While Sony doesn't like to set a specific date for when it releases its newest phones, it has proven consistent with its release lineup for the last few years, with the Sony Xperia 1 V and Xperia 10 V having been announced back in May this year, and arriving late the following month. Fast-forward to September and it's now the turn of the pocketable but powerful Sony Xperia 5 V, which Sony has unveiled at IFA 2023 in Berlin.
Yes, that does mean Sony's newest phone is technically called the 'five mark five' but don't hold that against it, it has a wealth of powerful features within its compact form, not least of which is the same impressive Exmor T for Mobile lead camera sensor the company introduced on the Xperia 1 V, now set into a phone with a more compact 6.1-inch display.
Sony bills the Xperia 5 V as being “for creative younger audiences who shoot, post and consume content heavily on their smartphone,” which in our minds means it goes up against everything from the Samsung Galaxy A54 to the iPhone 14 and beyond.
Aside from its noteworthy main camera tech, like previous Xperia 5 entries, the Mark 5 sets itself apart from its fellow 6.1-inch-screen sibling – the Xperia 10 V – by packing Qualcomm's flagship-class silicon at its heart. Does this combination mean it has what it takes to join the best Sony phones? Read on to get some indication ahead of our full review.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The latest compact flagship from Sony
- When is it out? Launching late September in select markets
- How much does it cost? £849 / €999 (around $1,075 / AU$1,665)
Sony Xperia 5 V: release date and price
- Launching regionally in "late September"
- Price at £849 / €999 (approximately $1,075 / AU$1,665)
After a little leak here and a light tease by Sony there, the Sony Xperia 5 V officially broke cover on September 1. Sony has a habit of keeping its on-sale dates intentionally vague and as with its predecessor, that's no different here, with the company promising the Xperia 5 V's purchase availability is kicking off sometime in "late September."
While that isn't much of a surprise, what is a welcome surprise is that pricing has fallen between generations – in the UK, at least – with the phone now priced at £849, while its predecessor clocked in at £949. While we also have European pricing, we'll return to update this with US and Australian pricing if and when it becomes available in those regions.
Regardless, at this price it comes up against the standard Samsung Galaxy S23, the aforementioned iPhone 14, and the Google Pixel 7 Pro – a trio of the most high-profile and competent mainstream rivals currently on the market. Sony's hope seems to be that the Xperia 5 V's unique blend of features offers niche appeal to those after an... alternative alternative.
Sony Xperia 5 V: design
- Slightly thicker and heavier than the Xperia 5 IV
- Gorilla Glass Victus 2, aluminum frame
- IP65/68-certified against dust and water
The general hardware layout hasn't changed all that much between generations, with a little thickness and weight gained, likely as a result of the new lead camera hardware.
Sony chose to keep the divisive surface finish changes made to the Xperia 1 V – like its ridged metal surround and textured glass back – away from the Xperia 5 V, which sports a more conventional look as a result, available in three colors: black, blue and Platinum Silver.
Durability is still a key factor in this more compact flagship with IP65/68 certification against dust and water, plus the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protecting the phone's display.
Even with the added bulk, the design of the Xperia 5 V sets to offer what its predecessors have too; the same key features as the Xperia 1 V flagship in a more compact package.
Sony Xperia 5 V: display and audio
- A 6.1-inch 21:9 Full HD+ 120Hz OLED display
- Full-stage stereo speakers + 3.5mm headphone jack
The more compact proportions of the Xperia 5 V, compared to the 1 V, come as a result of the move from a 6.5 to 6.1-inch display. This HDR-capable OLED panel doesn't boast the same outlandish 4K resolution of the 5 V's larger sibling, but it still promises great Full HD+ visuals, from a panel that's brighter than last year's model, while retaining the same tall 21:9 aspect ratio and 120Hz refresh rate (it's unclear whether this is a dynamic addition, however).
Sony is one of the last bastions for smartphone audio fans, with improved stereo speakers promising higher driving voltage and lower noise floor compared to the Xperia 5 IV, as well as an actual 3.5mm headphone jack.
