Sony Xperia 1 II is here: brings back what people want, adds 5G and more improvements
The OmniBalance design is peeking back at us from the past! Sony’s phones used to have this strict design language, with rectangular shapes, flat sides, and a general rule for symmetry. Since the Xperia XZ3, Sony has been experimenting a bit with its designs, but it seems to be leaning back on OmniBalance yet again for the Xperia 1 II!
You will notice that the phone has decidedly flat sides, bringing in that nostalgic feeling, and also symmetrical top and bottom bezels. These also happen to be housing a pair of front-firing stereo speakers — yet another thing that you rarely see nowadays!
The power button is, as tradition dictates, located right in the middle of the right frame and, thankfully, it houses the fingerprint sensor now, instead of the latter being separate.
So far, the Xperia 1 II looks like a really sharp and stylish mix between the Xperia XZ2 of the past and the more recent Xperia 1.
Sony sticks to a 4K resolution with this one, on a 6.5-inch screen with a slightly elongated 21.5:9 ratio. It’s still an OLED panel that supports HDR video, but you might be disappointed to learn that there is no support for 90 Hz or 120 Hz.
Instead, Sony leveraged a motion blur reduction technology to make movements look sharp and clean. Sony says the result is equivalent to a 90 Hz refresh rate — we’ll have to wait and see.
It still comes with Creator Mode on board, which should tame the OLED’s vibrant colors and give you a more natural image, if that’s what you are after.
The lenses are Zeiss optics covered with Zeiss T* Coating for reduced reflections and better contrast.
Sony is very proud of the autofocus and auto exposure tech in this phone. The Xperia 1 II is stated to be able to take AF/AE measurements 60 times per second. This is coupled with the phone’s ability to take up to 20 burst shots within a second — the fastest on a mobile phone to date. Mind you, the fast burst will only work in bright environments, where the shutter is set to 1/60 or faster.
The improved Real-time Eye AF system will follow the eyes of humans and pets, making it easy to take quick, in-focus portrait shots.
Sony is also betting on its ecosystem by including integration with its Alpha cameras — you can pair the Xperia 1 II to your Alpha and use the handset as a remote viewfinder and shutter.
The Photography Pro mode will also look very familiar to the Alpha camera user, since its interface has been developed with the help of Alpha technologies.
As for video, we have support for HDR recording again, of course. There is no 8K support, but we do get 2K recording at speeds of up to 120 FPS — that should make for super-detailed slow-mo clips. Through the Cinematography Pro app, you can record 4K video with a 21:9 aspect ratio at 24, 25, 30, and 60 FPS — in case you want to record short films with nothing but your trusty Xperia.
Hardware and audio
No surprise there, the Xperia 1 II is to be powered by the newest and best — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. The handset will also support 5G connectivity through the Sub-6 range.
You’ll notice that the handset actually comes with a headphone jack — Sony did remove it for a little bit, but it seems to have reversed that decision. It also chose to go back to the old style of front-firing stereo speakers. That’s something that fans sorely missed.
A new 360 Reality Audio decoder kicks in when you are listening to music from Tidal specifically — you may have seen demos if this technology over the past couple of years. Basically, it should enhance the sound in a way that makes you feel like you are on stage with the actual performers. Of course, we can’t wait to test this out.
Additionally, the Xperia 1 II employs a DSEE Ultimate technology — it utilizes AI to enhance your music-listening experience (any music, this one is not exclusive to Tidal) and attempt to up-scale the audio quality.
Sony Xperia 1 II price and release expectations
We still don’t have info on a specific price or release date. We’d expect pre-orders to be up within the next couple of weeks. Last year’s Xperia 1 debuted for $999.99. Fingers crossed that the Xperia 1 II takes it down a notch?