The Xperia 1 was the start of a new flagship range from Sony, with a new aspect ratio and truly top-end specs. Given it was introduced in February 2019, we're expecting a successor around the same time in 2020 - and we're now hearing rumors about the Sony Xperia 2.
Well, perhaps it's the Xperia 2, but we've also heard the names Xperia 1.1, Xperia 3, Xperia 5 Plus, and more - Sony phone naming conventions are nothing if not confusing, but whatever the company's next flagship ends up being called, we've collected all the rumors surrounding it.
We’ve also come up with a wish list of things that we want from the phone, so read on for our constantly updated guide to the handset, covering everything we’ve heard and everything we’re hoping for.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Sony's next flagship
- When is out? Probably being announced on February 24
- What will it cost? It will have a high-end price
Sony Xperia 2 release date and price
Sony has announced that it will be holding a press conference at MWC 2020 on February 24, so we'll almost certainly see the Xperia 2 there. This is set to be an online-only launch since Sony cancelled its MWC 2020 event, at least the physical press conference, due to coronavirus fears.
Sony hasn't said as much, but the Sony Xperia 1 was announced at MWC in February 2019, so it seems incredibly likely.
That said, the Xperia 1 didn’t actually go on sale until June, so while a February 24 announcement for the Xperia 2 is very likely, you might have to wait a while longer to buy it.
Whenever the Sony Xperia 2 lands, it’s sure to be expensive. Exactly how expensive is unclear for now, but for reference the Xperia 1 launched at $949 / £849 (roughly AU$1,365), so the Sony Xperia 2 may well have a similar price tag. One leak suggests it'll be priced in China at 6,000CNH (roughly $870, £670, AU$1270), but that seems more affordable than we'd expect.
Sony Xperia 2 news and leaks
It's hard to separate out the Xperia 2 rumors from the already launched Sony Xperia 5, as most initial Xperia 2 leaks turned out to actually refer to that phone. There are some titbits of information that we know regarding upcoming Sony phones, though.
One important piece of information we have heard is that the Xperia 2 is going to be running the Snapdragon 865 processor. That chipset hasn't appeared in any handset to date, so the Xperia 2 would instantly be one of the most powerful phones on the planet.
The device is also supposedly set to have 12GB RAM, which is fitting since most Sony Xperia devices are processing powerhouses. The Xperia 1 only had 6GB RAM though, so this would be a substantial increase.
We've also heard Sony is planning a phone with a 'punch-hole' front-facing camera. If this turned out to be true the Xperia 2 wouldn't have the chunky bezel like previous Xperia phones, so the screen-to-body ratio would be higher. This would give you a device that's a little less heavy and long, although if the 21:9 aspect ratio returns it'll still be relatively long.
An early leak suggested the Xperia 2 would have a 5G counterpart, and while most of the information in said leak was debunked, the 5G aspect wasn't, so we could see an Xperia 2 with next-gen connectivity. This idea since been backed up by more leaks, so we've got reasons to believe it.
One of the most substantial leaks so far is actually for the Xperia 5 Plus, but that name is tentative, so we think this information is actually about the Xperia 2. It suggests the device will have a 6.6-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, and slimmer bezels (not punch-holes, despite the above leak). A subsequent leak backs this all up, adding the phone will have a 4K display,
#Sony - #Xperia5Plus - SONY XPERIA 5 PLUS 360° video + 5K renders + dimensions + few specs https://t.co/VCrJVklk8C pic.twitter.com/UuznNqBX7gJanuary 6, 2020
While this device does actually look a lot like the Xperia 5, suggesting it could actually be a bigger model of that, we find it hard to believe Sony would confuse its naming conventions even further by throwing a 'Plus' into the mix, so if this isn't the Xperia 2 it could be a different-numbered device.
