The best Sony phones of 2019: find the right Sony Xperia smartphone for you

Best Sony phones 2019
Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony has its fingers in many technology pies, like gaming, TVs and headphones, and one of those sectors is smartphones, mainly comprised of the Xperia handsets. Like most of Sony's other products, they're designed for media consumption, and so promise you a great entertainment experience.

With large and beautiful screens, ample power under the hood, and fairly impressive cameras, the phones are fully spec'd out – tending to use tech from Sony's other gadgets like TVs, speakers and cameras.

If you're not a Sony aficionado, though, it's hard to know what's the best Sony phone you can buy – it's challenging enough to even work out the newest handset by the company, as the last was the Xperia 1, and before that the Xperia 10!

Never fear; TechRadar's here, and we've come up with this list to help you find the Sony phone you need in your life.

It's worth remembering that like all phone companies, Sony is constantly putting out new products, so this list is sure to change over time. 

We've heard the company is working on an affordable version of the Xperia 1, and that in the near future it might put out a device with eight cameras, so this list might have a dramatic overhaul when that happens!

Keep checking back every time a new Sony phone is released to see where it ranks.

But, before you jump in, there's one more thing. If you're hoping to bag yourself a bargain on our of our best Sony phones, you may want wait.

Amazon's annual Prime Day sale runs from July 15-16 this year, and we tend to see a range of discounts across tech products, including smartphones. It means some Sony phones may get a price cut during the two day sale, so keep an eye out for any potential deal.

Best Sony phones 2019

Sony Xperia 1. Image credit: TechRadar

1. Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 is the best Sony phone you can buy right now

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
Film-making app is a big draw
Display max brightness is too dim
Battery life on the short side
Unreliably fingerprint sensor

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 the best Sony smartphone you can get right now.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 1

Best Sony phones 2019

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2. 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 the best Sony phone you can buy right now, 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.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia XZ3

Best Sony phones 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

3. 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

Best Sony phones 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

4. Sony Xperia XZ2

A year old 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 a year 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

Best Sony phones 2019

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5. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

The best Sony phone for those with smaller palms

Release date: April 2018 | Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 135 x 65 x 12.1mm | OS: Android 8 | 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

Best Sony phones 2019

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6. 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

Best Sony phones 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

7. 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 reality 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

Best Sony phones 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

8. 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 boasting 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

Best Sony phones 2019

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9. Sony Xperia 10

A 21:9 display for those who can't afford the Xperia 10 Plus

Release date: February 2019 | Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 155.7 x 68 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2520 | CPU: Snapdragon 630 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 2,870mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 8MP

Strong build quality
Extra screen space is useful
Disappointing battery life
21:9 screen can prove frustrating

Like its plus-sized sibling, the Sony Xperia 10 also boasts a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, but this time it's in a slightly more manageable (but still tall) 6-inch form factor.

Its performance, battery and camera are slightly weaker versus the 10 Plus, but overall it's still a solid, mid-range smartphone with the latest software and a range of features.

Read our in-depth review: Sony Xperia 10