Even though the Xperia 5 IV (mark four) is a terrible mouthful, Sony has hit a home run with this smartphone. The corporation has reached the conclusion that smartphones are no longer a priority for them. The PlayStation 2 is perfect for it.
All You Need To Know About the Sony Xperia 5 IV 5G
In its place, Sony has made its Xperia smartphones into an extension of its Alpha camera line, with some nods to its Bravia TV and Walkman roots for good measure. Some people would find that quite appealing.
Sony recognises that not everyone will enjoy this new course. It is not an alternative to Samsung or Apple, or even Oppo or Xiaomi. It’s just hanging around, doing what it and its most devoted admirers think is cool.
This is the phone for you if you value a high-quality display, a headphone jack that can handle high-resolution audio, long battery life, wireless charging, an LED indicator for when you have notifications, and cameras that don’t rely on software processing.
Plan and Construct
Although though the Xperia 5 IV comes in a box made from recyclable paper and does not include a charger or even a USB-C connector, it feels and looks like a high-end product the moment you pull it out. While excellent for the planet, this isn’t exactly a grand entrance for such a high-end gadget.
My review unit was black because it is the most common colour, but there are also white and green options. The rear matt glass has the best texture of any phone I’ve encountered, striking the ideal balance between softness and grip. The area is fingerprint-free.
The aluminium rails contribute to the elegant ambiance. Separating them are the phone’s antenna bands, the USB Type-C connector, the volume rocker, and the fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button. The latter is still a largely underappreciated and underutilised method of biometric authentication on mobile devices.
In comparison to the Xperia 1 IV, I found it to be constantly responsive and even superior. Moreover, the camera has a two-stage shutter button. While using a phone that isn’t built with photography in mind, I really miss having this feature.
The inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone port is also a nice touch. There is a textured Sony logo and hardly noticeable NFC, Xperia, and other EU regulatory branding on the rear, while the triple camera module is discreetly placed in the top left corner.
The phone’s tall, narrow form factor is optimised for landscape viewing over portrait. Although I can type (barely) with one hand, my thumb is too short to reach the top of the screen. When typing, you get strong, precise haptics and plenty of useful feedback.
Display & Audio
Although the screen’s height is rather excessive, the 21:9 aspect ratio makes up for it. Sony is committed to this strategy of differentiation, but the format looks fantastic while watching movies, many of which are now shot in 21:9. The Xperia 5 IV’s landscape mode allowed the entirety of Guy Richie’s film The Gentlemen to be displayed without any cropping or letterboxing, making for a truly enjoyable viewing experience.
While many older shows and movies may still display in letterbox, the 6.1-inch OLED’s resolution is excellent. Even though the larger Xperia 1 IV’s 4K resolution is excessive, this one is merely 1080p. Seldom do apps support 4K video streaming.
The tall form factor and high refresh rate make it ideal for using social media apps, which squeeze a lot of moving pictures and words into a relatively small viewing area. Because Sony assumes you’ll be satisfied with the 60 fps mode, it’s disabled by default.
Turning on 120Hz causes some battery drain because the display does not use low-power-objective (LTPO) technology, which can automatically vary between refresh rates to save juice. It has a premium design and should hold up well against scratches thanks to the use of Gorilla Glass Victus on both the front and back.
In addition to being dust and water resistant (to the tune of IP68), this phone also has a SIM tray that can be removed with a fingernail instead of a pin, and a microSD card port. There are two stereo speakers up front that don’t get covered up by your hand when you hold the phone in landscape mode and pump out full, rich sound even at maximum volume.
I was pleased to discover that the phone’s headphone jack could play high-quality sound from tracks I’d previously downloaded in this format. It also had wireless high-quality audio capability, albeit using it required special headphones and a streaming service.
Features and Functionality
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is the best mobile chip available as of the Xperia’s release date in September 2022, but Sony is stuck with the slightly older 8 Gen 1. This is not a problem, though, because the chip is still extremely potent and easily dealt with everything I threw at it during testing.
The Xperia 5 IV is just one of several phones we’ve tested that gets hot while charging on the 8 Gen 1. The Gen 1 doesn’t do a great job of thermal management. The 8+ Gen 1 has considerably better heat management, although both this phone and the Xperia 1 IV, which also has the older processor, were likely finalised around the same time.
