Sony is again with its second 2021 smartphone powered by flagship specs with the Xperia 5 III. Sony’s extra compact smartphone sits as a barely inexpensive various to the $1,299 Sony Xperia 1 III whereas nonetheless packing in almost all the corporate’s bells and whistles.

Even so, the Xperia 5 III isn’t probably the most reasonably priced smartphone available on the market, beginning because it does at £899 (~$1,200) within the UK. That’s a notable £100 greater than final yr’s Xperia 5 II, too. The cellphone faces stiff competitors within the sub-£1,000 worth phase, which incorporates flagship-grade telephones from Apple, OnePlus, Samsung, and others. So let’s dive into our Sony Xperia 5 III assessment to see if the cellphone has what it takes to face out from the gang.

About this Sony Xperia 5 III assessment: I examined the Sony Xperia 5 III (8GB/128GB) over a interval of 5 days. It was working Android 11 (61.0.A.11.31) on the July safety patch. The unit was supplied by Sony for this assessment.

What you could know in regards to the Sony Xperia 5 III

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Sony Xperia 5 III (8GB/128GB): £899
  • Sony Xperia 5 III (8GB/256GB): TBC

The Sony Xperia 5 III is the little brother to this yr’s flagship Sony Xperia 1 III. Weighing in at 168g, 8.2mm thick, and simply 157mm tall, this can be a marginally extra compact smartphone than most. At the very least by trendy requirements, because it’s actually not a small cellphone.

Even so, the trimmer handset is positioned as a powerhouse smartphone, packing the identical high-end processor, digital camera, 5G specs, and different {hardware} bits from its dearer sibling. There are a couple of small modifications that add as much as some significant variations between the 2, however these are arguably obligatory so as to distill Sony’s components right down to a extra reasonably priced worth bracket.

See additionally: Sony Xperia 1 III assessment — Elegant, exhilarating, costly

Key specification modifications embody a smaller 6.1-inch OLED show with Sony’s signature 21:9 facet ratio. It retains the 120Hz refresh fee however affords a extra conventional FHD decision quite than the Xperia 1 III’s 4K panel. The Xperia 5 III additionally has 8GB quite than 12GB RAM and lacks the wi-fi charging and 3D time-of-flight digital camera capabilities of its larger sibling. However other than that, the 2 are an in depth match on paper.

Sony’s Xperia 5 III is offered in black and inexperienced coloration choices and in two storage configurations: 128GB or 256GB, each with a microSD card with assist for as much as 1TB further storage. Nevertheless, the storage choices look like restricted by area so that you may not have a selection in relation to checkout. UK prospects, for instance, can solely purchase the 128GB variant.

The Sony Xperia 5 III is confirmed for launch within the US however we’re but to listen to a few closing launch date. The value can also be unconfirmed, although a Greatest Purchase retailer web page lists the cellphone’s worth at $999.

Is the smaller design nonetheless pretty much as good?

At an informal look, the Sony Xperia 5 III seems to be each bit as eye-catching as its larger brother. Sony’s monolith, with its trim bezels, refined chin, and glass again is a timelessly good look. Although the cellphone is already a extra wieldy 6.1-inches, the lengthy 21:9 facet ratio ensures the handset is straightforward to deal with and a pleasure to make use of in a single hand.

Identical to its predecessor, the Xperia 5 III options devoted digital camera shutter and Google Assistant buttons. I’m a fan of the digital camera shutter — it’s a fast shortcut to open the digital camera with out unlocking the cellphone. Sadly, the Google Assistant button can’t be remapped, making it a redundant characteristic for individuals who aren’t massive into voice search. Sony leans closely into Google’s ecosystem in different areas too, leveraging its file supervisor, calendar, Google Pictures gallery, and different apps.

The Xperia 5 III seems to be elegant however is not constructed as robustly as Sony’s dearer Xperia 1 III.

