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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – When Small Doesn’t Mean Less
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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – When Small Doesn’t Mean Less

by March 11, 2022
Overview
Highlights

The compact flagship smartphone is here and it's better than ever. Now it comes with 500mAh more battery, Snapdragon 888 SoC, and still retains its 3.5mm headphone jack. Is it worth the money? Let's find out.

Warranty

1-year

Price

RM4,599

Positives

+ Excellent battery life
+ Good performance with Snapdragon 888
+ Colourful, punchy display with 120Hz refresh rate
+ Stereo speakers
+ Good overall camera system with robust control options
+ No notch
+ Compact and easy to use with one hand
+ Has a headphone jack

Negatives

- 21:9 aspect ratio is still a bit awkward to use
- Thicker bezels on top and bottom
- Speakers sound a little tinny
- Massive fingerprint magnet
- No adaptive refresh rate
- Pricey

Pokde Scoreboard
Pokde Rating
Appearance
8.5
Efficiency
8.2
Features
8.0
Materials
8.0
Performance
8.3
Portability
9.0
User Experience
8.5
Value
7.5
Bottom Line

The Sony Xperia 5 III is not perfect but even though options for a compact flagship smartphone is few and far in between, going for this doesn't mean you're settling for less as this can serve you well.

8.3
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Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 III

Sony Xperia 5 III Review

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Box

Let’s kick off the Sony Xperia 5 III review with the unboxing. With every purchase of the Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone, you are expected to get the following items:

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Box content

  • USB-C cable
  • Charger
  • Handsfree kit
  • User guide
  • Warranty card
  • The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone itself

Appearance

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Front

Just like its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 5 III is basically a flagship smartphone complete with appropriate hardware but built within a compact body. In simpler terms, it’s basically a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 III. On the front, you have a CinemaWide 6.1-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, thin side bezels but thicker bezels for the top and bottom, with the former housing its selfie camera and loudspeaker.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -Sides

Moving to the top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone hole. As for the bottom, you have a USB-C port and another microphone hole. On the left side, you have the SIM tray which doesn’t require an ejector as you can open it with just a finger. Then on the right side, you have the volume rocker, 2-in-1 power button / fingerprint scanner combination, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a dedicate camera shutter button.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -

Sony Xperia 5 III Review -Rear

Lastly on the back, you have a glossy surface which looks great but once again, it is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re worried about scratches, the back utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 as well, so you don’t have to worry about that. Still, there’s no harm in getting a protective case if it gives you peace of mind or lets you hold on to it more easily.

Overall, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pretty much one of the last few compact smartphones around to contain proper flagship hardware. It’s largely unchanged from its predecessor, being very slightly thicker to accommodate a bigger battery but if you held both together side-by-side, you’d have a hard time telling the difference. In case you’re wondering, this one weighs a mere 5g heavier than its previous iteration, but the additional 500mAh capacity is certainly worth it.

Specifications

Processor Snapdragon 888 (1 x Kryo 680 @ 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 @ 2.42GHz, and 4 x Kryo 680 @ 1.8GHz), 5nm
GPU Adreno 660
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB, expandable up to 1TB microSDXC
Display 6.1″ FHD+ (2520 x 1080) HDR 120Hz OLED, 21:9
240Hz motion blur reduction
Creator mode
DCI-P3 100%
Illuminant D65 white point
10-bit
Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7 wide angle, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
12MP f/2.3 3x / 4.4x telephoto, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
12MP f/2.2 124° ultra-wide, Dual Pixel PDAF
ZEISS T* Lens Coating
Zeiss Optics
Eye Tracking
4K HDR 24/25/30/60/120 video
Selfie Camera 8MP f/2.0 wide angle
5-axis gyro EIS
Battery 4500mAh
30W USB-PD fast charging
Dimensions 157 x 88 x 8.2 mm, 168g

