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Best Sony phones 2020: find the right Sony Xperia smartphone for you

Best Sony phones
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony is a company that releases a lot of phones, and as such our list of the best Sony phones is constantly in flux. As an example, the company has recently unveiled the Sony Xperia 5 II – a high-end handset with a smaller screen than Sony’s other flagship, the Sony Xperia 1 II.

The former hasn’t made our list yet because you can’t buy it yet, but once we’ve had the chance to put it through a full review there’s every chance it will be included, so keep an eye out.

In the meantime there are plenty of other Sony phones to choose from, and many of them are quite impressive. Beyond flagships like the aforementioned Xperia 1 II, there’s also the affordable Sony Xperia XA2, the big Sony Xperia 10 Plus, and plenty more besides.

You’ll find all the best options ranked below, complete with a rundown of what makes them so good and what issues they do have (since no phone is perfect).

And if none catch your eye, make sure to check out our other smartphones best ofs, some of which are linked below.

Best Sony phones 2020 at a glance:

  1. Sony Xperia 1 II
  2. Sony Xperia 5
  3. Sony Xperia 1
  4. Sony Xperia XZ3
  5. Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
  6. Sony Xperia XZ2
  7. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
  8. Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
  9. Sony Xperia XA2
  10. Sony Xperia 10 Plus

Best Sony phones 2020

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony Xperia 1 II

The new best Sony phone

Release date: May 2020 | Weight: 181.4g | Dimensions: 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1644 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Stunning display
Return of the 3.5mm jack
Difficult to hold
Very high price

The Sony Xperia 1 II shows the company listens to feedback, as it fixes some of the biggest issues of its predecessors while bringing a lot more to the table, and that's why it tops our list of the best Sony phones.

The Xperia 1 II - that's 'One Mark Two', as Sony seems to have taken naming inspiration from its Alpha range of cameras - has an impressive 4K display in a 21:9 resolution, three rear cameras that take great photographs, and a long-lasting battery that fixes one of the biggest problems with older Xperia phones.

Sure, the price is definitely on the high side, and the phone is too big for people with small hands (an issue the potential Xperia 5 II might fix), but if these aren't problems you'll mind, the Sony Xperia 1 II is the best Sony phone for you.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony Xperia 5

Honey, I shrunk the Xperia 1

Release date: October 2019 | Weight: 164g | Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2520 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 3,140mAh | Rear camera: 12MP, 12MP, 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Hand-friendly size
Impressive processor performance
Unreliable fingerprint sensor
Screen is rather dim

The Xperia 1 might be Sony’s true flagship, but the Sony Xperia 5 is newer and arguably slightly better.

Sure, its screen is smaller and not quite as sharp, but it’s actually a more manageable size for many people, and still fairly large at 6.1 inches. The loss of pixels meanwhile is unlikely to be noticed unless you have the phone pressed against your eyeballs, as at 1080 x 2520 you still get 449 pixels per inch.

And in most other ways the Sony Xperia 5 matches the Xperia 1 – it has the same 21:9 aspect ratio that makes it great for movies, the same high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, the same amount of storage, and the same triple-lens rear camera.

Plus, the battery lasts slightly longer and the price is slightly lower. So if you want a high-end Sony handset and don’t fancy waiting for the Sony Xperia 2 (or Xperia 3 as it might be called), then the Sony Xperia 5 is the best choice for most buyers.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 5

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 is one of the best Sony phones from 2019

Release date: June 2019 | Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1644 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,330mAh | Rear camera: 12MP, 12MP, 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Useful 21:9 aspect ratio
Impressive chipset
Display max brightness is too dim
Battery life on the short side

It didn't look like 2019 was going to be Sony's year after the poorly-received Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, but the company knocked it out the park with the Xperia 1. It's a true premium smartphone, that utilizes the best parts of previous phones and charges it up with improved specs in loads of areas.

The Xperia 1 has a 21:9 screen, and now there's content to match. It's also got a dedicated film-making app for budding directors, that recreates the experience of using a Sony Alpha camera.

On top of that you've got three powerful cameras, a cutting-edge Snapdragon 855 chipset, and 4K screen. Although it is definitely on the expensive side, it's close to being the best Sony smartphone you can get right now.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony Xperia XZ3

The last of the Sony Xperia XZ range

Release date: October 2018 | Weight: 193g | Dimensions: 158 x 73 x 9.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 19MP | Front camera: 13MP

Incredibly good screen
4K HDR video is excellent
Awkward fingerprint scanner
The camera is good, not great

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is getting on a bit but it's still a great Sony phone, offering up a great mix of features that are particularly handy if you're addicted to movies, TV shows and gaming on your phone.

