Despite making great phones for years, Sony continues to struggle to penetrate the US market. Sales volume has fallen year after year, with 2019 limited to only 5 million units sold globally. To help alleviate this drop, last year, Sony released the Xperia 5, the return to compact smartphones. This year, rumors indicate a sequel is first on their agenda.
Last year, Sony started the year with three phones releases: Xperia 1, 10, and 10 Plus. Only the 1 was flagship-caliber, but with its 6.5" 4K HDR OLED panel, it was priced at nearly $1,000. Hearing the outcry, Sony released the Xperia 5, a smaller phone that uses a 1080p OLED panel for nearly $200 in savings.
To start 2020, Sony is taking the best of its two flagships to create a sequel to the Xperia 5, known as the Xperia 5 Plus. Rumors indicate it will have a larger screen than the Xperia 1 that is likely 1080p to keep cost low. But what makes this phone really exciting is the return of two features we thought were all but lost on flagship smartphones: a headphone jack and dual front-firing stereo speakers.
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If Sony can deliver with its camera, this might be a candidate for phone of the year. The Xperia 5 Plus has an OLED panel sandwiched between two front-firing stereo speakers. And it will join the small list of flagship caliber smartphones (LG and ASUS are the other two) that has a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
We currently don't know the specific dates on the Sony Xperia 5 Plus. Its predecessor was announced during IFA 2019 in September 2019, but since leaks already emerging, we don't think Sony will take as long to release the successor. Sony could announce it during MWC 2020, which takes place between Feb. 24 and Feb. 28, 2020, in Barcelona, Spain. This would match the release of the Xperia 1 last year, which this phone acts as an upgrade to.
- Release date: June 2020
- Preorder date: March 2020
- Announcement date: Feb. 24–28, 2020
So far, no leaks have emerged as to the storage capacity of the phone. However, since this is technically an update to the Xperia 5, we can safely make a prediction based on its specs. The Xperia 5 had 128 GB of UFS storage. It also supported microSD for expandable memory. We expect the Xperia 5 Plus to at least have this amount, although we could see 256 GB being an option as well.
- Storage available: 128 GB
- Expandable storage: yes, microSD up to 512 GB
The Xperia 5 debuted at $799, a price that allowed Sony to compete against the growing "budget flagship" category comprised of phones such as the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10e. Even with the upgrade, we expect Sony to stick in this price point, with a potential $50 increase. Since rumors indicate there will be a sequel to the more expensive Xperia 1 (known as the Xperia 2), we don't see Sony increasing the price on the Xperia 5 Plus to the $900 range.
- Price: $849
Leaks indicate a similar design to last year, with glass on the back and front cover. The frame will likely be aluminum to keep weight low and durable. We expect Sony to use Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on both front and back cover again, just like its predecessor.
- Frame: aluminum, glass (Gorilla Glass 6)
- Finish: Unknown
As you'd expect, with this being the "Plus" version of the Xperia 5, the overall size will be larger. The Xperia 5 Plus is longer and wider, however, its thickness is around the same, which suggests they might be using the same 3,140 mAh battery as the Xperia 5. We are crossing our fingers it gets a larger power cell, though.
Dust and water resistance should once again be Sony's infamous IP65/68 rating. This rating indicates that the phone is IP65, but when the ports are sealed, it increases to IP68 for better water resistance. Sony will likely release this phone as GSM unlocked, which will make it compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
- Height: 6.62 inches
- Width: 2.82 inches
- Depth: 0.32 inches (0.37 inches at rear camera bump)
- Weight: Unknown
- Dust/water resistance: IP65/68 under IEC standard 60529
- Supported carriers: AT&T/T-Mobile
- Infrared blaster: no
Sony has always done a great job with keeping their phone up to date, and the Xperia 5 Plus should be no difference. With Android 11 still being worked on by Google, we are confident the Xperia 5 Plus will come with Android 10, the latest current version of the operating system.
- Version: Android 10
Sony devices don't use a skin in the same way as Samsung's One UI and OnePlus's OxygenOS. Instead, it is mostly a stock experience with a few additions here and there, including new battery modes, proprietary multimedia apps, and Side Sense. The latter is a feature that lets you tap touch-sensitive areas of the phone to trigger app launches and other actions (think HTC's Edge Sense 2). The Xperia 5 Plus should run a similar built to its predecessor, which is currently running Android 10.
- Version: N/A
Last year, Sony's big push for their phones was their 21:9 aspect ratio. This is the same as most films, allowing you to watch movies without black bars or cropping. Additionally, this same aspect ratio is used in video capture, allowing your videos to have a more cinematic feel. The Xperia 5 Plus uses this same ratio, but on a 6.6-inch display.
There is no notch. Instead, it houses the front-facing camera and dual front-facing speakers in thin bezels along the top and bottom edge of the phone. The screen is flat, so you don't have to worry about accidents touches while watching videos or gaming. Sadly, there is no indication Sony will use a higher refresh rate, which will major disadvantage if rumors are true for its competitors' 2020 offering.
- Screen size: 6.6 inches
- Screen resolution: 2560 x 1080 pixels
- Total pixels: Unknown
- Pixel density: Unknown
- Screen type: OLED (flat)
- Notch: no
- Screen-to-body ratio: Unknown
- Aspect ratio: 21:9
- Minimum brightness: Unknown
- Maximum brightness: Unknown
- Refresh rate: 60 Hz (60 Hz for touch-sensing)
- Color temp: Unknown
- Color gamut: Unknown
Since the Xperia 5 came with the latest chipset from Qualcomm, it is likely the Xperia 5 Plus will come with the latest as well, which in 2020 is the Snapdragon 865. This SoC requires a 5G modem, which means this will be the first 5G Sony phone to come to the US.
