Sony’s Xperia 1 II to go on sale in July with a US$1199 price tag

Yes, Sony still makes smartphones, even though you hardly see one in the wild (especially outside Japan). But they’re making yet another attempt at the flagship market with the Xperia 1 II.

First announced in February this year, the Xperia 1 II is a proper flagship with the specs to challenge Samsung’s top-end offerings. But while you’ll be able to place orders starting June 1 (shipping to start July 24), the price tag – US$1199 – might just slam the brakes on your enthusiasm. Yes, that’s correct. The Xperia 1 II will cost $200 more than the Galaxy S20 5G, and the same as the Galaxy S20+ 5G. But that’s not the whole story: The Xperia 1 II certainly seems like a winner on the basis of its own strengths. It’s just unlucky to be going up against a bunch of well-established rivals. Nevertheless, it could make a great alternative to someone bored of the Galaxy series. So here’s what you get:

Top-notch specs

It’s 2020, which means 5G is a must if you’re making a flagship – Xperia 1 II gets the Snapdragon 865 5G platform. The 21:9, 6.5 inch CinemaWide OLED display offers a 4K resolution and HDR. Sony’s also kitted this out with a Creator Mode that should help cinematic content stay true to the original. There’s also Gorilla Glass 6 protection front and back, water resistance, dual SIMs (hybrid), 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, and support for microSD cards of up to 1TB.

Sony Xperia 1 II beauty shot

The battery has a 4000mAh rating and there’s USB-PD fast charging and Qi wireless charging. The USB Type-C port supports USB 3.1 speeds, and there’s also the latest Bluetooth 5.1 standard. As with Sony’s Xperia flagships, there’s PlayStation 4 Remote Play, DualShock 4 controller compatibility, and a Game Enhancer mode that prioritizes frame rate and game performance.

A headphone jack? Yes!

On the audio front, you get a 3.5mm jack which should come as a pleasant surprise to all you audio snobs. There’s also stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, support for 360 Reality spatial audio, Sony’s DSEE Ultimate audio processing and enhancement, as well as support for wired and wireless HD audio formats.

Cameras gain from Sony’s Alpha expertise

Sony says it has borrowed tech from its Alpha range of mirrorless cameras to tune the Xperia 1 II for photography – and that should really make the social media set perk up a bit.

At the rear is a three-camera array, with a 12MP, f/1.7 main camera, a 12MP, f/2.4 tele lens, and  a 12MP, f/2.2 wide angle lens with a 124° field of view. Sony claims the main sensor’s 1/1.7in size will reduce noise, while 20fps shooting with continuous AF/AE tracking should make action shots, normally an issue with phone cameras, a lot better. Also present is Real-time Eye AF, with support for eye tracking in both human and animal subjects. As for video, you can get 2K at 120fps, or 4K at 60fps, and there’s also a decent amount of manual control for video shooters.

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