latest version of OS, bringing a host of new features, improvements, and security enhancements to the Xperia 1 Mark II. Android supports widgets, which are interactive app elements that can be placed on the home screen or other screens. Widgets provide quick access to information or perform specific tasks without needing to open the full app. The Sony Xperia 1 Mark II is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, which serves as the driving force behind its performance.

Boasting a powerful octa-core CPU, the Xperia 1 Mark II brings forth a formidable performance that effortlessly handles demanding tasks and delivers a seamless user experience. The Adreno 650 GPU integrates seamlessly with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, leveraging their performance capabilities to deliver exceptional graphics performance.

Display

Screen size is determined by measuring the diagonal distance, in inches, from one corner of the display to the opposite corner. The generous screen real estate of the 6.5 inch display allows for improved productivity and multitasking. With its 1644 x 3840 px resolution, the Sony Xperia 1 Mark II offers vibrant colors, sharp text, and good image quality. With its multi-touch capable display, the Sony Xperia 1 Mark II offers a versatile user interaction experience.

Memory

The Sony Xperia 1 Mark II’s substantial 8 GB RAM allocation empowers users with a reliable and capable device, providing ample headroom for storing app data, caching resources, and accommodating future software updates, ensuring longevity and efficient performance over time. The inclusion of additional RAM in a smartphone can significantly boost its performance and multitasking capabilities, enabling users to run resource-intensive apps, multitask effortlessly, and experience minimal lag or slowdowns.

Say goodbye to storage constraints with the Xperia 1 Mark II’s ample 256 GB of internal storage, providing you with the freedom to download and save numerous apps, games, and files without worrying about running out of space. Unlock the full storage capacity of your Xperia 1 Mark II by adding a microSD card, providing you with the freedom to store your favorite content without limitations.

Camera

At the rear of the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone, you’ll find an advanced multi-camera system that elevates your photography game to new heights. Whether you’re capturing breathtaking landscapes, stunning portraits, or detailed close-ups, the Xperia 1 Mark II has got you covered with its versatile camera setup. With the inclusion of autofocus technology, the camera on the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone ensures that your photos are clear and well-focused, eliminating the need for manual adjustments.

With optical image stabilization (OIS) integrated into its rear camera, the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone ensures sharper and more stable shots by compensating for hand movements or vibrations during capturing. The Xperia 1 Mark II is equipped with an LED flash on its back, providing additional illumination to ensure bright and clear photos in dark environments. The Xperia 1 Mark II comes equipped with a selfie camera, empowering users to capture self-portraits and create memories from their unique perspectives.

Connectivity

Despite the advancements in newer technologies, GSM retains its importance in the present time. The Xperia 1 Mark II supports 5G networks, enabling users to stay connected at incredible speeds and take advantage of low latency for real-time interactions and immersive content. Wi-Fi connectivity is a standard feature on the Xperia 1 Mark II, allowing users to connect to Wi-Fi networks at home, work, or public places for fast and reliable internet browsing.

Bluetooth connectivity is a standard feature on the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone, allowing users to seamlessly pair and communicate with other Bluetooth-compatible devices for data sharing and device control. The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone is equipped with an integrated GPS receiver, allowing users to accurately determine their location and navigate with ease. The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone incorporates Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, allowing users to seamlessly transfer content between their device and other NFC-enabled devices.

Disappointingly, the Xperia 1 Mark II does not offer the functionality of a built-in FM radio receiver, limiting users’ entertainment options when it comes to traditional radio broadcasts. The USB Type-C connector on the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone allows for high-speed data transfer and quick charging, enhancing the overall user experience. Offering the convenience of a built-in 3.5 mm headphone connector, the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone provides you with the freedom to use your existing wired audio devices without the need for wireless connectivity or additional adapters.

Battery

With its Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable battery, the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone ensures a long-lasting battery life. Li-Po batteries support faster charging speeds compared to some other rechargeable battery technologies. This allows smartphone users to recharge their devices quickly and get back to using them in a shorter amount of time.

