Sony Xperia 5 II is coming. Gamers and photographers, rejoice

The new phone brings a slew of features for photographers and videographers like EyeAF, 4K 120fps 10-bit video and a dedicated shutter button. But it also adds impressive features for gaming like a 120Hz refresh rate screen.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read

The Sony Xperia 5 II takes the core of the later Xperia 1 II and adds new features like 4K 120fps video recording, and a sizable overhaul of the Game Enhancer app.


The Sony Xperia 5 II (read as five mark two) takes the $1,200 Xperia 1 II shrinks the body down, trades in the 4K display for a 120Hz high refresh rate screen and adds the ability to record 4K 120fps 10-bit video, which is a first for any phone. It does all this while lowering the price to a more wallet-friendly $950 (£799, which is about AU$1,420), but that price will be out of reach for many who are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic.

When I reviewed the Xperia 1 II, I was honestly impressed at the level of control I had over photo and video capture. I even made a short film with it. The Xperia 5 II, like its larger brother, is aimed squarely at journalists, mobile gamers and creative professionals such as photographers and filmmakers.

The smaller Xperia is similar to the Xperia 1 II, which isn't a bad thing. Both have a Snapdragon 865 processor, EyeAF, the same triple-rear camera, the Photo Pro and Cinema Pro software, the same battery and the same dedicated hardware shutter button. Both also lack support for 5G in the US. Sony says the upcoming Xperia Pro will be the first phone to offer support for US 5G networks.

But there are some differences between the two Xperia phones . The Xperia 5 II packs a 6.1-inch full-HD display with 120Hz refresh rate instead of a 6.5-inch 4K display with a 60Hz refresh rate in the Xperia 1 II. The 5 II can record video up to 4K 120fps, whereas the Xperia 1 II tops out at 4K 60fps. And the 5 II comes with 128GB of storage, while the 1 II has 256GB.

The new Xperia 5 II has a special graphene layer to reduce heat. It also a heat-suppression mode called H.S. Power Control, which can change external power from charging the battery to just powering the phone. All this adds up to keep the phone cooler when gaming which, when combined with Sony's revamped Game Enhancer, could make for a solid mobile gaming experience.


The Xperia 5 II has all the features the Xperia 1 II has including EyeAF (for people and pets), 20fps burst mode with autofocus and auto exposure taken for each frame, RAW file support and the Photo Pro app.


Perhaps one of the nerdiest features is the option to tether the Xperis 5 II to a camera such as the Sony Alpha A7S III and transfer photos and videos via File Transfer Protocol. 

I look forward to getting my hands on the phone and testing out all these features. You can preorder the Sony Xperia 5 II for about $950 starting Sept. 29 and it ships on Dec. 4. If you preorder Xperia 5 II by Nov. 29 you'll receive a gaming bundle worth over $400 including a gaming headset, a 10,000-mAh power bank and 21,600 Call of Duty Mobile Points.