After months of waiting, we8217;ve finally got our hands on the Sony Xperia 1 II and first impressions are very good. This is an Android phone that does things a bit differently and looks to offer certain buyers a viable alternative to the behemoth Samsung Galaxy S20 series.
Take the screen, for instance. Sony remains the only manufacturer using a 4K OLED panel on its phone and it8217;s easily one of the sharpest out there as a result. It is also taller than just about every other phone thanks to the 21:9 aspect ratio, giving it a far more cinematic feel.
But it8217;s a far smaller decision that has really caught my eye and got me all misty-eyed about phones from a few years ago. Instead of copying pretty much every Android phone in 2020 and using a fingerprint sensor buried underneath the display, Sony has stuck with a physical sensor built into the power switch on the side.
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Since they were first introduced on phones a couple of years ago, in-display sensors have caused me constant issues. The optical versions used on phones like the OnePlus 8 Pro are fast but require the portion around the sensor to light up before they can be used, while Samsung8217;s ultrasonic variety take an age to unlock.
You know what works just about every time? A proper, traditional physical sensor. I loved having TouchID back when I reviewed the iPhone SE 2 a few months ago and using the Xperia 1 II reminded me again just much better this option is.
There are, of course, some drawbacks – though none of them are that noticeable on this Xperia. As it8217;s embedded inside the power key, it doesn8217;t ruin the clean look of the back and it doesn8217;t need to be placed below the display on the front. It might limit how thin the phone can be but, again, that8217;s not an issue with the flat sides and boxy design Sony has gone with.
Elsewhere, the Xperia 1 II is shaping up to be great Android phone – even if we haven8217;t finished our full review yet. The 4K OLED HDR screen paired with the tall 21:9 aspect ratio is excellent for movies (though the lack of a fast 120Hz panel is a shame) and the in-depth camera controls plucked from the brand8217;s Alpha cameras offer plenty of opportunities to get ace pictures. It packs all the usual specs we8217;d want in an Android flagship costing over £1000 too, including the Snapdragon 865 chipset and 5G support.
Fast Charge is our weekly mobile-focussed column, where we look at the latest rumours and how we feel about the smartphones we8217;re using.
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