Features

Incorporated seamlessly into the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone, there lies a state-of-the-art built-in fingerprint reader, revolutionizing the way users unlock their device and safeguard their data. The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone is equipped with a proximity sensor, a handy feature that detects nearby objects or hands and enables intuitive actions and improved user experience. Equipped with an ambient light sensor, the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone intelligently detects the lighting environment and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly, ensuring optimal visibility and conserving battery life.

The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone is equipped with an accelerometer sensor, a component that detects and records changes in motion and orientation. Equipped with a built-in gyroscope, the Xperia 1 Mark II offers enhanced motion-sensing capabilities, enabling users to control games, navigate virtual reality content, and experience intuitive screen rotations. The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone boasts a built-in compass that provides accurate direction information, allowing users to confidently navigate their way through unfamiliar territories and discover new places effortlessly.

The Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone is equipped with Dual SIM capability, allowing users to conveniently manage two separate phone numbers and network connections on a single device. Enjoy a durable and resilient smartphone experience with the Xperia 1 Mark II, as its IP68 certification guarantees protection against dust infiltration and water submersion, allowing you to confidently use your device in various daily scenarios.

Say goodbye to long charging times with the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone’s fast charging feature, enabling you to swiftly replenish your device’s battery and get back to using it in no time. With its Corning Gorilla Glass protection, the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone offers a durable and resilient display that can withstand the rigors of daily life, ensuring that your device stays protected and maintains its visual clarity. With the Xperia 1 Mark II smartphone’s wireless charging functionality, you can charge your device conveniently and hassle-free.

The specifications above are based on the official data published by the manufacturer, but we also take user reviews into consideration. If you found an error or something lacking in the specifications above for the Sony Xperia 1 Mark II, then don’t hesitate and signal the problem to us.

Sony Xperia 1 Mark II (XPERIA1MII) comparisons

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With its pro image and video capture features, the Sony Xperia 1 II is out to seduce the most demanding camera enthusiasts

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 II stands out from the crowd by offering a photo and video capture experience tailored towards enthusiasts and pros. If you fit this niche and prioritize pro camera features and image accuracy above all else, the Xperia 1 II is definitely worth shortlisting. However, a more typical user is likely to find a rival phone like the S20 Ultra or P40 Pro gives slightly more pleasing images, even if they’re not quite as true to life.

Pros

  • Stunning screen
  • Advanced photo and video features
  • Big improvement in battery capacity

Cons

  • – Image quality good, not great
  • – ‘Only’ 3x optical zoom
  • – Some features of limited appeal

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In the cut-throat smartphone world, you have to innovate or die. With Sony continuing to face fierce competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and OnePlus in the high-end sector, the company has carved out a niche for its flagship Xperia 1 series: make it appeal to pro photographers and videographers. 2019’s original Xperia 1 set the initial bar high in this regard, incorporating pro-level camera and video features not seen in the flagship sector. The Xperia 1 II (pronounced Xperia 1 mark II) carries on where the original Xperia 1 left off, being positioned not as just a camera phone, but rather a device with features that draws tech and can complement Sony’s RX line of premium compact cameras, and even the company’s high end Alpha interchangeable lens cameras. Sony even claims the Xperia 1 II has been developed with significant input from the company’s Alpha camera division.

But is all this enough to justify the hefty £1,099/1,199.99 RRP?

Design and features

As with the original Xperia 1, the mark II immediately stands out thank to its 21:9 screen ratio. It’s a subtle difference compared to the 19:9 and 20:9 screen ratios more usually found on competing phones, but it gives the Xperia a noticeably narrower 71.1mm width compared to the likes of the S20 Ultra 5G with its 76mm-wide form. The thinking behind going for a 21:9 screen is that it perfectly matches the standard 2.35:1 ‘Cinemascope’ ultrawide video format used in movie making, as one of the Xperia 1 II’s key features is its ability to be used as a secondary video monitor on Alpha-series interchangeable lens cameras.