Performance

Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 III Let's kick off the Sony Xperia 5 III review with the unboxing. With every purchase of the Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone, you are expected to get the following items: USB-C cable Charger Handsfree kit User guide Warranty card The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone itself Appearance Just like its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 5 III is basically a flagship smartphone complete with appropriate hardware but built within a compact body. In simpler terms, it's basically a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 III. On the front, you have a CinemaWide 6.1-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, thin side bezels but thicker bezels for the top and bottom, with the former housing its selfie camera and loudspeaker. Moving to the top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone hole. As for the bottom, you have a USB-C port and another microphone hole. On the left side, you have the SIM tray which doesn't require an ejector as you can open it with just a finger. Then on the right side, you have the volume rocker, 2-in-1 power button / fingerprint scanner combination, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a dedicate camera shutter button. Lastly on the back, you have a glossy surface which looks great but once again, it is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re worried about scratches, the back utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 as well, so you don’t have to worry about that. Still, there's no harm in getting a protective case if it gives you peace of mind or lets you hold on to it more easily. Overall, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pretty much one of the last few compact smartphones around to contain proper flagship hardware. It's largely unchanged from its predecessor, being very slightly thicker to accommodate a bigger battery but if you held both together side-by-side, you'd have a hard time telling the difference. In case you're wondering, this one weighs a mere 5g heavier than its previous iteration, but the additional 500mAh capacity is certainly worth it. Specifications Processor Snapdragon 888 (1 x Kryo 680 @ 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 @ 2.42GHz, and 4 x Kryo 680 @ 1.8GHz), 5nm GPU Adreno 660 RAM 8GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 1TB microSDXC Display 6.1" FHD+ (2520 x 1080) HDR 120Hz OLED, 21:9 240Hz motion blur reduction Creator mode DCI-P3 100% Illuminant D65 white point 10-bit Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7 wide angle, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.3 3x / 4.4x telephoto, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.2 124° ultra-wide, Dual Pixel PDAF ZEISS T* Lens Coating Zeiss Optics Eye Tracking 4K HDR 24/25/30/60/120 video Selfie Camera 8MP f/2.0 wide angle 5-axis gyro EIS Battery 4500mAh 30W USB-PD fast charging Dimensions 157 x 88 x 8.2 mm, 168g Performance Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu v8, the Sony Xperia 5 III proves that it's no slouch when it comes to CPU performance. It is interesting to see that it scored lower than the other Snapdragon 865 devices (sans the plus variant for obvious reasons), but it's still pretty strong nonetheless. A similar pattern can be seen in Geekbench 5 as well, with the Sony Xperia 5 III showing excellent performance in both single core and multi-core areas. In here however, it shows the strength of the smartphone in a better light. Moving on the 3DMark, it garnered excellent scores in Ice Storm Unlimited, Sling Shot, and Sling Shot Extreme. This shows that the Sony Xperia 5 III is more than capable when it comes to playing mobile games as it has more than adequate strength for it. On PCMark's Work 2.0 benchmark which tests out for real world use, the Sony Xperia 5 III fared well. It came very close to breaking the 10,000 mark but regardless, it shows that it works great for everyday use. If you're wondering about the battery life on the Sony Xperia 5 III, it's actually pretty. Using the 120Hz setting, it lasted 13 hours and 11 minutes (791 minutes) before it died on me. I tried to run the test on 60Hz but the test kept stopping and I couldn't get it to finish despite reinstalling several times. I would expect it to last an addition hour or two easily on that setting, that's for sure. As for real world use including calls, WhatsApp, Telegram, and social media use, I can easily get by with two full days of use before I need to charge it, which is excellent. User Experience Like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 5 III uses an OLED Triluminos display at Full HD+ resolution. In other words, you get a display that has the best contrast and truest blacks while the Triluminos technology reduces colour fading when viewing under direct sunlight or at an angle. Adding the X-Reality Engine image processing technology to the mix and you get yourself some really punchy colours and sharp images regardless of how you look at the smartphone. The size of the display is on the smaller side and the 21:9 aspect ratio can make viewing videos or playing games a little awkward to see. One odd thing I noticed is that the brightness is rather dim so you may find yourself on the higher side of things for the most part. This one has stereo speakers; one being the earpiece and the other is a bottom-firing speaker. The sound produced by the speakers seem a little tinny, but the volume is adequate enough. While it is certainly an attractive smartphone in terms of looks, it’s a fingerprint magnet and is also slippery to hold. If you don’t plan on using a case and are worried about scratches on its glass back, don’t worry about it. The back is using Gorilla Glass 6. As far as using the Sony Xperia 5 III goes, it came with Android 10 and Xperia Home launcher out of the box. It’s pretty clean with minimal bloatware inside and runs smoothly. There are additional tools in the form of Xperia Assist that you can make use of, such as battery and memory optimizations. If this isn’t up to your liking, you can always opt to use a different launcher. One thing I didn't like however was that the option of disabling navigation bar is nowhere to be found. As a result, I am stuck with that bar below the on-screen keyboard, which I do not like. It's a small issue, but I find it a bit annoying. One thing that I really enjoyed here is the fingerprint scanner. I liked the fact that it’s situated on the side, right below the volume rocker, as it’s a space-saving placement. Compared to its predecessor, I feel like it works a lot more reliably. After using it for nearly 3 weeks, I've only had it fail on me twice. Good on Sony for making improvements here. Looking for a good pair of headphones to use with this smartphone? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM4 review by clicking right here. Camera The stock camera app has a very simple UI to make the whole process easier. You can easily switch between the three cameras by press the tree icons, with the single tree being the telephoto, two trees for wide angle, and three for ultra-wide. As for the others like HDR, aspect ratio and more, it can be accessed on the opposite side of the shutter button. You can change to a variety of shooting modes by tapping on Mode, where you will have access to Photo Pro, Google Lens, Slow Motion, AR Effect, Portrait Selfie, Creative Effect (filters), and Panorama. Photo Pro works as a separate camera app and it gives you more control of what you shoot. You will have DSLR-like controls such as shutter speed, ISO, and more so you can get your pictures exactly the way you want them. Video Pro also works similarly, just that it's for video recording. It's great as it lets beginners use the camera as they see fit while the more experienced shooters can tailor their captures exactly how they want it to be. Camera performance is decent but it does have the potential to do better. On Auto, the Sony Xperia 5 has the tendency to overexpose almost every shot regardless of lighting condition. It also has a bit trouble with moving objects as I couldn’t get it to focus on a plate of sushi on a conveyor belt. You’re honestly better off shooting in Manual (Pro) if you want an overall better experience. Having a dedicated camera shutter button is great. The telephoto and ultra-wide cameras are better than I expected, and are definitely usable. It manages to capture quite a good amount of detail in every shot. With these two cameras however, lighting becomes even more critical for a good shot however. Sony Xperia 5 III Verdict The Sony Xperia 5 III is a great smartphone for those looking to get a flagship device but in a compact body. You get flagship-level specifications thanks to the Snapdragon 865 SoC, the battery life is great, colours are vibrant and punchy, 120Hz refresh rate, a headphone jack, and a good camera system with excellent control options. However, it is still a fingerprint magnet, it’s slippery to hold, the display is a little dim compared to other flagship devices, and the 21:9 aspect ratio can be awkward to use. I only wished that this smartphone would have arrived earlier as it is indeed a great device with a solid offering. Regardless, at the end of our Sony Xperia 5 III review, I award this with our Gold Pokdeward. Big thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Antutu v9

Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu v9, the Sony Xperia 5 III shows that it’s still a powerful device as it outperformed a good number of flagship devices. Sure, something with a newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip would be stronger, but it’s still a solid performer nonetheless.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 III Let's kick off the Sony Xperia 5 III review with the unboxing. With every purchase of the Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone, you are expected to get the following items: USB-C cable Charger Handsfree kit User guide Warranty card The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone itself Appearance Just like its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 5 III is basically a flagship smartphone complete with appropriate hardware but built within a compact body. In simpler terms, it's basically a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 III. On the front, you have a CinemaWide 6.1-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, thin side bezels but thicker bezels for the top and bottom, with the former housing its selfie camera and loudspeaker. Moving to the top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone hole. As for the bottom, you have a USB-C port and another microphone hole. On the left side, you have the SIM tray which doesn't require an ejector as you can open it with just a finger. Then on the right side, you have the volume rocker, 2-in-1 power button / fingerprint scanner combination, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a dedicate camera shutter button. Lastly on the back, you have a glossy surface which looks great but once again, it is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re worried about scratches, the back utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 as well, so you don’t have to worry about that. Still, there's no harm in getting a protective case if it gives you peace of mind or lets you hold on to it more easily. Overall, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pretty much one of the last few compact smartphones around to contain proper flagship hardware. It's largely unchanged from its predecessor, being very slightly thicker to accommodate a bigger battery but if you held both together side-by-side, you'd have a hard time telling the difference. In case you're wondering, this one weighs a mere 5g heavier than its previous iteration, but the additional 500mAh capacity is certainly worth it. Specifications Processor Snapdragon 888 (1 x Kryo 680 @ 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 @ 2.42GHz, and 4 x Kryo 680 @ 1.8GHz), 5nm GPU Adreno 660 RAM 8GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 1TB microSDXC Display 6.1" FHD+ (2520 x 1080) HDR 120Hz OLED, 21:9 240Hz motion blur reduction Creator mode DCI-P3 100% Illuminant D65 white point 10-bit Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7 wide angle, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.3 3x / 4.4x telephoto, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.2 124° ultra-wide, Dual Pixel PDAF ZEISS T* Lens Coating Zeiss Optics Eye Tracking 4K HDR 24/25/30/60/120 video Selfie Camera 8MP f/2.0 wide angle 5-axis gyro EIS Battery 4500mAh 30W USB-PD fast charging Dimensions 157 x 88 x 8.2 mm, 168g Performance Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu v8, the Sony Xperia 5 III proves that it's no slouch when it comes to CPU performance. It is interesting to see that it scored lower than the other Snapdragon 865 devices (sans the plus variant for obvious reasons), but it's still pretty strong nonetheless. A similar pattern can be seen in Geekbench 5 as well, with the Sony Xperia 5 III showing excellent performance in both single core and multi-core areas. In here however, it shows the strength of the smartphone in a better light. Moving on the 3DMark, it garnered excellent scores in Ice Storm Unlimited, Sling Shot, and Sling Shot Extreme. This shows that the Sony Xperia 5 III is more than capable when it comes to playing mobile games as it has more than adequate strength for it. On PCMark's Work 2.0 benchmark which tests out for real world use, the Sony Xperia 5 III fared well. It came very close to breaking the 10,000 mark but regardless, it shows that it works great for everyday use. If you're wondering about the battery life on the Sony Xperia 5 III, it's actually pretty. Using the 120Hz setting, it lasted 13 hours and 11 minutes (791 minutes) before it died on me. I tried to run the test on 60Hz but the test kept stopping and I couldn't get it to finish despite reinstalling several times. I would expect it to last an addition hour or two easily on that setting, that's for sure. As for real world use including calls, WhatsApp, Telegram, and social media use, I can easily get by with two full days of use before I need to charge it, which is excellent. User Experience Like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 5 III uses an OLED Triluminos display at Full HD+ resolution. In other words, you get a display that has the best contrast and truest blacks while the Triluminos technology reduces colour fading when viewing under direct sunlight or at an angle. Adding the X-Reality Engine image processing technology to the mix and you get yourself some really punchy colours and sharp images regardless of how you look at the smartphone. The size of the display is on the smaller side and the 21:9 aspect ratio can make viewing videos or playing games a little awkward to see. One odd thing I noticed is that the brightness is rather dim so you may find yourself on the higher side of things for the most part. This one has stereo speakers; one being the earpiece and the other is a bottom-firing speaker. The sound produced by the speakers seem a little tinny, but the volume is adequate enough. While it is certainly an attractive smartphone in terms of looks, it’s a fingerprint magnet and is also slippery to hold. If you don’t plan on using a case and are worried about scratches on its glass back, don’t worry about it. The back is using Gorilla Glass 6. As far as using the Sony Xperia 5 III goes, it came with Android 10 and Xperia Home launcher out of the box. It’s pretty clean with minimal bloatware inside and runs smoothly. There are additional tools in the form of Xperia Assist that you can make use of, such as battery and memory optimizations. If this isn’t up to your liking, you can always opt to use a different launcher. One thing I didn't like however was that the option of disabling navigation bar is nowhere to be found. As a result, I am stuck with that bar below the on-screen keyboard, which I do not like. It's a small issue, but I find it a bit annoying. One thing that I really enjoyed here is the fingerprint scanner. I liked the fact that it’s situated on the side, right below the volume rocker, as it’s a space-saving placement. Compared to its predecessor, I feel like it works a lot more reliably. After using it for nearly 3 weeks, I've only had it fail on me twice. Good on Sony for making improvements here. Looking for a good pair of headphones to use with this smartphone? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM4 review by clicking right here. Camera The stock camera app has a very simple UI to make the whole process easier. You can easily switch between the three cameras by press the tree icons, with the single tree being the telephoto, two trees for wide angle, and three for ultra-wide. As for the others like HDR, aspect ratio and more, it can be accessed on the opposite side of the shutter button. You can change to a variety of shooting modes by tapping on Mode, where you will have access to Photo Pro, Google Lens, Slow Motion, AR Effect, Portrait Selfie, Creative Effect (filters), and Panorama. Photo Pro works as a separate camera app and it gives you more control of what you shoot. You will have DSLR-like controls such as shutter speed, ISO, and more so you can get your pictures exactly the way you want them. Video Pro also works similarly, just that it's for video recording. It's great as it lets beginners use the camera as they see fit while the more experienced shooters can tailor their captures exactly how they want it to be. Camera performance is decent but it does have the potential to do better. On Auto, the Sony Xperia 5 has the tendency to overexpose almost every shot regardless of lighting condition. It also has a bit trouble with moving objects as I couldn’t get it to focus on a plate of sushi on a conveyor belt. You’re honestly better off shooting in Manual (Pro) if you want an overall better experience. Having a dedicated camera shutter button is great. The telephoto and ultra-wide cameras are better than I expected, and are definitely usable. It manages to capture quite a good amount of detail in every shot. With these two cameras however, lighting becomes even more critical for a good shot however. Sony Xperia 5 III Verdict The Sony Xperia 5 III is a great smartphone for those looking to get a flagship device but in a compact body. You get flagship-level specifications thanks to the Snapdragon 865 SoC, the battery life is great, colours are vibrant and punchy, 120Hz refresh rate, a headphone jack, and a good camera system with excellent control options. However, it is still a fingerprint magnet, it’s slippery to hold, the display is a little dim compared to other flagship devices, and the 21:9 aspect ratio can be awkward to use. I only wished that this smartphone would have arrived earlier as it is indeed a great device with a solid offering. Regardless, at the end of our Sony Xperia 5 III review, I award this with our Gold Pokdeward. Big thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Geekbench 5

