Sony is far from done with the smartphone market and, unlike HTC, actually managed to put out a flagship phone this year. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Xperia 1 II will give the likes of the Galaxy S20 a run for their money but at least it exists. Soon, it will also be in the US market based on this first pre-order page that, sadly, makes the phone more of a mystery than ever before.
In terms of specs and features, the Sony Xperia 1 II is definitely right up there with the big boys. It has its signature 21:9 CinemWide 4K OLED screen, of example. Its core focus is, of course, on the cameras that borrow a few technologies from Sony’s Alpha pro cameras, though DxOMark still needs to test whether it finally makes Sony’s phones worthy of that praise.
The Xperia 1 II is driven by a Snapdragon 865, which brings us to one of the phone’s two big mysteries. That chipset comes with 5G integrated so that OEMs no longer have to choose between price and feature. Curiously, though, Sony announced that the US model won’t be getting that 5G for no stated reason. Now it seems to have just as mysteriously backtracked on that.
The pre-order page for B&H Photo and Video lists the phone as being 5G. It could simply be a clerical error as it doesn’t list 5G under is carrier support table. Some, however, would wish it wasn’t a mistake and that Sony did have a change of heart.
Which brings us to the second question: is the Xperia 1 II worth that $1,198 price tag? That takes it close to Samsung Galaxy S20+ territory, which does have 5G and a bit more dependable cameras. If it doesn’t have 5G, however, and its camera performance turns out to be “typical Sony”, then we’re looking at yet another typical over-priced Sony phone that may be dead on arrival in the market.