The Sony Xperia 5 follows on the Sony Xperia brands’ history of releasing compact versions of their flagship devices with little compromise in quality and capabilities. It’s a scaled down version of the Xperia 1, offering the same powerful processor, capable camera, water and dust resistance and widescreen display.
First impressions and design
The Xperia 5 out of the box. There are three colours available, Grey, Blue and Black.
The smooth, rounded edges of the Xperia 5 make it feel very compact in your hands. Both the display and the back of the phone are built with super-tough Gorilla Glass 6, with sleek aluminium sides.
The fingerprint reader is located on the right side of the body, and it may take some getting used to if you are new to Sony handsets. Or, you can just go to Security > Smart Lock than select “Trusted Face” and you can unlock your Xperia with facial recognition.
The hardware camera button is also located on the right side of the phone. Hold it down to start the camera, and just press it again to use it as a shutter button.
No headphone socket at the bottom but Sony is kind enough to include a USB-C to audio jack adapter so you're free to use your wired headphones
The same three cameras seen on the Xperia 1, only arranged vertically down the left side instead of in the centre.
While it may not be high on a list of must-haves, water-resistance is a great feature for peace of mind. If you like to listen to music while in the shower, the Xperia 5 can be a good choice, don’t expect great audio quality though.
||Gorilla Glass 6
||158 x 68 x 8.2 mm
||Water and Dust Resistant to IP68 Standard
- Bright OLED screen
- Gorilla Glass 6
- Tall display is perfect for widescreen videos
The Sony Xperia 5 is great for watching movies. Wide-screen films designed for 21:9 ratio fit perfectly in the Xperia display. Colour reproduction is also of cinematic quality thanks to ‘Enhanced Video’ mode.
A compact phone with a shape that’s built for movies. For a quick example, click on an HD movie trailer and you’ll realise that no other phone comes close.
Creator mode enhances colour reproduction for films. It is set to auto by default and will be enabled whenever a compatible video reproduction is detected. The differences are subtle but enough to make this a device that you should consider if you tend to watch a lot of movies on your phone.
The screen may not be the brightest but expect vivid colour reproduction and plenty of customisation options.
While most people may not need this level of control over the display settings, Sony seems to take colour reproduction settings pretty seriously and more options are never a bad thing.
||1080 x 2520 pixels
Identical excellent triple camera setup as seen on the Xperia 1
Sony still lags behind most competitors when it comes to cameras
2x optical zoom with optical image stabilisation
With practically the same setup seen on the bigger Xperia 1, the only difference is that the lenses are on the side.
The camera app is very similar to what you’ll find on other Android phones. You can cycle through shooting modes easily using the main button.
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 6
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 1
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 3
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 4
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 2
Sony Xperia 5 Sample 5
We were really happy with the contrast and colour on the samples taken with the Xperia 5 and even the 2x zoom camera delivers images that are as sharp and vivid as the standard lens. The only difference in performance is in the auto-focus which, when using the telephoto lens, can be a tad slow to auto-adjust.
||12.2 MP, f/1.8, 28mm
||8 MP, f/2.0
|Optical Image Stabilisation
Software, performance and battery life
- Excellent battery life
- Stamina mode extends battery life considerably
- Powerful processor, and game mode will please gamers
The 3,100mAh battery copes well with the demands of the powerful processor and actually performs better than the Xperia 1 thanks to its smaller screen. Stamina mode, which restricts performance to add a few hours of charge is also one of the most effective of its kind putting the Xperia 5 up there with the best when it comes to battery life.
Is fast charging supported? In the case of the Xperia 5, things can be a bit confusing. A full charge takes almost two hours, which would not qualify as fast charging. However the rate of charge is not constant and you’ll find that you can indeed get a good 70% over the first hour of charge. What’s more, the Xperia line includes a battery care feature (accessible from the battery preference screen) which varies the rate of charging automatically and improves the overall lifetime of the battery by compromising on charging speed.
Game enhancer allocates power and RAM so that games run smoothly. It also gives you the option to fix the screen brightness and mute notifications so you won’t get distracted while gaming. There is also the option to lock the navigation bar to avoid accidental keypresses.
Side sense is essentially a pair of sensitive areas on both sides of the screen. By swiping the very edge off the display you can bring up shortcuts such as favourite apps or enable the multi-window display. Pretty useful if you tend to use your phone with one hand a lot.
|OS and Version
||Android 9 (Pie)
Value and verdict
Calling the Xperia 5 a compact device can be a bit of a stretch, but considering how big premium smartphones are these days, Sony’s definitely ranks among the most pocketable.
It excels at two of the things that matter the most: screen quality and battery life, and while the camera may not be as versatile as some of it’s rivals, but it still delivers superb shots, especially when the lighting is right.