In Geekbench 5, the Sony Xperia 5 III once again has an excellent showing, this time in both single core and multi-core performance. This time however, it seems to be neck in neck with other Snapdragon 888 devices, which is what we would expect since they’re all using the same chip.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 III Let's kick off the Sony Xperia 5 III review with the unboxing. With every purchase of the Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone, you are expected to get the following items: USB-C cable Charger Handsfree kit User guide Warranty card The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone itself Appearance Just like its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 5 III is basically a flagship smartphone complete with appropriate hardware but built within a compact body. In simpler terms, it's basically a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 III. On the front, you have a CinemaWide 6.1-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, thin side bezels but thicker bezels for the top and bottom, with the former housing its selfie camera and loudspeaker. Moving to the top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone hole. As for the bottom, you have a USB-C port and another microphone hole. On the left side, you have the SIM tray which doesn't require an ejector as you can open it with just a finger. Then on the right side, you have the volume rocker, 2-in-1 power button / fingerprint scanner combination, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a dedicate camera shutter button. Lastly on the back, you have a glossy surface which looks great but once again, it is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re worried about scratches, the back utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 as well, so you don’t have to worry about that. Still, there's no harm in getting a protective case if it gives you peace of mind or lets you hold on to it more easily. Overall, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pretty much one of the last few compact smartphones around to contain proper flagship hardware. It's largely unchanged from its predecessor, being very slightly thicker to accommodate a bigger battery but if you held both together side-by-side, you'd have a hard time telling the difference. In case you're wondering, this one weighs a mere 5g heavier than its previous iteration, but the additional 500mAh capacity is certainly worth it. Specifications Processor Snapdragon 888 (1 x Kryo 680 @ 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 @ 2.42GHz, and 4 x Kryo 680 @ 1.8GHz), 5nm GPU Adreno 660 RAM 8GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 1TB microSDXC Display 6.1" FHD+ (2520 x 1080) HDR 120Hz OLED, 21:9 240Hz motion blur reduction Creator mode DCI-P3 100% Illuminant D65 white point 10-bit Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7 wide angle, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.3 3x / 4.4x telephoto, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.2 124° ultra-wide, Dual Pixel PDAF ZEISS T* Lens Coating Zeiss Optics Eye Tracking 4K HDR 24/25/30/60/120 video Selfie Camera 8MP f/2.0 wide angle 5-axis gyro EIS Battery 4500mAh 30W USB-PD fast charging Dimensions 157 x 88 x 8.2 mm, 168g Performance Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu v8, the Sony Xperia 5 III proves that it's no slouch when it comes to CPU performance. It is interesting to see that it scored lower than the other Snapdragon 865 devices (sans the plus variant for obvious reasons), but it's still pretty strong nonetheless. A similar pattern can be seen in Geekbench 5 as well, with the Sony Xperia 5 III showing excellent performance in both single core and multi-core areas. In here however, it shows the strength of the smartphone in a better light. Moving on the 3DMark, it garnered excellent scores in Ice Storm Unlimited, Sling Shot, and Sling Shot Extreme. This shows that the Sony Xperia 5 III is more than capable when it comes to playing mobile games as it has more than adequate strength for it. On PCMark's Work 2.0 benchmark which tests out for real world use, the Sony Xperia 5 III fared well. It came very close to breaking the 10,000 mark but regardless, it shows that it works great for everyday use. If you're wondering about the battery life on the Sony Xperia 5 III, it's actually pretty. Using the 120Hz setting, it lasted 13 hours and 11 minutes (791 minutes) before it died on me. I tried to run the test on 60Hz but the test kept stopping and I couldn't get it to finish despite reinstalling several times. I would expect it to last an addition hour or two easily on that setting, that's for sure. As for real world use including calls, WhatsApp, Telegram, and social media use, I can easily get by with two full days of use before I need to charge it, which