The Sony Xperia 5 Mark V, Sony’s latest entry into their Xperia lineup, offers a more compact version of their top camera-centric flagship, the Xperia 1 Mark V. With a smaller size and a slightly more affordable price point, it begs the question: is this the Sony flagship to get? In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the Xperia 5 Mark V’s design, display quality, performance, camera capabilities, and more to help you make an informed decision.
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Design and Build Quality
The Xperia 5 Mark V marks the fifth generation of Sony’s Xperia lineup, and it brings some notable refinements. It features a new main camera, a fresh chipset, and upgraded speakers. While it shares similarities with its bigger sibling, the Xperia 1 Mark V, the Xperia 5 Mark V distinguishes itself by being more compact.
In terms of design, Sony continues its tradition of presenting a squared-off black rectangle with a tall and narrow form factor. The device boasts Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the back, which offers a smooth matte texture—a departure from the grippy texture of its predecessor, the Xperia 5. The aluminum frame is also smooth, deviating from the ribbed texture of the Xperia 1 Mark V. Notably, there’s a microphone on the backside of the camera bump, enhancing audio recording capabilities.
Sony maintains its commitment to durability, as the Xperia 5 Mark V carries an IP65/IP68 rating, ensuring it can withstand dust and water exposure. Additionally, the phone retains the dedicated two-step shutter button for the cameras, a feature appreciated by photography enthusiasts.
The Xperia 5 Mark V sports a 1080p OLED display measuring 6.1 inches, with a tall 21:9 aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. While it doesn’t match the 4K resolution of its bigger sibling, it still delivers ample sharpness. The display offers excellent contrast, supports 10-bit color, and is HDR10-compatible, although it lacks Dolby Vision support.
Users have the flexibility to fine-tune color settings for optimal accuracy, and the display is impressively bright, reaching around 650 nits with manual settings and peaking at nearly 910 nits in auto-brightness mode under bright lighting conditions. The 120Hz refresh rate provides smoother animations and responsive touch interactions.
Storage Options and Features
Sony provides 128GB of onboard storage, which may feel limited for some, but the inclusion of a MicroSD card slot sets this device apart from many other flagship smartphones. Additionally, the Xperia 5 Mark V retains the rare feature of a 3.5mm headphone jack, a boon for audiophiles and those with wired headphones.
Speakers’ Quality And Biometrics
The device features front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, an upgrade from the previous Xperia 5. Thanks to a new amplifier, these speakers deliver good loudness and rich sound quality. Whether you’re watching videos or enjoying music, the Xperia 5 Mark V provides an immersive audio experience.
For biometric authentication, the Xperia 5 Mark V incorporates a side-mounted fingerprint reader integrated into the power button. This scanner is both quick and accurate, providing a convenient and secure unlocking method.
Android 13 and Proprietary Apps
The device runs on Android 13, offering a user interface that closely resembles stock Android. However, Sony has added several custom features to enhance the user experience.
Side Sense: A handle on the side of the phone opens a menu of shortcuts to apps and features, most of which are customizable.
Multi-Window Switch: This feature provides two task switchers stacked on top of each other, facilitating navigation and app usage in split-screen mode.
Creative and Proprietary Apps: Sony offers a range of unique apps, such as the Video Creator app for basic video editing, a camera monitor app for Sony Alpha cameras, and the Music Pro app, which allows users to record and process audio for a professional touch.
Game Enhancer: The Xperia 5 Mark V includes a feature-rich game enhancer that can be accessed within a menu or as an in-game overlay, enhancing the gaming experience.
Sony equips the Xperia 5 Mark V with two rear cameras: a new 48-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. While the device lacks a dedicated telephoto lens, Sony claims that the new Quad Bayer main sensor offers two times lossless zoom capabilities.
In daylight conditions, the Xperia 5 Mark V’s main camera impresses with excellent photo quality. Photos exhibit accurate colors, ample contrast, and impressive dynamic range. Details are abundant, and the processing ensures that foliage and intricate elements appear natural.
The bokeh mode has been improved, delivering impressive portraits with detailed subjects, sharpness, and effective background separation. Even without a telephoto lens, the two-times lossless digital zoom performs admirably, maintaining quality and offering vibrant colors.
Sony’s low-light photography has seen significant improvements thanks to the innovative sensor and the night view mode. This mode activates automatically in low-light conditions, producing incredibly detailed, well-exposed, and low-noise photos with excellent color saturation and dynamic range.
The Xperia 5 Mark V’s main camera also shines in 4K video recording, offering lively colors, wide dynamic range, and a natural look. Although fine details could be sharper, the quality is generally commendable.
The ultra-wide camera on the Xperia 5 Mark V stands out as one of the best in its category. It captures photos with ample detail, natural rendering, sharpness, low noise, accurate colors, and a wide dynamic range.
In low-light conditions, the ultra-wide camera continues to impress with well-exposed, sharp, and low-noise photos. The night view mode, while introducing some noise, brightens the exposure, and its use is subjective.
The 4K video quality from the ultra-wide camera mirrors that of the main camera, offering a wider field of view for dynamic shots.
The Xperia 5 Mark V’s 12-megapixel selfie camera produces high-quality images with sharpness, good contrast, accurate colors, and a natural look. It ensures that selfies look detailed and well-exposed.
Powering the Xperia 5 Mark V is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, providing robust performance and energy efficiency. With LPDDR5X RAM, this device excels in benchmarks and handles multitasking and demanding gaming with ease.
While the new chipset and larger heatsink enhance thermal management, prolonged stress tests reveal thermal throttling, although it’s less severe than on previous Xperia models. Sony claims that users will no longer experience overheating issues, thanks to these improvements.
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Battery Life and Charging Speed
The Xperia 5 Mark V packs a 5,000mAh battery, offering exceptional battery life with an endurance rating of 130 hours. Charging, however, maxes out at 30 watts, and there is no charger or cable included in the box. With an appropriate adapter, you can achieve a 50% charge in half an hour. Wireless charging is also supported.
The Sony Xperia 5 Mark V is a compelling package, combining a waterproof build, a stunning display, excellent speakers, impressive battery life, a powerful chipset, and standout cameras. Noteworthy features include a headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. However, it’s important to consider the absence of a telephoto camera and the device’s relatively high price point.
While some features, like the multiple camera apps, cater to a niche audience, Sony enthusiasts and those seeking a cutting-edge compact flagship will find plenty to love in the Xperia 5 Mark V.
In the ever-evolving smartphone landscape, alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or the Asus Zenfone 10 are worth exploring. Ultimately, your choice should align with your priorities and preferences.