We tested the Sony Xperia 5 V: a small and powerful mobile phone that is no longer made

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Smartphones fight against the inertia of becoming just another household appliance, but few brands do what Sony does.

 

The smartphone industry has been focused on a form factor for almost two decades.although it has evolved minimally, has stagnated. Mobile phones are always rectangles with a glass front and a back that tries to stand out in a sea of ​​options. Foldables seem to want to change that, but they are still not an option for most.

There are companies that, without having left the market, know that they will have small sales, and they prefer that to succumbing to trends that would cause them to lose even their brand essence. One of them is Sony, which in the Sony Xperia 1 V already He showed that he knew how to do things differently.even if that meant going against the grain.

Now it’s time to try the second mobile phone announced this year, the little brother of the 1 V, the Sony Xperia 5 V (999 euros), a high-end terminal but with a form factor that takes us back to what mobile phones were in the first decade of this century: small and comfortable.

This Xperia is a terminal that stands out, to begin with, for its dimensions, 154 x 68 x 8.6 mm. That may not tell you anything, but it does tell you that its screen is 6.1 inches and its ratio is 20:9. In summary, It is a small, compact and very elongated mobilemaking it one of the few small high-end phones on the market, along with the ASUS Zenfone 10.

Of course, Sony’s aesthetic remains the same, betting on a frame that surrounds the central piece in which the screen and the back are located, creating a protrusion that feels strange in the hand, somewhat sharp. It is the complete opposite of what brands like Apple or Samsung present, with increasingly more ergonomic shapes. What it does resemble those brands in is its IP68 water and dust resistance.

Among the rarities of this model is also the presence of a side fingerprint sensor, Instead of one under the screen as all phones in this price segment do except folding ones, the headphone jack to be able to use high sound quality models or the SIM tray that also supports memory cards something that practically no other brand allows in its top of the range. As if that were not enough, the design with speakers on the front is maintained and the button dedicated to the camera, which greatly facilitates shooting, especially at times when we want to get the most out of the cameras.

Despite not having the specifications of its older brother, this Sony Xperia 5 V comes with the best processor on the market, at least until the moment of the announcement, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. A few days ago, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 was presented, which we assume will be the successor chip for this model. The problem comes in the memories. This terminal has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory, completely insufficient figures for a mobile phone that costs 1000 euros. It is true that it is not the only one that has these memories, but its rivals have long since made the leap to, at least, 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Even the memory technology is not the best, with the ROM remaining in UFS 3.2 and the RAM in LPDDR5.

It seems that Sony wants to artificially distance its models from each other, leaving the highest memories for the Xperia 1 V. However, in terms of fluidity, it’s not that we have many complaints, with outstanding performance and connectivity at the highest level. We have Wifi 6e, dual-band GPS, NFC, bluetooth 5.3. 

Where we have no complaints is in the battery. The 5000 mAh of this mobile phone, along with a screen that meets efficiency, increases the autonomy of more than a day, even bordering on two days if there is no intensive use of the camera or games. Fast charging, 30W, is accompanied by wireless charging, although there are no chargers or cables in the retail box.

The interface is very similar to that of pure Android in version 13, since this model was presented before the arrival of Android 14. There are modifications above the pure interface of the system, such as multiple applications to use the camera, extra functions on the power button and fingerprint sensor , etc.

Sony follows the path of brands like Motorola, which focus on offer a pure experience but improving it with some functions that Google terminals do not have. Of course, some parts of the interface, such as the initial configurator, still seem based on designs from almost a decade ago, when HoneyComb was launched.

The biggest difference between the Sony Xperia 1 V and its competitors was the screen. A 4K panel with a pixel density that embarrassed many rivals. This Xperia 5 V does not have that resolution, settling for a 6.1-inch FHD+ panel, with OLED technology.

Yes, it includes a variable refresh rate up to 120 Hz, and a 21:9 ratio which gives it that elongated appearance so characteristic of Sony mobile phones. We will have support for HDR10, but not for Dolby Vision. Additionally, Sony has done especially well with the adjustments, and the calibration of this screen can be much more accurate than that of other brands.

To this we must add the immersive experience provided by its two speakers, both placed on the front. These types of decisions are what keep Sony away from the competition, on the right path.

Sony has opted to use only two cameras in this terminal. Loses the telephoto lens compared to the Xperia 1 V. It is the same thing that companies like Apple or Google do, but with Samsung having so many models of this price or lower with optical zoom, Sony loses out here. The brand says that with the main sensor we can take photos at 2x without loss, but we already know that the quality of this type of cuts is not the same as in a dedicated zoom.

 

The quality of the rear cameras is good, and a special mention must be made of the preview of the camera application, which is one of the best we have seen. The main sensor, 48 Mpx with optical stabilization and PDAF focus, gives us very correct photos, both day and night, with a very good dynamic range and just the right contrast so that the photos attract attention without being unreal. . There is also a 12 Mpx ultra wide angle, with a somewhat lower quality.

There is a small bug that prevents the interface from rotating freely when we take photos, which prevents taking a photo with the left hand in horizontal format. Surely it was done on purpose so that the dedicated button is used, but preventing the interface from rotating, something that is done by software, does not seem correct to us.

As for the video, the quality is better than expected, although the dynamic range is not as good as in the photos. Of course, the stabilization is one of the best we have seen in recent years.

Sony only has two mobile phones for sale in Spain, at least two focused on the general public, if we forget about the PRO ones. This Sony Xperia 5 V is a cheaper version of the Sony Xperia 1 V, with a lower resolution screen, no zoom camera and no 4K screen. In return, apart from the saving of 400 euros, we have an exceptionally compact terminal that does not see its autonomy reduced, something that used to be the failure of small mobile phones.

 

As for rivals, we have models like the ASUS Zenfone 10, but not many more. If size is a critical factor and price is not an obstacle, the experience with this terminal can be very positive. But if the economic factor comes into play, There are many models that may be interesting, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise