Sony Xperia 5 V review: Compact and powerful with a great camera

Sony’s Xperia 5 V was described to me by a representative as their more trendy flagship, designed for younger people and influencers. Well, on the first part, I feel like I’m the target market; the second part perhaps not so much. Priced at £819 and seemingly only available in the UK at present, the Xperia 5 V represents the mid-range option with Sony’s latest Xperia lineup of handsets, flanked by the flagship Xperia 1 V and the much more affordable Xperia 10 V.

The Xperia 5 V comes with last year’s flagship Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor (the same as the recently reviewed Honor Magic V2 RSR Porsche Design), 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s a reasonable dual camera setup with a 48MP main snapper and 12MP ultrawide, while the display is a tall and skinny 6.1-inch 2560×1080 OLED. You also get a Micro SD card slot and a headphone jack, rarities on any phone these days.


In the hand, the Xperia 5 V feels excellent. Its matte finish is smooth to the touch and is comfortable to hold. In terms of its looks, the Xperia 5 V is reminiscent of Sony phones from years gone by, opting for a thin slab with more rounded corners. This design may be a little out of kilter compared to more modern flagships and mid-range choices, but I don’t mind it.

The 6.1-inch panel makes this a compact handset next to my Galaxy S21 Ultra, while the slightly smaller size of the Xperia 5 V makes it a little difficult to hold one-handed. The boxier shape and taller feel takes some getting used to, but it’s only a matter of moments before I was up and away with it. The Xperia 5 V is also well-constructed, complete with aluminium sides and front glass that’s Gorillla Glass Victus 2. The back side is also comprised of frosted glass, which provides a nice contrast to the shiny aluminium.

The Xperia 5 V is a smart-looking phone, especially in the Blue colourway. More standard options are available, though.

The 5V is available in three colours, with a choice of either Black, Platinum or the Blue option I’ve got here. It’s always nice to see at least one unique colour option, and it certainly makes the Xperia 5 V stand out when not hidden behind a case. There also isn’t a noticeable camera bump, in contrast to the vast majority of phones on the market these days.

Unlike a lot of other phones that are similar in price, the Xperia 5 V also has some quirks and features which make it one of the more interesting options available, The fingerprint sensor is hidden inside the power button on the right hand side of the phone, for starters, while you also get access to both a headphone jack and a Micro SD card slot. These two features may well have been lost in years gone by, so it’s nice to see them here for fans of expandable storage and wired headphones.

USB-C is a standard fixing; the Micro SD card slot is not.


As for its display, the Xperia 5 V’s smaller 6.1-inch screen is an oddity at this price point. It’s nice to have something a little more compact and slender in my hand, but the choice to go for a 21:9 aspect ratio makes the Xperia 5 V a bit taller than you’d expect and therefore it can be a bit tough to reach the top of the phone if you’re holding it at the bottom.

Around the screen, there are some quite large bezels, especially around the top and bottom. The one on the top I can understand to accommodate the selfie camera on the Xperia 5 V, although to have the camera there as opposed to it being integrated into the display as a holepunch in this day and age is a little odd. Nonetheless, the 6.1-inch screen here is a little more compact than I’m used to, and it is on the smaller side to feel comfortable for viewing content.

Toby Jones looks good on the Xperia 5 V in Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny.

The screen itself is a solid one for everything from day to day use to watching films and playing games. It’s a reasonably vibrant display with a solid peak brightness, while the fact it’s an OLED panel also lends the Xperia 5 V to offering deep blacks and poppy colours.

Out of the box though, the screen appears a little cool with a tinge of blue across it, especially on lighter coloured backgrounds and apps. However, the fact that Sony has added in a Creator Mode here, which warms the screen’s tones up to balance out the coolness of its out-the-box settings, is a saving grace, and makes the Xperia 5 V’s displayed images to look a lot better.

The presence of a 120Hz refresh rate keeps motion smooth, which is especially welcome in day to day navigation and swiping, as well as in games where that high refresh rate is most welcome. With even budget phones now offering 90Hz refresh rates, the extra 30Hz is a small but noticeable improvement.


The presence of a dual camera setup on the reverse of the Xperia 5 V is one of the things that drew my attention first of all. We’re seeing phones with three more often than two, so it raised the question of whether the Xperia 5 V was almost a little under-equipped compared to other phones in the same price bracket.

