Sony’s first great phone in years is the Xperia 1 II (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but the company is releasing a more compact version in December called the Xperia 5 II. It’s pronounced Xperia “Five Mark Two”—yes, the name’s silly, but both of these phones do almost everything really well. The 6.5-inch Xperia 1 II has a 4K OLED screen while the 6.1-inch Xperia 5 II sticks with a Full HD+ OLED panel (it still looks great). The latter goes a step further with a 120-Hz screen refresh rate, making everything look and feel super smooth. Sony is also using a stripped-down version of Android, so what you get is a fairly simple, stock experience. Plus, both have headphone jacks, both are water resistant, and you can expand storage in both with a MicroSD card.
The surprise hit is the triple-camera array (both share the same system, but the Xperia 5 II lacks the depth sensor). These cameras can take some really strong photos, even at night (though you really need to stand still). They’re not as reliable as the Pixel 5, especially with high-contrast scenes, but it’s still a great camera system nonetheless. That’s without mentioning the two special apps Sony offers that give you more granular control over the camera, putting you firmly in control over the look of your content for both photos and videos. The settings can get complicated, but if you love tweaking a camera’s manual mode, you’ll have fun here. The Xperia 5 II is the better buy, but both are still very expensive, and neither offers wireless charging.
Works on all three major US networks
$919 at Amazon (Xperia 5 II)
$950 at B&H Photo and Video (Xperia 5 II)
$1,198 at Amazon (Xperia 1 II)
$1,198 at B&H Photo and Video (Xperia 1 II)