There are also rumors that Sony is planning something special for the camera, with maybe as many as eight lenses around the back. Take that with a pinch of salt for now. It's curious there aren't more camera rumors, given that's often one of the first-leaked aspects of a new phone, and also since Sony makes the sensors for plenty of modern phones, but perhaps we'll find out more later.
For more information on Sony's smartphone game, though, you might want to check out sample pictures taken with its new 60MP sensor. There's no guarantee this'll come to an upcoming Sony phone, but it's pretty likely given the company makes them.
We've heard the Sony Xperia 2 will have very similar cameras to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, including the ability to record 8K video. Since recent Sony flagships have focused on film-making, that's an important move that might make many budding movie-makers flock to the phone, but it's going to drain battery and memory a lot too.
Finally, LetsGoDigital has spotted a Sony trademark for something called ‘S-Cinetone’. We’re not sure what this is and there’s no guarantee it will come to the Sony Xperia 2, but from the name it sounds like something related to film-making, which is a feature Sony put a lot of focus on for the Xperia 1.
What we want to see
Along with what we’ve heard about the Sony Xperia 2 above, we also have a list of things we want from it. You’ll find this below.
1. A brighter screen
The Sony Xperia 1 has a great screen in a lot of ways, but it falls short when it comes to brightness, which means content doesn’t look as good as it might otherwise. This is even more of a problem when using the phone in direct bright sunlight.
It seems like it should be an easy fix for Sony to make the Xperia 2 brighter, especially since most phones seemingly manage to have brighter screens, so let’s just hope Sony is aware of the problem and chooses to fix it.
2. A much bigger battery
The Sony Xperia 1 is a massive phone with a weirdly small 3,330mAh battery, which resulted in it struggling to last a day of moderate use in our tests. That’s really just not good enough, so we’d love to see Sony pack a bigger battery into the Xperia 2 and ensure the phone lasts longer.
3. A slicker scanner
We have two issues with the fingerprint scanner on the Sony Xperia 1. First, the big one: it just doesn’t successfully recognize our finger often enough. In fact, in our review we found it only successfully worked around 40% of the time, which really doesn’t cut it.
The other issue is the position of the scanner. It’s side-mounted, which actually isn’t a terrible place for it. It keeps it out of the way and makes it more accessible when the phone is on a desk than a rear-facing scanner. But in a world where many flagships have in-screen scanners it also feels a bit dated.
So we’d like to see Sony put the scanner in the screen for the Xperia 2, and we really, really want Sony to improve the reliability of the scanner.
4. An all-screen look
The fingerprint scanner placement isn’t the only dated aspect of the Sony Xperia 1’s design, it also has a full bezel above the screen and a fairly large one below it.
For the Xperia 2, we’d like to see Sony shrink the bottom bezel right down and replace the top one with a punch-hole or notch, or even get rid of it completely and use a pop-up or in-screen camera.
5. Camera upgrades
The Sony Xperia 1 has three rear lenses, but two of them are slightly flawed, with the wide-angle lens leaving pictures looking unnaturally stretched at times, while the telephoto lens only supports 2x optical zoom, which is less than we’d like.
These aren’t huge problems, but they’re also obvious places for improvement and with most people using their phones as their primary cameras they’re improvements that are sure to be appreciated.
6. Wireless charging
One flagship feature that the Sony Xperia 1 lacks is wireless charging. While it’s not quite alone in this, wireless charging has become a fairly standard feature at the top end so it’s disappointing that it’s missing here. Hopefully for the Xperia 2, Sony will implement it.
7. The same aspect ratio
We have mixed feelings about the Sony Xperia 1’s 21:9 aspect ratio, as while it’s great for watching videos on it’s arguably not so good for lots of other use cases. But it’s different to the vast majority of other phones, and we like that about it.
In a sea of near identical handsets, this more widescreen aspect ratio helps the Sony Xperia 1 stand out, so we’d like to see it return for the Sony Xperia 2.
- The Samsung Galaxy S11 is also surely in the works