Sony’s smartphone design language has long stagnated, but last year, the company stepped up its game with the Xperia 1 and 10, coming with 21:9 displays and slightly more rounded corners than Xperia devices of old. Today, the company has released the follow-ups for these two phones, the Xperia 1 II and 10 II (speak: Xperia 1 mark 2), stepping up both handsets’ cameras and resurrecting the headphone jack on the high-end device. It’s also Sony’s first to come with 5G.
The phones are heavily tailored towards movie and photography enthusiasts. They both come with Zeiss-branded triple-lens arrays, though in contrast to Samsung’s astronomical 108MP camera, they only go up to 12MP. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing as a higher resolution doesn’t always translate to better images. The 21:9-inch displays follow the trend of ever taller screen ratios, which can help you scroll less.
Xperia 1 II
Like any other recent Sony phone, the Xperia 1 II consists of glass front and back. Its triple camera array has been moved to the upper left corner on the back, leaving only the Sony logo in the middle and the Xperia one at the bottom. A headphone jack sits up top while the USB-C port is at the bottom. The power button on the right side below the volume rocker and has an integrated fingerprint reader again. The display is left untouched by notches or cutouts of any kind, and the top and bottom bezels sporting two front-facing speakers are evenly distributed.
Apart from the fact that this is the first 5G phone in Sony’s lineup thanks to the Snapdragon 865, the company has also heavily focused on camera features in the Xperia 1 II. It advertises the high-end autofocus and the sensor software that allows you to take burst shots with up to 60 images per second. There’s also a pro-cinematography mode that comes courtesy of Sony’s CineAlta knowhow and gives you more manual controls. You can choose which frame rate to shoot in, adjust the white balance, and select a preferred aspect ratio (though judging from that description, I’d believe Filmic Pro will still give you more features).
Not only content creation, but also consumption is supposedly a strong point of the phone, as the 21:9-inch HDR 4K display is coupled with Dolby Atmos sound. A headphone jack is included, too — it has become way too rare these days. Sony has also added some enhancements to Android’s multi-window view to better utilize the added vertical space when you use the phone in the regular orientation.
On the hardware front, it’s great to see 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The 4,000mAh battery should also give the Xperia 1 II’s Snapdragon 865 plenty of power.
Xperia 10 II
The Xperia 10 II is Sony’s “super mid-range” phone. It inherits many features from the 1 II, particularly in the design department — its exterior looks just like its more high-end sibling. Judging from its hardware specifications, it is indeed an upper mid-range device, though. It comes with a 21:9 6.0-inch OLED display, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5G-less Snapdragon 665. The battery has a capacity of 3,600mAh.
In contrast to the Xperia 1 II, the phone also only has one 12MP camera while the other two are limited to 8MP. Sony doesn’t mention any outstanding autofocus capabilities, though it says the triple-lens camera “brings new creative possibilities with improved color handling and new Night mode,” so there’s that.
The Xperia 1 II will be available in black, purple, and white while the 10 II will come in black, white, and a some mint color. The company will start selling the phones “in select markets” starting spring 2020. It wants to reveal pricing and exact timing at a later time. Hopefully, Sony has learned from the Xperia 1 and won’t launch its successor at $1,000, too.
Sony is not yet sharing any details about US availability nor pricing, but we have learned that it intends to sell the Xperia 1 II for just about €1,200 in Europe, making our wishes for a sub-$1,000 price tag seem pretty darn unlikely.
Sony Xperia Pro
Sony has also introduced a “professional smartphone” with some interesting features. The Xperia Pro looks more ruggedized and trades the glass back for a “dielectric constant material” that’s supposed to help maintain a more reliable 5G connection. An additional shortcut button on the side lets you launch specific apps. You can even connect your camera to the Xperia Pro via an extra Type-D HDMI port and use the phone as a monitor or for live streaming. Sony has yet to reveal details on pricing and availability.