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Sony Xperia 10 II Review: Cinematic Experience at an Affordable Price

Recently, Sony had launched a new exciting mid-ranger smartphone known as the Sony Xperia 10 II (read as Xperia 10 Mark 2) in Singapore that will succeed last year’s Xperia 10.

In the new Xperia 10 II, Sony had once again refined its performance with an updated chipset and bump up its photography prowess with an addition camera in the rear camera system. At the same time, features like the 21:9 cinematic display will be making a return in the Xperia 10 II.

Sony Xperia 10 II Rear Design

Priced at just S$519, the Sony Xperia 10 II is certainly one of the most affordable mid-ranger smartphones we have in the congested smartphone market. However, how does it stands against other smartphones within the same price segment? Let’s find out in this Sony Xperia 10 II review!

Design & Display

At first glance, the Sony Xperia 10 II doesn’t look like any of the mainstream devices we’d seen so far. Its 6-inches front display is slightly smaller than most of the smartphones in the market which typically have a display size that sits between 6.4-inches to 6.7-inches.

However, its exactly the smaller display that allows the device to sport a more “compact” design which we’re missing out in the market. This makes the device a possible alternative over other compact phones like the Google Pixel 4a and Apple iPhone SE.

In terms of its front design, the Sony Xperia 10 II will be retaining the signature OmniBalance design that we saw among other Xperia smartphones. As such, there won’t be any unsightly notches or hole-punches but rather a pair of noticeable bezels towards the top of bottom of the front display.

It might be a personal preference, but such design somehow still looks good to me, even though others on the opposite camp may suggest it to be antiquated.

Sony Xperia 10 II Side Profile

As for the front display, it will be an OLED panel with 1080 x 2520 pixels resolution and a tall 21:9 aspect ratio. On the whole, it did a splendid job in delivering an incredibly immersive entertainment experience.

Its vibrancy and accurate color reproduction tick all the boxes of a high-end smartphone display that we typically see among flagship phones. Of course, it could be even better if the front display comes with a higher refresh rate for an even smoother graphics.

Courtesy to its 21:9 tall aspect ratio, majority of new movies and films are able to fit fully to the screen without any black bars enveloping either of its sides. However, for the minority of those that are not available in 21:9 format, it will be padded with black bars on the left and right sides of the content.

Sony Xperia 10 II Rear Design

Flipping the device over, we will be greeted by a pill-shape camera housing on the upper-left corner which is home to a triple camera setup aligned vertically. It certainly looks more conventional than the horizontally-aligned camera housing that we saw on last year’s Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus.

Moreover, to give the device a more premium outlook, both the front and back panel will be garnished with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 which also serves to cushion the device against accidental drops. In fact, we don’t usually see mid-ranger phones around this price range to feature a glass back – so its something applaudable in this aspect.

To sweeten the deal, the Xperia 10 II is also IP65/ IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. Other than that, its also worth noting that the device has a fingerprint scanner located along its right frame and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top.

With regards to handling, its 151 grams ultra-lightweight coupled with its tall design makes the device nice and easy to hold in both portrait and landscape orientations. Even for users with small palms, there wouldn’t be any issue with single-handed use as well.

Performance

Under the hood, the Sony Xperia 10 II is backed by an octa-core Snapdragon 665 chipset which is common among mid-ranger smartphones. Its definitely not one of the most powerful chip in the market, but is sure to provide more than enough horse power for most users.

For day-to-day usage, its user interface did feel snappy and applications are launched reasonably fast. Though the Snapdragon 665 chipset undeniably has a lower clock speed than Snapdragon 7-series chips, but the difference between them for day-to-day usage isn’t obvious at all unless you really put two devices side-by-side to carry out a set of similar tasks.

When it comes to gaming, you can expect a smooth game play even on real-time game titles like PUBG Mobile as long as you keep its default graphical settings. However, if you try to push its limit further by upping its graphics quality, then it may occasionally feels choppy – but certainly not detrimental enough to cost you your game.

Along with the Snapdragon 665 SoC, the Xperia 10 II also brings in 4GB worth of RAM in the memory department. For most average users, this should provide more than sufficient memory for multi-tasking without having to suffer from app crashes.

