Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors


Analysis and opinion about Sony Xperia 1 II: design, screen, performance, battery, camera, multimedia, sound, competitors, and price.

Sony unveiled its new flagship Xperia 1 II, the successor to last year’s Xperia 1, earlier this year, but the company didn’t put it on sale until several months later.

The Sony Xperia 1 II has a 6.5 ″ 4K OLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage, wide-angle rear camera (12MP, f / 1.7) + ultra-wide angle (12MP, f / 2.2) + 3x telephoto lens (12MP, f / 2.4) + ToF, front camera (8MP, f / 2.0), fingerprint reader on one side and 4,000 mAh battery with fast charge up to 21W.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review

Sony Xperia 1 II has a different design from other high-end competitors since its body is narrower, thinner, and longer than other smartphones. This is because it has a screen with an unusual 21:9 ratio, which is also surrounded by frames of a certain width from above and below.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Its smaller width favors holding in the hand, but the great height of its screen makes it difficult to reach the upper half with just one hand.

While other manufacturers go for curvy bodies – on the sides of the screen, the glass on the back and / or the side edges – Sony has opted for flat surfaces and straight lines on the Xperia 1 II, except for the four corners that are rounded.

Sony does not tend to be in a great hurry to adopt new design trends and proof of this is that it has never massively included the notch in its terminals (the Xperia L4 was the exception).

It also doesn’t make use of solutions like perforated screens or pop-up cameras to remove bezels. As a result, we are faced with a smartphone with a screen-to-body ratio of 84% according to GSMArena.

Sony has also not embraced the use of fingerprint readers under the screen, so it has included the fingerprint scanner in the power button.

Although it is not an awkward position, I personally would prefer it to be integrated into the screen itself. The reader works correctly as long as the surface of your finger is well supported on the reader, otherwise, the reading will not occur. Unfortunately, Sony has not included facial recognition.

The Sony Xperia 1 II uses Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and rear glass, so it should resist scuffs and scratches well. It also has IP68 protection against water and dust, so there is no problem if you take a dip.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

The Sony Xperia 1 II screen has a 6.5 ″ OLED panel with 4K resolution that offers a high pixel density (643 dpi) that guarantees great sharpness (more than necessary, in my opinion). The panel more than covers the standard sRGB color gamut and also reaches 100% of the Display P3 gamut, which offers a wider color range.

The screen is compatible with HDR technology so you can enjoy high dynamic range content from Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services. Sony has included a color mode called Creator that can be activated automatically when using certain apps like Netflix for greater color width and fidelity.

The maximum screen brightness is high, 581 nits, but it falls somewhat below other high-end smartphones that I have tested, which exceed 700 nits in bright conditions. The color fidelity is not as spectacular as that of other high-end smartphones that I have tested, although it is very good.

The Sony Xperia 1 II comes with the Ambient Screen functionality (Always On Display) to see the time/date, battery level, and pending notifications. You can select to be always on or only when you notice movement or receive notifications. I would have liked the screen to turn on when double-tapping on but this option is only available if we leave the Ambient Screen permanently active.

I miss that the panel has a high refresh rate since, today, almost all high-end smartphones offer a rate of at least 90 Hz.

At the hardware level, the Xperia 1 II has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 8 GB of RAM, so it has plenty of power and memory, the Xperia 1 II has obtained excellent results in performance tests, although Today all high-end smartphones obtain very similar results.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

On a day-to-day basis, I have not had any problems with the performance of the Xperia 1 II, which smoothly moves apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, TikTok, etc. and handles multi-tasking with ease.

If you’re a gaming fan, I’ve measured high and fairly stable FPS rates on demanding 3D titles like Asphalt 9, Real Racing 3, and Call of Duty, so the Xperia 1 II is a good choice for gamers.

To this is added that its longer screen allows you to have a greater viewing area when playing without the thumbs interfering.

The Xperia 1 II comes with 256GB of internal UFS 3.0 storage (not as fast as UFS 3.1), which can be expanded via micro-SD up to 512GB.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

In the connectivity aspect, the Sony Xperia 1 II is well served and offers WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1.

It also offers 5G connectivity in the band below 6 GHz (Sub-6), but not in the mmWave band. Unfortunately, it does not have Dual SIM nor is it compatible with eSIM.

The battery capacity of the Sony Xperia 1 II is 4,000 mAh, a value that is not too high for what we see today. In the autonomy test with PCMark, the results have been correct, without standing out from above or below. On a day-to-day basis, I have obtained a good autonomy although I would have preferred to see a little more battery even at the cost of increasing the thickness.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

If you need to charge quickly, the Xperia 1 II supports 21W USB Power Delivery fast charging and the charger that Sony includes in the box is an 18W USB PD charger. In just over half an hour, it reaches 50% charge, but it takes two hours to reach 100% charge.

