There is a refreshing old-school vibe about the Sony Xperia 10 II (available on Lazada and Shopee).
While modern smartphones are reducing screen bezels through the use of a notch or a cutout for the front camera, the Xperia has embraced them.
Its 6-inch Oled screen is bookended by top and bottom bezels that are thick by current standards.
But there is a pleasing symmetry to these bezels that adds to the balanced feel of the Xperia when held in the hand.
At 151g, the Xperia is also light compared to its peers. It is handy too, thanks to a narrow plastic and glass body that suits those with smaller hands or who prefer to use the phone one-handed.
Further enhancing its one-handed usability is the Xperia’s Side sense feature, a short bar at the right side of the screen that, when double-tapped, opens up a menu with a handful of frequently-used apps, common settings such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and shortcuts to pull down the notification shade or switch to a dedicated one-handed mode.
Swiping up this Side sense bar brings up a multi-window feature that lets you choose two apps to run together side-by-side. Swiping down acts like the Back button of the Android interface.
The screen is flat, not curved at the sides, which means you are less likely to accidentally touch the screen with your palm while using the phone.
This 21:9 display is taller than usual. You can zoom in to fill up the entire screen – without any black bars at the sides – in supported video apps like Netflix and YouTube or games like Asphalt 9.
At its $569 price point, I was not expecting an Oled screen that looks bright and vibrant, with a sharp 1,080p resolution. Its narrow width, though, means that text is a tad too small for my ageing eyes at the default font size.
The Xperia also has IP68 water resistance, which is unusual for a mid-range model.
However, I was unimpressed by the Xperia’s cameras, which top out at a modest 12 megapixels for the primary rear camera and includes ultra-wide and telephoto capabilities. There was a fair amount of noise in photos, especially those taken indoors in less than ideal lighting conditions.
Sony’s camera app recognises scenes and makes adjustments to the settings, though some photos still turn out underexposed. A long-exposure Night mode does a decent job at managing highlights from light sources but the resulting photos look soft and noisy.
The Xperia runs on stock Android 10 with minimal tweaks. While the interface is responsive, the phone’s mid-range hardware, which includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and just 4GB of system memory, means it takes just a fraction longer to open apps than a flagship phone. To be fair, games like Asphalt 9 run smoothly enough once they are opened.
Probably because of its relatively modest-sized display, the Xperia has excellent battery life. It lasted 16hr 10min in The Straits Times video-loop battery test with the screen brightness set to maximum.
Handy and well-built
Water and dust resistance
Excellent battery life
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 (quad-core 2GHz, quad-core 1.8GHz)
Main display: 6-inch Oled, 2,520 x 1,080 pixels, 457 ppi pixel density
Operating system: Android 10
Memory: 128GB (microSD expandable up to 1TB), 4GB RAM
Rear cameras: 12MP (f/2.0), 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 120-degree), 8MP telephoto (f/2.4)
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Value for money: 3.5/5
Battery life: 5/5
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