Sony Xperia 1 II review | A confusing name, but it’s the full package

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Two-minute review
The Sony Xperia 1 II – pronounced Sony Xperia 1 Mark 2 – is the Japanese company’s latest attempt at a full-blown flagship phone to compete with the very best from Apple, and from Samsung and a variety of other growing Android competitors.

This is the best Sony handset we’ve seen for some time, with major improvements in some core areas, but it’s also an expensive phone that’s designed for a narrow demographic. Think of this as Sony’s alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, rather than the more ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S20 or S20 Plus.

The Sony Xperia 1 II offers the most refined design from the company so far, while retaining its signature square look. There’s also the return of a gorgeous 4K display that offers a resolution you won’t find on other smartphones.

Sony’s 4K phones have struggled in the past when it comes to battery life, but we’ve found the Sony Xperia 1 II to perform excellently, with a battery that will see you through at least a full day of normal usage, while if you’re a light user it can last even longer.

It’s powerful, with a top-end chipset under the hood and automatic cameras modes that are better than we’ve seen on previous Sony products, and you get access to top-end features like 5G connectivity and wireless charging too.

The uniqueness of the phone can also be its detriment, though. It’s designed for a very specific kind of user – those who want a phone with an elongated screen and the optimum experience when playing games or watching films – and as a result it can be somewhat impractical in everyday use. And while some will love its looks, it’s clear this isn’t a phone that’s made for everybody.

Then there’s the small matter of the higher than expected price. The Sony Xperia 1 II isn’t without its faults, but it is the most accomplished phone from the company for some time, and shows that it can still compete at the top end of the Android phone market.

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