is excellent. User Experience Like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 5 III uses an OLED Triluminos display at Full HD+ resolution. In other words, you get a display that has the best contrast and truest blacks while the Triluminos technology reduces colour fading when viewing under direct sunlight or at an angle. Adding the X-Reality Engine image processing technology to the mix and you get yourself some really punchy colours and sharp images regardless of how you look at the smartphone. The size of the display is on the smaller side and the 21:9 aspect ratio can make viewing videos or playing games a little awkward to see. One odd thing I noticed is that the brightness is rather dim so you may find yourself on the higher side of things for the most part. This one has stereo speakers; one being the earpiece and the other is a bottom-firing speaker. The sound produced by the speakers seem a little tinny, but the volume is adequate enough. While it is certainly an attractive smartphone in terms of looks, it’s a fingerprint magnet and is also slippery to hold. If you don’t plan on using a case and are worried about scratches on its glass back, don’t worry about it. The back is using Gorilla Glass 6. As far as using the Sony Xperia 5 III goes, it came with Android 10 and Xperia Home launcher out of the box. It’s pretty clean with minimal bloatware inside and runs smoothly. There are additional tools in the form of Xperia Assist that you can make use of, such as battery and memory optimizations. If this isn’t up to your liking, you can always opt to use a different launcher. One thing I didn't like however was that the option of disabling navigation bar is nowhere to be found. As a result, I am stuck with that bar below the on-screen keyboard, which I do not like. It's a small issue, but I find it a bit annoying. One thing that I really enjoyed here is the fingerprint scanner. I liked the fact that it’s situated on the side, right below the volume rocker, as it’s a space-saving placement. Compared to its predecessor, I feel like it works a lot more reliably. After using it for nearly 3 weeks, I've only had it fail on me twice. Good on Sony for making improvements here. Looking for a good pair of headphones to use with this smartphone? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM4 review by clicking right here. Camera The stock camera app has a very simple UI to make the whole process easier. You can easily switch between the three cameras by press the tree icons, with the single tree being the telephoto, two trees for wide angle, and three for ultra-wide. As for the others like HDR, aspect ratio and more, it can be accessed on the opposite side of the shutter button. You can change to a variety of shooting modes by tapping on Mode, where you will have access to Photo Pro, Google Lens, Slow Motion, AR Effect, Portrait Selfie, Creative Effect (filters), and Panorama. Photo Pro works as a separate camera app and it gives you more control of what you shoot. You will have DSLR-like controls such as shutter speed, ISO, and more so you can get your pictures exactly the way you want them. Video Pro also works similarly, just that it's for video recording. It's great as it lets beginners use the camera as they see fit while the more experienced shooters can tailor their captures exactly how they want it to be. Camera performance is decent but it does have the potential to do better. On Auto, the Sony Xperia 5 has the tendency to overexpose almost every shot regardless of lighting condition. It also has a bit trouble with moving objects as I couldn’t get it to focus on a plate of sushi on a conveyor belt. You’re honestly better off shooting in Manual (Pro) if you want an overall better experience. Having a dedicated camera shutter button is great. The telephoto and ultra-wide cameras are better than I expected, and are definitely usable. It manages to capture quite a good amount of detail in every shot. With these two cameras however, lighting becomes even more critical for a good shot however. Sony Xperia 5 III Verdict The Sony Xperia 5 III is a great smartphone for those looking to get a flagship device but in a compact body. You get flagship-level specifications thanks to the Snapdragon 865 SoC, the battery life is great, colours are vibrant and punchy, 120Hz refresh rate, a headphone jack, and a good camera system with excellent control options. However, it is still a fingerprint magnet, it’s slippery to hold, the display is a little dim compared to other flagship devices, and the 21:9 aspect ratio can be awkward to use. I only wished that this smartphone would have arrived earlier as it is indeed a great device with a solid offering. Regardless, at the end of our Sony Xperia 5 III review, I award this with our Gold Pokdeward. Big thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – 3DMark

