Overview & Price
In this Sony Xperia 5 review we go over everything you need to know about this brand new 2019 smartphone.
We cover the performance, camera, display and everything in-between. We even showcase the best Sony Xperia 5 contract deals here in the UK..
Sony revealed its new flagship phone the Sony Xperia 5 at the IFA 2019 and it is set to be released to purchase on October 2nd here in the UK.
The Sony Xperia 5 price is set to be £699 here in the UK, but Sony are yet to announce whether the phone will be available in the US or Australia.
Here are some of the Sony Xperia 5 specs;
- 6.1-inch display
- Android 9.0
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB internal storage
- Triple camera set up
As you can see the Sony Xperia 5 is jam packed with some impressive performance features.
So lets take a look at what this phone has to offer…
Design & Display
One of the first things you will notice about the Sony Xperia 5 is that it looks very similar to the Sony Xperia 1, although it’s a little smaller.
The Sony Xperia 5 has a 6.1-inch screen compared to the 6.5-inch display seen on the Sony Xperia 1.
The phone is coated in Gorilla Glass 6 that protects the phone from scratches.
As well as this you will be glad to know that the Sony Xperia 5 is waterproof, it has an IP68 rating which makes it dust/water resistant.
The IP68 rating allows the phone to be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for 30 minutes, so don’t worry if the phone does accidently dunk in the tub whilst taking a bath.
The Sony Xperia 5 comes in Blue, Red, Black or Grey, all looking as great as each other.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the blue colour of the phone for just 2 days to conduct this Sony Xperia 5 review.
The red is more of a burgundy colour that looks spectacular when the sunlight shines on the device, however this colour sadly isn’t available in the UK currently.
The Xperia 5 measures 158 x 68 x 8.2mm which means it’s a little thinner than the Sony Xperia 1, this makes the phone extremely easy to hold in one hand without feeling like its going to slip.
That being said with the phone being a glass design and aluminum frame, the phone does tend to pick up fingerprint easily, so we would recommend investing into a skin or case to keep the phone in tiptop condition.
Sony typically sticks to a rectangular design that is a bit like mustard; you will either love it or hate it.
The Sony Xperia 5 is no different, and the rectangular design sticks with its 21:9 aspect ratio display.
One of the first things we noticed when picking up the phone is how light it is, the Sony Xperia 5 weighs 164g.
On the right hand side of the phone is a power button which doubles as a fingerprint scanner, it isn’t the fastest fingerprint scanner we have used but it certainly isn’t slow.
This is great for storing passwords for things like online banking and gaming, allowing you to easily and securely login without needing to type passwords in.
The Sony Xperia does not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you may want to invest into a pair of wireless headphones if you are into music to enhance the experience of this phone.
When it comes to the Sony Xperia 5 display, it has a 6.1-inch Full HD+ (1080 x 2520) OLED which is fantastic for watching movies on the likes of Netflix and Youtube.
Although the resolution is slightly lower then Sony’s flagship model device the Sony Xperia 5 is still HDR compatible.
The Sony Xperia 5 also has Bravia X1 tech which helps to upscale any low quality video, this ensures the phone is giving you the best display quality that it possible.
Brightness levels are strong on the Sony Xperia 5 as they go all the way up to 350 nits, meaning you wont have any issues viewing the screen in direct sunlight.
Creator mode can even boost the brightness up to 631nits, this mode is said to produce more accurate colours and give a better experience overall.
Generally colours look fantastic on the Sony Xperia 5 and it’s easy to be immersed into movies and games when watching or playing content on the phone.
Thanks to the size of the phone the Sony Xperia 5 display allows you to multitask with multiple applications at once, this means you can be watching a movie as well as texting your friend.
There is also a couple of cool one-handed features which help out with everyday use, just as is seen on the Sony Xperia 1.
One thing to note with the Sony Xperia 5 is that there are some small bezels at the top and bottom, which is a surprise for a 2019 smartphone.
That being said because of how tall the phone is, you don’t really notice the bezels and they certainly don’t cause any issues when gaming or watching Netflix.
The Sony Xperia 5 does feature a face unlock feature, however you will still need to swipe up on the display once the phone has been unlocked.
We found ourselves using the fingerprint scanner on the side of the device more often than not, as it is slightly faster.
One of the positives of having such a tall display is that there is more space for scrolling on social media, on Instagram the phone fits much more content on the screen than on the iPhone XS for example.
The amount of vertical space is subjective, as some people will like this but other wont, those that are big with social media and reading will more than likely be a fan of this.
So what are the Sony Xperia 5 specs like?