The construct feels notably cheaper than the ultra-premium Sony Xperia 1 III, which isn’t sudden given the £300 worth distinction. The chassis seems like plastic, as do the buttons, however we’ve requested Sony to substantiate what materials we’re coping with right here and can replace accordingly. This leaves the gadget feeling much less sturdy and reassuring within the hand, notably the place the amount rocker is anxious. I’m not satisfied that these buttons will survive rigorous urgent over a few years.

Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III buttons

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

One other much less apparent absence is the usage of barely older Gorilla Glass 6 quite than Gorilla Glass Victus. As such, the Xperia 5 III solely has half the scratch resistance of the Xperia 1 III. This actually doesn’t imply the cellphone is scratch-prone, as Gorilla Glass 6 nonetheless affords first rate safety. Nevertheless it’s one other space that Sony has reduce on to make the smaller mannequin extra reasonably priced. It does, nonetheless, retain the identical IP65/68 water and dirt resistance because the Xperia 1 III.

Total, Sony’s Xperia 5 III feels nice to make use of and positively seems to be the a part of an costly handset. Nevertheless, you possibly can’t have all of it lately for lower than $1,000, and the cellphone has a couple of design niggles that may disappoint these in search of the best possible.

Is the digital camera pretty much as good because the Xperia 1 III?

Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III cameras

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Simply based mostly on its paper specs, the Sony Xperia 5 III is undoubtedly a top-notch digital camera cellphone. In actuality, it’s in all probability my favourite handset to shoot with this yr, partly as a result of it’s not outrageously costly. Powered by nearly an identical {hardware} to the Xperia 1 III, together with the switchable focal size periscope digital camera, you’re nicely lined for glorious colours, element, ultra-wide snaps, and zoom at each intermediate and lengthy ranges. The one factor lacking is the time-of-flight sensor, which maybe helps the Xperia 1 III with low-light focusing — however I couldn’t inform it was lacking. You may see the full-res photos on this Google Drive folder.

Nearly all of the snaps I’ve taken look superb, if not glorious. However simply as importantly, the Xperia 5 III is a lot enjoyable to take out capturing. The high-quality periscope digital camera leaves me unafraid to zoom in, in contrast to different telephones the place an inconsistent zoom can smash your photos. In the meantime, the switchable focal size grants an additional software to border portraits and macro photos.

The Xperia 5 III has a enjoyable and formidable digital camera setup for underneath £1,000.

The ultra-wide lens affords a well-recognized additional dimension for becoming extra into your shot, which I’ve discovered notably nice for landscapes. Sadly, excessive HDR and low mild efficiency aren’t pretty much as good as the very best within the enterprise. The cellphone additionally lacks a devoted multi-frame night time capturing possibility. As an alternative, it depends on lengthy publicity, which regularly produces blurry ends in lower than supreme lighting conditions, not to mention at night time.

The selfie digital camera just isn’t pretty much as good. Whereas colours and element are satisfactory, if not somewhat tough in well-lit eventualities, the sensor can’t deal with selfies in decrease mild with out noticeable noise. Moreover, Sony’s Selfie Bokeh characteristic nonetheless has a few of the worst edge detection I’ve seen in a smartphone for a while. It’s barely appropriate for a fast social media snap and little else. It’s an actual disgrace that may, fairly rightly, put many off this in any other case glorious digital camera bundle.

Associated: The most effective digital camera telephones you will get

Sony returns to kind within the video division. You may shoot 4K footage at as much as 120 frames per second, though you could grasp Sony’s Cinema Professional app to get probably the most out of the cellphone’s capabilities. There’s a bewildering assortment of choices on provide for professional videographers, however the vary of settings is perhaps somewhat daunting for extra typical customers.

Total, I’m a fan of the Xperia 5 III’s digital camera setup though it’s undoubtedly not an all-around to swimsuit each style. I fee it as a extremely moveable, reasonably priced, but versatile setup for severe photographers, who’ve the abilities and endurance to work across the cellphone’s flaws. For a more in-depth at how Sony’s newest digital camera setup performs with the near-identical Xperia 1 III, try our in-depth shootout versus a few of the greatest digital camera telephones.

