Sony Xperia 5 IV review – With similar features and overall size, the Sony Xperia 5 IV is an outstanding device that delivers – looking just like all previous models! Sony has unveiled the Xperia 5 IV, which is shaping up as one of the most compact Android flagships on the market. We’ve had it before its premiere and completed its full review.
And though it’s a major spoiler for those who’ve seen the phone in advance, we can already share that this Xperia 5 IV is a spectacular device that offers buckets! The Xperia 5 III impressed us last year, so we are ecstatic to meet its successor—the Sony Xperia 5 IV.
It improves on what was already excellent with better screen resolution and performance, impressive camera tech and quality, improved battery capacity without much change in size, and a new (somewhat) design. The new Sony Xperia 5 IV looks just like all recent Xperia phones – a classic no-nonsense design with flat matt panels made of Gorilla Glass Victus sheets and a flat metal frame with a matt finish too! It’s just as dust- and water-resistant as the rest of the series.
Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 IV
This year, Sony has become even more eco-friendly and has retired the USB-C cable from its boxes. If you want to take advantage of the 30W fast charging, make sure you buy the charger package XQZ-UC1, including the USB-C cable. It better be, it costs €50. There are plenty of cheaper third-party alternatives that cost less than €50.
Design, build quality, handling
The Sony Xperia 5 IV is a compact addition to the already popular series of Xperia phones. The phone features an impressive design and offers most of the benefits of earlier models, including a waterproof design and an even better selfie camera than before.
The new Xperia 5 IV looks a lot like the previous models, but it offers a few improvements – with a flat matte frame, more challenging Gorilla Glass Victus panels, and the ZEISS T* logo at the back. While there may be similarities to other Xperia iterations, the brand stands out among any Android mob for its notch-less screen, 3.5mm audio jack, and ZEISS T* logo at the back.
It uses two flat Gorilla Glass Victus panels – one keeps the screen safe, while the rear one has an excellent frosted finish. Waterproofing is another tradition from Sony’s phone line – no significant changes here. As before, it is IP68-rated for dust and water submersion in up to 1.5m of clean water and IP65-rated for water jet resistance.
And considering that the Xperia 5 IV features an audio jack and microSD port, we cannot but applaud Sony for not even taking the easy way out on this model – it has a slightly smaller body size with thicker top and bottom bezels without any noticeable cutouts in sight.
With a bump in brightness, night mode, and HDR support, the Xperia 5 IV promise unbeatable display quality. Its screen is bright and colorful with 2,560×1,080p panels that are HDR10-certified and cover the BT.2020 color space. Creator mode is an even more impressive addition to the new Xperia 5 flagship. With up to 50% in higher brightness levels and dual-tone real-time HDR video drive support for SDR output, Sony has done a great job in making this display unforgettable.
Regarding color accuracy for sRGB, the default Cony mode offers the most accurate results. White point D65 and Warm White Balance give us a DeltaE of 1.6 compared to Standard and Cool settings for DCI-P3, which offer a DeltaE of 1.8.
The tester reports that when it comes to color settings for content in Creator Mode, Creator mode is not automatically switching between sRGB and DCI-P3 modes as its quirks suggest, but it will work with your display’s settings without issues.
Xperia 5 IV screen supports a 120Hz refresh rate, and it does the same thing as on previous Xperia phones – there is a toggle to enable/disable the mode, and that’s all. With most makers shifting to more and more adaptive refresh rates, Sony’s way of doing HRR has been behind the curve for quite some time. For example – the Android interface and all compatible non-game apps always use 120Hz.
On the other hand, games have their own strange way of handling the refresh rate. Sony has this app called Game Enhancer, and within its settings, you can switch the refresh rate for the display to 120Hz for games that can go above 60fps – it is at 60Hz by default. There is also a 40Hz/40fps limiter for battery-saving purposes.
You can force it to 120Hz regardless of whether you know that your game itself supports a higher frame rate to be safe. This is done on a per-game basis, under several levels in Game Enhancer, which requires you to dig through menus before using it with every game, which may take some getting used to. When using Game Enhancer, you might notice that there is a 240 Hz option too.
With an HDR10 screen supported by YouTube and Netflix, you can enjoy a higher resolution with Sony’s proprietary X1 engine. There is Standard HDR and an option in Image Quality Settings called Video Image Enhancement (X1 for Mobile). You can also enjoy this feature via a real-time HDR drive.
Sony’s high-end phones offer one of the industry’s best haptic feedback experiences. There are some excellent vibrations that you can feel at the exact point where you’ve tapped on a specific part of the phone. Sony’s Dynamic Vibration, which syncs with your audio/video, is also available.
With a 30% more powerful battery and wireless charging, the Xperia 5 IV had an impressive endurance rating of 116 hours. Sony’s Xperia 5 IV convincingly won our battery life test with a score of 116 hours.
The Xperia 5 IV comes with a 5,000mAh battery or an upgrade over the Xperia 5 III’s 4,500mAh cell. The new model supports 30W USB-PD fast charging and wireless charging. It also has a similar charge time to the Sony Xperia 1 IV smartphone which has a battery capacity of 3000mAh and supports 15W USB-PD fast charging.
The Xperia 5 IV is a full-featured Sony smartphone with a contrast front-facing stereo setup. It has two speakers on the front, one above and below the screen that is designed to not cause vibrations, producing clear sound and balanced audio.
The only caveat is that when the phone is held in landscape orientation, the sound is always coming out of the left speaker instead of both on equal levels in the same time. But otherwise, that means five stars for quality! And listen – it sounds good too – the Xperia 5 IV sounds deeper and richer than ever, thanks to improved sound quality from past iterations.