We don't expect Sony to increase the RAM, instead opting for a version that the Snapdragon 865 supports, LPDDR5, which has a higher data transfer rate and lower power consumption.
- Memory: 6 GB LPDDR5
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- Chip size: 7 nanometer
- CPU frequency: 2.84 GHz (1x A77), 2.42 GHz (3x A77), and 1.8 GHz (4x A55)
- CPU cores: 8 cores (1 + 3 Gold Cores, 4 Silver Cores)
- GPU: Adreno 650
- GPU frequency: 587 MHz
We don't have any information regarding battery life. However, with its thickness nearly identical to the Xperia 5, there's a good chance the battery capacity is the same or similar in size.
The Xperia 5 Plus will support USB PD and Xperia Adaptive Charging. The charger in the box is likely the same 18 W brick, which gives you around 50% in 30 minutes. Sony does a great job of preserving battery capacity by massively reducing charging after 80% and throttling any time heat gets too high. It isn't the fastest charger, but the system really helps long-term battery health.
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Capacity: Unknown
- Wired charging: yes, Xperia Adaptive Charging (USB PD 18 W)
- Wireless charging: no
All we know for sure is the front-facing camera is 8 MP. However, since this is the same resolution as the Xperia 5, there is a chance this is the same camera (or a direct upgrade). For context, the Xperia 5's camera had 1/4 sensor size, 5-axis stabilization known as SteadyShot, and support for HDR. We expect Sony will at least match these specs in the upgrade.
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Aperture: ƒ/2.0
- Zoom: yes, Unknown digital
- Flash: yes, screen flash
- Image stabilization: yes, Steadyshot
- RAW support: Unknown
- Object detection: yes, smiles, hand
- Formats: JPEG
The Xperia 5 Plus brings back the triple camera system. We don't know specs at all, but we do know it includes a ToF sensor for improved depth detection. We believe the camera type will be the same with the main shooter being a wide-angle lens paired with a telephoto and ultra-wide camera.
- Types: Wide-angle, Telephoto, Ultrawide
- Resolution: Unknown
- Sensor size: Unknown
- Aperture: Unknown
- Zoom: yes, at least 2x optical, Unknown digital
- Flash: yes, LED
- Image stabilization: yes, OIS and EIS
- RAW support: yes
- Lens cover: sapphire crystal
- Object detection: yes
- Formats: JPEG, RAW
Without any information on the rear camera, we don't know anything specific about the video performance. We do expect Cinema Pro to return, Sony's movie recording mode that allows you to capture video in a 21:9 aspect ratio. We expect 4K HDR recording to also make its way from the Xperia 5.
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p, and 4K
- Max frame rate: 30 fps for 720p, 60 fps for 1080p and 4K
- Slow motion:yes, 1080p at 120 fps
- Time-lapse: Unknown
- Photos: Unknown
- Zoom: yes, see above
- Flash access: yes, see above
- Image stabilization: yes, EIS and OIS
- Object detection: yes, Unknown
- Autofocus: yes, Unknown
- Audio: stereo
- Formats: H.264
The feature I am most excited about is the dual front-firing speakers. Since Google removed them from the Pixel 4, there weren't too many options available. Dual front-firing speakers give you the best video watching experience, as stereo audio is directed toward your ears.
The other feature I am excited about is the inclusion of a headphone jack. Besides ASUS and LG, this port has all but gone from flagship caliber phones.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: yes
- Stereo speakers: yes, front-facing
- Mics: Unknown
We expect the Xperia 5 Plus to support the same media formats as its predecessor.
- Audio: AAC (AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC+, AAC-ELD), ALAC, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, DSD, FLAC, MIDI, MP3, PCM, Opus, Vorbis, WMA
- Image: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, WebP, WBMP, HEIF, DNG, CR2, NEF, NRW, ARW, RW2, ORF, RAF, PEF, SRW
- Video: MPEG-4 Video, H.263, H.264, H.265, VP8, VP9
The Xperia 5 Plus comes with the same sensors as the Xperia 5.
- Sensors: accelerometer, ambient light sensor, barometer, eCompass, side fingerprint sensor, game rotation vector, geomagnetic rotation vector, gyroscope, hall sensor, magnetometer, step counter, step detector, significant motion detector, proximity sensor, RGBC-IR sensor
As far as global navigation satellite systems, the Xperia 5 Plus will likely support GPS, aGPS, and GLONASS. There is no indication for dual-frequency.
- GPS: yes
- aGPS: yes
- Glonass: yes
- BeiDou: no
- Galileo: no
- QZSS: no
The Xperia 5 Plus has a USB Type C port. This is a top of the line port with video output support and based on USB 3.1 standard for fast data transfer. Bluetooth 5 is on board for wireless connections, alongside native Google Cast support and NFC. While the Xperia 5 was limited to Wi-Fi 5, we expect with the new chipset's support for Wi-Fi 6, the 5 Plus will use the latest standard for Wi-Fi.
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 Ghz)/n (5 Ghz)/ac/ax
- Bluetooth: 5.0
- NFC: yes
- Cellular: nano-SIM
- Port: USB Type C (USB 3.1)
- Other: Google Cast
Once again, the Xperia 5 uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Even as the industry shifts toward facial recognition and in-display fingerprint scanners, a physical fingerprint scanner has its advantages, as they're a proven method of authentication that works all of the time. Side-mounted makes it easier as to use, as the scanner will line up to your thumb when gripping the phone (but only if you're right-handed).
- Fingerprint scanner: yes, side-mounted
- Face scanner: no
- Iris scanner: no
- Manual authentication: password, PIN, pattern, swipe