An excellent purchase one 12 months later?

Patrick

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

“The Sony Xperia 1 II is an excellent smartphone” reads Android Authority’s unique overview. Boasting a unbelievable show, professional-grade digital camera options, and even a headphone jack, there was lots to love about 2020’s premium Sony smartphone.

Nevertheless, the handset was not with out a few caveats. The Xperia 1 II was and nonetheless is a really costly smartphone, priced at $1,199.99 / £1,099,99. We additionally discovered the digital camera’s picture high quality to be a little bit behind the curve, and the side-on fingerprint scanner nonetheless seems like an odd compromise slightly than bleeding-edge tech. Ultimately, the marginally extra inexpensive Sony Xperia 5 II was the higher purchase.

Take a look at: The unique Android Authority Sony Xperia 1 II overview

Since its launch, Sony has upgraded the Xperia 1 II to Android 11, offered a bunch of safety updates, and made a small choice of different enhancements. Sony’s Xperia 1 II was as shut as the corporate has come to a must-buy flagship smartphone in recent times. However how does it maintain up practically twelve months later and what in regards to the new Sony Xperia 1 III?


The great

We’ve been ready years for Sony to nail the flagship smartphone we all know the corporate is able to. The Xperia 1 II was the corporate’s finest try but to knock the components out of the park. Barring a couple of points, Sony nailed just about all the fundamentals, which has helped the cellphone age properly over the previous 12 months.

{Hardware} and design

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year standing

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There’s no denying that the Sony Xperia 1 II is a great-looking handset, and it feels equally fantastic within the hand. Steel and glass is a timeless mixture and Sony’s Xperia flagship nonetheless stands out as an extremely glossy and professional-looking cellphone in 2021 — particularly subsequent to manufacturers that more and more sideline pleasing aesthetics to accommodate bulkier digital camera setups. I’m you, Apple and Samsung. Sadly, the entrance glass on my mannequin has picked up a couple of minor scrapes over the previous 12 months and again panel fingerprints are an absolute nightmare on this cellphone.

Sony has transformed me to the deserves of its longer 21:9 facet ratio show too. The Xperia 1 II is a giant cellphone at 16.5cm (6.5 inches) tall however is trimmer and due to this fact simpler to deal with than different gargantuan flagships. The HDR OLED display screen appears to be like merely chic as properly.

See additionally: The most effective Android telephones you should buy proper now

Marry that with wi-fi charging capabilities, Gorilla Glass 6 safety, IP68 certification, 5G assist (a minimum of exterior the US), a microSD slot, and a headphone jack, and you’ve got a mix that’s nonetheless completely updated. Whereas I wouldn’t thoughts quicker charging, a 120Hz show, or 5G mmWave assist, the Xperia 1 II nonetheless provides compelling high-end {hardware}.

Clear and easy OS

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year front

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Whereas the Xperia 1 II’s {hardware} is uniquely Sony’s, the cellphone’s OS stays very a lot in line with Google’s imaginative and prescient. The Xperia 1 II is free from aggressive skinning, characteristic bloat, and overly advanced settings menus. The OS isn’t fully inventory although, boasting options like Facet Sense and 21:9 multi-window gestures, together with some expert-grade show white stability choices. However most significantly, the Xperia 1 II runs lean and quick, making it a pleasure to make use of even months down the road.

The Xperia 1 II has obtained loads of safety patches over the previous 12 months. The handset began receiving Android 11 again in December 2020, though the worldwide rollout took a little bit longer to finish. Even so, preserving issues easy permits Sony to challenge pretty common updates to its flagship handsets, though it isn’t fairly the quickest producer round.

Whereas the OS is slick and quick, Sony bundles plenty of pointless apps too.

Software program is extra of a combined bag. Regardless of that includes largely Google apps, the cellphone is slightly bloated out of the field. LinkedIn, Name of Responsibility, Prime Video, Fb, YouTube Music, and extra all come pre-installed. Sony’s personal software program additionally feels fairly disjointed, with odd menu layouts and an inconsistent design language throughout them. There’s zero consistency between Sony’s music, recreation enhancer, or information suite purposes, which makes navigating each a studying expertise.

It’s additionally price noting that Sony makes use of Google Images for its gallery app. The introduction of Google One subscription-only filters leaves you with out modifying choices that come free on different telephones. Nobody likes being pestered for subscriptions, and Sony is reliant on the ever-changing whim of Google for a lot of of its key apps.

Multimedia options

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year headphone jack

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The headphone jack stays essential characteristic in sure circles, nevertheless it’s not the one multimedia trick the Xperia 1 II has up its sleeve. With Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX HD and aptX Adaptive onboard, wi-fi headphone aficionados are properly catered for too.

Sony throws in all its cutting-edge multimedia enhancing methods too, together with DSEE Final AI audio upscaling, Dolby Atmos, and CineAlta BT.2020 10-bit video assist. Plus, a microSD card slot expands the cellphone’s storage as much as 1TB for bigger offline media libraries. If that wasn’t sufficient, the Xperia 1 II additionally helps Sony’s Dualshock 4 controller.

The Sony Xperia 1 II stays some of the complete multimedia telephones in the marketplace.

Whether or not you’re critically into music, films, or gaming on the go, the Sony Xperia 1 II stays nearly essentially the most complete multimedia smartphone in the marketplace as we speak.


The not so good

Whereas the Sony Xperia 1 II is definitely a excessive notice for the corporate, it wasn’t excellent. Lots of the points we famous in our first overview appeared eminently fixable. Sadly, Sony hasn’t used the time since its launch to deal with a few of our larger bugbears.