Well they are pretty impressive, the Sony Xperia 5 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset under the hood that is backed by an impressive 6GB of RAM.
This combination ensures the phone runs smoothly when carrying out everyday tasks and gaming.
One of our favourite features of the phone is that the phone is compatible with he PlayStation 4’s Dual Shock 4 controller for proper gaming control.
This is fantastic for those that love gaming as Sony also gives you Fortnite that is formatted to fit the 21:9 screen.
If you do happen to be a fan of Fortnite then we would highly recommend investing into a PS4 controller, as this will surely enhance your gameplay when using the Sony Xperia 5 to game.
This is seriously impressive for a smartphone as the Sony Xperia 5 can essentially turn into a mini PlayStation.
Another great addition to this is Sony’s ‘Dynamic Vibration System’; this essentially uses motors inside of the phone to vibrate the device in correlation with game events and sounds.
This makes for a music more realistic gaming experience, however it can get annoying after a while and can be easily turned off in the settings.
The Sony Xperia 5 does come standard with 128GB of internal storage that is usually more than enough for the average user, if you are someone who uses your phone for work or perhaps downloads tons of movies and games.
Then Sony does give you the option to use a microSD that allows the phones storage to be extended up to 512GB.
When it comes to audio Sony do an excellent job here too thanks to their Dolby Atmos speaker setup.
This gives immersive sound and works well to enhance gameplay and music.
The Sony Xperia 5 also has a digital sound enhancement feature that does exactly what it says on the tin and enhances audio that doesn’t sound great.
Another great feature of the phone is that it actually has a voice synthesizer which changes your voice when playing games, this is great for privacy reasons when playing online games as it really does sound completely different when turned on.
The gaming handset feature allows you to play your favourite games at up to 20fps that for a smartphone is great.
It has been slightly improved from the Sony Xperia 1 and now makes for much smoother gameplay.
The Sony Xperia 5 features a ‘Smart Connectivity Tool’ that automatically checks out Wi-Fi networks before switching you over from your mobile data.
This means that your videos and gameplay wont randomly cut out thanks to rubbish Wi-Fi, as the phone will check the network for drop out or low connectivity before switching.
The Sony Xperia 5 uses Android 9.0 Pie as its software with some small Sony tweaks layered on top.
The software is super clean and easy to use, we got to grips with it in a matter of hours.
One thing that is missed though is the use of features, as using the Sony Xperia 5 does take a little longer than we would like as you need to reach for the home button every time.
That being said the Sony Xperia 5 does have ‘Side Sense’ which when squeezed is supposed to allow you fast shortcuts.
However when using this in the real world we found it’s unreliable and doesn’t speed up using the phone much at all.
The Sony Xperia 5 does have a one handed mode that helps with navigating around the phone especially if you have small hands.
We did find that multiple of applications downloaded on the Sony Xperia 5 are not well optimised for the phones 21:9 aspect ratio, this means that you will be no stranger to black side bars on the phone when playing some games.
The phone does feature a cool Cinema Pro app that is used for capturing home movies in the highest possible quality as well as the Game Enhancer that is a launcher that assists in the launch of games like Fortnite.
As a whole the Sony Xperia 5 specs and software are both impressive, however we would have liked to be able to use navigation gestures to get around the phone a little quicker.
The Sony Xperia 5 has the same triple camera set up as the Sony Xperia 1, which is a 12MP f/1.6 wide angle lens, a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide as well as a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2x zoom.
Shooting in daylight results in some fantastic images with great colour accuracy and plenty of detail.
There is some slight noise here and there but that is down to the algorithm in the phone as it works to preserve detail rather than fix noise.
Auto HDR is great for beginners as this mode takes the pressure off and does everything for you, this is what we typically use as we are by no means photographers.
Sony has transferred all of the great camera features from the Sony Xperia 1 over to the Sony Xperia 5.
One of which being the auto eye focus feature that locks on to an individuals eyes and auto-focuses them to keep your subject nice and crisp no matter how much they are jumping around.
Thankfully the Sony Xperia 5 cameras do feature optical image stabilisation (OIS) which helps to keep the shot still even if your hand is moving around slightly.
This removes the need for any after market purchases such as tripods as the phone does all of the stabilising for you.
The telephoto lens works just as well as the main snapper with great detail and plenty of detail.
Auto-focus does struggle a little in this lens and we found we would have to hang around a little for the phone to lock on to our subject.
We feel this is due to the eye auto-focus feature that locks on to an individual’s eye.