However, I’m especially pleased to say that wasn’t the case. The expertise Sony has in some class-leading full size cameras has transferred well over to the Xperia 5 V with images that possessed natural looking colours and great detail levels thanks to both the 48MP main snapper and 12MP ultrawide. With the bigger sensor in mind, that’s perhaps little surprise, and the Xperia 5 V’s images, especially using the 24mm lens option, were rather good.

Of course, with no dedicated telephoto lens you’re stuck with digital zoom, which is a bit disappointing given that the prior generation model did offer this. I did find myself missing it a lot, especially given I’m used to up to 10x optical and 100x digital zoom with my usual S21 Ultra. The maximum 6x digital zoom on the Xperia 5 V is serviceable for better framing images without later editing, but obviously you’re sacrificing detail here compared to an optical zoom.

Low light performance is reasonable too, and Sony’s dedicated Night mode helps things along reasonably well with good detail levels, It isn’t quite as good as Samsung’s Night modes that I’ve tested on the last two generations of their flagships, but it still does a decent job nonetheless. The 12MP selfie camera is also decent enough, too, although its portrait mode only does a reasonable job of offering the blurred background and Bokeh effect that it’s designed to.

My issue with the camera setup on offer here isn’t the hardware and its performance, but the software. While Sony’s own ‘Basic’ preset UI is designed to offer a typical camera phone interface, it feels less intuitive than other Android phones in similar price bracket. The Auto mode I used for all my photos added more settings to try, but was just displayed in quite a clunky manner and took up over half of the screen.


The Xperia 5 V is also quite a nippy performer, being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Alongside this, there is also 8GB of RAM which is enough headroom for intense workloads and general usage day to day. It’s the same processor as is in the grown-up Xperia 1 V flagship from Sony, too, which powers this more petite variant to some high riding scores.

In Geekbench 6, its scores are reflective of its beefy power, with some fantastic results in both single and multi core workloads for the CPU. It’s much the same story when moving over to 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme, too, with some great scores posted relative to other phones from Google, OnePlus and Samsung in the same area.

Benchmark Sony Xperia 5 V Honor Magic V2 RSR Porsche Design
Geekbench 6 Single Core 2069 2030
Geekbench 6 Multi Core 5585 4928
3D Mark Wild Life Extreme 3725 3748
GFX Aztec Ruins High Tier 59fps 46fps
GFX Car Chase 60fps 56fps
PC Mark Work V3.0 12466 14089

Moving over to some games, in everything from Diablo Immortal to Injustice 2 and Fortnite, the Xperia 5 V felt snappy to use, although with some serious heat generated on the back of the device. This was to the extent where the Xperia 5 V became seriously uncomfortable to hold for even a few moments, while performance was also throttled in extended benchmarks and stress tests, including the 20 minute long 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test. In that test, I noted a 35.6 percemt performance drop from the first loop to the last, where the total score decreased from 3691 to 2377. By the end, the Xperia 5 V performed more like a much more affordable handset than its price would suggest.

Installing a lot of games however revealed a significant chink in the Xperia 5 V’s armour – its low storage capacity. The 128GB on offer here sounds like a lot at first, but with a couple of big game installs and a portion of my MP3 and FLAC music library, and it soon fills up. In reality, you get just shy of 100GB of usable storage out of the box, with over 30GB taken up by system files.

Fear not, however, as there is that handy Micro SD card slot, which allows an extra 1.5TB of storage space. For those who quite simply want more, then this will be a necessity – it’s lucky that we’ve seen prices of Micro SD cards drop to much more tolerable levels, especially in this highest capacity tier.

The Xperia 5 V is a looker, especially with that DF wallpaper.

However, the powers of the Micro SD slot are limited, as any apps you want to use can’t be installed onto one, while certain app backups can only be put onto the phone’s internal storage. This is a bit of a shame, as it somewhat negates the effect that the Micro SD card has with the Xperia 5 V, and reveals the issue with 128GB base storage. There also aren’t any other storage options, which makes little to no sense, especially as Samsung and other brands have binned the 128GB base storage option with the last couple of generations of their flagship offerings.

