Sony Xperia 5 III review


The Xperia 5 III is a relatively compact and powerful phone with a nice screen, good camera and large battery. Is this Sony smartphone worth its price?

Price/quality ratio7.5

Review conclusion


Sony Xperia 5 III


The Xperia 5 III offers a very good grip and a nice all-round experience. The triple camera with extensive features is definitely a plus. Just like the microSD support and the 3.5mm jack.

The Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony puts several smartphone models on the market every year. In addition to the high-end Xperia 1 line-up, the company also carries the Xperia 5 series – consisting of powerful phones with a relatively small size. We have now arrived at the third generation. What does this mobile phone have to offer and how does this device compare to the competition? You can read all about it in this Sony Xperia 5 III review.

The smartphone market is roughly divided into two categories: Android and iOS phones. Like most manufacturers, Sony uses the Android operating system. In recent years, Android devices have become increasingly similar, not least because of the copying behavior of Chinese manufacturers. The Japanese Sony, however, chooses its own way, as it also proves with the Xperia 5 III. We will discuss how this works out and what advantages and disadvantages this entails in this review.

Sony Xperia 5 III design & display

Sony has equipped the Xperia 5 III with a 6.1” OLED HDR display with a Full HD+ resolution and with support for the high 120Hz refresh rate. The screen ratio of 21:9 is unique. This makes the phone relatively narrow and long (dimensions: 157 x 68 x 8.2 mm). This ratio definitely benefits the hand-fit, even if you have relatively small hands, you retain sufficient grip on the device.

The display also offers a nice viewing experience, colors look natural and the content simply looks sharp. The maximum brightness is slightly lower than that of competing flagship models. Furthermore, Sony has provided the screen with a 240Hz touch sampling rate, which ensures that touches are detected extra quickly. This is especially noticeable if you like to play mobile games - the fast touch detection allows you to react just a little faster.

Finally, the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. This glass is slightly less strong than the newer Gorilla Glass Victus, nevertheless this variant provides good scratch and impact resistance. In addition, the housing has been tested according to the IP65 / IP68 standard, which means that the phone is dust and water resistant. A heavy rain shower can therefore not just damage the Xperia 5 III.

A glossy metal frame has been chosen. The glass back also has a glossy finish and is protected by Gorilla Glass 6. Preference for matte or glossy is very personal. In any case, it is positive that the device does not feel as smooth as most glossy phones. As a result, the smartphone does not slip out of your hands so quickly. However, the glossy housing is sensitive to fingerprints. You can of course remedy this by using a (transparent) phone case.

The phone feels solid and has a contemporary design. Our test sample is black. In addition, a dark green model is also available. Unlike most Android smartphones, the Xperia 5 III does not have a punch-hole selfie camera. I will return to the performance of this camera in detail later in this review.

Sony opts for a narrow bezel in which the front camera is incorporated. As a result, the device has a relatively wide screen edge on both the top and bottom. However, I cannot say that I have experienced these edges as disturbing.

The Xperia 5 III is equipped with the necessary connections. At the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is unique in this price range. This also allows you to connect wired headphones. A full-stage stereo speaker system is also built in, which faces forward. Thanks to additional features such as Dolby Atmos and 360 Spatial Sound and 360 Reality Audio, this Sony Xperia phone delivers a rich and dynamic sound experience. The volume range has also been improved, with the new stereo speakers being 40% louder than the previous model.

A microphone is also included on the top. The SIM compartment is located on the left. It is worth noting that it can be opened without a sim needle. A small notch has been made, so that you can easily open this compartment - without compromising the water resistance. The SIM compartment also offers space to insert a microSD memory card. Something that unfortunately is no longer a matter of course with high-end smartphones.

A second microphone is integrated at the bottom. The USB Type-C connection can also be found here to charge the device. All buttons are placed on the right side. From top to bottom are the volume keys, the power button with integrated fingerprint sensor, a Google Assistant button and a camera shutter - for taking photos in landscape mode.

8MP selfie camera and 12MP triple camera

As for the selfie camera, it is an 8 megapixel image sensor and an f/2.0 lens. The resolution is not particularly high. The colors look natural. There are also plenty of setting options available. As for the video options, with the front camera you can capture both Full HD and 4K movies. Video calls look fine, with sufficient detail and sharpness.

A triple camera is placed on the back. The configuration corresponds exactly to the Xperia 1 III. However, the top model from Sony is €300 more expensive, so it's good to see that the Xperia 5 III has exactly the same camera system. Including the ZEISS optics and a ZEISS T* coating, which ensures less reflections and more contrast.

The triple camera consists of a 12 megapixel main camera with a bright lens (f/1.7) and OIS, a 12 megapixel wide-angle camera (f/2.4) and a 12 megapixel telephoto camera with a variable aperture (f/2.3 – f/2.8) that 2.9x and 4.4x optical zoom (70-105mm). The autofocus system is also worth mentioning, the Xperia 5 III is able to focus at lightning speed. An optical image stabilization system (OIS) is also available, which ensures that photo and video recordings look sharp.

New is the ability to shoot continuous bursts at a speed of 20 fps and with 60x per second AF/AE tracking. The Xperia 5 III is also equipped with object tracking technology, to be able to bring moving objects into sharp focus. This technology, called Real-time Eye AF, comes from the much-priced Sony system cameras and works for both people and animals. Such features demonstrate Sony's extensive expertise in the field of camera.

