I’ve been using Sony phones for eight years now – Z3, Z5, Z5P, XZ, X1, X5, X1m2 – and this time, the X1m5 has addressed the heat dissipation issue. The back panel is matte glass, and it’s pretty close to my vision of the perfect Xperia, so I placed an order on the first day of its release on JD.com. I got the 12GB+512GB version in black.
Here are some impressions:
- Offline purchases are more cost-effective now. Online pre-orders come with cases, screen protectors, and headphones. Offline pre-orders not only come with these accessories but also include a 3-inch mini monitor (XQZ-IV01). Even though it’s not that useful for my FX3, this thing is being sold for over 800 RMB on resale platforms! Also, the online pre-order shipped from Shenzhen via SF Express and took two days.
- The design exceeded my expectations. It’s incredibly beautiful. Aside from the 21:9 aspect ratio, no punch holes, 3.5mm headphone jack, 7cm width, and the camera bump not protruding too much – all of which are signature features of the X1 series – the overall refinement level has improved significantly. I can’t find other words to describe it other than exquisite. Compared to iPhones that seem like big, clunky bricks, even the X1m2 looks cheap in comparison. In my eyes, it’s the most beautiful phone ever (with the second being the Z5P and the third being the iPhone 4). Historically, Sony phones have had issues with gaps and misaligned cameras, but this time, the craftsmanship is impressive. I haven’t found any flaws in my unit.
- The grip isn’t great. It’s worse compared to the X1m2 because of its sleekness; the edges are too sharp. While it’s not as uncomfortable as an iPhone due to its narrow width, it still feels quite different from the rounded X1m2. Sometimes, it even lacks the unified feeling in hand.
- Software-wise, it’s not much different from before. I’m just an average user. I’ve always thought Sony’s features like “Photography Master,” “Video Master,” “Cinema Pro,” “Game Enhancer,” etc. are just gimmicks. I also shoot videos regularly; I use the FX3 and occasionally the Fujifilm XH2s. But, honestly, I don’t really need something like “Video Master.” It’s overwhelming to see so many parameters on a phone when I’m used to simple logic and interface for consumer products. Phones are fast-moving consumer goods; their operation should be simple. Trying to apply the logic of professional tools, apart from creating hype, doesn’t make much practical sense. Of course, Sony claims to serve vloggers with these features, but that’s mostly their own fantasy. The most critical factor for vlogging is good stabilization. When it comes to vlogging with a phone, there’s only one choice – the iPhone.
Sony’s system is pretty much similar to stock Android, which might sound clean but is, in reality, quite simplistic and not very user-friendly. Their collaboration with Meizu resulted in just an app store, weather app, and news app. To use them smoothly, you have to tinker around. The phone comes with Google framework; you can manually enable it to install Google Play. However, it’s frustrating that Baidu input cannot be uninstalled.
- Buying recommendations.
The Xperia 1 II has suddenly become very attractive. The user experience is not much different, but it’s significantly cheaper. If you really want to buy it, wait for about a month. Most probably, after a month, you’ll find a barely used Xperia 1m5 on resale platforms for at least 1,000 RMB less than the official price. This is because in recent years, Sony has done some promotion in the Chinese market, especially through various self-media, exaggerating Sony phone’s few advantages and ignoring many disadvantages. This has prompted many people to buy one, only to realize that it’s difficult to use, leading them to sell it at a lower price. If you’re buying, I suggest getting the 256GB version and then adding a 512GB TF card for an extra 200 RMB for more freedom.
You might be interested in the latest CMOS sensor, but in reality, these slight improvements are hard for the average person to perceive. For instance, if I take a photo of the same object with the main camera of Xperia 1 V, Xperia 1 II, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, can you tell which photo was taken by which phone? There might be differences, but they are negligible.
My opinion over the years has been: unless you’re willing to endure inconveniences for the sake of aesthetics or you’re a tech enthusiast with money to spare for experiencing the latest technology, don’t buy Sony phones. This time is no different. For me, it’s a refined toy; my goal is aesthetics, which it fulfills completely. Feel free to comment if you have any questions; I’ll do my best to answer.