The notch-less screen design helps preserve an uninterrupted visual display to enhance this feature, and the visible area is only slightly rounded at the corners, so there are no distracting intrusions into the screen. The flat screen also doesn’t drop off at the edges, as with a phone like the P40 Pro or Galaxy S20. The 6.5-inch OLED display boasts an incredible 1644 x 3840 resolution, which equates to 4K along the longer side. The screen supports HDR, and its color gamut is large enough to display 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, and partial coverage of the much larger REC.2020 color space. You even get two screen color modes: Standard is tuned to match that of Sony’s Bravia TVs, giving a punchier viewing experience at the expense of some color accuracy. Then there’s Creator mode, which has been tuned in collaboration with Sony’s Professional team to give faithful image and video color reproduction.

Another key. pun alert. feature of the Xperia 1 II versus rival phones is the inclusion of a proper physical camera shutter button. It’s a feature that’s almost become extinct from modern phones, so much so that it takes a little getting used to. Even experienced photographers have grown accustomed to a completely screen-based shooting experience, but once you revert back to the Xperia’s physical shutter key, it adds a real ergonomic benefit. It’s two stage. half press to FOCUS. action gives it even more appeal when compared to simply mapping one of the volume keys as a shutter button.

The Xperia 1 II’s rear camera bump includes three rear-facing cameras and a depth-perception time-of-flight lens. The three main cameras have focal lengths chosen to match popular 35mm camera lenses. The primary camera uses a 24mm-equivalent lens, the telephoto camera equates to 70mm, giving just under 3x optical ‘zoom’, while the ultrawide camera is equivalent to 16mm.

In an attempt to make image quality from all three cameras as consistent as possible, Sony has resisted the current trend of going for a sky-high 50 megapixel sensors and pixel-binning the final image down to a lower resolution. Rather, all three cameras capture at a simple 12MP. Sony’s reasoning for this is it can maintain a significantly higher pixel readout from having fewer pixels to deal with, thereby increasing burst capture speed and avoiding any rolling shutter distortion when shooting video.

However, while the three cameras do capture at the same resolution, image quality won’t be identical, as the sensors themselves are different sizes. The primary 24mm-equivalent camera uses a 1/1.7-inch Exmor RS sensor with 1.8um pixels and an f/1.7 aperture. a healthy upgrade over the 1/2.6-inch 12MP primary camera in the original Xperia 1. The 16MP ultrawide snapper uses a 1/2.55 sensor with an f/2.2 max aperture, while the 70mm-equiv. telephoto camera is based on a relatively small 1/3.4-inch sensor fronted by an f/2.4 lens.

Both the primary and telephoto cameras get optical image stabilisation, and all three cameras feature phase-detection autofocus with 247 AF points spread across nearly 70% of the image frame. Autofocussing also benefits from Sony’s Real-time Eye AF tech, which tracks the eye of a human or animal subject. Sony is claiming improved subject detection reliability to ensure your subject is always in FOCUS, regardless of its position or size in frame. The AF system is also fast enough to cope with the Xperia 1 II’s incredible 20fps continuous shooting ability. Autofocussing and auto exposure is calculated up to 60 times per second, ensuring consistent image quality throughout a burst of images.

The original Xperia 1 stood out thanks to its comprehensive image and video control, and the mark II is no different. The standard photo app is great for most users, enabling easy switching between the three cameras. But for complete control over your image and video settings, there are the separate Photo Pro and Cinema Pro apps. These use a totally different interface to the standard camera app, bringing advanced settings right to the forefront of the shooting experience. In Photo Pro you’d be forgiven for thinking you were shooting with one of Sony’s high-end Alpha cameras, as controls for metering, autofocus, exposure compensation, white balance and all other manual shooting settings are front and centre. Likewise, Cinema Pro offers up controls for resolution, frame rate, ISO, focusing and even color grading presets when shooting video.

Sony hasn’t neglected audio, either. You get dual front-facing stereo speakers. a real rarity these days in the quest for notchless screens and maximum screen-to-body ratios. Sony has even brought back the 3.5mm headphone jack for the Xperia 1 II. something that was missing from the original Xperia 1. Sony is claiming that this traditional analogue audio port provides reduced L-R signal crosstalk for lower background noise when compared to a conventional USB-C-to-3.5-inch adapter.

