Review – Sony Xperia 5 IV Complete But Not Stable

 


Do you still know that Sony is still actively producing smartphones? If so, the Xperia 5 IV is their all-round compact flagship device. The device has been in the our lab for a few weeks and it was my daily device throughout the test. Strangely enough, after years of not using a Sony brand device – I can say this device is comfortable to use and provides an interesting user experience. But is the price of RM4,899 worth it for a compact flagship device complete with all the important connection ports?



Specifications And Design

Sony Xperia 5 IV

6.1″ OLED FHD+ screen (1080×2520)

120Hz, HDR10

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor (4nm)

1x 3.00 GHz Cortex-X2 chip

3x 2.50 GHz Cortex-A710

4x 1.80 GHz Cortex-A510

Adreno 730 Graphics Chip

RAM 8 GB LPDDR5

Internal Storage 256 GB UFS 3.1

Primary Camera 12MP, f/1.7, OIS (Primary)

12MP, f/2.4 (Telephoto)

12MP, f/2.2 (Ultra-wide angle)

Zeiss T* Coating, AI, Super Res Zoom,

Selfie Camera 12MP, f/2.0

HDR, 5-axis stabilization

5000 mAh battery

30W wired charging

SIM/Telephony Dual SIM nano

5G

NFC Available

Stereo Audio

Waterproof IP68

Scan System Built in power button

Sale Price RM 4,899 (8/256 GB)

The Sony Xperia 5 IV is a compact flagship device. But the body of the device is long reminding me of the use of the device Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. It's slim, comfortable to hold and surprisingly easy to operate. The device is also comfortable to hold with one hand and with the Side Sense feature it is easy to use with one hand.



All the physical buttons are on the side of the device, such as the volume button, the power button along with the fingerprint scanner and also the physical camera shutter button. The buttons on this device feel soft and a little tight, making it a little difficult to use. The fingerprint scanner however is quite fast and has no problem using it even with wet fingers.


The dull black color of the device looks attractive, but it easily catches fingerprint smudges and is also prone to scratches. The Xperia 5 IV does not have a SIM card slot that needs to be opened with a SIM pin, but uses the type with a cover and needs to be pulled out. It supports dual-SIM 5G or single SIM with microSD card. On the top of the device there is a microphone hole and a 3.5mm audio jack port, the left side is nothing, and below is a SIM card slot, a USB-C port, and another microphone hole.



The back panel of the device looks minimalistic, with an elongated oval camera bump on the top side along with an LED flash. The NFC logo is also clearly visible in the top center and the XPERIA logo in the bottom center.


Undoubtedly, the design of this device is not the best because it uses an old design and recycles the same design since the Xperia 5 I. But I can still give credit to Sony for daring to use a screen design with a thick chin and forehead that is meaningful and not just decorative. On the chin and forehead of the screen there is a speaker grille for stereo audio and the addition on the forehead is for the selfie camera.



The 6.1-inch OLED screen with FHD+ resolution (1080×2520) and 120Hz refresh rate that supports HDR10 display uses thin side bezels. It's a fast and smooth screen with less issues. The display ratio is 21:9 which is perfect for watching the latest videos on YouTube and Netflix.


The display quality I dare say is one of the best. This petite and thin screen size has sharp colors, clear details, excellent brightness and is capable of displaying HDR content very well. Both Netflix, Prime Video or YouTube apps all operate well and smoothly. Throughout the use of this device, all the movies and TV series that I missed I watch on this device only and no longer open the iPad or iPhone.



Use And Software

The Sony Xperia 5 IV device runs the Xperia UI operating system which is very close to the original Android. It's easy to use, simple and doesn't give me the headache of confusingly looking for certain settings. Xperia UI can be said to be too basic, so much so that there is no built-in gallery application that only uses Google Photos and there is also no file manager - because it only uses the Google Files application. The interface can also be said to be close to Pixel devices running Android 12. Although Sony has distributed the Android 13 update for these devices, the unit I tested has yet to receive it as of this writing.



