Sony is banking on 5G to bring back some of the lost sheen of its Xperia brand. The Japanese electronics giant has unveiled its first 5G flagship device, the Sony Xperia 1 II (read as one mark two), the successor to the Xperia 1 that was launched last year. The phone promises an array of new features as announced by Mitsuya Kishida, president of mobile communications, in a virtual press conference screened via Youtube amid Sony pulling out of the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC), which was ultimately called off amid coronavirus outbreak.
Sony, a smartphone powerhouse not so long ago, has fallen down the pecking order over the years and hasn’t really tried to capture the market again since. Instead, it has focused more on things it is good at- developing cutting edge tech, prominently the camera sensors. The company is a major supplier of camera sensors for all the major smartphone manufacturers and it comes as no surprise that the Xperia 1 II is centered around its advanced camera setup.
In terms of camera hardware, the phone has three rear cameras and a 3D iToF (Time of flight) sensor to assist with focusing. All three cameras feature 12-megapixel sensors, similar to the iPhone 11 Pro. On the Sony Xperia 1 II, the main 24mm f/1.7 camera has a larger 1/1.7-inch sensor, similar to the 1/1.76-inch sensor Samsung is using for the main camera on the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus, though it’s not as large as the 1/1.33-inch 108-megapixel sensor found in the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Alongside its main sensor, Sony’s new phone also has a 16mm f/2.2 ultrawide camera, and a 70mm f/2.4 telephoto camera. The cameras are backed by Zeiss optics along with Zeiss T* coating and have support for features such as Real-time Eye AF, 3x optical zoom, up to 20fps AF/ AE tracking burst, and 60 times per second continuous AF/ AE calculation.
“The new phone leverages even more of Sony’s most innovative technologies, breaking new ground in smartphone camera capabilities and elevating the entertainment experience in a mobile device,” the company wrote in its press release.
“Our new continuous autofocus keeps tracking moving subjects. What’s special about this is with 20fps it calculates the object 3x per frame — that’s 60x per second — capturing the very moment.”
In the videography department, the camera lets you shoot 4K videos at 60fps which goes up to a maximum of 120 fps for 2K videos. The quality is also said to be enhanced, thanks to its wind noise cancellation feature.
Sony had last year announced a new audio decoder format called Sony 360 reality audio, a spatial audio technology for an immersive listening experience. The Xperia 1 II comes with the built-in 360 audio decoding becoming the world’s first smartphone to have this feature.
The screen is a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a tall 21:9 aspect ratio. Although Sony hasn’t specifically talked about the refresh rate for the screen, it has said that its motion blur reduction is “equivalent to that of a 90Hz display.”
The Xperia 1 II is powered by a Snapdragon 865 processor under the hood, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of onboard storage, which can be further expanded to a humongous 1TB. The phone packs a 4000mAh battery with support for wireless charging as well along with dual Nano-sim assembly. Sony has claimed improved performance for the battery due to new and improved battery-care algorithms.
Sony also announced two more devices, the Sony Xperia pro for photographers as well as the Sony Xperia 10 II, a mid-range segment smartphone. The Xperia 1 II will begin shipping in spring in a choice of three colors: White, black or purple, with a price yet to be determined.