Moving away from the phone’s imaging and video capabilities, the Xperia 1 II is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest top-tier Snapdragon 865 SoC, enabling 5G connectivity. The phone is also IP65/68 rated for dust and water resistance, and is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back. Inside is a 4,000mAh battery supporting 21W fast charging and 11W wireless fast charging. Just one storage option is available: 256GB, and it’s accompanied with 8GB of RAM. There’s also a microSDXC slot to expand your storage by up to 1TB.

Performance

Fire up the standard camera app and the Xperia 1 II operates pretty much like any other top-end camera phone from 2020. Its responses are instantaneous, while autofocus is extremely accurate and reliable. Sony‘s Real-time Eye AF is also incredibly effective, first tracking a face when your subject is slightly further away, transitioning to FOCUS on an eye once your subject is closer to the camera. Moving though frame rarely confuses the system, and you have to look almost completely sideways for the AF to lose track of an eye, and even then it maintains face recognition.

Sony’s Photo Pro app is also a welcome inclusion for enthusiast photographers, giving lots of control over shooting settings. The 4:3 image preview leaves plenty of space on either side for touch buttons on the 21:9 display, making settings easily visible and touchable. How often you’ll actually want this level of control when shooting with a phone camera is debatable, as the fact remains that a super-slim and slippery camera phone is far from the most ergonomic tool for creative photography.

We tested the Xperia 1 II alongside another flagship phone released at almost the same time: the Huawei P40 Pro Plus. For all its issues with Google services, this is still a worthy benchmark for camera tech and image quality, and it’s a phone that competes directly with the Xperia 1 II.

At first glance, images from the Xperia 1 II hold up well to those shot on the P40 Pro Plus. Exposure metering is reliable, and while the Sony tends to produce slightly darker images overall, on the whole they look marginally more faithful than the Huawei’s brighter shots.

However, dynamic range is lacking in shots from the Xperia. It’s by no means bad, but many camera phone users will have likely grown accustomed to the powerful HDR algorithms boasted by newer smartphones which light up every last pixel. By comparison, the more old-school exposures from the Xperia, though mostly accurate, can simply look muted and lacking immediate ‘pop’.

View images from the primary 24mm-equivalent camera more closely and detail levels are very good, but again, things could be better. While the P40 Pro Plus’s primary camera uses a 50MP sensor, it pixel bins down to around 12.5MP, creating similar sized images to those shot with the Xperia. But even then, the Xperia can’t quite resolve the same degree of fine detail as you get in the Huawei’s images. It has a tendency to over sharpen some high-contrast boundaries in an effort to compensate, but this just gives a jagged and over processed look to some image areas if you look closely enough.

sony, xperia, mark, review

The image quality gap closes when you shoot in low light, as the Xperia produces impressively low levels of high ISO image noise, though the P40 Pro still resolves slightly more fine detail.

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2020 winner. Sony promises audio and video excellence – and delivers Tested at £1099 / 1199 / AU1840

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 II delivers superb music and picture performance, plus an all-round performance to match, and that makes it a winner in our book

Pros

  • Class-leading sound quality
  • Class-leading video quality
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
sony, xperia, mark, review

Cons

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It has been a long time since we reviewed a Sony phone and almost as long since we reviewed a phone that puts a real FOCUS on audio and video quality. Thankfully, the Sony Xperia 1 II kills those two particular birds with one stone.

With a glorious 4K resolution screen, Sony’s sonic expertise and cutting-edge audio features, plus a great camera complete with plenty of pro features, this could be a brilliant smartphone for music and movie lovers. There’s a headphone jack, too. The Sony Xperia 1 II (pronounced Xperia One Mark Two) is not cheap, but if you want a top-of-the-range phone from a big-name brand, that’s just how it is right now.

Expensive though it is, the Xperia 1 II is in the same price Band as the dearest offerings from Apple and Samsung. The Xperia 1 II launched at £1099 (1199, AU1840), putting it on a par with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (£1149, 1099, AU1899) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (£1179, 1299, AU1849). This is a top tier phone in every sense.

Features

The Xperia 1 II’s design does its best to make that chunky price tag feel like money well spent. It’s a sleek, shiny handset with a black metal design. There’s Gorilla Glass 6 front and back, plus neatly rounded corners to an otherwise angular design.