Moving on the 3DMark, it performed admirably in Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme, and the Wild Life score is about what you’d expect from the SoC. The only wait it would get higher is if the chip had a stronger GPU that can take advantage of newer technology, which is why the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 here had a noticeably higher score.

Unboxing the Sony Xperia 5 III Let's kick off the Sony Xperia 5 III review with the unboxing. With every purchase of the Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone, you are expected to get the following items: USB-C cable Charger Handsfree kit User guide Warranty card The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone itself Appearance Just like its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 5 III is basically a flagship smartphone complete with appropriate hardware but built within a compact body. In simpler terms, it's basically a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 III. On the front, you have a CinemaWide 6.1-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, thin side bezels but thicker bezels for the top and bottom, with the former housing its selfie camera and loudspeaker. Moving to the top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone hole. As for the bottom, you have a USB-C port and another microphone hole. On the left side, you have the SIM tray which doesn't require an ejector as you can open it with just a finger. Then on the right side, you have the volume rocker, 2-in-1 power button / fingerprint scanner combination, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and a dedicate camera shutter button. Lastly on the back, you have a glossy surface which looks great but once again, it is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re worried about scratches, the back utilizes Gorilla Glass 6 as well, so you don’t have to worry about that. Still, there's no harm in getting a protective case if it gives you peace of mind or lets you hold on to it more easily. Overall, the Sony Xperia 5 III is pretty much one of the last few compact smartphones around to contain proper flagship hardware. It's largely unchanged from its predecessor, being very slightly thicker to accommodate a bigger battery but if you held both together side-by-side, you'd have a hard time telling the difference. In case you're wondering, this one weighs a mere 5g heavier than its previous iteration, but the additional 500mAh capacity is certainly worth it. Specifications Processor Snapdragon 888 (1 x Kryo 680 @ 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 @ 2.42GHz, and 4 x Kryo 680 @ 1.8GHz), 5nm GPU Adreno 660 RAM 8GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 1TB microSDXC Display 6.1" FHD+ (2520 x 1080) HDR 120Hz OLED, 21:9 240Hz motion blur reduction Creator mode DCI-P3 100% Illuminant D65 white point 10-bit Rear Camera 12MP f/1.7 wide angle, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.3 3x / 4.4x telephoto, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12MP f/2.2 124° ultra-wide, Dual Pixel PDAF ZEISS T* Lens Coating Zeiss Optics Eye Tracking 4K HDR 24/25/30/60/120 video Selfie Camera 8MP f/2.0 wide angle 5-axis gyro EIS Battery 4500mAh 30W USB-PD fast charging Dimensions 157 x 88 x 8.2 mm, 168g Performance Starting off our benchmark suite with Antutu v8, the Sony Xperia 5 III proves that it's no slouch when it comes to CPU performance. It is interesting to see that it scored lower than the other Snapdragon 865 devices (sans the plus variant for obvious reasons), but it's still pretty strong nonetheless. A similar pattern can be seen in Geekbench 5 as well, with the Sony Xperia 5 III showing excellent performance in both single core and multi-core areas. In here however, it shows the strength of the smartphone in a better light. Moving on the 3DMark, it garnered excellent scores in Ice Storm Unlimited, Sling Shot, and Sling Shot Extreme. This shows that the Sony Xperia 5 III is more than capable when it comes to playing mobile games as it has more than adequate strength for it. On PCMark's Work 2.0 benchmark which tests out for real world use, the Sony Xperia 5 III fared well. It came very close to breaking the 10,000 mark but regardless, it shows that it works great for everyday use. If you're wondering about the battery life on the Sony Xperia 5 III, it's actually pretty. Using the 120Hz setting, it lasted 13 hours and 11 minutes (791 minutes) before it died on me. I tried to run the test on 60Hz but the test kept stopping and I couldn't get it to finish despite reinstalling several times. I would expect it to last an addition hour or two easily on that setting, that's for sure. As for real world use including calls, WhatsApp, Telegram, and social media use, I can easily get by with two full days of use before I need to charge