The company's usual run of both first and third-party audio-enhancing technologies also features for creating richer listening experiences or upscaling lower-fidelity audio, such as 360 Reality Audio, Dolby Atmos, DSEE Ultimate, and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive.
Sony Xperia 5 V: cameras and battery
- 48MP + 12MP rear cameras
- 12MP selfie camera
- 5,000mAh battery with 30W wired charging
While the formula seems so familiar compared to the Sony Xperia 5 IV, there is one notable omission on the Mark 5's back – a telephoto camera. In order to transpose its fancy new 'Exmor T for Mobile' lead sensor over from the Xperia 1 V, while also keeping costs in check, it would seem that Sony decided to axe the third rear sensor that the Xperia 5 line has sported for generations.
To combat this, the company still describes the camera hardware as delivering "3 in 2," by which it means the two sensors can still hit three focal lengths. 16mm from the 12MP ultra-wide, while the main 52MP sensor (with its effective 48MP resolution) is responsible for 12MP (pixel-binned) 24mm stills, as well as 48mm 2x zoom shots, which it's presumably able to achieve by cropping on the large sensor, similarly to how the iPhone 14 Pro achieves its 2x zoom.
This technically means the Xperia 5 V's 2x zoom (ideal for portrait shooting) is achieved without digital quality degradation and thus technically counts as optical zoom through the phone's main sensor. Sony also promises – thanks in part to improved AI image processing – that portrait shooting yields better quality bokeh (background blur) in scenes.
The Creative Looks feature found on the 1 V persist here too, letting you grab shots with additional interest and dynamism added at capture, while the S-Cinetone, addition of slow-motion recording, and stereo mic audio capture all help support the video recording experience.
An additional app called Video Creator is also on hand, with its Auto Edit feature designed to help users create engaging videos from their stills and videos, complete with music, in a matter of seconds.
As for battery, Sony has been a pioneer with regards to some of its battery protection and life-extension technologies, all of which remain present and correct on the Xperia 5 V to the point where Sony brands the phone as having a 'three years long life' battery. The company has gone as far as to say that the Xperia 5 V will last through a full day's use and onto the following morning with up to 50% charge still left in the tank, which is impressive, if true.
The 5,000mAh cell (the same as the Xperia 5 IV) also supports 30W wired fast charging, plus up to 18W wireless charging.
Sony Xperia 5 V: specs and features
- Powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
- 8GB RAM, 128GB storage and microSD expansion up to 1TB
- Two years OS updates, three years security updates
Part of the Xperia 5 V's impressive battery claims come as a result of promised improved thermal efficiency, with 40% better heat diffusion and the use of Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset leading to a 20% improvement in power consumption.
|Header Cell - Column 1|
|Dimensions:||154 x 68 x 8.6mm|
|Screen:||6.1-inch 21:9 Full HD+ 120Hz OLED, protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2|
|Audio:||"Full-stage" stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Storage:||128GB + microSD expandable (up to 1 TB)|
|Primary camera:||52MP (48MP effectve) 24mm w/ OIS (Sony Exmor T for mobile)|
|Ultra-wide camera:||12MP 16mm|
|Charging:||30W wired, 18W wireless|
|Colors:||Black, Blue, Platinum Silver|
That silicon also means the phone is well-suited to handling the most demanding apps and games (provided Sony's thermal management can keep up), and is also what supports the phone's impressively-rich suite of new camera features.
As before, you'll only find the Sony Xperia 5 V in a single variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is on the lower-end in 2023, until you learn that the phone does at least allow for microSD expandability up to an additional 1TB; like the headphone jack, another rarity in this day and age.
As for software, Sony's clean take on Android persists, with the phone launching on Android 13, with the promise of two years of OS updates and three years of security updates – among the shortest support roadmap in the industry and a key buying consideration if you tend to hold onto your device for a long time.
Stay tuned for a full review of the Sony Xperia 5 V very soon.
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Alex joined as TechRadar's Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but brings over a decade's worth of experience to the role, with an expertise in smartphones, tablets and wearables. He's covered keynotes hosted by the biggest brands and attended the launches for some of the most influential mobile products of the last few years. His experience was amassed at some of the most reputable consumer technology publications out there, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor and Trusted Reviews.