On a brighter note, I’m pleased to report that the presence of the headphone jack is rather useful, and there are no real limitations here. There is supported for wired lossless audio, as well as Spatial Audio from the Xperia 5 V, which made everything from gaming to watching Indiana Jones & The Dial of Destiny and listening to my 2000 song strong Spotify playlist a treat. The phone’s front-facing speakers are also solid for a phone, too, with clear mids and decent detail. They are lacking some bottom end for real impact within films and bassier songs, but are serviceable for day to day use.

Playing Diablo Immortal was a lot of fun, although the smaller screen didn’t exactly help the immersion factor.

The Android 14 UI here is easy to navigate, and Sony also offers a reasonable amount of their own apps pre-installed on what feels like a nearly vanilla Android experience. There are specialist apps for creating and filming video, as well as one for multi-track music recording. These are a reflection of Sony’s decision to target the creator and professional market with some of their latest smartphones, and while these features aren’t going to be used by a lot of people, they are still nice to have.

I should also stress the handiness of some of the gaming-specific apps and features that the Xperia 5 V has. First and foremost, there is a Game Enhancer feature, which provides you with a readout of FPS and wattage. It’s somewhat similar to the specific game readouts featured on LG tellies, and gives you an idea of how much power your phone uses while gaming. Contained within the Game Enhancer are more useful features including a Competition Set mode which prevents notifications from interrupting your game, and the ability to screenshot using the phone’s shutter button. Taking screenshots was easy with the dedicated button, and you can also enable a feature which records the last 30 seconds of gameplay, known as Rewind Time. Think of it like recording a game clip on Xbox or PlayStation – it’s handy for capturing an interesting or noteworthy piece of gameplay at the touch of a button..

The Xperia 5 V also has some worthwhile gaming chops, too, including dedicated Game Modes where you can lock the screen’s refresh rate at 120Hz regardless of the game’s actual supported rates, as well as being able to set it to 240Hz. Doing this enables a form of BFI, or black frame insertion, which adds in a black frame between every 120Hz frame. It’s designed to remove motion blur, and does a handy job. The Game Mode also has specific sliders for touch response speed and touch response accuracy, too.

You can also enable H.S. Power Control, a feature inside the Game Enhancer which is designed to keep your phone cooler and protect the battery while under intensive gaming workloads. It only works when the phone is plugged in, and only provides a supplementary charge to the battery to meet its needs for power, as opposed to actually charging the battery.

As well as the wealth of options found inside the Game Enhancer, the Xperia 5 V also comes with the PlayStation app built in. This works the same as it does on other phones, where you can download games to your console remotely, chat with friends, and share captures with friends, too.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Xperia 5 V is truly excellent, especially for a phone at its price point. In a run of PC Mark Work V3.0’s battery test, the Xperia 5 V lasted for 23 hours and 2 minutes before conking out. Running a YouTube Video loop test at 50% brightness also demonstrated the Xperia 5 V’s endurance, with it lasting for around 26 hours before it died. You could conceivably, with a little bit of hypermiling, get two days of use out of the Xperia 5 V, which is fantastic.

The 5000mAh capacity on offer here is larger than Samsung’s S23’s paltry 3785 mAh capacity, and I’m grateful for the much bigger battery. Against my usual S21 Ultra, I didn’t have to worry about the Xperia 5 V losing too much charge on a day out, for instance.

The only issue I have with this particular handset on the battery and charging front is the 30W fast charging. Years ago, it would have been fine, but for a phone in 2024, it just feels a little weak. We’re seeing phones launch nowadays with upwards of 120W fast charging, so for Sony to put just 30W on a phone that costs this much is a bit of a cop out. As is not including even at least a USB-C cable in the box, but that’s a different story.


Sony’s Xperia 5 V represents an interesting option at its price point. It’s a handset that goes against the grain in many respects with a much smaller and slimmer profile, as well as adding in features such as a headphone jack and micro SD card slot. As well as offering these features, it also offers venerable battery life, and some great performance for gaming and intensive workloads.

It’s the little things that let the Xperia 5 V down, such as its 30W fast charging limit, the distinct lack of a telephoto lens, and its default 128GB storage option. They do hold the Xperia 5 V back from being the absolute best phone in its price category, but it’s still a decent left-field option with a lot to like about it.

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