Sony has not been having a good time of the smartphone landscape as of late. Their mid-range and low-end phones get some form of wide customer adoption, but their flagship devices have essentially become the but of many “they still make phones?” jokes. Last year’s Xperia 1 aimed to change that, being one of the more unique flagships of last year because of it’s TV-like 21:9 aspect ratio and narrow tall design. Unfortunately, while Sony made some strides in those areas it also too some steps back in others, with a mediocre camera, not the best storage options and the lack of a headphone jack. Thankfully, this year Sony seems to be trying to check all the boxes in their Xperia 1 mark II, bringing some much-needed improvements and steps forward, the expected 5G capabilities, and an admirable step back, making us almost forget how terrible the name is.
So, what exactly is the Mark II offering? Well If the video above doesn’t tell you what you need to know already , you’ve got the Snapdragon 865, 8GB of storage, 256GB of RAM and a camera array that was developed in tandem with Zeiss optics (you may remember them from Nokia phones) as well as Sony’s professional camera Alpha team, which is a move Sony should have made a long time ago to be honest. In fact, this phone seems to be a consolidation of Sony’s many divisions into one finally, with a phone that has a 4K 21:9 display like it’s smart TV’s, native Dualshock 4 integration for game streaming or mobile games with some help from the PlayStation gaming department and of course the aforementioned camera array from Sony’s professional camera teams. In fact, one more team decided to throw their hat in the ring here, Sony’s audio team, and despite removing the headphone jack in their last two flagships, Sony has officially brought it back for the Xperia 1 II. Amusingly enough they are advertising the feature as much as possible too, likely hoping to scavenge audiophiles the same way LG does with its flagships. Even the speakers on the phone have been upgraded two, being a dual front-firing combo that should make those of you who use your phone to play music out loud a little happier.
Simply put, this phone seems to be Sony putting their best foot forward. The company knows its smartphone division is in dire straights, and they’re essentially pulling an “Avengers” bringing all the disparate parts of the company to make the best phone possible. In fact, there’s even an Xperia Pro version too, meant to offer a few extra advantages for actual photography and video professionals working in tandem with the Sony Alpha cameras and video rigs as well. The normal Mark II can do this too, but the Pro has the added benefit of an HDMI in port too, making it work as a viewfinder for video pros. It’s a little crazy, but it might just be what Sony needs. In fact, what the company should be aiming to do is sell their own ecosystem as well as Apple and even Samsung do. It should be almost clear that if you have a PS4 or a Sony TV this is the phone for you, let alone if you’re an actual camera professional whether in video or photo. Sony phones should find their niche and lock it down, otherwise the company will still seem unremarkable and unappealing in a way that’s haunted it for too long already.
We’ll just have to see how it all goes, and hope the Mark II at the very least gets Sony on people’s minds again. Tell us if you would consider buying it in the comments below.