Xperia UI gives me a pretty good user experience. As a native Android lover, I haven't used an operating system like this for a long time. The last time was on the Pixel 6. The interface is also pleasing to the eye, the icons are also not colorful and cheerful, everything is simple and user-friendly.


There aren't many fat apps installed, except Sony's own apps like Cinema Pro, Photo Pro, Video Pro and Music Pro and the own music playing app. Settings icons such as WiFi, mobile data and some others still use the existing Xperia design.


Sony also offers an Exterior Monitor feature to connect the device directly to a Sony mirrorless camera or an external monitor for the purpose of monitoring camera use or being a viewfinder during video recording.



Xperia UI may be boring for some users because it is so empty and does not offer many customization options like Chinese or Korean devices. But the native Android customization features are already built in giving users some freedom to personalize the device according to their individual tastes.


What makes Sony Xperia 5 IV unique with Xperia UI are features such as STAMINA mode for battery saving, battery sharing feature with reverse wireless charging, changing display quality from normal or HDR mode or Creator mode that ensures 10-bit HDR color values ​​can be displayed precisely.


The automatic screen brightness system on this device is also quite clever. Xperia UI also includes its own customization features to change the AOD design, clock display as well as good multi-tasking for long screen devices through Side Sense.




The initial gaming experience on this device is quite great despite only having 8GB of RAM memory. Playing Asphalt 9 has no problems and runs very well with high performance without causing the device to heat up easily or lag. But if running a game with higher graphics like PUBG Mobile or Battlefield Mobile, it will continue to heat up even if the game hasn't started yet.


Random heating issues can also occur if the device is actively using social media apps or streaming videos, even in a cool room.


Bench mark

Although this device suffers from severe heating problems, it still has terrible performance. It only gets hot when lots of apps are running in the background, using the camera or stored in the bag for long periods of time while notifications come in non-stop.


Out of curiosity, why this device still works well even after heating up – I ran benchmark tests through AnTuTu 3D, Geekbench 5 and 3DMark.



Sony Xperia 5 IV was able to receive a good score of 935,847 on AnTuTu 3D, 1,182/3,615 on Geekbench 5 and 2,583 on 3DMark. I compared this device with Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 5G (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1) and iPhone 14 Plus (Apple A15 Bionic) between devices that I feel have approximately the same performance. Here is a comparison of scores;


AnTuTu 3D

Xperia 5 IV: 935,847

Galaxy Z Flip4: 804,731

iPhone 14 Plus: 798,843

Geekbench 5

Xperia 5 IV: 1,182/3,615

Galaxy Z Flip4: 1,282/3,686

iPhone 14 Plus: 1,713/4,625

3DMark Wild Life Extreme

Xperia 5 IV: 2,583

Galaxy Z Flip4: 2,867

iPhone 14 Plus: 2,429

The Xperia 5 IV had the highest AnTuTu 3D score, but other tests looked average. In use, even though it uses 8GB of RAM memory, lag problems rarely occur. But the application will take a little time to load because it does not have much memory for the management of applications running in the background.


Telephony And GPS

The Sony Xperia 5 IV has a very poor Internet connection, both with mobile data and with WiFi. Over several weeks of use, I rarely saw my 4G signal bar reach full. This issue did not occur on other Android devices we reviewed using the same telco.


Then, the 4G connection I received was very slow and the Internet dropped frequently – as did the WiFi connection. As for 5G, I have never even seen it displayed on this device because until now it has not been supported by DNB. There are still no Sony devices supported by DNB at this time.


For phone calls, it does not support VoWiFi but only VoLTE. The microphone is quite clear, the voice is clear and loud, but the long design is not comfortable for long-term conversations.


Because the Internet connection is not very good, the GPS on the device is also not good. It takes quite a while to lock the location, compared to other Android flagship devices. But after that, the intricacies of the command all worked fine.


Camera

The Sony Xperia 5 IV is also known as a compact flagship device that focuses on photography. The camera application used is similar to Sony's own camera interface. In fact, this device can also be used as an additional screen to the Sony camera, making it a complement to the Sony product ecosystem. But is it a good device for photography?