This Sony achieves the difficult task of standing out from the smartphone crowd by sporting a 21:9 aspect ratio with a 6.5in display, giving it a long, slim appearance. This actually makes it easier to grip one-handed than many of the largest phones on the market, though naturally no easier to reach the top of the screen. Despite those large dimensions (165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6mm), the phone is relatively light compared with other premium mobiles, at 181g.

Display 6.5in OLED

Resolution 1644 x 3840 (643ppi)

Front camera 8MP

Rear camera Quad 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto, 0.3MP Depth

OS Android 10

Storage 256GB microSD

There’s a standard volume button on the right side of the display, joined by a flat, touch-sensitive power button. This button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor – there’s no under-screen fingerprint scanner here, nor is there face ID. The good news is the fingerprint sensor works quickly and regularly.

The SIM card and microSD card tray is on the left side, while a USB-C charging port is at the bottom. And for those who still prefer wired headphones, the increasingly lesser-spotted 3.5mm headphone port is here too, on top of the device.

Don’t think that because this isn’t an iPhone or Galaxy phone that you won’t get top-tier specs and features. In fact, not only has Sony ticked plenty of expected boxes, there are some neat surprises that you won’t find on other phones – and we don’t just mean the headphone jack.

For the last few years, flagship phones have been locked in a battle of one-upmanship when it comes to camera performance, and while we can wax lyrical about the audio and video skills, Sony is every bit as focused on its camera. The phone has a quad-camera lens array, built into a polite bump that’s noticeably smaller than many others, so the phone rests fairly flat on a table.

There’s a 12MP f/1.7 wide lens, a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide option, plus a 0.3MP time of flight sensor. There is also a staggering amount of software trickery if you want to get your hands dirty when it comes to expert levels of photography, thanks to the Photo Pro app.

The good news is using the point-and-shoot auto mode, the Sony is simple to use, focuses quickly and delivers great images that are natural, sharp and detailed. If you’ve been frustrated by the move to a more processed look taken by most rivals, the Xperia 1 II provides something of an antidote, offering more realistic colours and contrast.

In terms of power, the top-of-the-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset and 8GB of RAM ensures speedy operation comparable with any phone on the market. There’s also a 4000mAh battery that is capable of powering a full day’s typical usage, despite that pixel-packed screen. There’s fast-charging for 50 per cent power in 30 minutes and support for wireless charging, too.

Screen

We could write a whole review on the picture features for the Xperia 1 II, but we’ll start by just saying “Wow”. Watching 4K YouTube videos or Netflix streams, even lower-quality web videos and streaming apps, this Sony Xperia 1 II takes Android phone video performance to a new level. The picture matches the design of the phone: sleek, smooth, premium.

Sony’s 21:9 CinemaWide 4K HDR OLED screen is all about enjoying videos “as the creators intended”. There’s even a Creator mode, “powered by CineAlta”, that promises to use Hollywood studio techniques to bring unrivalled colour accuracy. And we wouldn’t argue.

Let the picture do the talking and you’ll enjoy pin sharp images, beautifully realistic and full of detail. Sony has no time for lurid colours and over-cooked contrast and instead simply peels back a previously invisible film, revealing an apparent extra layer of realism and insight compared with even the best Android smartphones. You may have thought your existing phone was showing a natural colour palette, the Xperia 1 II may well convince you it wasn’t. Motion is smooth, too.

That 21:9 screen automatically shows you the content as it was shot rather than trimming it to fit the screen, which could be happening on your existing phone without you realising. If you’d rather ‘zoom to fit’, a touch of the button delivers that wish.

All told, the 1644 x 3840 4K pixel resolution successfully sets this Sony phone apart from the crowd in more ways than simply size, providing video that is beautifully clear, precise and watchable.

Sound

Listening without headphones, the front-facing true stereo speakers deliver impressively clear, if unavoidably lightweight, sound. But the real action comes when connecting headphones. If you’ve spent some money on wired headphones, you’ll be pleased to know you can connect them here without needing a dongle.

