Sony Xperia 1 II Review: Sony's DSLR In A Phone?

Jun 12, 2020 Reviews

Sony Xperia 1 II Review: Sony's DSLR In A Phone?

Sony has had its fair share of ups and downs in the smartphone conversation, but it never really dominated the market or overcome the presence of the giants such as Samsung, Apple or Huawei in recent years. They released some good phones in the past, with incredible displays and above-par cameras, but the overall phone package wasn’t really all that impressive. Now we’re still in a confused space about the latest Xperia 1 II, or called Mark II by Sony, because it is a solid device, but we don’t know if it's solid enough to be considered over the likes of Samsung and Apple by the masses. Let’s get into our review to see where the phone excels and where it doesn’t. 

What We Liked

Initially with the Sony Xperia 1 II, you notice the design of the phone, and it surely is a job well done by Sony. The phone looks top-notch and worthy of a flagship price segment, as it houses Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back, so you’re assured of resistance from scratches to a good extent. Moreover, you also get aluminium frames on the sides, which help with getting a better grip on the phone while also adding extra protection to the device.  You also get a side-mounted fingerprint scanner over the power button - something we’ve seen on Sony phones in the past as well.

Another top-tier feature in this phone is its camera setup, which is truly different from the rest of the pack and we’ll explain why. You get a 3 camera setup, with a 12MP main shooter, a 12MP telephoto lens and another 12MP ultra-wide sensor. This is accompanied by a Time of Flight 3D depth detection sensor as well for better portrait shots. Now, the hardware might not seem that impressive on paper considering the low MP count on the sensors, but it’s important to understand that the MP number doesn’t fully matter for camera quality. Sony provides 3 dedicated local apps on the phone for your camera needs: one for overall average use of the camera, one Photo Pro app for more control over your photos, and one Cinema Pro that’s for manual videography using the phone. These apps are very similar to those on Sony’s DSLR cameras, and it’s a great step taken by Sony to give users the best camera on a phone that they possibly can get. You can capture 4K 60FPS, and the video results are sharp, and cinematic, just as the name of the Pro app suggests. However, for a full movie-like experience, we suggest using the 1080p mode instead for that added stability. 

What We Didn’t Like

The screen on the phone is one of its kind in its segment, with a 4K resolution and a 600+ ppi which is unparalleled in the market. However, instead of a sharp and crisp display, we’d prefer a 90 or 120Hz refresh rate on the screen instead, which Sony fails to provide. Whereas it’s pretty hard to distinguish between a sharp OLED by Samsung and a 4K OLED on the Xperia 1 II, the difference between a 60Hz and a 90Hz display is quite noticeable, and we wish Sony opted for the latter instead. 

Probably the biggest downfall of this device will be its price tag, which is roughly around 1100 dollars. This is too expensive for a phone trying to beat the likes of Samsung, OnePlus or Apple in the market, because they just provide a more enjoyable overall experience, and are more cemented in the market than Sony. If the Xperia costs 1100 bucks, a customer will always question themself that why not spend 100 or 200 dollars less, and buy an S20+, a OnePlus 8 Pro, or similar devices that reside on the top of the market. We don’t think this will be very helpful for the popularity or the sales of the Xperia 1 II. 


All in all, the Xperia Mark 2 is a decent all around phone for its price, and would certainly provide enough worth for its price tag. However, there are just better devices in the price range, and we don’t think we can recommend this phone over the other flagships dominating the market, and that too with a price tag of 1100 dollars. The phone is yet to be released in other parts of the world, and is only commercially available in Japan as of now. 

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