Camera

Moving on to its camera, the Sony Xperia 10 II features a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 12 megapixels (f/2.0 aperture) primary shooter, 8 megapixels (f/2.2 aperture) ultra-wide lens with 120-degree field of view, as well as an 8 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) telephoto lens.

Sony Xperia 10 II Camera Design

Compared to the 13MP+5MP dual camera setup on last year’s Xperia 10, the updated camera system on the Xperia 10 II is definitely much more advanced and versatile as evidenced by the photo samples I’d shared below.

Sony Xperia 10 II Camera Sample
Default Mode Sample #1
Sony Xperia 10 II Camera Sample
Default Mode Sample #2

In the default shooting mode, images taken generally has a nice color profile with good color depth and decent dynamic range in both bright and low-light environment. Details are also generally well preserved when you enlarge or zoom into specific section within the image.

Sony Xperia 10 II Camera Sample

However, shadow details do appear blurry occasionally within some of the camera samples. This could be seen in the cropped image above when I zoom into the shadow area within the grass patch in Default Mode Sample #2.

As such, it may suffers slightly when it comes to high contrast scenes. But other than that, it really performs quite well at its price range.

Sony Xperia 10 II Night Mode Sample

For low-light environment, the Sony Xperia 10 II do have a dedicated Night mode that help to illuminate the scene pretty naturally with good amount exposure. What’s notable is that its Night mode actually works on all three cameras including the ultra-wide and telephoto lens as well.

Sony Xperia 10 II Ultra Wide Sample

Coming to its ultra-wide shots, they’re certainly flattering enough for you to post them across social medias. However, just like its main camera, it occasionally underperforms under high contrast or low-light environment.

To assist with zooming, the Xperia 10 II has an 8 megapixels telephoto lens that offers up to 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. It is one of the few smartphones within its price segment that features a telephoto lens, which we usually see only among upper mid-ranger or high-end devices.

Sony Xperia 10 II Telephoto Sample
10x Zoom Sample #1
Sony Xperia 10 II Telephoto Sample
10x Zoom Sample #2

Within the 1x to 2x zoom level, dynamic range and details are well retained thanks to its optical zoom. As it edge towards the 10x zoom level, image will inevitably appears softer. However, compared to other mid-ranger phones, the Xperia 10 II really outperforms in terms of zooming. Even at the upper 10x zoom limit, it still offers pretty good color profile with low level of noise.

Sony Xperia 10 II Macro Sample

As for close-up shots, it did fairly well in separating the subject from the background with a smooth, natural bokeh effect. Colors of the subject remain true to life and fine details were also well preserved. Nothing much we can really nitpick on this aspect except for occasion hiccups when it comes to focusing.

Last but not the least, the Sony Xperia 10 II has an 8 megapixels (f/2.0 aperture) camera at the front that clicks natural-looking and insta-worthy selfie images.

Battery Life

To keep the device rocking, the Xperia 10 II is equipped with a 3,600mAh battery beneath its back panel. However, do not let its number fools you.

The Xperia 10 II has an incredibly enduring battery life that could easily last you through the day with at least 20% remaining on the bar. This also includes more than an hour of entertainment (movie streaming/ gaming) in between when commuting.

Although I really like about its battery life, but the device lost out when it comes to charging speed which takes more than 2 hours to deliver a full charge.

However, if you’re those who always carry a power bank along with you, then this shouldn’t be much of an issue as you can simply charge and use on the go whenever its power runs low.

Pricing

In Singapore, the Sony Xperia 10 II will carry an off-contract price of S$519. The device will be available for purchase through its official store on Lazada.

Conclusion

Although the Xperia 10 II doesn’t has the most powerful processor or fastest charging speed within its price range, but it certainly has other notable features that put it ahead of its competitors.

Its vibrant OLED display along with its cinematic aspect ratio is an exclusive feature that really holds immense entertainment value. On top of that, its glass finish at the back, as well as IP65/ IP68 rating for dust and water resistance are also premium features that we don’t usually see among mid-ranger phones.

Rather than focusing solely on performance level or photography aspect that will make the device looks good on paper, Sony decided to design and manufacture the Xperia 10 II with greater emphasize on its durability and handling.

Therefore, if you take into account these advantages that aren’t obvious on the specs sheet, the Xperia 10 II definitely lives up to its S$519 asking price.

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