But any drop-off when going wireless should be kept to an absolute minimum, thanks to Sony’s LDAC technology, which allows for hi-res audio transmission and aims to maximise performance over Bluetooth.

We use a pair of Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones and the results are seriously impressive. Listening to Tidal Masters tracks, the phone will tell you an LDAC device is connected and allow you to choose to play at the highest quality with “Sound quality preferred” or opt for “Best effort”, which will adapt based on your network connectivity.

You’re treated to more space around sounds, solid but tuneful bass notes, well-rounded voices and enviable insight. Mac Miller’s Blue World shows how well this Xperia phone times, with the itchy hook bumping around your headphones and sounds moving from ear to ear, but it remains controlled and perfectly formed at all times.

The Xperia 1 II successfully delivers the Sony sound: agile, clear, rhythmical. Voices sound close and intimate, but there’s air around notes and dynamics when required. Whether loud or quiet, there’s detail and accuracy. And, in the spirit of the company’s hi-res music players, the better quality your audio, the more you’ll get out of the phone.

A great pair of speakers will have you reaching for your favourite tracks to hear how good they sound, and we get a similar feeling with the Xperia 1 II. It brings new life to smartphone audio – and that’s saying something. Did we mention you can also enjoy Sony 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos? This is a phone for the true AV enthusiast.

Verdict

Our FOCUS has always been on audio and video performance, so we’re thrilled to find a smartphone that does the same. The Sony Xperia 1 II delivers a new level of performance for smartphone video and audio, and the rest of the phone completes the task, delivering an excellent camera, fast performance and decent battery life. If you’re serious about enjoying your mobile entertainment, this is the phone for you.

Sony Xperia 1 II review

Mark II. You only need to hear the name of Sony’s new flagship to know it means business.

Gone are the days when the company’s separate divisions would work in isolation. Now the team responsible for the superb Alpha camera line-up is on board to help make this the best smartphone possible. Last year’s Xperia 1 already had a helping of Bravia brilliance with its 4K HDR OLED screen.

Now the Xperia 1 II – so-called because that’s how the Alpha team names its models – gets super-quick camera hardware that could put some DSLRs to shame. It’s a performance heavyweight with the specs to compete with the best, but a premium price could limit its appeal. Time to find out if this is a greatest hits compilation worth seeking out.

DESIGN FEATURES: STRETCH IT OUT

This lanky monolith of a handset looks an awful lot like the phone it replaces, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the Mark II name scheme.

It’s still mostly screen up front and mostly glass everywhere else, with a flat-edged metal frame holding the whole thing together. It feels substantial, with Gorilla Glass in place to prevent scrapes and scratches, and both IP65 and IP68 resistance to protect from the elements (one measures water resistance and the other’s for dust protection, don’tcha know).

Around back, the camera module has shifted from the middle of the phone to the far left side, but continues to protrude out from the glass slightly. This isn’t enough to catch whenever you slip the phone into a. although it’s so tall there’s every chance your s won’t be deep enough anyway.

We love Sony’s small touches, like the SIM tray that can be removed with a fingernail instead of that useless pin you lose the minute you unbox your phone for the first time, or the physical shutter button at the side – a half-press to FOCUS makes snapping photos far more natural than tapping on a screen.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor now doubles up as the power button, making for an even more streamlined design than last year’s Xperia 1, although the placement isn’t quite as convenient for left-handed users. It’s super-quick to recognise your digits, though, and more accurate than the in-display scanner you’ll find on Samsung’s latest.

DISPLAY SOUND: ZZZ

A helping hand from Sony’s Bravia TV division puts the Xperia 1 II front of the class in terms of display tech. You get a 4K resolution OLED panel with HDR support, stretched across 6.5in with a super-tall 21:9 aspect ratio. It doesn’t go the hole punch or notch route for its selfie camera, either, so all those pixels are entirely uninterrupted.

It’s a killer combination, which might miss out on the silky-smooth high refresh rate you’ll find in rival flagships, but otherwise makes video streaming, gaming and photo editing an absolute treat.