How is the battery life?

Sony Xperia 5 III front facing on windowsill

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony’s latest smartphones have handed in some spectacular battery life and the Xperia 5 III isn’t any completely different. The 4,500mAh battery affords nicely over a day’s value of screen-on time for looking the net, checking e mail, and the like. You’re eight or extra hours of screen-on time for these much less demanding duties, which could take some by way of two complete days on a single cost. Nevertheless, word the show defaults to 60Hz out of the field, so 120Hz customers will knock an hour or two off these figures.

Lengthy downloading and gaming periods undoubtedly chug down the juice loads sooner. I clocked nearer to 4 to 5 hours of cost with heavy gaming thrown in, which remains to be higher than most telephones. Those that actually like to sport on the go may need to use Sony’s Recreation Optimizer to restrict body charges under 60Hz or optimize for battery life quite than efficiency to eke out some further display screen time.

As for charging, the Sony Xperia 5 III is bundled with a 30W USB Energy Supply plug, which sounds moderately quick on paper. Nevertheless, the cellphone takes shut to 2 hours to succeed in full cost, which is painfully gradual in comparison with different smartphones in its worth vary and even under in some circumstances. That stated, the handset reaches a quite usable 50{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} cost in just below half-hour, so that you don’t have to attend round all day when you’re in want of a fast top-up. Nonetheless, we’d anticipate a bit sooner from a 30W charging answer. As beforehand talked about, there’s no wi-fi charging right here, which could disappoint some contemplating equally priced telephones provide it as normal.

How highly effective is the Xperia 5 III?

Sony Xperia 5 III pre installed apps

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With a high-end Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of RAM onboard, Sony’s Xperia 5 III is a quick performer for each apps and video games. I didn’t discover any stutters or slowdowns when multi-tasking and the cellphone saved a fluid tempo throughout prolonged Name of Obligation: Cell periods. Though Genshin Impression’s body fee was notably decrease, as it’s with most telephones.

Talking of gaming, Sony’s Recreation Enhancer software program affords a variety of per-game optimizations, permitting you to prioritize efficiency, graphical constancy, or battery life, together with varied different settings. It’s a pleasant contact that will help you get probably the most out of the cellphone, whether or not you’re gaming at house or on the go.

Relating to benchmarks, the handset ranks close to the highest of the pile for each CPU, GPU, and system-wide scores. You may see a choice of standard suites examined under. Apparently the cellphone’s reminiscence doesn’t appear fairly as speedy because the Xperia 1 III. Maybe one other cost-cutting measure. Nonetheless, the cellphone additionally scored one minute and 19 seconds in our in-house Pace Check G benchmark. This places it within the combine with the Xiaomi Mi 11’s 1:12, the OnePlus 9 Professional’s 1:15, and marginally sooner than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely, which took 1:21.

In case you are after absolutely the quickest networking speeds, you received’t discover them right here. Though the Xperia 5 III helps Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6 for native networks, and sub-6GHz 5G wi-fi bands, it’s lacking the mmWave 5G assist you’ll discover in different premium smartphones. Granted, 5G mmWave isn’t essential in lots of world markets simply but. However whenever you’re spending premium-tier money you need some ingredient of futureproofing for years to return, and Sony’s newest smartphones aren’t pretty much as good worth right here because the competitors.

The rest?

