Robert Triggs

A good buy one year later?

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year box

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

“The Sony Xperia 1 II is a wonderful smartphone” reads Android Authority’s authentic evaluation. Boasting a unbelievable monitor, professional-grade digicam options, and even a headphone jack, there was quite a bit to love about 2020’s premium Sony smartphone.

Nonetheless, 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 digicam’s picture high quality to be a bit of behind the curve, and the side-on fingerprint scanner nonetheless seems like an odd compromise quite than bleeding-edge tech. Ultimately, the marginally extra inexpensive Sony Xperia 5 II was the higher buy.

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

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 lately. However how does it maintain up practically twelve months later and what in regards to the new Sony Xperia 1 III?


The good

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 number of points, Sony nailed nearly the entire fundamentals, which has helped the telephone age nicely 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 great within the hand. Metallic and glass is a timeless mixture and Sony’s Xperia flagship nonetheless stands out as an extremely glossy and professional-looking telephone in 2021 — particularly subsequent to manufacturers that more and more sideline pleasing aesthetics to accommodate bulkier digicam setups. I’m taking a look at you, Apple and Samsung. Sadly, the entrance glass on my mannequin has picked up a number of minor scrapes over the previous 12 months and again panel fingerprints are an absolute nightmare on this telephone.

Sony has transformed me to the deserves of its longer 21:9 side ratio monitor too. The Xperia 1 II is a giant telephone 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 elegant as nicely.

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

Marry that with wi-fi charging capabilities, Gorilla Glass 6 safety, IP68 certification, 5G assist (at the least outdoors 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 sooner charging, a 120Hz monitor, 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 telephone’s OS stays very a lot in step with Google’s imaginative and prescient. The Xperia 1 II is free from aggressive skinning, function bloat, and overly advanced settings menus. The OS isn’t utterly inventory although, boasting options like Facet Sense and 21:9 multi-window gestures, together with some expert-grade monitor white steadiness 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 year. The handset began receiving Android 11 again in December 2020, though the worldwide rollout took a bit of longer to finish. Even so, holding issues easy permits Sony to concern 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 loads of pointless apps too.

Software program is extra of a combined bag. Regardless of that includes largely Google apps, the telephone is quite bloated out of the field. LinkedIn, Name of Obligation, 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 functions, which makes navigating every one a studying expertise.

It’s additionally price noting that Sony makes use of Google Pictures for its gallery app. The introduction of Google One subscription-only filters leaves you with out enhancing choices that come free on different telephones. No one 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 a must have function 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 nicely 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 telephone’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 one of probably the most complete multimedia telephones available on the market.

Whether or not you’re critically into music, motion pictures, or gaming on the go, the Sony Xperia 1 II stays nearly probably the most complete multimedia smartphone available on the market at the moment.


The not so good

Whereas the Sony Xperia 1 II is definitely a excessive observe for the corporate, it wasn’t excellent. Most of the points we famous in our first evaluation appeared eminently fixable. Sadly, Sony hasn’t used the time since its launch to handle 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 concern 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 accident pressed too exhausting and locked my telephone when registering my fingerprint and attempting to unlock safe apps. Sony and its followers could stand by this design, however I believe there’s a cause no one else makes use of an analogous setup.

However my actual gripe is that the telephone 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 bit of gradual, as unlocking safe apps feels equally sluggish.

To Sony’s credit score, the fingerprint scanner may be very correct in my expertise. It can seldom fail to register my fingerprint accurately. A brief faucet on the sensor is usually all it takes for a profitable if considerably gradual unlock, quite than a chronic press and maintain. If Sony can enhance recognition velocity, it would develop into a extra viable different to finicky in-display fingerprint scanners present in different flagship telephones.

Digital camera inconsistencies

Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year camera 2

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Whereas we’d nonetheless fee the Xperia 1 II as providing an honest digicam bundle general, I’ve had a hit or miss expertise with the telephone’s lenses throughout varied 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 digicam software program over the previous few months, introducing RAW format assist and 4K HDR 120fps video, and enabling the telephone to work as an exterior monitor for Alpha cameras. The telephone continues to take some great-looking footage, particularly in case you can grasp its professional mode. Even with the usual app, colours and white steadiness are the digicam setup’s biggest strengths. That stated, the handset nonetheless delivers very inconsistent outcomes.

The telephone’s HDR, telephoto zoom, and bokeh edge detection capabilities proceed to be beneath par for such an costly flagship smartphone. Sony nonetheless hasn’t fastened 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 digicam app.

Sony packs in some actually highly effective options, significantly within the Picture Professional and Cinema Professional apps. Nonetheless, the consumer expertise stays a mishmash of separate functions. Whereas I can perceive the devoted Professional apps, I can’t fathom why Portrait Selfie, Panorama, and Gradual Movement modes are housed totally in their very own apps, full with particular person app permissions. Simply stick all of it in one place like everybody else.

General, the Xperia 1 II’s digicam can take some wonderful footage however the expertise stays too inconsistent for all however probably the most affected person photographer.

Value

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 the costlier smartphones available on the market.

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

When in inventory, 2020’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus commonly retails nicely beneath its launch value, the place it’s nonetheless accessible. In reality, you may 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 year, as you’d anticipate as soon as a more recent mannequin hits the cabinets.

If I used to be in search of a brand new Sony flagship, I might look ahead to Xperia 1 III inventory.

Sony, sadly, stays stubbornly connected to its authentic pricing scheme. The handset was costly final year and definitely feels overpriced in 2021. Particularly because the Sony Xperia 1 III will quickly be available on the market, little doubt at a equally excessive value level. If I used to be in search of a brand new Sony flagship, I’d most likely look ahead to the Xperia 1 III.


Sony Xperia 1 II evaluation 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. Digital camera efficiency apart, Sony served up a scorching flagship that stood out as one of our favourite telephones of the year. The majority of the {hardware} has aged nicely over the previous 12 months, and even the last-gen processor is greater than responsive sufficient.

Nonetheless, the identical $1,200 price ticket, whereas justifiable in opposition to final year’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 strategy 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 telephone 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 telephone nonetheless matches the invoice for Sony’s target market, nevertheless it’s a harder promote to the broader market.

I’m excited to see if Sony can excellent the components with the Xperia 1 III. The handset provides sooner charging, dual-SIM 5G, a cutting-edge zoom digicam, and the newest processing expertise. Though this bundle may 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 digicam professionals to ship exceptionally quick autofocus.