The compact Sony Xperia 5 battles big phone fatigue

You can now buy the new phone for $800 in the US.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • 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.
Katie Collins
Patrick Holland
2 min read

Sony Xperia 5 is the smaller version of the Xperia 1. But despite its svelte size reduction, it still offers Eye AF (autofocus), 10-bit HDR video recording and a 21:9 wide screen.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Phones just keep getting bigger and not everyone is happy about it. For example, just look at how large the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus are. For those with smaller hands, the pain of using big-screened devices is often very real.  Sony is the one phone maker that's historically been sympathetic to the plight of those who don't like big phones. Its Compact range has long incorporated the best of the company's flagship phones into a smaller body without compromising on key specs and features. The same is sort of true of the Sony Xperia 5, which is now on sale in the US for $800 -- even if at 6.1 inches it doesn't fit the true definition of "small."  

The Xperia 5 is a squished-down version of the Xperia 1, which was launched earlier this year at MWC . One standout feature was a 21:9 aspect ratio, providing a cinematic effect when watching videos in landscape mode. The same feature is included in the Xperia 5 as well as Eye AF (autofocus) that detects and track the eyes of a subject in your photos to keep them in focus. The focus tech comes from Sony's popular Alpha line of mirrorless cameras like the high-end Sony A9.

The Xperia 5 is the first phone, aside from the Xperia 1, that can record 10-bit HDR video. That means video files pack more detail and color shading for a cinematic look. Sony also brought over HDR features from its Bravia HDR TVs . We are in the process of testing the Xperia 5 for a future in-depth look.

Sony Xperia 5 specs vs. Sony Xperia 1, Samsung Galaxy S10, LG G8, iPhone 11

Sony Xperia 5Sony Xperia 1Samsung Galaxy S10LG G8 ThinQiPhone 11
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch OLED; 2,520x1,080 pixels6.5-inch OLED; 3,840x1,644 pixels6.1-inch AMOLED; 3,040x1,440-pixels6.1-inch OLED; 3,120x1,440-pixels6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792x828 pixels
Pixel density TBDTBD550ppi564ppi326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.2 x 2.6 x 0.3 in6.5 x 2.8 x 0.3 in5.9 x 2.77 x 0.31 in5.98 x 2.83 x 0.33 in5.94x2.98x0.33 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 157 x 66 x 7.62 mm165.1 x 71 x 7.62 mm149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4mm150.9x75.7x8.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.8 oz; 164g6.2 oz; 176g5.53 oz.; 157 g5.96 oz.; 167g6.84 oz; 194g
Mobile software Android 9 PieAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9.0 with Samsung One UIAndroid 9.0iOS 13
Camera 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)12-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (wide-angle)12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel8-megapixel10-megapixel8-megapixel12-megapixel with Face ID
Video capture 4K4K4K4K4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processorQualcomm Snapdragon 855 processorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8552.84GHz octa-core Snapdragon 855Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB128GB128GB, 512GB128GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB6GB8GB6GBNot disclosed
Expandable storage Up to 512GBUp to 512GBUp to 512GB2TBNone
Battery 3,140mAh3,330mAh3,400mAh3,500mAhNot disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 1 hour longer than iPhone XR
Fingerprint sensor Right sideRight sideIn-screen (ultrasonic)BackNone (Face ID)
Connector USB-CUSB-CUSB-CUSB-CLightning
Headphone jack NoNoYesYesNo
Special features IP65/68 water and dust resistant, 10-bit video, Eye AF, Fast chargingIP65/68 water and dust resistant, 10-bit video, Eye AF, Fast chargingWireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68); Fast Wireless Charging 2.03D scanning and motion capture with facial recognition, Air Motion and HandID; bone-induction receiver; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; Quick Charge 3.0Water resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $799$950$900$820-$850$699 (64GB), $749 (128GB), $849 (256GB)
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Sony's Xperia 1 packs a big screen but little else

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