Sony Xperia 5 III in the test: Surprise successful

Sony Xperia 5 III in the test: Surprise successful

The Sony Xperia 5 III was presented in mid-April 2021 and will hit the market in early October 2021. In the Xperia 5 III review, we'll tell you whether the long wait for this "compact" high-end smartphone was really worth it.

Sony Xperia 5 III in the test: conclusion

xiaomist rating: 8.4 / 10

The Sony Xperia 5 III really surprised me in the test . I liked to use it every day because it is so narrow and feels good in the hand. The performance is excellent, the battery life surprisingly high, there are many features that other smartphones lack and the camera also exceeded my expectations.

Personally, I can't get used to the fingerprint sensor on the side. If you can do that, you won't have any problems with the activation of the Xperia 5 III. The omission of the wireless charging function is incomprehensible. Something like that should not be missing from a 999 euro cell phone. I also find the long wait for the cell phone to go on the market to be counterproductive.

Overall, with the Xperia 5 III, Sony has built a great smartphone with small flaws that you can ignore because you get many features that other manufacturers have meanwhile left out.


120 Hz display cameras performance dual SIM function IP68 certification handling 5G battery life


No wireless charging fingerprint sensor on the side Display brightness Heat development Price

Does the 21: 9 display make a compact smartphone?

The Sony Compact series was legendary. High-end smartphones that could be held and operated in one hand without any problems. Sony once said that small smartphones are no longer selling. That seems to be the case, not even Apple has really had success with the iPhone 12 mini. With the 21: 9 display, Sony has made a good compromise with the Xperia 5 III. The smartphone is slim and fits comfortably in the hand . The long screen gives you a lot of information at once.

But the form factor also has a disadvantage. Not much content is adapted for 21: 9 displays. The result is thick black bars or the image is enlarged so much that half of the content can no longer be seen. On the other hand, if you find 21: 9 content, watching videos, series and films is a lot of fun.

Design and workmanship are right

Although the Xperia 5 III doesn't follow every trend, the design convinces me. If the cell phone were borderless, it would of course be even more compact. Instead, Sony focuses on other details. Some of the qualities that the community always demands include:

The stereo speakers on the front that sound really good. A display that is not restricted by a hole, because the front camera is located above the screen. The 3.5 mm jack connection has not been rationalized either. SIM tool? You don't need it here. Although the Xperia 5 III is waterproof, the SIM slot, in which two SIM cards or a SIM and microSD card fit, can be pulled out without any accessories. And that's right, you can even expand the memory. There is even a notification LED.

Now at the latest, Android fans should fall into ecstasy and tear the Xperia 5 III out of their hands from Sony, since precisely these properties are always required.

The processing quality is also good. I would have wished for matte surfaces like the ones you get on the Xperia 1 III, but I would use a cover anyway so that the back of the camera closes flat and the cell phone no longer wobbles on the table.

OLED display could be brighter

Summer is drawing to a close, but now and then you still have sunny days when you like to go out to take photos with the Sony Xperia 5 III. In normal use, the OLED display leaves a very good impression with 2,520 x 1,080 pixels.

Only when it's too light outside was the screen a little too dark for me . Here Sony cannot keep up with smartphones from Samsung. Since I am still using the Galaxy S21 at the same time, I could see the difference directly. Perhaps the next generation will have an outdoor mode that increases the brightness a little if necessary.

Otherwise, Sony's OLED display is excellent. The display is absolutely smooth at 120 Hz . Colors look natural and not exaggerated. I used to use it to scroll through my Twitter feed, read articles, and watch streams.

In-display fingerprint sensor and wireless charging are missing

I test a lot of different smartphones and you quickly get used to the convenience. I've had problems with it in the past when a fingerprint sensor wasn't attached to the back or front. That hasn't changed with the Sony Xperia 5 III. The fingerprint sensor on the right works without any problems and sits at a comfortable height, but in everyday life it is more of a burden for me.

What I can't understand at all at a price of 999 euros is the lack of a wireless charging function. This is standard in the price range and shouldn't be missing.

Comprehensive software is convincing

Basically, Sony is very much oriented towards pure Android from Google when it comes to software. Nevertheless, you quickly notice that changes have been made in many areas that make the operating system a bit more intuitive . If you come from a more adapted cell phone, you have to adapt. But that works quickly.

Sony has built in many practical help functions that bring you closer to the operating system and its functions. But none of this is forced upon you and can simply be pushed away. Some standard Google apps have been replaced by Sony solutions . That makes sense, because it makes the camera app much more extensive. Especially in professional mode, you can intervene more strongly than with any other smartphone. The disadvantage? You have to be familiar with it. But the automatic mode also does a good job.

Otherwise, the Sony Xperia 5 III looks like a really well thought-out mobile phone that basically explains itself and is intended for both beginners and advanced users. You can't say that about every smartphone. Android 11 is preinstalled as the operating system and Android updates should also be available. Android 12 and 13 will probably be at least. The update policy could be better.

It gets warm under load

The high heat development of the Snapdragon 888 under full load is known from many smartphones. The problem is also present in the Sony Xperia 5 III. If you play a lot, the cell phone gets noticeably warm . But I didn't have the feeling that the performance suffers. It is quite possible that the processor is throttled at higher temperatures, but you won't notice it in normal use or when gaming. I also had no case where the camera suddenly stopped working. You know from older models.

Sony camera creates natural photos

Depending on what kind of photos you stand on, the quality of the Xperia 5 III's images can be seen as positive or negative. Many prefer bright colors and low-light images that look completely unnatural in order to be able to post them on Instagram. The camera of the Xperia 5 III is rather reserved . She doesn't seem like an over-the-top teenager, but like an adult who has already gained experience in life.

Basically, I like the pictures of the Sony Xperia 5 III. The three sensors, each with 12 MP, produce absolutely sharp photos . Even if you take full advantage of the zoom. But I think that not everyone sees it that way. For many, some images will seem a little too lax. As I said, it depends on personal taste.

Below are some photos that I took in different situations. I succeeded in doing this in automatic mode . The autofocus is impressively fast. Unwanted light effects can only arise in the photos if you take pictures against the sun. The lens is reflected on the glass of the camera, which is at a certain distance. This causes the images to lose contrast. With that in mind, you can take great photos:

Two days of battery life are possible

I was pleasantly surprised with the battery life of the Sony Xperia 5 III. Despite the 120 Hz display, I got a display-on time of seven hours . "Only" a 4,500 mAh battery is installed here. So you can easily get through the day and almost scratch the two days. It is correspondingly less in the case of intense exertion.

Charging the Sony Xperia 5 III could be a bit faster. As I said, the wireless charging function is missing. A power supply is included for this , which can no longer be said of every cell phone.

Ratings in detail

Category Rating (max. 10) Processing, haptics and design 8 Display 8 Cameras 8 Software 9 Performance 9 Telephony and audio 8 Memory 8 Battery and everyday life 9 Overall 8.4


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