Sony Xperia 5 III in hand Google Assistant software

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Audio playback: With a 3.5mm headphone jack, high-end Bluetooth codecs, DSEE Final music upscaling, 360 Actuality Audio, and first rate twin front-facing audio system, the handset has audiophiles nicely catered for — though the audio system might use somewhat extra bass.
  • Show high quality: Even with no 4K decision, Sony’s newest show seems to be nice. The Xperia 5 III packs in a excessive stage of show customization for individuals who like to tweak picture settings.
  • No adaptive show: Sony’s show runs at 60Hz out of the field. You may lock the panel to 120Hz for a smoother take a look at the expense of battery life, however word that the cellphone doesn’t provide a extra battery-efficient adaptive show mode.
  • Aspect-mounted fingerprint scanner: Whereas completely snappy and serviceable, Sony’s side-mounted fingerprint scanner feels dated in comparison with in-display equivalents.
  • Software program bloat: Sony’s tackle the Android OS is saved moderately clear whereas mixing the very best of Google’s ecosystem and Sony’s customized tweaks and first-party apps. Nevertheless, the handset comes bundled with quite a lot of pre-installed apps that may solely be disabled quite than fully eliminated. These embody Fb, Linkedin, Name of Obligation Cell, Tidal, and Netflix.
  • Sony’s lack of replace promise: Sony hasn’t dedicated to an replace roadmap for the Xperia 5 III. The Xperia 1 III seems to be to obtain two main Android updates. We think about, however can’t be 100{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} sure, its smaller variant will see the identical. We’ve requested Sony for readability on the topic and can replace accordingly. Regardless, that is removed from the very best dedication within the enterprise with three years of upgrades swiftly changing into the anticipated normal for flagship Android telephones.

Sony Xperia 5 III specs

Sony Xperia 5 III Sony Xperia 1 III
Show

Sony Xperia 5 III:

6.1-inch OLED
21:9 facet ratio
FHD decision
120Hz refresh fee
240Hz contact sampling fee
Gorilla Glass 6

Sony Xperia 1 III:

6.5-inch OLED
21:9 facet ratio
4K decision
120Hz refresh fee
240Hz contact sampling fee
Gorilla Glass Victus

Processor

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

RAM

Sony Xperia 5 III:

8GB

Sony Xperia 1 III:

12GB

Storage

Sony Xperia 5 III:

128 or 256GB
Expandable

Sony Xperia 1 III:

256GB
Expandable

Energy

Sony Xperia 5 III:

4,500mAh battery
30W wired charging
Charger included in field
No wi-fi charging

Sony Xperia 1 III:

4,500mAh battery
30W wired charging
Charger included in field
Wi-fi charging
Reverse wi-fi charging

Cameras

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Rear:

1) 12MP principal (24mm)
1/1.7″ sensor
ƒ1.7, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

2) 12MP ultra-wide (16mm)
1/2.6″ sensor
ƒ2.2, dual-PD auto-focus

3) 12MP telephoto (70mm/105mm)
1/2.9″ sensor
ƒ2.3/ƒ2.8, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

Entrance:

1) 8MP single

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Rear:

1) 12MP principal (24mm)
1/1.7″ sensor
ƒ1.7, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

2) 12MP ultra-wide (16mm)
1/2.6″ sensor
ƒ2.2, dual-PD auto-focus

3) 12MP telephoto (70mm/105mm)
1/2.9″ sensor
ƒ2.3/ƒ2.8, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

4) 3D iToF sensor

Entrance:

1) 8MP single

Video

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Cinema Professional 4K at 120fps

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Cinema Professional 4K at 120fps

Audio

Sony Xperia 5 III:

3.5mm headphone jack
Dolby Atmos and DSEE Final
360 Spatial Sound

Sony Xperia 1 III:

3.5mm headphone jack
Dolby Atmos and DSEE Final
360 Spatial Sound

Connectivity

Sony Xperia 5 III:

5G assist (Sub6 solely, no mmWave)
Twin SIM hybrid (5G + 4G) or SIM + microSD

Sony Xperia 1 III:

5G assist (Sub6 solely, no mmWave)
Twin SIM hybrid (5G + 4G) or SIM + microSD

Safety

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Aspect-mounted fingerprint sensor

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Aspect-mounted fingerprint sensor

Sturdiness

Sony Xperia 5 III:

IP65 towards mud
IP68 towards water
Gorilla Glass 6

Sony Xperia 1 III:

IP65 towards mud
IP68 towards water
Gorilla Glass Victus

Software program

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Android 11

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Android 11

Dimensions and weight

Sony Xperia 5 III:

157 x 68 x 8.2mm
168g

Sony Xperia 1 III:

165 x 71 x 8.2mm
186g

Colours

Sony Xperia 5 III:

Black
Inexperienced

Sony Xperia 1 III:

Frosted Black
Frosted Purple

Worth and competitors

Sony Xperia 5 III press image

Sony Xperia 5 III

Compact cellphone, smaller worth

The Xperia 5 III is a smartphone purpose-built for multimedia, pictures, and gaming with a extra palatable price ticket than Sony’s ultra-premium Xperia 1 III.

