Sony has updated its flagship phone, choosing not to give it a new name, but put into place a new naming style for Xperia phones. Thus, the Xperia 1 II is born - that's Xperia 1 mark 2 - updating the 2019 Xperia 1, Sony's 4K flagship phone. 

It offers plenty to get excited about, as Sony sets out its stall to fend off the aggressive advances of Chinese manufacturers and old rivals Samsung. So what does the latest Sony Xperia offer?

Release date and price

  • Monday 24 February announcement
  • Available "late Spring"
  • Price TBC

Sony Mobile usually holds press conferences on Monday of Mobile World Congress 2020, but sadly the world's largest mobile trade show was cancelled due to coronavirus fears in 2020. However, Sony announced its phone via an online press conference on that date. The exact Xperia 1 II availability is currently unknown, with Sony only giving us a loose "late Spring" timeframe.

Sony also hasn't come forward with a price, although we expect the new flagship to sit in the same sort of price range as the 2019 model.

squirrel_widget_167498

Design

  • 166.0 x 72.0 x 7.9mm, 181g
  • 3.5mm headphone socket
  • IP65/68, Gorilla Glass 6

Sony managed to keep its plans well under wraps, with few leaks giving away the latest devices to launch. Sadly, with the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, there also wasn't any opportunity to get any hands-on time with the new devices either - something we'll endeavour to do as soon as we can. 

The new devices very much reflect the design of the Xperia 1, but there's a couple of changes - not only with the camera positioning, but with the reintroduction of the 3.5mm headphone socket. That's right, with Sony offering so many great headphones and responding to customer feedback, we've seen the return of that legacy connection.

The 3.5mm headphone socket has also been tuned to reduce crosstalk, while there's support for Sony 360 Reality Audio, DSEE Ultimate and HiRes Audio. There's also Dolby Atmos support from the stereo front speakers.

Retaining the 21:9 display, that still dominates the design resulting in a tall phone, close to the size of the previous handset, but slimming down a little. The controls still range down one side with a fingerprint scanner on the edge, the cameras move to the left of the rear rather than the centre.

There's IP65/68 ingress protection while the phone is Corning Gorilla Glass 6 both on the front and the back. It will come in black and purple colours.

Sony Mobile

Display

  • 6.5-inch OLED display, 21:9 aspect
  • 3840 x 1644 resolution (4K)
  • HDR compatible

Having made a move to 21:9, Sony is sticking to that aspect, while also retaining the feature that characterised the Xperia 1 - the 4K display. That will make for a great phone for capturing and watching movies, something true of the previous phone with both an HDR compatible display and HDR video capture an option for the camera.

It's an OLED display, with what Sony is calling motion blur reduction that aims to deliver visuals like a 90Hz display - although we believe it's a frame insertion system rather than a true 90Hz display. You also get the option to set the white balance manually to get the visuals you want.

Hardware

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 8GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • 5G
  • 4000mAh battery

At the heart of the Xperia 1 II is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, along with the X55 modem, delivering 5G connectivity. Sony has said that this is a sub-6Ghz compatible device, we don't know if different 5G types is supported in different regions. It's supported by 8GB RAM, so we're expecting this to be a plenty powerful phone, befitting its flagship status. 

There's 256GB of storage. 

There's a 4000mAh battery, which while capacious, isn't the largest around, but we guess that's a trade-off against the slim frame of this phone. There's Qi wireless charging, as well as fast wired charging. Sony says you'll get 50 per cent battery in 30 minutes, although for that you'll need the 21W PD charger, which doesn't come in the box. You might be lucky enough to already own one for another USB Type-C device.

It also supports 15W wireless charging, so it's not the fastest charging phone around, but it's fast enough. You'll get all Sony's battery optimisation like Stamina Mode as well as adaptive Battery Care, an AI-powered system designed to recognise your usage and adapt accordingly.

Cameras

  • 12MP, 1/3.5in, f/1.7 OIS main
  • 12MP, 1/2.6in, f/2.2 OIS ultra-wide
  • 12MP, 1/1.7in, f/2.4 OIS telephoto
  • Time-of-flight sensor
  • 8MP front camera

Sony is going big on cameras, but isn't following some rivals in looking to offer greater resolution than anyone else. Instead, Sony's approach is more like that of Apple and Google, sticking to 12-megapixel sensors.

That sees a triple camera system using Zeiss lenses that's been put together using know-how from Sony's Alpha digital imaging experts. The Xperia 1 II introduces a Photo Pro mode, with a visual layout that reflects the user interface of the Sony Alpha 9, designed to make it a familiar environment for advanced users. 

This joins the Cinema Pro app that's designed to deliver advanced video functions. 

The headline features are a 20fps burst mode that can give you autofocus and auto exposure with subject tracking through the burst. Sony is also claiming really fast focusing speeds - something its Alpha cameras are known for - which samples at 60 frames a second. That should mean the subject is in focus whenever you press the button.

That's one of the jobs that the time of flight sensor will do - boosting the focusing speeds in low light.

There's also real-time eye focusing, so if you're shooting people or animals, it can detect the eyes and ensure those are in focus to help you get a great snap.

Next Sony Xperia rumours: What's happened so far?

Here are all the rumours and leaks about the next Sony Xperia phone.

22 January 2020: Sony's first 5G Xperia phone should arrive at MWC 2020 with quad-cam setup

Reports out of China suggest that the new Sony handset launched at MWC will be 5G enabled, along with some other spec details.

6 January 2020: Next Sony Xperia phone gets laid bare in hardcore photo leak

Renders from a reliable source give us a good look at a forthcoming Xperia device with a smattering of specs.

10 December 2020: Sony's next Xperia flagship could launch on Snapdragon 865 with 12GB RAM

Information coming from Geekbench suggests that there's an Xperia device testing with Snapdragon 865 and 12GB RAM. 

19 June 2020: Sony's six-camera phone has key specs leaked

Early specs outline the composition of a six camera system for a forthcoming Sony phone.