As usual, Sony incorporates Stamina power-saving modes that extend battery life at the cost of dispensing with certain functionalities, as well as the Battery Care functionality that lengthens battery wear by adapting the end time of the battery. charging the moment you usually disconnect the phone from the charger.

The Sony Xperia 1 II also features Qi wireless charging, so you can comfortably charge it without cables.

In the photographic section, the Sony Xperia 1 II comes with three rear cameras – wide-angle (12MP, f / 1.7, OIS), ultra-wide-angle (12MP, f / 2.2) and 3X telephoto lens (12MP, f / 2.4, OIS) – and a ToF camera to focus faster in low light conditions.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

The Sony Camera app has never stood out for its speed and, once again, I have encountered some problems with slowness when taking pictures, which are not captured as quickly as on other smartphones.

The main camera is capable of taking very sharp pictures in good light conditions and offers a good result in low light conditions, although it is outmatched by some flagships that I have compared it to.

It incorporates a Night mode that is activated automatically to take photos with longer exposures that achieve good results but not as bright as some rivals. It also offers the ability to capture bursts of up to 20 FPS while maintaining automatic focus and exposure, which is recalculated 3 times in each frame.

The ultra-wide-angle and 3x telephoto cameras capture high-quality images during the day, but they are not intended for low-light conditions, so quality suffers at night or indoors.

Sony has incorporated a Portrait mode that makes use of the wide-angle camera, so faces look quite distorted when taking close-ups. Other smartphones use a 2X telephoto camera or, if they don’t have, a 2X equivalent crop in the image captured with the main camera so you don’t have to get that close.

The Portrait mode has some shortcomings since it is not possible to change the degree of blur afterward (although the original photo is also saved), HDR is not applied and the separation of the subject from the background is not the best.

Sony has added an app called Photo Pro that allows you to take pictures in manual mode with a large number of options. It is not an app for all users, but photography connoisseurs will appreciate a large number of controls available.

The Sony Xperia 1 II can record 4K video at 60fps even with HDR although we do not have an 8K recording mode as in other smartphones – to tell the truth, it is not something that I miss either. The strange thing is that the 4K @ 60fps mode is not available in the Camera app but only in the Cinema Pro app.

The video recording is good, especially in the aspect of stabilization, where SteadyShot again gives good results. However, at night, the focus is occasionally lost.

Sony has included the Cinema Pro video recording app with professional options (24 fps recording, different color looks, manual controls, etc.) that can be useful for vloggers. Its main drawback is that, given the large amount of information displayed on the screen and its small size, the viewer of the image we are recording looks quite small.

The front camera has an 8MP sensor and an f / 2.0 aperture and produces good selfies in good light conditions. It also offers a Portrait mode that is accompanied by other touch-ups such as smoothing and brightening the skin, enlarging the eyes, and thinning the face. Now, in tests, I have found quite a few photos out of focus when taking portrait mode selfies.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Sony has paid special attention to the sound, incorporating support for Dolby Atmos, front stereo speakers that sound with great power, and a good number of sound settings to improve the reproduction. Also, Sony has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack. and that is something that is not seen every day.

Sony incorporates its own music player app but has lost some functionality, such as the automatic download of song covers that was present in previous versions.

The Sony Xperia 1 II has a system called Dynamic Vibration that makes the phone vibrate to the rhythm of sound when playing music or videos (but not games) and that, in my opinion, is more of a curiosity than anything else.

The Sony Xperia 1 II comes with Android 10 and, at the moment, we have not heard official plans to upgrade to Android 11. Sony’s customization layer offers some interesting features such as power-saving modes and advanced sound settings.

Sony incorporates a functionality called Side Sensor offers quick access to eight recommended applications by double-tapping anywhere on the sides of the phone, as well as going back or opening two apps at the same time by dragging your finger on the side.

I must confess that I have problems activating the Lateral Sensor since, in most cases, I cannot activate it the first time.

Sony has included a feature called Game Optimizer that allows you to maximize the performance of the phone, hide notifications while you play, take bursts of screenshots, record games including your face with the front camera and ambient sound, etc.

Sony has pre-installed a few third-party apps like LinkedIn, Facebook, Netflix, and Tidal. It is not possible to uninstall them, so we have to settle for disabling them.

I miss some functionalities in the Sony software layer such as a second private space, the protection of access by PIN/fingerprint to apps and certain photo folders, the cloning of apps for those that do not offer multi-account (such as WhatsApp), a desktop mode when connecting the phone to a display, etc.

Finally, the Sony Xperia 1 II is on sale for $ 1,199.99, a price that is in line with what we find in other high-end smartphones on the market.

