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The compact Sony Xperia 5 battles big phone fatigue

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

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 5 Sony Xperia 1 Samsung Galaxy S10 LG G8 ThinQ iPhone 11
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch OLED; 2,520x1,080 pixels 6.5-inch OLED; 3,840x1,644 pixels 6.1-inch AMOLED; 3,040x1,440-pixels 6.1-inch OLED; 3,120x1,440-pixels 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792x828 pixels
Pixel density TBD TBD 550ppi 564ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.2 x 2.6 x 0.3 in 6.5 x 2.8 x 0.3 in 5.9 x 2.77 x 0.31 in 5.98 x 2.83 x 0.33 in 5.94x2.98x0.33 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 157 x 66 x 7.62 mm 165.1 x 71 x 7.62 mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm 151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4mm 150.9x75.7x8.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.8 oz; 164g 6.2 oz; 176g 5.53 oz.; 157 g 5.96 oz.; 167g 6.84 oz; 194g
Mobile software Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI Android 9.0 iOS 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-megapixel 8-megapixel 10-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel with Face ID
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 2.84GHz octa-core Snapdragon 855 Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB 128GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 6GB 8GB 6GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage Up to 512GB Up to 512GB Up to 512GB 2TB None
Battery 3,140mAh 3,330mAh 3,400mAh 3,500mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 1 hour longer than iPhone XR
Fingerprint sensor Right side Right side In-screen (ultrasonic) Back None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No Yes Yes No
Special features IP65/68 water and dust resistant, 10-bit video, Eye AF, Fast charging IP65/68 water and dust resistant, 10-bit video, Eye AF, Fast charging Wireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68); Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 3D scanning and motion capture with facial recognition, Air Motion and HandID; bone-induction receiver; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; Quick Charge 3.0 Water 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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