Sony Xperia 5 IV lets you choose between camera and compactness

Sony Xperia 5 IV lets you choose between camera and compactness

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

We’ve had to wait a bit this year, but the Sony Xperia 5 IV is officially here. Situated between the ultra-premium Xperia 1 IV, which costs an extravagant $1,599 in the US, and the affordable Xperia 10 IV, the Xperia 5 IV is as close to Sony’s “every man” as fans with less deep pockets could possibly get. can be. Raise. Priced at £949 in the UK, and an estimated $1,000 when it launches in October according to Sony, it’s still not exactly cheap and once again more expensive than it was last year, but it’s not the cost that struck me a bit. has disappointed. No, this is a shortcoming of Sony’s variable focal length periscope cameras.

Sony’s variable focal length camera offers seamless optical zoom between 85mm and 125mm, removing the reliance on digital zoom between 3.5x and 5.2x. Not only does it improve image quality but it also benefits from natural bokeh and compression as you move through the focal length, more closely matching the experience you’ll get from high-end cameras. You can see some examples below and more in our Xperia 1 IV review.

It’s a notable absence as camera hardware has always been a key component of the Xperia 5 brand identity. Going back to the original Xperia 5 and Xperia 1, Sony brought the same package to both phones, giving consumers a choice in form factor without the usual compromises on feature quality.

True optical zoom would have been a great way to add more flexibility to a compact phone.

The more basic switchable focal lengths on both the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III bring more flexibility to Sony’s smaller and larger flagships, without the huge quad-camera setups found on other phones. I was a big fan of this feature last year, and the Xperia 1 IV’s adjustable optical zoom takes this idea to another level. This feature would have been the perfect way to fit more flexibility in a compact form. Unfortunately, there’s only a fixed focal length for the 5 IV, so we’re back to smaller phones, which are ever less impressive, photography-wise, than their larger counterparts.

According to Sony, its cutting-edge optical zoom camera technology has been abandoned at the altar of big battery capacity and form factor. Some may find this a worthwhile trade-off. The 5,000mAh battery, 11% larger than last year’s 4,500mAh cell, is a fair improvement. However, we had no issues getting all-day battery life, and then some, from the Xperia 5 III, so it really wasn’t an area in dire need of improvement.

Would you sacrifice camera features for a bigger battery?

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Of course, the Xperia 5 series has always had its fair share of compromises – it’s a less expensive phone. But you can forgive the lower-resolution display—you definitely don’t need 4K at 6.1 inches—and the lack of wireless charging helped keep the price down (though it’s now added to the Xperia 5 IV). . Otherwise, though, the Xperia 5 series still had all the key features you’ll find in the Xperia 1: blazing fast performance, Sony’s signature style, an IP65/68 rating, plus the company’s best camera hardware. Thankfully, the bulk of the other flagship Xperia experience is still up to the 5 IV.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Back Standing Hero

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

All that said, the Sony Xperia 5 IV is an otherwise powerful photography package, with the same main and ultrawide shooting options as the Xperia 1 IV. With 4K/120fps HDR slo-mo and eye autofocus tracking on all three lenses, Sony’s still packing majority of Best in its class technology in 5 IV. The 60mm telephoto focal length should work well for still portraits, even if the 2.5x zoom factor isn’t great for long-range shots, and there’s a better selfie snapper, too. So, much for Xperia photography fans to sink their teeth into.

Unfortunately, Xperia fans have to choose between size and the best Sony cameras.

Still, for £949/€1,049, the Xperia 5 IV is expensive even by the standard of the best camera phones. Without Sony’s biggest camera suite, it’s hard not to be tempted by the regularly discounted Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for the sheer comprehensive package. Or, you can at least stump up the extra €250 for the Xperia 1 IV outside the US, where the price jump isn’t that big. Of course, this isn’t a great solution if you’re after a compact smartphone. Unfortunately, Xperia fans now have to choose between size and the best Sony cameras.

Improvement: This article originally suggested that the Xperia 5 IV does not have wireless charging. It has been amended. We are sorry for the error.

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