Sony Xperia 1 II Review, Specifications, Price, and Competitors

Sony Xperia 1 II Full Specifications

Dimensions & WeightDIMENSIONS
6.5 × 2.8 × 0.3 in

6.4 oz
6.5″ 21:9 CinemaWide™ display

4K HDR OLED (3840×1644)
Water resistant (IP65/68)
CameraRear Camera (1)
12 MP
1/1.7″ Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor

Rear camera (2)
12 MP

Rear camera (3)
12 MP
1/2.55″ Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor

Front Camera (1)
Memory & StorageRAM: 8 GB
EXTERNAL MEMORY: microSDXC support (up to 1TB)
SIM CapabilityNUMBER OF SIM: Single Sim
Operating SystemAndroid™ 10
ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 865 5G Mobile Platform
4,000 mAh

USB Power Delivery (USB PD) fast charging, Qi Wireless charging

Xperia Adaptive Charging, Battery Care, STAMINA Mode
SensorsFingerprint sensor

All images and specifications credits for “Sony“.

The Best and Worst about Sony Xperia 1 II

The best:

  • Elegant design with no notch or hole in the display (for those who shy away from them) and quality finishes.
  • Light and slim body with Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the front and on the back.
  • Screen with very high clarity, high contrast, wide color gamut, and HDR support. It’s 21:9 aspect allows you to watch movies without black bands and enjoy games without getting your thumbs in the way.
  • Fluency thanks to powerful hardware-based on Snapdragon 855 with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM.
  • 256GB UFS 3.0 internal storage is expandable via micro-SD.
  • Software experience close to original Android
  • Interesting software features such as power-saving mode, advanced sound settings, game optimization, etc.
  • Fast USB Power Delivery charging with included 18W charger and wireless charging.
  • Front stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support.
  • Very versatile triple rear camera: wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and 3x telephoto lens. Ability to shoot bursts of up to 20 FPS while maintaining autofocus.
  • The Photo Pro and Cinema Pro apps offer more manual controls for taking photos and recording video than a hobbyist could dream of on a smartphone.
  • 5G connectivity in the sub 6GHz band.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Presence of notification LEDs in the upper frame
  • IP68 resistance to water and dust.

The Worst:

  • Very elongated 21:9 screens, making it difficult to reach the upper half with one hand
  • Poor use of the front (84% ratio) due to quite wide frames
  • Screen with a refresh rate of only 60 Hz and with color fidelity and maximum brightness lower than other high-end smartphones.
  • The main camera below other flagships in low light. Portrait mode only with the wide-angle camera, which makes faces in close-ups look distorted.
  • Lateral Sensor functionality difficult to activate on the first try.
  • Absence of some software functionalities that we find in other smartphones: cloning of apps, protecting apps or photos with a password, desktop mode, etc.
  • Slower fast charging than other flagships
  • The fingerprint reader on the side (instead of under the screen) and without facial recognition
  • No Dual SIM or eSIM support

Sony Xperia 1 II Price and Competitors

The Sony Xperia 1 II is on sale for $ 1,199.99, a price that is in line with what we find in other high-end smartphones on the market.

Next, we are going to review some smartphones that compete in technical specifications with the Sony Xperia 1 II.

A good alternative with a great camera is the Galaxy S20 Ultra ( $ 1049 at Amazon), which has a huge 6.9 ″ Dynamic AMOLED screen, Exynos 990 processor, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage, 108MP rear camera ( wide angle) + 48MP (10x hybrid optical zoom telephoto) + 12MP (ultra wide angle) + ToF, 40MP front camera and 5,000 mAh battery.

If you like photography, the Huawei P40 Pro 5G ( $ 910.00 at Amazon) is a good reference. It has a 6.6 ″ Full HD + OLED screen, Kirin 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, 50MP rear camera (wide angle) + periscope with 5x optical zoom (12MP) + ultra-wide-angle camera (40MP) + depth 32MP front camera, 5G connectivity and 4,200 mAh battery with direct and reverse wireless charging. Now, it does not bring Google services pre-installed.

Another smartphone that stands out in the photographic section is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro ( $ 1053 at Amazon) that has a 6.7 ″ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, 108MP (wide-angle) + 12MP (2x telephoto) + 8MP (3.7x telephoto) + 20MP (ultra-wide) rear camera, 20MP front camera and 4,500 mAh battery

The OnePlus 8 Pro ( $ 999.00 at Amazon) may also be interesting, which has a Fluid AMOLED screen of 6.8 ″ at 120 Hz, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 128 / 256GB of storage, wide-angle rear camera (48MP ) + telephoto (8MP) + ultra wide angle (48MP) + depth (5MP), 16MP front camera and 4,510 mAh battery

Another smartphone to consider is the Oppo Find X2 Pro ( $ 1099.00 at Amazon) with a 6.7 ″ AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, wide-angle rear camera (48MP ) + 5x telephoto lens (13MP) + ultra-wide-angle (48MP), 32MP front camera and 4,260 mAh battery

We cannot stop talking about the iPhone 11 Pro ( $ 1149.00 ), which has a 5.8 OLED screen that occupies almost the entire front (except for the cutout at the top), an A13 Bionic processor, 4G / LTE connectivity, and a triple camera of 12MP.

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