At £899 within the UK and an anticipated worth of round $1,000 within the US, the Xperia 5 III is positioning itself towards a few of the greatest telephones within the sector. Actually, it’s a fraction dearer than lots of its opponents but lacks a few of the standard options you’ll discover at this worth level. With out super-fast charging, wi-fi charging, mmWave 5G, or an in-display fingerprint reader, it’s not unfair to name the Xperia 5 III costly.

The 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S21 ($799/£769), as an example, just isn’t solely cheaper, however contains wi-fi charging, mmWave 5G possibility in some markets, and will probably be supported with Android platform updates for 3 years and safety patches for 4 years. For those who’re after extra of an all-rounder quite than a strictly multimedia- and camera-focused cellphone, the Galaxy S21 is the higher purchase. If you’d like all that in a fractionally bigger kind issue, the Galaxy S21 Plus ($999) can also be value contemplating.

Extra concepts: The most effective Android telephones cash should purchase

Likewise, Apple’s newest iPhone 13 ($799/£799) can also be a barely extra reasonably priced 6.1-inch cellphone with wi-fi charging on board. The OnePlus 9 Professional ($969/£829) also needs to be in your radar at this worth. It affords equally highly effective show and processing specs because the Xperia, together with sooner wired and wi-fi charging capabilities.

Nevertheless, when you’re massive into pictures and videography, Sony’s digital camera bundle is probably value springing the additional money for in contrast with these three rivals. The principle cause to purchase the Xperia 5 III over the competitors is to seize Sony’s best-in-class multimedia options. Importantly, the Xperia 5 III is a greater deal for individuals who have coveted the Xperia 1 III ($1,299), however can’t fairly justify the lofty price ticket.

Sony Xperia 5 III assessment: The decision

Sony Xperia 5 III face down on grid

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Very similar to its larger sibling, the Sony Xperia 5 III excels in relation to rear digital camera pictures, its show and multi-media options, and all-day battery life. Sadly, the cellphone doesn’t fairly seize the stellar aesthetics of the Xperia 1 III however the design stays shut sufficient and nonetheless stands out on this worth bracket. Total, it’s one other superb cellphone from Sony, if not on the costly aspect as soon as once more.

As a lot as I’ve loved my time with the Xperia 5 III, it actually doesn’t have all of it. The shortage of wi-fi charging and 5G mmWave, mixed with a mediocre selfie digital camera and gradual charging leaves the cellphone feeling somewhat tough in locations. In fact, we anticipated some downgrades in comparison with the Xperia 1 III to make the cellphone extra reasonably priced. However Sony has discarded a couple of too lots of the elite options that gave the Xperia 1 III its wow issue. As such, the Xperia 5 III is much less interesting, even at a lower cost.

Sony’s Xperia 5 III hosts a luxurious banquet of multimedia delicacies.

The shortage of a transparent replace roadmap is equally unlucky for a cellphone trying to command such a premium. Fanatics can in all probability overlook these negatives, however there are various obtrusive omissions when put next side-by-side with the stiff competitors.

To sum up, purchase the Xperia 5 III when you’re in search of a enjoyable however imperfect digital camera setup, customizable gaming options, all-day battery life, and all the very best multimedia capabilities that Sony has to supply. Simply bear in mind you’ll need to cope with an absence of 5G futureproofing, pre-installed apps with irritating notifications, and an unclear replace coverage. For those who’re available in the market for a barely extra well-rounded cellphone with higher longevity, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 stays a tough cellphone to beat. It additionally occurs to value rather less too.

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