it, which is excellent. User Experience Like its predecessor, the Sony Xperia 5 III uses an OLED Triluminos display at Full HD+ resolution. In other words, you get a display that has the best contrast and truest blacks while the Triluminos technology reduces colour fading when viewing under direct sunlight or at an angle. Adding the X-Reality Engine image processing technology to the mix and you get yourself some really punchy colours and sharp images regardless of how you look at the smartphone. The size of the display is on the smaller side and the 21:9 aspect ratio can make viewing videos or playing games a little awkward to see. One odd thing I noticed is that the brightness is rather dim so you may find yourself on the higher side of things for the most part. This one has stereo speakers; one being the earpiece and the other is a bottom-firing speaker. The sound produced by the speakers seem a little tinny, but the volume is adequate enough. While it is certainly an attractive smartphone in terms of looks, it’s a fingerprint magnet and is also slippery to hold. If you don’t plan on using a case and are worried about scratches on its glass back, don’t worry about it. The back is using Gorilla Glass 6. As far as using the Sony Xperia 5 III goes, it came with Android 10 and Xperia Home launcher out of the box. It’s pretty clean with minimal bloatware inside and runs smoothly. There are additional tools in the form of Xperia Assist that you can make use of, such as battery and memory optimizations. If this isn’t up to your liking, you can always opt to use a different launcher. One thing I didn't like however was that the option of disabling navigation bar is nowhere to be found. As a result, I am stuck with that bar below the on-screen keyboard, which I do not like. It's a small issue, but I find it a bit annoying. One thing that I really enjoyed here is the fingerprint scanner. I liked the fact that it’s situated on the side, right below the volume rocker, as it’s a space-saving placement. Compared to its predecessor, I feel like it works a lot more reliably. After using it for nearly 3 weeks, I've only had it fail on me twice. Good on Sony for making improvements here. Looking for a good pair of headphones to use with this smartphone? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM4 review by clicking right here. Camera The stock camera app has a very simple UI to make the whole process easier. You can easily switch between the three cameras by press the tree icons, with the single tree being the telephoto, two trees for wide angle, and three for ultra-wide. As for the others like HDR, aspect ratio and more, it can be accessed on the opposite side of the shutter button. You can change to a variety of shooting modes by tapping on Mode, where you will have access to Photo Pro, Google Lens, Slow Motion, AR Effect, Portrait Selfie, Creative Effect (filters), and Panorama. Photo Pro works as a separate camera app and it gives you more control of what you shoot. You will have DSLR-like controls such as shutter speed, ISO, and more so you can get your pictures exactly the way you want them. Video Pro also works similarly, just that it's for video recording. It's great as it lets beginners use the camera as they see fit while the more experienced shooters can tailor their captures exactly how they want it to be. Camera performance is decent but it does have the potential to do better. On Auto, the Sony Xperia 5 has the tendency to overexpose almost every shot regardless of lighting condition. It also has a bit trouble with moving objects as I couldn’t get it to focus on a plate of sushi on a conveyor belt. You’re honestly better off shooting in Manual (Pro) if you want an overall better experience. Having a dedicated camera shutter button is great. The telephoto and ultra-wide cameras are better than I expected, and are definitely usable. It manages to capture quite a good amount of detail in every shot. With these two cameras however, lighting becomes even more critical for a good shot however. Sony Xperia 5 III Verdict The Sony Xperia 5 III is a great smartphone for those looking to get a flagship device but in a compact body. You get flagship-level specifications thanks to the Snapdragon 865 SoC, the battery life is great, colours are vibrant and punchy, 120Hz refresh rate, a headphone jack, and a good camera system with excellent control options. However, it is still a fingerprint magnet, it’s slippery to hold, the display is a little dim compared to other flagship devices, and the 21:9 aspect ratio can be awkward to use. I only wished that this smartphone would have arrived earlier as it is indeed a great device with a solid offering. Regardless, at the end of our Sony Xperia 5 III review, I award this with our Gold Pokdeward. Big thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.

