This is Sony’s 3rd iteration of the Xperia 5, bringing with it some minor but subtle changes from the previous incarnation. Just for clarity, I have been using the previous Sony Xperia 5 ii as my personal phone since it was released back in November 2020, so I’m in a really good position to see what has changed and improved in the last 12 months.
Starting with the Specifications:
- Snapdragon 888 5G mobile Platform. (new from last years 865)
- Dual Sim Hybrid (Single SIM + optional 1TB Micro SD)
- 4500 mAh battery + PD fast charging
- 8GB Ram + 128GB Storage
- 1” 21:9 CinemaWide display
- 120Hz Refresh Rate / 240Hz motion blur reduction
- FHD + HDR OLED 2520 x 1080
- 5 mm Audio Jack for Hi-Resolution Audio
- 3 x 12MP Rear Camera Assembly
- Camera 1
- Focal Length: 24 mm
- Size: 1 / 1.7″ Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor
- FOV: 82°
- Aperture: F1.7
- Camera 2
- Focal Length: 70 mm / 105 mm
- Size: 1 / 2.9″ Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor
- FOV: 34° (70mm) / 23° (105mm)
- Aperture: F2.3 (70mm) / F2.8 (105mm)
- Camera 3
- Focal Length: 16 mm
- Size: 1 / 2.5 ” Exmor RS™ for mobile sensor
- FOV: 124°
- Aperture: F2.2
- Features: Photography Pro, ZEISS® quality lenses calibrated specifically for Xperia 5 III, ZEISS® T* Coating, Up to 20fps AF/AE, Up to 60 times per second continuous AF/AE calculation8, Real-time Eye AF (Human, Animal), Object tracking, Dual photo diode, RGB-IR, OIS photo, Photo flash, Photo light, Hybrid zoom 12.5x (based on Wide camera 24 mm), AI Super Resolution Zoom, HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo
- Camera 1
- 8MP Front Camera
- Size: 1/4″
- FOV: 78°
- Aperture: F2.0
- Features: HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo, SteadyShot™ with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization), Portrait selfie, Display flash, Hand gesture
Just from the specifications alone, you can see the camera setup is key focal point for this handset.
This is where I will begin, as it doesn’t just come down to the camera hardware as Sony have taken all the great features from the other thing they do exceedingly well at, making industry leading cameras. As such the software and image processing technology has pretty much been ripped from an alpha series camera and displayed neatly inside a phone – well when I say neatly, it’s not exactly intuitive like your normal android camera application. You can go deep, very deep in fact, into modifying all the elements you would on a full DSLR camera to tune and get the most out of your shot.
Going deep is great if you have the time to arrange and focus a shot, however as I have found on 5 ii I will tend to use the inbuilt android camera app, for just grabbing a quick shot to send on.
Sony must have been listening, as a nice addition to this year’s model now features a BASIC mode which basically takes over from the android camera app completely, enabling you to go in and grab that no frills shot and let the software work out what needs to be done.
On the subject of quick snaps and a big bonus on the Xperia line is the dedicated camera button, this button not only enables you to quick launch the camera but offer full camera shutter button functionality. Half press to auto focus and full press to take the shot, honestly this simple implementation of a hardware button to take a photo just enables you to hold the phone better and take a better shot.
The main camera module is one of the elements that has seen a slight upgrade over the previous model, although the main camera is the same the telephoto setup is different as it now features a periscope lens.
Here are a few example shots taken by me, and some pro example shots to show just what the camera is capable of, in the right hands.
Another key difference in the Xperia 5 series is the form factor, if we were still in the feature phone era without our big screens and a physical keypad, you could probably class this as a ‘Candy Bar’ phone, in the fact it’s taller than it is wide.
This is what gives you the 21:9 cinema display on a 6.1” display, do not let this put you off in any way, this was one of the features that attracted me to purchasing my version II last year. It’s still plenty big enough to display all your content and watch a film in super wide screen, but operate comfortably with one hand, especially with the optional one handed mode that reduces the screen contents down to an area reachable by your thumb alone.
Multi-Window apps are also able to take advantage of the extra screen real-estate, enabling you to have 2 fully working apps on the screen at the same time in either portrait or landscape mode.
Another upgrade for this year sees the addition of 360 Reality Audio, to the already amazing sound quality you get from a wired pair of headphones from the now ‘additional premium feature’ of a once standard 3.5mm jack. Couple this with a pair of Hi-Res Sony headphones such as my trusty MDR-1A’s and your ears are in for a treat without the need for a USB-C external DAC.
Sony take all the knowledge and tech they excel in within other areas of the consumer tech industry and somehow manage to cram it all into a phone. It’s always puzzled me why when they deliver such amazing feature packed products like this, they always appear to be overshadowed by the competition, who are usually just playing catch up, or borrowing the same hardware that Sony makes, aka Sony camera chipsets are used in a lot of the leading other brands.
So who is this phone for, well if you like an almost stock android OS with very little bloat and some nice practical software features (sorry, negative points here for pre-installing a not easily removed Facebook app) and a some quirky physical design aesthetics, that differ from the competition, a camera that if you have the time to play with and know how to handle a proper DLSR, you will see why megapixels don’t always count. A physical fully functional camera button, I really can’t praise this simple but highly appreciated feature enough, sorry.
And I have to say although the phone is as slippery to hold as a wet eel covered in baby oil, it will try its hardest to leap from the sofa at any opportunity thanks to its super glossy, gorilla glass 6 front and back, however it does look super sleek and sexy.
If you want to know anymore, reach out in the comments below. Otherwise, the Xperia 5 iii is available now for pre order from Amazon for £899, worth also noting that if you pre order you will get a pair of WH-H910N Noise Cancelling headphones thrown in, worth an additional £157.
If you came here looking for a full camera comparison between this year’s Xperia 5 and last year’s model, sorry to have disappointed as we never officially reviewed the 5 ii last year. However, feel free to check out our friend Steve Litchfield on allaboutmobile who goes into super-duper detail and an in-depth comparison of both devices.