As smartphones have converged on the "flat glass slab" form factor, companies like Samsung and OnePlus have risen to the top. Sony, on the other hand, has not. The $1,200 Sony Xperia 1 II is the company's latest attempt to sell you a phone, but it feels more like a vanity project for Sony than a viable product. It's got dazzling specifications, but that's not enough to make a phone competitive these days.
There are a few unusual things about the Xperia 1 II, including the super-tall display and the stupid name, but arguably the most unusual thing is the price. Back when B&H first put the One-Two up for pre-order, we were amazed at that $1,198 price, and thought that Sony might be reconsidering the price when the number was taken down. However, Sony confirmed that price a few days later, though it did mention it'd be throwing in a free pair of WF-1000XM3s for pre-orders.
When pricing for the Xperia 1 II was announced last month, a lot was made of its high $1,200 price tag in the US, with some hoping it was a mistake. Sony confirmed that this was no error, but in line with Sony's pricing in recent years, its latest flagship makes more sense as a purchase in other regions. In Europe, where it retails for €1,200/£1,100, pre-order offers have included a free pair of the excellent WH-1000XM3 ANC over-ear headphones, but they've all run out now so the deal has been downgraded to include a cheaper set.
The Xperia 1 II, with its 4K HDR OLED display and 5G-capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, is going to cost every penny we thought we would and a couple dollars more. Customers who intend on reserving a device in the month of June will find themselves handsomely rewarded when the phone finally ships on July 24 — yep, that's going to be a while from now.
It's been a while since Sony introduced us to its 5G-capable Xperia 1 II — maybe the past 3 months have just been a huge mic check one, two for the company. However, that phone has come back into the spotlight at B&H Photo where the retailer is accepting pre-orders and displaying quite the dear price for it.
Sony's smartphone design language has long stagnated, but last year, the company stepped up its game with the Xperia 1 and 10, coming with 21:9 displays and slightly more rounded corners than Xperia devices of old. Today, the company has released the follow-ups for these two phones, the Xperia 1 II and 10 II (speak: Xperia 1 mark 2), stepping up both handsets' cameras and resurrecting the headphone jack on the high-end device. It's also Sony's first to come with 5G.