Xperia 1 II with Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds go on pre-order

Premium smartphones these days are largely seen as overpriced but Sony's Xperia phones have always been that way. This time, however, the Xperia 1 II (Mark 2) might be among peers when it comes to the price tag and what it's packing inside for that price. There is, however, one odd thing about Sony's latest stab at the smartphone market that might make buyers think twice before pre-ordering theirs.

Sony is unsurprisingly focusing on the Xperia 1 II's camera chops. When it comes to the spec sheets, it definitely has a lot to brag about, especially considering it borrows a few technologies and terminologies from the company's camera business. Given Sony's track record in that department, though, some might still be a bit cautious if they'll be getting what they pay for.

It's not that the phone is underwhelming when it comes to specs. In fact, it's right up there with is Snapdragon 865 and 8GB of RAM, 256GB of UFS storage, and a 4,000 mAh battery. Sony's trademark 21:9 CinemaDisplay on a 6.5-inch 4K screen is also there for videophiles and it does run Android 10 at least.

The mystery is that the Xperia 1 II doesn't support 5G networks in the US, even if its spec sheet does mention that the Snapdragon chip is 5G capable. International markets will have 5G support, though carrier-compatibility will vary. You may have your doubts about the practicality of 5G today but you also be uneasy about paying for hardware you can't use for some unexplained reason. Especially when a Galaxy S20 Ultra costs just as much but does have that futureproof feature.

That price boils down to $1,199.98, which Sony is trying to look tastier by throwing in free noise-canceling WF-1000XM3 earbuds. The Xperia 1 II officially ships on July 24 and comes unlocked but compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket Wireless and Metro. No such luck for Sprint customers, however.

[Updated to clarify 5G support and US carrier compatibility]