Definition is incredible, with more clarity than you’ll find on any other phone, and viewing angles are excellent. Contrast is impeccable, as you’d expect from an OLED panel, and colours are precise, with different modes depending on what’s on screen. Standard boosts contrast and vibrance for an extra visual punch, while Creator mode opts for professional-grade BT.2020 and 10-bit colour to show content as the director intended. It automatically switches on the fly, so you don’t have to remember to toggle it every time you open up Netflix.

The only weak area is brightness, with other OLED phones managing to shine brighter when cranked up to their maximum setting. A lot of streaming video might not be optimised for the 21:9 screen, but if you don’t mind a bit of letterboxing whenever you open YouTube, the aspect ratio is perfect for watching movies on the go.

Loads more games support it now, too, and it’s a dream for multitasking. A pair of front-facing stereo speakers complete the mini-cinema package, with balanced audio that gets plenty loud without stepping into distortion territory. There’s decent separation between mid-range and high-end frequencies for a phone, although bass is understandably lacking, and there’s a lot of resonance through the rear of the phone when you crank up the volume.

At least the 3.5mm headphone port makes a return, so there’s no need to mess around with dongles. Hi-Res audio support and DSEE upscaling make serious listening a treat, too, even if your library is still mostly low-quality MP3s.

CAMERA: TEAM EFFORT

Last year’s Xperia 1 proved three’s a charm, and while that’s true here as well, it’s all change on the hardware front. There’s still a trio of 12MP rear snappers, but the main camera gets a wider 24mm lens, the telephoto has jumped to 70mm (up from 52mm) and the wide-angle sensor gets phase-detect autofocus to put it on par with the other two.

All three get an anti-reflective lens coating from long-time Sony collaborator Zeiss. Sony says the combination of focal lengths should keep most photographers happy, based on feedback from Alpha customers. The main sensor is physically bigger now, with larger 1.8um pixels that make it 50% more sensitive to light than the Xperia 1, which bodes well for low-light shooting. But why stick with 12MP when there are 48, 64 and even 108MP phone cameras doing the rounds? It’s all about speed.

By not having to churn through too much pixel data, and borrowing some processing knowhow from the uber-high end a9 full-frame camera, the Xperia 1 II can shoot at a speedy 20fps with full autofocus and auto-exposure. It’s done by calculating FOCUS and exposure 60 times a second (no other phone is as quick) and using the new 3D iTOF sensor, which locks onto subjects with greater accuracy than a single-point laser autofocus might.

sony, xperia, mark, review

There are also now a whopping 247 autofocus points across 70% of the viewfinder. Sony’s RX100 premium compact camera? It only has 68%. This is a phone that makes sure you always capture the moment. It’s so quick to lock onto subjects, with none of the hunting we saw from Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra earlier this year, and has excellent real-time eye tracking to make sure faces are the focal point of any snapshots.

Pet lovers will be pleased to hear the upgraded eye-tracking now works with animal faces as well as human ones, too. The Xperia 1 II takes pleasingly detailed photos across all three cameras, with the clarity on display in close-ups and macro shots being particularly impressive. Facial features are almost always preserved, and sharpening isn’t too aggressive either. The wide-angle and telephoto don’t feel like second-class citizens to the main snapper, with little in the way of quality variance between them.

The 8MP selfie sensor up front gets close on the detail front, too. Colours are a lot more restrained and realistic than many rivals, and the automatic mode can sometimes struggle with dynamic range. HDR couldn’t rescue a few of our test shots from blown-out skies, while a Galaxy S20 managed just fine, and had punchier colours to boot – even if they weren’t exactly true-to-life.

Scene detection generally does a decent job in low light, largely besting its rivals in terms of realistic white balance. That said, noise levels creep up quicker here than they might on a larger sensor using pixel-binning.

There may not be a dedicated night mode, but serious photographers will love the new Photo Pro app. It follows on from last year’s Cinema Pro with the kind of settings, modes and features you’d find on a Sony Alpha camera. There’s more fine-grain control here than you’ll get on any other smartphone, at least out of the box.