It wasn’t a problem for me, and fast charging or using the camera for a while on any phone causes it to heat up. Sony mobile devices do not get dangerously hot, despite what you may have read or heard elsewhere.
Under stress, the 5 IV does heat up, but not to an unsafe degree. If I charge my 13-inch iPhone mini with a wire when the screen is off, it becomes very hot. Simply put, physical laws dictate this. Using the CPU Geekbench and GFXBench benchmarks, the Xperia 5 IV fared better than the Xperia 1 IV in most cases.
Batteries and Powering Up
Sony managed to fit a big 5,000mAh battery into this phone, and the result is exceptional runtime. Even though I used it heavily during the day, I never dropped below 20% before bedtime. That’s despite the fact that they indulge in extensive amounts of photo and video taking, messaging, chatting, and viewing. Several videos!
PC Mark’s controlled battery test yielded a very respectable result for the phone: 13 hours and 11 minutes. That’s one of the highest marks ever given to a flagship device in our lab tests, second only to the recently released Asus Zenfone 9 in terms of price. That’s also a compact phone, so props to Sony and Asus.
This is also the first Xperia 5 series phone to support wireless Qi charging. Rejoice. However, other Android phones in the same price range can reach 100% charge in about half an hour, so the 30W charging speed is disappointing. In that time, I got the Xperia 5 IV’s battery up to 47%.
Camera & Video
You’ll need to be familiar with, or willing to master, manual controls to get the most out of the Xperia 5 IV’s excellent cameras. The Xperia 5 IV from Sony comes with three different camera apps, one of which is dubbed Photography Pro. This is the standard point-and-shoot camera app, and it, like every other smartphone, takes images in a “basic” mode before applying post-capture processing in software.
This is known as computational photography, and it is used by phone manufacturers to compensate for the limitations posed by the small sensors found in mobile devices. These days, smartphones use a combination of hardware and software to take the greatest photos they can.
Sony’s computational photography has come a long way in the previous three years, and the Xperia 5 IV is a capable auto-shooter. The Photo Pro software includes a number of additional modes besides the default one, such as an automatic one and a few manual ones.
Here’s where things get truly hands-on, as Sony does away with software altogether to give you, the photographer, full manual controls, just like you would on a Sony Alpha DSLR. The modes can be confusing and aggravating for those who aren’t experienced with using manual camera controls.
Although I own a Nikon DSLR, I found the many menus and the ability to manually adjust ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to be very challenging. Before I got into the swing of things, I took a tonne of terrible photos. Nonetheless, I discovered that the phone was one of the most satisfying platforms on which to shoot.
Smartphones with “mainstream” cameras, such as the iPhone 14 Pro or the Galaxy S22 Ultra, have some manual settings but handle most of the heavy lifting for you. The Xperia’s ISO slider is a lot of fun to play with, as it lets me alter the scene’s atmosphere simply adjusting the amount of light entering the camera.
Updates and Software:
The two years of Android platform and security software updates that Sony provides for the Xperia 5 IV is my primary complaint about this phone. For a phone that costs nearly a thousand dollars, this is incredibly short. Four years would be more appropriate. That prevents me from giving the phone my highest recommendation.
Sony’s Android 12 software is uncomplicated and nearly identical to the original version of Android. It does its job properly and stays out of the way. On such a tall screen, it makes sense to have a software side bar that allows you to instantly open two apps in split screen view.
I was able to keep up with the game in a (very) narrow window at the top while chatting with buddies on WhatsApp. Sony also provides the Music Pro app, which simulates a professional recording studio.
The phone’s internal microphone or an external mic connected through the headphone connector can be used to record sound. From there, high-quality audio separation, noise reduction, microphone emulation, and other studio tuning tools can be purchased.
Cost and Accessibility
The 128GB version of the Xperia 5 IV retails for £949 in the UK and can be purchased from Sony, Amazon, Very, or Clove. In comparison to the 128 GB iPhone 14 Pro and the 128 GB Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, it is more expensive but still cheaper by £150 and £200, respectively. Sony’s own Xperia 1 IV costs an absurd £1,299, so this is a much better price.
The Xperia 5 IV is available from Amazon for €1,049 in Europe. On October 2022, you may order it from Sony for $999.99.