Sony are one of the biggest manufacturers of electronical devices in the world and have had many iconic brands such as PlayStation, Walkman, and Xperia in their mobile phone department.
However it’s no secret that the company have struggled in recent years against the competition from Apple and Samsung to name a few.
Sony have been making phones for years and I’ve been lucky enough to get hands on a lot of them in my time writing for various websites, they always have high quality hardware but can come with a high price tag to match.
The company also have other devices that are on sale at the moment at a lower price, so when Sony offered to send me the Xperia 5V, I was looking forward to getting hands on to do the review.
This is a review of the Sony Xperia 5V where I used it as my main phone with my main SIM card for all my daily tasks so could really get a good feel for what the company were aiming for.
The device was sent to me by Sony UK PR and on the review was finished was returned back to them so other reviewers can get hands on it for their coverage.
No offer of a device to keep was made and no one else had any input in any of this review as it is going live for everyone to see at the same time.
The front camera will be covered more in the camera section of the review, but as a quick overview you get a 12 megapixel camera with 4k recording which is the same resolution as last years model but a jump from the 8 megapixel with 1080p video in the Xperia 5iii.
The screen comes in at a decent 6.1 inches in size using OLED technology for deep blacks and bright colours, it also offers a 120hz refresh rate which will be great for anyone into high frame rate gaming or likes a smooth silky animation here and there, and the 1080p resolution does a good job at keeping things looking good.
The large screen takes up all the front with no physical buttons to be seen, just the large screen which looks great for watching content back on.
Also it is interesting to see Sony not go with a pinhole or notch for the camera again, they have a 21:9 aspect ratio display with no cutout for the camera, instead sticking to the traditional phone design with a bar up top to house this instead.
Looking over at the left side you have no buttons or switches, the only thing that stands out from the smooth flat side is the two little areas that are a different colour used for helping with signal strength and is seen on multiple phones in the past.
Over on the right hand side you have the volume rocker for up and down controls, also a power button in the middle which has a fingerprint sensor inside so you can use this for unlocking quickly or authorising contact less payments if you use Google Pay, thankfully speed and reliability was very good and was easy to use.
Finally you have a dedicated camera button which is something Sony have been doing for years on their phones, it gives you a real camera experience by half pressing to focus, then fully pressing to take a photo
Up at the top you have one of the dual microphones for noise cancellation as well as stereo recording, also nice to see is the 3.5mm headphone jack so you can use your own pair of headphones without needing an adapter which is nice to see, plus you do get a decent pair of in-ear headphones in the box if you don’t already have a pair you want to use.
Down at the bottom you have the other microphone used in the dual setup, you also have the USB-C port for data transfer or fast charging at 30w which is decent but slower than some of the competition,but thankfully this time you do now get wirless charging which can also be reversable should you want to charge other devices for a quick boost.
You also get the Nano SIM slot for your network of choice SIM, also included on the 5V is Dual SIM support so you can place two different networks at the same time instead of needing two phones, you also get eSIM support if your network offers this solution.
Only a small thing to mention but appreciated was the fact you don’t need a pin to take out the sliding holder like on most other phones, there is a small slot you can use your nail and remove quickly which is great for anyone who swaps SIM cards a lot as there is no need to go hunting for the pin to swap over, however what is annoying is the phone restarting any time you swap SIM cards, frustrating when you need to swap and make that quick phone call.
Sony does this a lot on their phones and is something very much appreciated as not everyone has access to a PIN to swap SIMS unless they remember to have one with them at all time
Turning over to the back you have a full glass panel with the Sony logo slap bang in the middle.
Then you have the dual camera setup consisting of a new main 48 megapixel lens and the LED flash for improving low light situations, you also get a wide-angle lens at 12 megapixel for those landscape photos you might want to take.
Missing this time is the telephoto camera which Sony have decided to leave out this year, this might be a big issue for some people depending how you use your camera on the phone and if you really need such a camera or you can get away without it.
Sample photos and videos taken from each camera can be found later on in the review so you can see what the quality is like.
Sony have cut back on the amount of customisation they do to Android updates, and this allows faster rollout of newer patches because there is less work involved.
Also there is less bloatware installed including doubling up on apps for the same task, for so long there was an Album app for photos as well as Google Photos for example, instead there are just a few from Sony to enhance the experience without taking over completely.
The latest version of Android brings with it the new design language with flatter icons and shapes, for example the number pad to unlock the phone is now large circles with basic feel that makes everything just easier to understand and use.
Also the notification slider has been redesigned with easier to understand notifications and optioned to customise quickly, it is the same content as before just much better in design and overall layout.
Having such a tall screen also brings some new additions to the software with the ability to be able to multitask with 2 apps at the same time on a 50/50 split, and with the screen being so tall it does not make the content too small to be usable.
Sony has done a good job on the software front with little bloatware and quick software updates such as to the latest Android 14, and this is a big improvement from the old Sony software experience on older devices.
One setting you will either love or hate pretty quickly is the dynamic vibration mode when watching back video content, the idea is that is enhances the experience with small timed shakes when video content needs it,for example in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex scene makes the water in the cup shake, this is a perfect use, but may be annoying for some people, so Sony let you switch this on or off easily.