Android 12 with Xperia UI
Sony Xperia 5 starts with an always-on display feature (AOD) similar to Google’s Ambient Display. The lock screen is the standard phone make and the home screen has a predictable look. With this version of Android, you get Notification history and Bubbles shortcuts as part of the Conversations feature.
The Sony exclusives are multi-window switch and multi-window mode for playing a game. You can pick from three possible app pairs on each half of the screen. There are also three different ways to split windows: with gestures, with a navbar, or by tapping on the corner of the screen to launch one window on top of another. Side sense allows you to tap on your battery icon to give you shortcut menus of features like camera or your entire phone settings menu while using it one-handed.
Performance and benchmarks
However, the Sony Xperia 5 IV SD 8 Gen 1 chipset is an upgrade from the previous model, SD 8 III. The performance of this device is top-notch, and its overall rating in our AnTuTu tests will not surprise anyone.
That said, Sony has carefully crafted the version to ensure it does not overheat, which is both a blessing and a curse. The processor and GPU are impressive, but the cooling system leaves much to be desired. It kept performance at 58% with peak activities for an hour, throttling down by 50% in the first 5 minutes and remaining until the end of our test.
The 60Hz refresh rate during multitasking or playing games is alarming; we have never seen such issues on other smartphones that often adopt lower-refresh rates because they’re able to handle the thermal limitations of their designs better.
Photos before editing also dropped to 60Hz during our testing timeframe. The camera was able to keep up with hot operating conditions, but it still overheats when left outside during the summer months; similar to other phones with this issue which causes apps like pictures app to freeze or abort jobs.
The Sony Xperia 5 IV has four 12MP cameras and is identical to the flagship camera on the Sony Xperia 1 IV. It features a triple-camera setup – a single LED flash and RGB sensor, followed by a 12MP primary shooter with an optically stabilized lens, dual-pixel PDAF, and wide dynamic range.
The ultrawide mode on this phone uses a 12MP 1/2.55″ sensor with 1.4µm pixels behind a 16mm f/2.2 lens with optical stabilization, while photos shot in telephoto mode can use the Sony IMX 650 sensor. In all these modes, you can choose automatic or manual exposure adjustments and distortion correction for landscape images.
You also have your standard SteadyShot (EIS) and recording 4K HDR at an impressive 120 frames per second with Dynamic Range Mode on board – a feature that debuted on the flagship model. Videos don’t offer stabilization, so they offer no advantage when capturing moving objects compared to standard 480p video capture.
There are four modes, which you can switch between in the Settings menu. The default option is the Basic mode, which has allowances for white balance, exposure compensation, and bokeh. Pro mode, where you’ll find all of the more advanced settings plus an autofocus function, will auto-focus through the viewfinder and have modes from different cameras to choose from. Finally, Auto mode is often used for those shots that require no changing of settings via presets or memory recall.
Daylight photo quality
With Sony’s new cameras, consumers will be more satisfied. The Xperia 5 IV’s primary camera captures excellent photos in daylight conditions. The samples we captured show great detail, natural contrast, crisp resolution, and rich colors.
The white balance is also outstanding, with accurate color representation. Additionally, the Ultrawide camera boasts top-notch quality with a maximum effective aperture of the widest f/1.5 and an excellent dynamic range that doesn’t overexpose or underexpose.
This camera can capture the most delicate details across both still and video footage for a stunning professional look for your brand. With an eye on photo perfection and no compromises, this is the flagship a photographer would dream of capturing forever.
In particular, the ultrawide camera features an autofocus feature while not being able to focus at 4-8cm away from its center – opting instead for macro-type shots created with the primary lens sensor to bring out more significant detail potential and sharpness levels that other brands can’t compete with anywhere near as elaborately as Sony delivers their images.
Low-light photo quality
The primary camera on the Xperia 5 IV captures perfect low-light photos with a reasonable level of detail, low noise, excellent contrast, and a realistic look. The colors are unique. There is undoubtedly some HDR magic, as light sources are well-contained with almost nothing clipped.
However, we can’t help but think that the dark shadows could have benefitted immensely from some Night Mode processing. The Xperia 5 IV takes impressive low-light photos with its primary camera. Still, it operates under the same limitations as a DSLR camera due to computational photography being unable to turn night into day or complement a night scene where light might not be very balanced.
- Traditional, uncomplicated design, GG Victus, IP68.
Excellent OLED screen with no cuts, 120Hz, brightness, and color accuracy.
- excellent speakers that are balanced and of the same size.
- superior haptics.
- All of the images and videos are of excellent quality.
- Strong hardware, and professional camera applications.
- NFC, microSD, 3.5mm port, notification LED, and 5G.
- There is no cord or charger in the package.
- Night Mode is absent in cameras.
- Easily overheats at a high load, which severely slows both performance and refresh rate.
The Sony Xperia 5 IV introduces a few updates over the older Xperia 5 III – brighter display, updated design, faster chipset, better selfie experience, longer battery life, and wireless charging. However, the camera is downgraded to only 2.5x optical zoom instead of 3x/4.4x two-step zoom.
It doesn’t make much sense for any Xperia 5 III user to upgrade from the older generation phone. But now that Sony has launched the Xperia 5 IV, there’s no reason why anyone would opt for the more expensive Xperia 1 IV; it will hardly be for the 4K display, while continuous zoom turned out not as impressive as we might’ve hoped for it to be.
Nonetheless, the Sony Xperia 5 IV is considered one of the most attractive phones on Sony’s shelves at present, and it is totally worth it – offering a lovely timeless design with solid waterproofing and high brightness, and HDR10 certification.
The battery life turned out excellent (not easy), but even better still – four 12MP cameras offer superb photo and video quality. Certain software features will surely win some more users over to this side of the fence too – especially with pro tools coming with a camera in tow which people can easily edit with!