The Sony Xperia 5 II (read as five mark two) takes the $1,200 Xperia 1 II shrinks the body down, trades in the 4K display for a 120Hz high refresh rate screen and adds the ability to record 4K 120fps 10-bit video, which is a first for any phone. It does all this while lowering the price to a more wallet-friendly $950 (about £730 or AU$1,300), but that price will be out of reach for many who are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic.
When I reviewed the Xperia 1 II, I was honestly impressed at the level of control I had over photo and video capture. I even made a short film with it. The Xperia 5 II, like its larger brother, is aimed squarely at journalists, mobile gamers and creative professionals such as photographers and filmmakers.
For more like this
Subscribe to the CNET Now newsletter for our editors’ picks of the most important stories of the day.
The smaller Xperia is similar to the Xperia 1 II, which isn’t a bad thing. Both have a Snapdragon 865 processor, EyeAF, the same triple-rear camera, the Photo Pro and Cinema Pro software, the same battery and the same dedicated hardware shutter button. Both also lack support for 5G in the US. Sony says the upcoming Xperia Pro will be the first phone to offer support for US 5G networks.
But there are some differences between the two Xperia phones. The Xperia 5 II packs a 6.1-inch full-HD display with 120Hz refresh rate instead of a 6.5-inch 4K display with a 60Hz refresh rate in the Xperia 1 II. The 5 II can record video up to 4K 120fps, whereas the Xperia 1 II tops out at 4K 60fps. And the 5 II comes with 128GB of storage, while the 1 II has 256GB.
The new Xperia 5 II has a special graphene layer to reduce heat. It also a heat-suppression mode called H.S. Power Control, which can change external power from charging the battery to just powering the phone. All this adds up to keep the phone cooler when gaming which, when combined with Sony’s revamped Game Enhancer, could make for a solid mobile gaming experience.
Perhaps one of the nerdiest features is the option to tether the Xperis 5 II to a camera such as the Sony Alpha A7S III and transfer photos and videos via File Transfer Protocol.
I look forward to getting my hands on the phone and testing out all these features. You can preorder the Sony Xperia 5 II for about $950 starting Sept. 29 and it ships on Dec. 4. If you preorder Xperia 5 II by Nov. 29 you’ll receive a gaming bundle worth over $400 including a gaming headset, a 10,000-mAh power bank and 21,600 Call of Duty Mobile Points.