Performance is very good as you would expect considering the Xperia 5V comes with a leading Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor under the hood which at time of writing is still one of the best performing chips on the market.
This is backed up by 8GB of RAM which means smooth multitasking including graphic heavy games, and in my time playing Call of Duty or PUBG I had no issues at all with the performance and this was based on a 8GB model with 128GB storage.
The battery included is 5000mAh which is one of the higher end models on sale at the moment, even considering the OLED screen that runs at 120hz and 5G supported too, it was great having such a large battery included as this is a great gaming phone, and if you do need to top up the power, the Xperia 5V supports 30w charging but takes a while to fully charge from flat when compared to some of the competition.
The Xperia 5V comes with support for 2G/3G/4G/5G so you have a wide range of connectivity options depending on your network and sometimes price plan of choice (not all plans include 5G access)
I was able to test using 5G on the EE network picking up some coverage from a nearby town of Paignton and was getting very respectable speeds considering the distance of the mast, however with all mobile networks, everyone’s experience will be different.
With using 4G this was also giving access to 4G+ which is also known as LTE-Advanced, again it depends on network and location but I was happy to be getting speeds of around 100Mbps over this network here in Torquay which isn’t exactly the most popular of places for technology, and if you are in a better area with faster networks you can in theory get 200/300Mbps speeds over 4G.
Being 5G ready as soon as signal covers your area you will get access to these even faster speeds and you are future proofing yourself, all for such a crazy low price.
Of course you also get the standard GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and WiFi built in for navigation and communication, WiFi supports the latest standard too for stronger and quicker data speeds if you have the right router.
Sony are huge in the camera industry so you would hope this would also move over onto the Xperia brand of smartphones, however this has not always been the case in previous models, especially with 4K video recording often overheating.
The selfie camera uses the same 12MP lens that was found on last years model which performed quite well, although low on the megapixel count when you consider some phones these days have 32MP selfie cameras, and this phone is hardly cheap to buy either.
Quality is decent for selfies and what you would take them fore which is mainly sharing on social media and video calls, although in a time when phones around this price have 16/32/40 megapixel selfie shooters it would have been nice to have a higher megapixel count for more detail as I mentioned before.
Selfie videos are decent too, but with a lower megapixel count you do lose some of the creative opportunity such as cropping in and keeping the footage really sharp, but for most uses it will do a good job.
Sony have gone with a two lens setup, a main 48 megapixel, and a wide angle 12 megapixel camera for all conditions.
In good lighting the captured photos seem decent enough packing a lot of details and colour which was good to see, it does not have the boosted contrast which Samsung seem to love doing in there photos that make greens really over the top which is a good thing although some people do like that style of photo.
Here are photos taken using each of the three cameras so you can see what quality you can expect to see.
Normally it is Night photos that struggle with capturing a lot of details compared to some of the competition in the past for me, however it looks like Sony have managed to improve on their quality and get sone really good photos at even the toughest of conditions which was great to see.
In an attempt to make things easier and more streamlined, Sony have now gone with a single app for the camera and a separate one for their Pro video mode.
In previous models there was a normal camera which did the basics and then Pro models when you wanted to get more control over your settings, in the Xperia 5V this is just one for camera and one for video.
When you load for the first time you get into the Basic mode for those of us who like to point and shoot to get a decent photo, tapping this setting in the corner opens up all the professional modes and tools to get the very best photo possible should you know how to use these the right way.
Cinema Pro is the professional video recorder included which can really produce some fantastic content, anyone coming from a Sony camera will recognise a lot of the settings and toggles available to get the best from the device, anyone who prefers the point and shoot method may be a bit overwhelmed by all the options you have on screen.
It is clear that Sony are leaning on their fanbase of existing Sony users who will understand what they are looking at when loading the Cinema Pro app to record video.
One major issue on older Sony phones was when it came to recording 4K video and the phone displaying an overheating message on the screen, it looks like finally the company have this under control and have managed to resolve this big issue, this now means 4K can be recorded without any worry.
With a price tag of £800 here in the UK the Xperia 5V isn’t cheap, but it also isn’t their flagship phone either so was interesting to see where they would aim this phone in the market at a time when Samsung and Apple seems to be dominating and you have up and coming brands such as Oppo, OnePlus and Xiaomi coming into the mix.
Sony have a diehard following of fans around the world who love the brand and everything that they have to offer, in which case this will be right at home for you if you want to spend under the £1,000 mark on a new smartphone.
Where company struggle is for attracting new customers from other devices onto the Sony brand and that is a shame because once you get using the Xperia 5V It’s a very enjoyable experience with a great set of specifications that give you value for money. It’s just a shame that a lot of people won’t get to see this.
If you want the top of the range phone from Sony then you’ll go for the Xperia 1V with it’s larger 4K resolution display, but if that price point is too high and you don’t need a 4K display then Xperia 5V is a great alternative phone to go for where you won’t lose a lot of specs for your money, and get a nice saving too.
If you asked me if I would recommend this device. I would actually have to say yes, take out the competition and what they have to offer and look at this phone for what it has to offer, and you’re getting a great smartphone that will last a long time.
Again a big thanks to Sony for sending out the Xperia 5V for review.