The main feature on the XZ3 is its 6-inch HDR OLED display, with a QHD+ resolution, ensuring video looks great. If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, the HDR content offered by these services really shines.

There's enough power under the hood, and the camera on the back is a solid snapper, although it won't blow you away. On top of that it's no-where near as pricey as the Xperia 1, so if you're a Sony fan who doesn't want to blow the bank, this is a more viable option.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XZ3

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

A great Sony phone with a 4K display

Release date: July 2018 | Weight: 236g | Dimensions: 158 x 80 x 11.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,540mAh | Rear camera: 19MP + 12MP | Front camera: 13MP

Bold, sharp screen
Good low light photos and video
Awkward fingerprint scanner
Big and heavy

There's just one spec you really need to know about the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium: it has a 4K display.

This isn't the first Sony phone to pack a 4K screen (it's actually the third), but it's the newest generation and the one that you can actually easily buy. If you have a bank of 4K video, or have the right subscription on streaming services, no other smartphone can offer you the clarity and detail on screen.

However if 4K content isn't your priority there are probably better Sony phones to suit your needs, so keep on reading!

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony Xperia XZ2

An older flagship which still has a lot to offer

Release date: April 2018 | Weight: 198g | Dimensions: 153 x 72 x 11.1mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,180mAh | Rear camera: 19MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great sound quality
Feature-packed camera
Design not as desirable
'Only' Full HD display

The Xperia XZ2 is technically two flagship generations old (having been superseded by the Xperia XZ3 and then more recently by the Xperia 1), but it's only 18 months old itself and still has plenty to offer.

There's the HDR-supported QHD display, feature-packed camera, 4K HDR video recording and you can even capture super slow motion footage at 960fps in Full HD.

What's more, it's now more affordable than ever with several price drops since launch. The design isn't going to wow you, but at this price it's a reasonable compromise.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XZ2 review

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

A great Sony phone for those with smaller palms

Release date: April 2018 | Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 135 x 65 x 12.1mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 2,870mAh | Rear camera: 19MP | Front camera: 5MP

Solid camera
Great performance
Feels cheaper than it is
No headphone jack

Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger each year, and Sony phones are no exception - well, apart from the Xperia XZ2 Compact.

This dinkier device comes with a 5-inch display, which is small by today's standard, and it means the XZ2 Compact nestles nicely in the palm.

Don't be put off by its diminutive proportions though, as this handset packs the same power and camera as the larger, former-flagship Xperia XZ2 - ensuring it can still cope with most apps and games you throw at it.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

(Image credit: Sony)

8. Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

If you need great battery life, this is the best Sony phone for you

Release date: February 2018 | Weight: 221g | Dimensions: 163 x 80 x 9.5mm | OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 630 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,580mAh | Rear camera: 23MP | Front camera: 16MP + 8MP

Excellent battery life
Dual front cameras
Boxy design is bulky
Performance can be patchy

If money is a little tighter, but a big screen smartphone is a must, this could be the Sony phone for you.

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra boasts an affordable price tag and a large 6-inch display, giving your games, videos and apps plenty of space. What's more, the XA2 Ultra offers great battery life. You can easily get a day and a half from a single charge.

The camera feels like it should be better, the design isn't the most attractive or modern, and the Android overlay won’t be to everyone’s taste, but these are compromises you should be able to live with.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

(Image credit: Sony)

9. Sony Xperia XA2

A solid Android phone at a sensible price

Release date: February 2018 | Weight: 171g | Dimensions: 142 x 70 x 9.7mm | OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 630 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 23MP | Front camera: 8MP

Good performance
Punchy screen
Ordinary battery life
Quirky camera operation

This is the cheapest Sony phone in our round-up, and the Xperia XA2 represents great value for money if you opt to get it on contract.

It's a no-frills phone, but its performance is rock-solid and despite being thicker than most it's easy to handle and scores fairly high on the plain likability factor. 

If a Sony phone is a must but your finances don't allow for much wiggle room, this is the handset for you.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XA2

(Image credit: Sony)

10. Sony Xperia 10 Plus

Love movies? This Sony phone boasts a 21:9 display

Release date: February 2019 | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 167 x 73 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2520 | CPU: Snapdragon 636 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 8MP | Front camera: 8MP

Extra screen space is useful
Good low-light photography
Short battery life
Uncomfortably big

Want something a little different? Something to spark conversations with friends, family and maybe even strangers? Say hello to the very, very tall Sony Xperia 10 Plus.

This Sony phone boasts a skyscraper of a screen with the 6.5-inch display packing a 21:9 aspect ratio, making it perfect for movie playback.

It's not always easy to find movies at 21:9 on the popular streaming services, but when you do find one the experience is great. It's rather unwieldy in the hand though, and the battery could be better.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 10 Plus