Sony Xperia 5 III Review – PCMark

On PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark which tests out for real world use, the Sony Xperia 5 III performed well enough. It easily passed the 10,000 mark, though its a surprise that some other device running the same chip managed a noticeably higher score. Regardless, it’s still a good performer.

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Battery endurance test

As for battery life, the Sony Xperia 5 III had a healthy 500mAh boost in capacity but is it any good? It’s certainly good given that the display is on most of the time as it lasted 12 hours and 47 minutes (767 minutes) in PCMark’s Work 3.0 endurance test in 60Hz, and a shorter 9 hours 18 minutes (558 minutes) in 120Hz. With my own light-to-medium usage of mostly social media apps, short calls, and texting, I only need to charge this once every two days.

In case you’re wondering about charging speed, it goes from 1% to 49% in 30 minutes, but a full charge will take slightly less than 2 hours, roughly 105 to 110 minutes. This is with the included 30W PD charger that’s included inside the box. It’s far from the fastest around but Sony claims that they’re doing this to preserve the battery’s health, which is said to be good even after three years of use.

User Experience

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Display on

The Sony Xperia 5 III uses a 6.1-inch OLED display at Full HD+ resolution and refresh rate options of either 60Hz or 120Hz. Colours are punchy with good contrast thanks to the OLED’s ability to display the truest blacks. With Creator Mode, you get more colour-accurate visuals, which may appear more dull so for the most part, I would suggest using it in Standard Mode unless you have a specific use for it.

It’s standard to have 120Hz refresh rate option nowadays, and it’s great to have to enjoy much smoother animations. I do hope this will be the last one of its kind and Sony will move towards adaptive refresh rate instead. That way, you can have both buttery smooth visuals and not sacrifice battery efficiency. The 21:9 aspect ratio can make viewing videos or playing games a little awkward to see.

In case you were wondering, the Sony Xperia 5 III has stereo speakers; one being the earpiece and the other is a bottom-firing speaker. It doesn’t seem to be much different from its predecessor as the sound produced is a little tinny but with adequate volume. For most people, you wouldn’t have any issues with it but if you want a better listening experience, you can connect your audio gear to it either via USB-C or the 3.5mm audio jack.

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Glossy rear

While it is certainly an attractive smartphone in terms of looks, it’s a fingerprint magnet and is also slippery to hold. If you don’t plan on using a case and are worried about scratches on its glass back, don’t worry about it since Gorilla Glass 6 is present on both the front and back of the device.

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – UI

As far as using the Sony Xperia 5 III goes, it came with Android 11 and Xperia Home launcher out of the box. It’s pretty clean with minimal bloatware inside and runs smoothly. I personally feel that some parts of the UI, such as the Settings menu, feel a bit cramped but that may just be due to the nature of the CinemaWide display. If this isn’t up to your liking, you can always opt to use a different launcher.

Just like its predecessor, I really had a good time with its fingerprint scanner. I liked the fact that it’s situated on the side, right below the volume rocker, as it’s a space-saving placement. Moreover, it works fast and reliably. It’s great that Sony isn’t following the trend of having an under-display reader instead given how well this works, and it also helps solidify their identity.

Looking for a good pair of headphones to use with this smartphone? Check out our Sony WH-1000XM4 review by clicking right here.

Camera

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review – Camera UI

The Photo Pro app is pretty much the same as before. You will have DSLR-like controls such as shutter speed, ISO, and more so you can get your pictures exactly the way you want them. You can also rely on Basic Mode for a more traditional smartphone shooting experience. Video Pro also works similarly, just that it’s for video recording. It’s great as it lets beginners use the camera as they see fit while the more experienced shooters can tailor their captures exactly how they want it to be.

Camera performance on the Sony Xperia 5 III is great across the board. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that it’s the closest thing to the iPhone in terms of overall camera performance as every single camera is a capable shooter so you can enjoy a more consistent experience.

You get excellent dynamic range in practically every shot, low-light performance is great, and the Manual options bring a whole world of possibilities at your fingertips. Sure, you don’t get some of the fancier features that certain competitors have like 100x zoom but realistically, are you actually going to use that often? It’s a novelty, and this is practical.

Sony Xperia 5 III Verdict

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Sony Xperia 5 III Review

The Sony Xperia 5 III is an excellent smartphone in today’s world if you’d prefer smaller devices that are easier to hold. Granted, the display’s aspect ratio is uncommon compared to its competitors but what you get here is a solid performer with good battery life, great cameras, and excellent display while still being able to retain the 3.5mm audio jack.

It’s not perfect but even though options for a compact flagship smartphone is few and far in between, going for this doesn’t mean you’re settling for less as this can serve you well. Just keep in mind that it’s rather pricey, at RM4,599. At the end of our Sony Xperia 5 III review, I award this with our Gold Pokdeward.

Pokdeward-Gold

Big thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)