The Sony Xperia 5 IV turned out to be not only one of the most compact flagships on the market right now but also one of the most capable cameraphones. Sony has been known for its natural rendition, and the Xperia phones does save some of the best-looking photos and videos.
The Xperia 5 IV launches at €1,049, which is €350 cheaper than the Xperia 1 IV with its 4K display and advanced telephoto camera with continuous zoom.Xperia 5 IV and the Xperia 1 IV
There are a handful of compact flagships on the market besides the Xperia 5 IV, so it's always good to know your options.
Let's start with the Galaxy S22, a compact and water-resistant little flagship. It is 1cm shorter than the Xperia 5 IV but notably wider as its 6.1" Dynamic AMOLED 2X display is of a different aspect ratio. The S22 is equally powerful and with a similar camera experience. It offers better selfie performance because of the PDAF availability, and the zoom of the rear telephoto camera is longer at 3x magnification. Samsung's rendition, on the other hand, is a bit over the top and may not be everybody's cup of tea. The Galaxy S22 is about €350 cheaper than the Xperia, so it's definitely worth considering.
The recently launched €800 Zenfone 9 by Asus is another offer worth exploring. It has an even smaller IP68-rated body as it is built around a 5.9" 120Hz AMOLED screen. The Zenfone 9 runs on the slightly more powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and impressed us with its camera performance. The Zenfone 9 has a 50MP primary on the back with gimbal-powered stabilization and 2x lossless zoom, there is also a 13MP ultrawide camera with autofocus. The selfie relies on a 12MP shooter, also with autofocus. The main reason to get the Zenfone 9 instead of the Xperia 5 IV is its even more compact body, the cheaper price, and the gimbal stabilization. And while it doesn't offer a telephoto camera, its high-quality zoom makes up for that.
The €1,049 Apple iPhone 13 Pro is heavier than the Xperia 5 IV, but it's one of the best and yet most compact cameraphones. If you don't mind joining Apple's product ecosystem, you will most certainly enjoy one of the best screen, chipsets, speakers and camera systems, everything stuffed into one of the most durable smartphone shells on the market. The next iPhone is also around the corner and due this month.
If all-around camera experience is not your priority, you may also enjoy the Xiaomi 12. It has an even better screen than Xperia 5 IV with 68B colors and Dolby Vision support. The camera kit omits a zoom camera, the selfies aren't that good, but we did enjoy the 50MP OIS primary, the 13MP ultrawide and the 5MP telemacro cameras. The Xiaomi 12 is not waterproofed, has no zoom capabilities, and the battery life is not that good, but the phone costs €600, and we'd say it's worth recommending.
The Sony Xperia 5 IV introduces a few updates over the Xperia 5 III - a brighter display, an updated design, a faster chipset, a better selfie experience, longer battery life, wireless charging. The only thing that has been downgraded is the zoom camera - it now offers 2.5x fixed optical zoom instead of 3x/4.4x two-step zoom as it was on the Xperia 5 III. But even with these improvements, it doesn't make much sense for any Xperia 5 III user to upgrade to this newer generation.
Now that Sony has launched the Xperia 5 IV, we also see no reason why anyone would opt for the more expensive Xperia 1 IV. It certainly won't be for the 4K display, while the continuous zoom turned out not as impressive as we would have hoped for it to be.
This means the Xperia 5 IV is the most attractive phone Sony has on the shelves right now, and it's totally worth it. It offers a lovely, timeless design with solid waterproofing, an excellent OLED experience with high brightness and HDR10 certification, and we enjoyed the balanced stereo speakers. The battery life turned out amazing, something that's incredibly rare for a compact phone, let alone a compact flagship.
Even better, the Xperia 5 IV offers four 12MP cameras with excellent photo and video quality. The Pro tools coming with the phone will surely win a few more users on the Xperia side, too.
The Xperia 5 IV is not a perfect phone as it has one notable issue, just like the Xperia 1 IV. Yes, we are talking about sustained performance, which is currently behind the curve. All non-gaming phones won't shine with stability, but the Xperia 5 IV even drops the refresh rate after a while, which is not a good thing. Sony is applying heavy throttling to keep the phone from overheating, and that's the main issue - the Xperia 5 IV design makes it so easy for the device to overheat in mere minutes.
With that being said, the Xperia 5 IV packs more than enough punch, even with the 50% throttling - it's still quite a powerful device. And if you won't be playing games all the time, or process videos on the go, we'd say most people won't ever experience these performance drops.
So, at the end of this review, we can safely recommend the Sony Xperia 5 IV for its compact design and camera prowess, its battery life and speaker experience. It's one of the best 2022 flagships with excellent pocketability, and it has earned our big thumbs up.
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