Facet-on fingerprint scanner

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year fingerprint button

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

My solely challenge with the Xperia 1 II’s design is the fingerprint scanner. Sony’s reasoning apart, it’s only a bit awkwardly positioned. It’s barely too low for the place my hand naturally rests on the machine. I additionally by chance pressed too exhausting and locked my cellphone when registering my fingerprint and attempting to unlock safe apps. Sony and its followers might stand by this design, however I feel there’s a cause nobody else makes use of the same setup.

However my actual gripe is that the cellphone is kind of gradual to open when utilizing the fingerprint scanner. Unlocking pauses for a few seconds, in comparison with near-instantaneous opening with a password or pin. It’s the fingerprint verification course of that’s a little bit gradual, as unlocking safe apps feels equally sluggish.

To Sony’s credit score, the fingerprint scanner may be very correct in my expertise. It’ll seldom fail to register my fingerprint appropriately. A brief faucet on the sensor is commonly all it takes for a profitable if considerably gradual unlock, slightly than a protracted press and maintain. If Sony can enhance recognition pace, it’d change into a extra viable different to finicky in-display fingerprint scanners present in different flagship telephones.

Digicam inconsistencies

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year camera 2

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Whereas we’d nonetheless charge the Xperia 1 II as providing an honest digital camera package deal total, I’ve had a hit or miss expertise with the cellphone’s lenses throughout numerous shootouts following the preliminary launch. Quick ahead twelve months and I stay unconvinced of its capabilities for this value level.

Sony has up to date its digital camera software program over the previous few months, introducing RAW format assist and 4K HDR 120fps video, and enabling the cellphone to work as an exterior monitor for Alpha cameras. The cellphone continues to take some great-looking photos, particularly should you can grasp its professional mode. Even with the usual app, colours and white stability are the digital camera setup’s best strengths. That stated, the handset nonetheless delivers very inconsistent outcomes.

The cellphone’s HDR, telephoto zoom, and bokeh edge detection capabilities proceed to be under par for such an costly flagship smartphone. Sony nonetheless hasn’t mounted the frankly silly downside the place pinch-zooming to 3x doesn’t activate the telephoto lens to make sure the perfect picture high quality. Neither is there an HDR toggle within the default digital camera app.

Sony packs in some really highly effective options, notably within the Picture Professional and Cinema Professional apps. Nevertheless, the person expertise stays a mishmash of separate purposes. Whereas I can perceive the devoted Professional apps, I can not fathom why Portrait Selfie, Panorama, and Gradual Movement modes are housed fully in their very own apps, full with particular person app permissions. Simply stick it multi function place like everybody else.

Total, the Xperia 1 II’s digital camera can take some glorious photos however the expertise stays too inconsistent for all however essentially the most affected person photographer.

Worth

Sony Xperia 1 II vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony, seemingly, doesn’t do reductions and the Xperia 1 II stays one of many costlier smartphones in the marketplace.

The cellphone nonetheless retails for its $1,199.99 / £1,099.99 / €1,199.99 launch value by means of just about all main channels. And that’s regardless of the announcement of its successor. Some areas can sometimes discover barely cheaper offers, however the cellphone stays costly in comparison with its 2020 rivals.

When in inventory, 2020’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus frequently retails properly under its launch value, the place it’s nonetheless out there. The truth is, you possibly can decide up 2021’s Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely for $1,199, the identical value as Sony’s handset. Equally, the OnePlus 8 Professional has seen a £250 official low cost from £899 final 12 months, as you’d anticipate as soon as a more moderen mannequin hits the cabinets.

If I used to be on the lookout for a brand new Sony flagship, I would await Xperia 1 III inventory.

Sony, sadly, stays stubbornly connected to its unique pricing scheme. The handset was costly final 12 months and definitely feels overpriced in 2021. Particularly because the Sony Xperia 1 III will quickly be in the marketplace, little doubt at a equally excessive value level. If I used to be on the lookout for a brand new Sony flagship, I’d in all probability await the Xperia 1 III.


Sony Xperia 1 II overview revisited: The decision

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year logo

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Again in mid-2020, Sony pulled out an exquisitely designed and feature-packed smartphone with the Xperia 1 II. Digicam efficiency apart, Sony served up a scorching flagship that stood out as one among our favourite telephones of the 12 months. The majority of the {hardware} has aged properly over the previous 12 months, and even the last-gen processor is greater than responsive sufficient.

Nevertheless, the identical $1,200 price ticket, whereas justifiable towards final 12 months’s equally costly Galaxy S20 Plus, feels overpriced in 2021. Particularly as US clients miss out on 5G, there’s no mmWave for international audiences, and as Samsung and others are taking a extra aggressive method to cost with their 2021 flagships.

Returning to the Sony Xperia 1 II has been a bitter-sweet expertise. I nonetheless actually just like the cellphone however, regardless of quite a few updates, the handset has the identical niggling issues as 12 months in the past. After all, Sony isn’t going to pay a lot consideration to my private quibbles. However I’m left questioning about its priorities after it selected so as to add area of interest new options in lieu of addressing high quality of life enhancements. The cellphone nonetheless suits the invoice for Sony’s target market, nevertheless it’s a more durable promote to the broader market.

I’m excited to see if Sony can excellent the components with the Xperia 1 III. The handset provides quicker charging, dual-SIM 5G, a cutting-edge zoom digital camera, and the newest processing expertise. Though this package deal would possibly find yourself costing much more than the earlier technology, given the dearth of last-gen reductions, I like to recommend seeing what Sony’s 2021 flagship prices earlier than choosing up the older 1 II.

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year standing

Sony Xperia 1 II

Developed with Sony´s Alpha digital camera professionals to ship exceptionally quick autofocus.

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