The Photo Pro app is very extensive. If you want to quickly shoot some pictures, the Basic mode offers a solution. This is also the only mode where the shutter button is displayed on the screen. In all other cases you should use the shutter release button on the side of the device. It works just like a regular digital camera. Pressing the camera button halfway will focus. If you press the button fully, the photo will be shot.

An Auto mode is also available, where the camera adjusts the settings itself according to the shooting scenario. In addition, there is an MR / M / S / P mode available, where you can change all camera settings yourself – including the ISO and shutter speed, there is also an output to RAW function available. The possibilities are endless.

The quality of the recordings is satisfactory – as is also apparent from the test photos. The images show sufficient sharpness and details. This also applies to the contrast and white balance, the colors are also reproduced faithfully. If you like a bit more color contrast, there is always the HDR option.

However, there is also one option that is missing: a night mode. The vast majority of smartphones of €700 and more nowadays have a separate mode for evening and night photography. Sony has not included this feature with the Xperia 5 III. As a result, the camera is able to register less details in poor light conditions than competitive phone models. Too bad, we hope to see this feature back in the Sony Xperia 5 IV – which is expected later this year.

With the main camera you can capture videos in 4K HDR quality @ 24//30/60 fps. A separate Cinema Pro app is available to completely customize your videos. The application is equipped with Touch AF, Metered Manual, Level Meter and improved white balance settings. This offers more manual control options, while the unique Intelligent Wind Filter technology reduces noise and interference from wind.

Performance and interface

Under the hood is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. This chipset offers powerful performance and has an integrated 5G modem. This means that you can also use the fast 5G mobile internet network with this phone – provided you have a 5G subscription, of course.

The mobile phone responds quickly, regardless of the app you use. If you use the phone intensively, the device can get quite warm. The refresh rate is therefore automatically reset to 60Hz, as a form of automatic protection against overheating.

Apps that run in the background remain active, which usually works very fine. Sufficient working memory is therefore built-in: 8GB RAM. In addition, 128GB of storage memory is available. With the help of a microSD card, the memory can be expanded by up to 1TB.

As you would expect from Sony phones, this Xperia is also compatible with PS4 Remote Play and the DualShock 4 controller. Do you already have the Sony PS5 game console and a DualSense controller? These are also supported. So you can play all your PlayStation games on your mobile phone, with a real controller. There's also an audio equalizer to match the sound to the game you're playing.

As for the software, this Xperia phone runs Android 11 out of the box. The interface is quite bare, allowing users to enjoy an almost pure Android experience. The number of apps that are pre-installed by default is also minimal – a good choice in our opinion.

The interface offers a nice user experience. If desired, you can also use the quick menu, also called the 'Side sensor' by Sony. By default, 8 apps are shown, based on your device usage. You can also choose your own apps.

Although the Xperia 5 III offers a good user experience, Sony's update policy is very scanty. The phone comes with 2 years of Android OS updates and 2 years of security updates. That is really too little for a device of €1,000.

In comparison, Samsung now offers 4 years of Android OS updates and 5 years of security updates. This way you are assured of the latest functions and the best security for twice as long. As far as I'm concerned, the software policy is therefore one of the main drawbacks of the Xperia 5 III.

Battery & Charging Options

The third generation Sony Xperia 5 is equipped with a 4,500 mAh battery. That is 500 mAh larger than its predecessor. The battery life is simply good. In practice, I got through the day without any problems before I had to put the Xperia 5 III back on the charger.

The charging speed has also been improved, the new model offers support for a maximum charging power of 30W (instead of 21W). Still not immensely fast, but fast enough to keep up with competing brands. After 30 minutes of charging, the battery is 50% full.

Remarkably, wireless charging is not supported, some will experience this as a lack. All the more so because this functionality could be found in its predecessor, the Xperia 5 II, as well as the current top model - the Xperia 1 III. Sony has probably made this trade-off because of the larger battery – otherwise the phone would become too thick – while the compactness / portability (and the accompanying good hand-fit) is clearly an important feature of this device.

It's nice, a 30W charger is included in the sales package as standard. That is a nice bonus, because you will no longer find them in the sales box with the top models from Apple and Samsung. A headset and a cover are missing, however, which you have to buy as an optional accessory.

Sony Xperia 5 III review conclusion

The Sony Xperia 5 III is a very nice phone in daily use. The device feels very comfortable in the hand and the screen looks beautiful. A powerful chipset is built in, a good stereo speaker system and even a 3.5mm connection and a microSD memory card slot are included. Furthermore, a clear focus has been placed on the camera, with the telephoto lens with variable aperture being unique.

Sony chooses a different path than most other Android smartphone manufacturers. We can only applaud this, as it increases diversity and choice. The biggest drawback in my opinion is the update policy, so we hope that the software support will be expanded in the future.

The suggested retail price of the Xperia 5 III is €1,000. That's not nice, but the phone does deliver a good all-round experience. Moreover, the device has been available for several months, as a result of which various retailers are now offering this model with a discount.

Various online webshops now offer the phone around €100 to €150 cheaper. In addition, instead of a separate device, you can buy the Xperia 5 III with a subscription. This way you can get a considerable discount on the device price. In that case, consult a price comparison website to compare the prices and bundles of telecom providers.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)