First of all, the most interesting thing is the built-in shutter button on the side that facilitates the process of focusing and taking pictures. This feature has been included in Xperia devices since time immemorial and makes it unique.


Auto or Basic mode on this device provides a user experience like a normal Android device, offering simple modes such as Low Light, Gourmet, Backlight Portrait and more. But unfortunately, the picture result in this mode is like a basic mid-range Android device only. It's too bright, soft, lacks sharp colors and doesn't preserve fine details no matter what lens is used.


However, the telephoto lens supports an AI Super Resolution Zoom mode that allows smooth zoom use switching between sensors and does not cause the image display in the viewfinder to shake.






The image displayed on the viewfinder is also not the final image, but rather an image that has not gone through post-processing. Only after the pictures are viewed in the gallery, there are interesting colors, better contrast values ​​and pleasing to the eye.


Xperia 5 IV also offers the use of Pro like a Sony mirrorless camera. Those who have never used a Sony camera will definitely feel confused and stuck for its use. I even had to consult cameraman who specializes in Sony cameras, otherwise I don't know what I should do.


With the use of Pro mode, only then the image results look encouraging because we know what we want. Better colors, better preserved details and more satisfying focus. This device seems to force users to use Pro mode, if they want good results.







The device's camera also has problems, where in just a few minutes of use the device starts to heat up. Even record a video of less than five minutes, the device's extremely hot temperature makes it so dangerous to hold that there is a warning that it can cause a risk of burns. Not only that, the digital shutter button is also quite slow and it is difficult to take pictures quickly.



Battery

The 5000mAh battery on this device is not great enough, as for light use with the Standard mode screen it can only last around 6-7 hours SOT, while with Creator mode for HDR display it can only last around 5-6 hours SOT.


With more extreme usage, such as using a smartwatch together, tethering TWS, gaming, using the camera and streaming videos and music for long periods of time – the device can only last around 4 hours SOT. If this is a competitor's flagship device, the HDR screen has no problem operating up to 6-7 hours on a single charge.



The charging power is only 30W with PD technology, so it's actually quite slow and tiring to wait. It's slow charging, the battery doesn't last, this makes me disappointed with this Sony device that costs almost RM5000.


Audio

Stereo speakers are the audio system used on this device. Sony chose the old design, which is the speaker grille on the forehead and chin of the device. Despite its old design, it's a smart choice because it delivers balanced, powerful enough audio that's very tasty. Listening to music, watching videos, very tasty and satisfying.


The audio quality is also great with deep enough bass, clear vocals, and sounds like you're using high-quality speakers. Sony also includes a 3.5mm audio jack port to use a set of wired earphones if the device's speakers are still not satisfactory.



The Xperia 5 IV also has good audio optimizing features, such as Dolby Atmos support, supports 360 Reality Audio, offers the use of 360 Upmix, and converts basic format music to high quality with DSEE technology as found in their audio accessories.


Sony also doesn't provide any charging cables or chargers making it the most popular manufacturer to give accessories with every purchase.


In the box

Here's what you get with every device purchase in Malaysia.


1x Sony Xperia 5 IV

1x Manual

Conclusion

The Sony Xperia 5 IV is a really good device, but it's not for everyone. Although it offers pretty solid performance, a lot of use on the device is reserved for Sony camera users. But if you don't mind the expensive price, this device offers a solid enough screen, great audio, simple software like native Android and provides a different user experience from other Android devices.



The selling price of RM4,899 is a very high price for a device powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip and sold at the end of 2022. There are many more powerful and great devices at a cheaper price that will definitely provide a more satisfying user experience. Just using the Xperia 5 IV makes me confident that Sony can produce a good device.


Pro

The design is quite premium and comfortable to handle.

Beautiful screen, and perfect for watching modern movies.

Good performance, fast and smooth.

Speaker quality with very satisfying audio and 3.5mm jack.

A simple software like original Android.

A fully equipped device with various connection ports.

Cons

Poor auto camera, only good for manual control use.

The device easily heats up to the point of being dangerous to hold.

Weak battery and not charging fast enough.

A direct charging cable is not provided.

The selling price is quite expensive compared to competitors.


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