Sony Xperia 5 III: a phone with many pros and some cons
“This is a premium phone with a pretty good price (999 euros), in which Sony has done an excellent job in many aspects”
Lightweight and compact design
Very versatile telephoto
Physical camera button
Gets too hot
It has no dedicated night mode
It has no wireless charging
In April, Sony unveiled its new batch of phones for 2021. In an unusual online event outside of MWC (as it usually does), the Japanese company announced the Sony Xperia 1 III, Xperia 5 III and Xperia 10 III.
On this occasion we had the opportunity to test the Sony Xperia 5 III, the intermediate model of the three presented. This phone has as its most remarkable aspect its design, as well as the battery, but it also sets the bar quite high in photographic terms.
If Sony is known for something in terms of phones, it is for the continuity in the design. The company does not usually make significant changes in this regard and that is what happens with the Sony Xperia 5 III. The phone is practically identical to its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 5 II, with a 21: 9 aspect ratio that gives it its characteristic elongated look and quite marked bezels at the top and bottom of the screen.
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The phone is very light and compact (157 x 68 x 8.2 mm and only 168 grams), with rounded and smooth edges. This makes the hand feel comfortable without losing that touch of robustness. The phone has IP68 protection and its back is made of glass and is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 6. As is often the case with glass phones, it is quite slippery and gets dirty easily.
The phone has the home button on the right side that acts as a fingerprint sensor. Personally, this is a very impractical placement, but the sensor responds quickly and accurately. The Xperia 5 III keeps the classic headphone jack and places it on top along with two stereo speakers.
The phone has a button dedicated to the Google assistant, something that I don’t find particularly practical either. On the other hand, the button dedicated to the camera (for the shot) seems to me an excellent and very useful addition in phones as oriented to photography as those of the Japanese brand.
On the left side, the phone has a tray for two nano SIM cards with support for 5G networks, which is extracted without having to insert any sharp object as usual. It is a simple but very useful addition, as we do not always have a skewer at hand to extract the tray.
The screen of the device is a 6.1-inch OLED, ultra-wide CinemaWide format with Full HD + resolution. This screen has a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and in general the user experience is good and fluid, added to a good color reproduction and sufficient brightness, although sometimes somewhat scarce (especially outdoors with direct light).
As with previous models, this format is very useful for watching movies or playing games, but most of the applications of streaming or even YouTube does not have this elongated format, so sometimes bars will appear on the sides, something that not everyone will like.
This phone mounts a Snapdragon 888 5G processor with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, with UFS 3.1 technology expandable with a micro SD card of up to 1 TB. With this data on paper we know that we have a high-end in front of us and that it is unlikely that it will report problems in performance. And so it was: the device more than fulfilled all the tasks we subjected it to, including multitasking or moving heavy games.
However, despite its outstanding performance, such a slim phone with such high power has a price to pay if the right measures are not taken. And it is that with intensive use (when playing for a long time, using the GPS or with a lot of use of the camera) it gets too hot, so much that it has even become blocked until it has managed to regulate the temperature. It should be noted that this happened with intensive use; with normal use it does not happen.
Regarding autonomy, to say that with this device Sony has improved one of the main problems that we found in their phones: the low capacity of their batteries. In this model we have a 4,500 mAh battery with Stamina technology, which allows to extend the battery life with a much more efficient management.
The phone has a 30 W fast charging system that reaches 50 percent of the charge in just 30 minutes; in 1 hour and 20 minutes it is fully charged. It does not offer wireless or reverse charging.
The Xperia 5 III has a camera setup consisting of a 12 MP main sensor and f / 1.7 aperture lens, a 12 MP wide-angle sensor and a telephoto sensor with a variable aperture of between 70 and 105 mm. The most noteworthy in this regard is that Sony brings the experience of its Alpha cameras closer to this device with an interface similar to these, as well as with the physical button that we mentioned before, although sometimes it is a bit slow when shooting.
In good light and auto mode, the Sony Xperia 5 III’s camera performs well overall, with a good level of detail, correct white balance, and excellent color reproduction. The dynamic range is a bit poor; even when shooting with HDR it tends to burn out the highest lights.
The best thing about this camera is its telephoto lens from 70 to 105 mm, which also relies on the optical stabilizer and the quality of the focus to give very sharp results and even a certain level of blur without processing.
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At night the results are not as good and in general the sharpness dissipates and the grain does not take long to appear. The camera does not have a dedicated night mode, although the AI system is able to recognize when there is an absence of light to shoot with a larger aperture, but as we say: the results are somewhat poor.
This phone can be recommended for many reasons. Its design is different from the rest, in addition to being light and compact, although that also means that it heats up more easily. Secondly. its autonomy and performance are the best on the current market.
The camera is quite good, but I still feel (as it has happened to me with previous models of the brand) that something is missing, especially since Sony is one of the best camera manufacturers on the market, but it does not manage to have the best photographic sensors in one phone.
Even with this (which is more an opinion) we are facing a premium phone with a pretty good price (999 euros), in which Sony has done an excellent job in many respects.