A new compact smartphone: Sony presented the Xperia 5 IV at IFA 2022 as the little sister of the current top model, the Sony Xperia 1 IV. The performance is (almost) the same. Even the better choice for me.
What I expect from a compact smartphone
I like the Sony Xperia 5 IV – and that depends on my personal preferences:
- compactness: Can be operated with one hand. The smallest possible camera bump. pocketability.
- usability: bright screen. Fast touch screen. Sufficiently fast processor. Long battery life.
What can I do without:
- the best and most expensive camera
- gaming-ready displays with extremely high resolution and high refresh rates
Size: getting even smaller
There are not many small smartphones with a lot of power anymore. And when they do, they get bigger every year. Usual. However, the Sony Xperia 5 IV has shrunk by 1mm in both length and width. But it stays with the 6.1-inch OLED screen without a notch.
By comparison, the larger Xperia 1 IV is 9mm longer and 4mm wider, but just as thick. At 185 grams, it weighs 13 grams more.
Also commendable: the camera bump is mediocre. I guess I can just put the Xperia 5 IV in my back pocket and get it out quickly without it getting stuck.
I wouldn’t be too sure about the Asus Zenfone 9, which is also compact, as the camera element is much more prominent here. I would probably only use it with a case, which would take away some of the compactness. With the Xperia 5 IV I also assume that it is just as good and stiff in the hand as my previous compact model from Sony.
- Dimensions: 6.7 × 15.6 × 0.8 cm
- Weight: 172 grams
- Camera bump: minimal
Screen: get even brighter
Smartphone screens should display everything legibly, but not drain too much of the battery. A screen diagonal of 6.10 inches is sufficient for me. The resolution of 1,080 × 2,520 pixels results in a dot density of 449 ppi. It is always sharp enough that I can read small print well.
The OLED screen is HDR and 120Hz capable, but both aren’t that important to me as I don’t want to play or watch Netflix with a smartphone. With 850 cd/m² it should be enough light for sunny days. That’s what’s important to me. As well as Gorilla Glass Victus protection.
Here again the comparison: the display of the larger Xperia 1 IV measures 6.5 inches and has a resolution of 1,644 x 3,840 pixels. That’s an excellent 643 ppi. But in everyday use, it almost always switches back to a resolution that’s only slightly larger than that of the new Xperia 5 IV.
- Screen size: 6.10 inch
- Solution: 1,080 × 2,520 pixels
- point density: 449 ppi
- Brightness: 850 cd/m² (estimated)
- Functions: OLED, HDR, 120Hz
Performance: becoming even more sustainable
The first commentators are already complaining that the Xperia 5 IV does not have the latest top processor Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but only the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, so without a plus. I wouldn’t notice the difference.
Like I said, I don’t push a smartphone to its limits, not through games, not through other computer-intensive applications. For me, a smartphone should last a long time. In addition, 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128 GB of storage for the operating system, apps and data would be enough for me. If necessary, a memory card fits in the device.
Sony has increased the battery in the Xperia 5 IV from 4,500 to 5,000 mAh! The device has become smaller. And: The screen has the same size and resolution as the predecessor Xperia 5 III. This should hopefully lead to longer battery life – even with a newer version of Android. Incidentally, the battery can now be charged wirelessly for the first time.
The almost inevitable comparison: The Xperia 5 IV has the same processor and graphics chip as the larger Xperia 1 IV, but there’s more RAM (12GB) and more storage (256GB). The radio interfaces are the same, as is the battery capacity, although the larger device will likely consume more power.
- Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- Graphic: Adreno 730
- Operating system: android 12
- Random access memory: 8GB
- Data storage: 128GB
- Radio Techniques: LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery Pack: Lithium polymer 5000 mAh
Camera: become even more stable
The Xperia 5 IV has a triple camera with 12 megapixels each:
- Telephoto camera with a focal length of 60 mm (f/2.4)
- Wide-angle camera with 24 mm (f/1.7)
- 16mm (f/2.2) ultra wide-angle camera
Sony has been trying to build variable focal lengths into its smartphones for quite some time now. The Xperia 5 III had a lens with two fixed focal lengths of 70 or 105 mm. Sony has again waived this in the new Xperia 5 IV. In return, the larger Xperia 1 IV can optically zoom from 85mm to 125mm.
For me it’s not that important. I don’t need to have the smartphone that takes the best photos. Good snapshots are good enough for my needs.
However, the Xperia 5 IV offers good technology: it has real-time autofocus and real-time tracking for all sensors – as the first smartphone in the Xperia 5 series. Wide-angle and telephoto offer an Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS).
When shooting video, all three lenses manage 4K resolution with a refresh rate of 120 fps, including HDR.
The selfie camera on the front now has a resolution of 12 megapixels instead of 8 megapixels.
The comparison many should look at first: Two of the Xperia 5 IV’s three cameras are also in the larger Xperia 1 IV. There’s also the optical zoom, a new technology that should be a selling point for some, the exact opposite for others.
- Ultra wide angle: 12MP, f/2.2, 124˚, 16mm, 1/2.5″, Dual Pixel PDAF
- wide angle: 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm, 1/1.7″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
- Tele: 12MP, f/2.4, 60mm, 1/3.5″, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
Conclusion: could be my next smartphone
The Sony Xperia 5 IV would be a good candidate if I had to buy a new smartphone right now. It’s smaller than most. I could use it without a case as it has minimal camera bump. The performance (processor, battery, screen) will be more than adequate for my needs. Last but not least, it has a 3.5mm jack.
Compared to the Sony Xperia 1 IV, size is a matter of taste: more space for content and typing? Or lighter in the hand and less obtrusive in the pocket? In any case, the technical differences are not that big. I can do without the higher resolution of the screen, as well as the larger memory and the camera with optical zoom.
The Sony Xperia 5 IV is available from mid-September in black, green and white and costs 1,049 euros (RRP). Anyone who buys the smartphone before October 9, 2022 will receive the TWS LinkBuds S headphones. These currently cost 150 euros. The purchase price should soon fall by this amount.
Last year’s model Sony Xperia 5 III is currently available for 700 euros, the Sony Xperia 1 IV released in June for 1,250 euros. The new Sony Xperia 5 IV strikes me as a good compromise between features and price.