The ultra-wide camera isn’t quite as good in terms of detail as the other two lenses, this is because this lens is used primarily to bring as much into the image as possible.
Therefore there is a lot more work for the phone to do so naturally detail will lack a little in comparison to the other two lenses.
That being said the ultra-wide lens is definitely our favourite camera to shoot with as it makes for the best looking shots, the field of view really opens up with this lens and allows you to capture excellent group photos with friends as they can all fit into the shot without having to bunch up closely.
Colours look great with the ultra-wide and digging into the settings will even allow you to correct the distortion if needed.
One thing the ultra-wide lens does lack is auto-focus and burst mode, meaning you will need your subject to be still for the optimal shot.
The Sony Xperia 5 camera has portrait mode that works well too, this is ideal for those that love taking shots of friends for Instagram.
As the subject separation here is fantastic, there is also a nice natural looking background blur too which helps to keep detail on the subject.
When shooting in low light the Sony Xperia 5 cameras work well as the phone creates a longer exposure shot that does its best to combat camera shake.
Colours looks great in low light with exposure looking even, however you are unable to use the telephoto lens at night.
Thankfully you are able to use the ultra-wide lens at night if needed and shots come out looking great with plenty of detail.
Around the front of the Sony Xperia 5 is an 8MP selfie camera that has an f/2.0 aperture.
This selfie cam is impressive when used in daylight as it maintains plenty of detail, however when used in low light conditions images do come out looking softer than we would have liked.
Portrait mode with the selfie cam works well too especially in good lighting, this allows you to take some stunning selfies ready to upload to social media without the need for any editing or manipulation.
The main camera can record video footage in 4K that has superb contrast and fantastic dynamic range.
Colours look great too when recording video and the Camera Pro app works well to shoot some awesome home videos.
In full HD video footage is some of the best out there, and have incredible dynamic range and colours.
The Sony Xperia 5 even allows you to shoot 4K video using the ultra-wide lens.
This does result in some softer footage and not as bright colours though.
As a whole the Sony Xperia 5 camera is impressive and the set up is the same as the Sony Xperia 1 but with some added features.
We wouldn’t go as far as saying it beats the Google Pixel 3, but we really don’t think you will be disappointed with the camera set up on this phone.
The Sony Xperia 5 has a 3140mAh battery that is plenty to keep you going throughout your day.
The battery size on this phone is actually smaller than the one seen on the Sony Xperia 1 but we did find that it lasts longer.
We found that 7 hours of screen on time was what we were getting out of the phone most of the time, this was with some gaming, YouTube videos and some scrolling through Instagram and twitter too.
The Sony Xperia 5 battery does have some impressive power saving options too that include a Stamina Mode and an Ultra Stamina mode which provides more power to the phone by disabling different functions.
The Sony Xperia 5 doesn’t have wireless charging, which is a bit of a shame given the price of the phone, however the 18W power cable does a great job at charging up the phone extremely quick.
We found we would get 50% charge in around 30 minutes when hooked up to the charging cable which is incredibly fast.
For us this actually compensated for not having wireless charging as the phone charges lightning fast anyway, so you rarely find yourself needing to stay plugged in to a charging port.
As a whole the Sony Xperia 5 battery performance is impressive, we couldn’t find much to complain about here aside from the lack of wireless charging.
So is the Sony Xperia 5 worth the price?
Well if you are looking for a smartphone that has excellent gaming benefits alongside a huge display then yes.
However due to the price of the Sony Xperia 5 on a contract deal this certainly isn’t an impulse decision and this phone really does need to be right for you.
The Sony Xperia 5 design is like all Sony phones, a little mustard.
As is the Sony Xperia 5 display with its tall and slim features, however this does make for a superb viewing experience when watching Netflix and YouTube.
The Sony Xperia 5 specs are impressive, with plenty of internal storage, a great chipset and plenty of RAM.
We love that the phone is compatible with the PlayStation 4’s controller as this can really help to enhance gameplay especially on Fortnite.
This phone really is a gaming phone, and if that is what your looking for then the Sony Xperia 5 may be for you.
The camera of the Xperia 5 is almost identical to the one used in the Sony Xperia 1, with some impressive features and great low light shots too.
Battery life is impressive and is much better in real life than it looks on paper, we didn’t have any issues with the battery when using the phone as it managed to get through a full day of intense usage easily.
Overall the Sony Xperia 5 is a great 2019 smartphone, it is unique in many ways and is a rather niche phone.
We hope you have enjoyed our Sony Xperia 5 review, feel free to leave a comment and check out the best contract deals here in the UK at the top of this post.