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Sony Xperia 1 II release date, price... and the headphone jack is back

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony’s next flagship phone - the sequel to the Xperia 1 - is now official, and it comes with a surprising new name along with 5G tech and new advances under the hood.

The Sony Xperia 1 II (pronounced Mark 2) is a new flagship phone from the company that we expect to see on sale later in 2020, and it takes a lot of what made last year’s phone great and looks to improve it further. 

We had expected the handset to be called the Xperia 2, but Sony decided that a far more normal, and easy-to-understand, name would be to add roman numerals into the mix. We're not sure we agree.

Also, frustratingly, we've not yet been able to handle the phone at TechRadar, but we've had a strong briefing and run-down of the key specs and features, which we've distilled below.

Sony Xperia 1 II release date and price 

Sony hasn’t yet told us the Xperia 1 II release date or the price yet, but we’ve been told it will be on sale at some stage during "spring 2020". 

That means we'll likely see it before the end of May, but an exact date has yet to be announced.

Sony’s Xperia 1 was announced at a similar time in 2019, but it wasn’t on sale until June, so we’d expect a similar release schedule for this handset.

We can use the Xperia 1’s price as a judge of how much the Xperia 1 II will likely cost too. That phone cost $949 / £849 (roughly AU$1,365), so expect a similarly high flagship price for this sequel handset.

Sony Xperia 1 II design, display and headphone jack

If you’ve seen the Xperia 1, you’ll know a lot of the design details that are here. It’s not a dissimilar looking phone to last year’s handset by any means.

The big news in the smartphone world is that you can, once again, plug in 'normal' headphones.

The Sony Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 from 2019 dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack following in the footsteps of Apple and many others, but for the brand new Xperia 1 II the company is bringing back the useful port.

Sony’s latest flagship phone features a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge, while the Xperia 10 II - a sequel to last year’s Xperia 10 - also features the legacy tech as well.

Sony’s reasoning is that many of its fans want the choice of both wired headsets and wireless options, so it may as well offer the jack as an option.

Sony didn’t reveal if anything was taken out of the phone to include the headphone jack. It seems the space inside the device was easy to find as the company has also increased the size of the battery and added extra features like 5G and wireless charging for the 2020 Xperia 1.

Like previous Sony flagships this handset features a 21:9 aspect ratio display, which means the design may be a touch longer than your current handset. 

It’s designed to look better when playing widescreen content on your phone, but it also makes the phone's screen look elongated compared to other handsets.

It comes with a 6.5-inch display that has a 4K (1644 x 3840) resolution. It’s a HDR OLED panel, and it seems on paper to be a very similar display as to what is included on the Sony Xperia 1.

(Image credit: Sony)

However, the company has included a new feature that will allow for a 90Hz effect on the screen, but it doesn’t seem to use an actual 90Hz panel. That’s an odd choice given the move toward high frame rate screens from competitors like the OnePlus 7T and Samsung Galaxy S20.

As for the build, the Sony Xperia 1 II has dimensions of 166 x 72 x 7.9mm, and it weighs 181 grams.

The design is glass on the front and back - both of which are protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 technology - and it will come in either black or purple. It also has a full bezel at the top, rather than a notch or punch-hole.

There are front-facing stereo speakers, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a USB-C connector on the bottom of the device, while the top edge features the aforementioned 3.5mm headphone jack.

(Image credit: Sony)

The phone is also water and dust resistant like other recent Sony flagships have been. It has an IP65/68 rating, so it should be able to survive the odd splash of water or a trip to a sandy beach.

Sony Xperia 1 II camera 

(Image credit: Sony)

The camera is another area Sony's put a spotlight on, and speed is the name of the game.

The camera includes a 12MP f/1.7 main sensor, a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto one (with 3x optical zoom), and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, alongside a 3D time of flight sensor that the company claims will offer 'groundbreaking autofocus technology'.

It's using a technology that Sony developed for its Alpha range of cameras, and the aim here is to give you the best shot through stronger autofocus. 

The tech can complete autofocus and auto exposure calculations at 60 frames per second while the camera itself can take 20 shots in burst mode each second.

We've yet to see this in practice, but Sony claims it improves autofocus for low-light conditions as well as in everyday shooting. The phone can also record video in 4K HDR at up to 60fps.

On the front of the phone there's an 8MP f/2.0 selfie camera, and Sony has yet to explain whether there are any significant improvements for front-facing shots.

Sony Xperia 1 II specs and battery life 

Inside the Xperia 1 II there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, which is one of the very best processors on the market. It’s likely to offer some strong performance and be able to cope with all the tasks that most other top-end phones can do.

The phone comes with 8GB of RAM to keep it running. Storage-wise you’ve got 256GB of space to play with here, and that's expandable with a microSD card.

5G is one of the big talking points of the Xperia 1 II, and it will include the technology as standard - there’s no 4G-only variant of this phone. 

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has also made some big improvements to the battery on this device by increasing it to 4,000mAh on the Xperia 1 II, up from 3,330mAh on the Xperia 1.

That boost may allow for improved battery life, and there’s also fast charging here that will allow for up to a 50% charge in 30 minutes. To get those results you’ll have to buy a separate charger though.

This is the first phone from Sony in a while to include wireless charging too. We don’t know much about how fast this will charge in terms of minutes, but we know it will be compatible with chargers that work at up to 15 watts.