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and 8GB of RAM behind the scenes, the Xperia 1 II is easily among the fastest of today’s flagship phones. You won’t spot any slowdown when launching apps, multitasking or swapping between camera modes (something last year’s Xperia 1 could sometimes trip over), and the near-stock user interface is entirely stutter-free.

It’s also Sony’s first 5G phone, so you can expect blazing-fast data speeds once your area gets upgraded, and you splash out on the right data plan. It’s still early days for the tech, but with one of these in your you’ll be ready when your local transmitter gets switched on.

Gaming on the 21:9 screen is an absolute treat, with consistently smooth frame rates even in the most demanding titles. The wide aspect ratio also gives you a real leg up over rivals rocking 16:9 smartphones – you can spot enemy soldiers in Call of Duty Mobile a lot sooner. A Game Enhancer toolkit puts shortcuts like screenshots, the ability to mute notifications, and screen recording just a swipe away, and a neat power control system lets you keep gaming while recharging, without sending processor temperatures skyrocketing. You’ll struggle to fill the 256GB of on-board storage with apps, games and media, but if you somehow manage it there’s a microSD card slot for adding extra space.

BATTERY LIFE: BIGGER AND BETTER

Like lots of Sony phones, last year’s Xperia 1 lasted much longer than its meagre 3300mAh battery capacity would suggest. But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement.

The Xperia 1 II gets a heftier 4000mAh cell, along with the same software wizardry and Smart charging management that keeps it juiced for longer than you’d think, given the powerhouse hardware it has to run.

Used on the daily, we comfortably lasted from breakfast to bedtime without needing to top up, even with plenty of music streaming, social media scrolling and camera snapping. Of course, YMMV if you’re recording 4K videos, watchingHDR movies or having regular gaming marathons, but fast charging will get you refilled from empty to 50% in half an hour. Even better, Sony has brought back wireless charging, so you don’t even need to mess around with USB cables.

OS SOFTWARE: SEEING SENSE

The Xperia 1 II is Android 10 done right. Google’s standard interface is largely untouched, with the familiar selection of default apps and only a handful of preloaded Sony ones. Google assistant is just a swipe away, and you have the choice of onscreen buttons or gesture navigation.

You don’t need elastic thumbs to reach the top of the screen, either, with Sony’s Side Sense gestures making a return. Double tap the edge of the screen and a drawer appears, full of apps, shortcuts and tools, saving you a two-handed trip to the navigation bar.

A swipe down goes back one screen, while a swipe up launches split-view multitasking. That last one is so much slicker than the standard Android way of doing things, we wish more phones could do it, and the 21:9 screen ratio means nothing ever feels squashed when running two apps at once.

Just remember the sensors are built into the screen, not the side of the phone – it’s a system that works best on curved displays, though it’s easy enough to get right here once you remember where to press.

Sony Xperia 1 II verdict

The Xperia 1 II is Sony at its best. Borrowing tech and expertise from the company’s other divisions has helped create a truly capable flagship phone – albeit one with more niche appeal than its major rivals.

Gamers, spec junkies and film fans will all find something to like here, while photographers will appreciate just how close a phone can get to matching a dedicated camera for speed and flexibility. It even brings back fan favourites missing from the Xperia 1, like wireless charging and the headphone jack.

A 4K HDR display and DSLR-sourced camera smarts don’t come cheap, of course. Mainstream alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy S20 cost a lot less, compete closely in terms of performance, and have it beat for camera image quality in certain scenarios.

However, opt for a pre-order and you’ll bag a free pair of WH-1000XM3 noise cancellers and a three month Tidal subscription, while some network deals undercut a top spec Galaxy or iPhone by as much as £20.

If your most-used Android apps are Lightroom and Premiere Rush, you won’t find another phone that better caters to your skills out of the box.

Stuff Says…

Combines a cinephile-grade display with camera smarts taken straight from Sony’s Alpha division to great effect. Outright image quality might not be the best, but this feature-packed flagship is still one of the most photographer-friendly handsets around

4K HDR that fits in your

Pro-level stills and video recording apps

5G and CPU grunt to match the best phones

Size can be hard to handle, even with software help

Photos more muted than rivals when shooting in Auto

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