Sony Xperia 5 hands-on: The smaller tall one

At IFA 2019, Sony just unveiled the Xperia 5, a smaller version of the Xperia 1 we reviewed earlier this year, with the same extra-tall 21:9 aspect ratio. It serves as a spiritual successor to the Xperia Compact series, with Sony's familiar squared-off glass-and-metal design and a 6.1-inch OLED HDR display (topping out at Full HD+ resolution). Sony's fine-tuned that CinemaWide display with the same Bravia technology used on its TVs for improved contrast and color reproduction.

It isn't a 'Compact' in name, but it is in spirit.

Aside from its size, the Xperia 5 looks almost identical to the Xperia 1. There's the same side-mounted fingerprint sensor and buttons along the righthand side, including the two-stage physical camera key. The biggest visual difference is that the cameras have been moved from the center to the left side of the phone — but it's the same triple-lens system as before, with 12MP wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras at your disposal.

Sony's including its Cinema Pro app on the Xperia 5, which gives you plentiful manual controls for shooting video, including options to change your frame rate and resolution, as well as apply different color grades to your footage.

Inside, you get the same Snapdragon 855 chipset as the Xperia 1, plus 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There's still no headphone jack, but the Xperia 5 features Dolby Atmos sound for its built-in speakers. It's also IP68 water resistant and supports 18W fast charging for its 3140mAh battery.

It doesn't look much smaller, but it feels considerably more manageable.

One of the few new features that the Xperia 5 brings to the table is called Smart Connectivity, which analyzes Wi-Fi signals to predict near-future connectivity issues and automatically switch to LTE.

While the Xperia 5 doesn't look much smaller than the Xperia 1 on camera, it feels quite a bit more manageable in the hand, and the tall, narrow form factor works much better at this size. The lower resolution should also make for better battery life, and the Xperia 5 even supports Sony's DualShock 4 PlayStation controllers for mobile gaming.

Sony says the Xperia 5 will be available for pre-order in Europe next week, and is slated to go on sale starting October 4 for €799, putting it somewhere between phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10. It's a bit steep, but if you're a fan of the Xperia 1's form factor and want something that's a little easier to handle, the Xperia 5 could be worth checking out.

Hayato Huseman

Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.