Sony Xperia 5 V review: Falls short of its promise

An iffy display and only three years of software support spoil this otherwise accomplished premium Android phone with a solid main camera and refreshingly unique design

What we love

  • Good main camera
  • Well built
  • Great performance
  • Headphone jack

What we don’t

  • Bad blue tint to the display
  • Only two years of Android updates
  • Slow charging
  • No optical zoom lens

Sony has settled into an awkward rut with its smartphones, with the Xperia 1 series being too expensive and niche for most people’s tastes. The Xperia 5 line would work better if it were more comparable to similarly priced phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Pixel 8, but some odd decisions and flaws make the Xperia 5 V hard to recommend.

The main offenders here are the short software support and the poor display quality. On a good point, Sony has also made the cameras here less ‘pro’ compared to older models and you can get some decent results from point-and-shoot, even if the company’s software processing is still behind rivals. It means photos are detailed and natural but will still only look their best if you dive into the complicated manual modes – and to be fair, that might be exactly what you’re after, and they are better than on competing Android phones.

But for £849, the screen quality here is unacceptable, with a blue tint visible from even slight angles and getting worse the more you look at it. It put us off using the phone, and the display resolution is also a downgrade from 2022’s Xperia 5 IV, as is the loss of the optical zoom lens.

It’s a crying shame as we love the solid utilitarian frame in the silver colour, the presence of a headphone jack, the lack of a notch or camera cut out, and decent battery life in a phone that performs excellently. But with only two years of Android updates support, a poor display and fiddly cameras, this Xperia remains one for the Sony purists.

Buy the Sony Xperia 5 V today from trusted UK-based retailer Clove Technology


  • Design
  • Display
  • Camera
  • Performance and battery life
  • Software
  • Price and where to buy
  • Verdict
  • Sony Xperia 5 V review

    Sony has a storied history when it comes to mobile phones, with first the beloved Sony Ericsson feature phones of the early 2000s through to the Xperia smartphones that began with Windows and carried through to the glorious dawn of Android phones last decade.

    In 2023, buying a Sony phone is a different proposition. With the Xperia 5 V (that’s pronounced ‘five mark five’, as this is the 5 series’ fifth generation model) you are signing up for an expensive phone that’s based around creative tools; mainly the camera for photos and videos, and recording audio with the built in microphones.

    The Xperia 5 V can do everything else you’d expect of a modern smartphone, with excellent performance, premium build, and even a headphone jack. The main camera takes great photos despite being a little temperamental, and you’ll particularly like it if you want true-to-life images without the artificial software processing you find on other smartphones. This feels and acts like a Sony Alpha camera, if that’s what you want.

    There are other ups and downs we’ve found when using the Xperia for the best part of a month, and though we’re big Sony fans, we struggled to fully enjoy our time with this frustrating phone thanks to a straight-up bad display and the poor software update promise on a device that should last you much longer.


    • Tall and thin
    • Bevelled edges
    • Camera shutter button

    We’ve got good at identifying a Sony phone from a hundred paces because they all conform to a unique tall and narrow look no other manufacturer has. The Xperia 5 V is a boxy phone with narrower dimensions than rival handsets, meaning you can hold it comfortably with one hand. It’s also IP65/68 water and dust resistant, the highest rating a phone can get.

    The front and back are tough Gorilla Glass with the back a lovely frosted texture that hides fingerprints, particularly in the silver model we were loaned for review. The phone is 8.6mm thick, only 0.4mm more so than the Xperia 5 IV, but it feels thick to hold because of its flat sides that have bevelled edges either side in a weird design that makes it sharp to hold. There are also quite thick bezels around the edge of the screen, but it’s not the end of the world.

    The Xperia 5 V is a boxy phone with narrower dimensions than rival handsets, meaning you can hold it comfortably with one hand

    There’s a lesser-spotted headphone jack on the top edge, a fingerprint scanner built into the power button on the right edge (instead of in the screen) and a USB-C port on the bottom next to a SIM tray you can remove with your fingernail – another little Sony-only trick. Another of those is the dedicated camera button that opens the camera app and is a two-stage shutter button for snapping away with your right forefinger.


    • 6.1-inch OLED
    • Noticeable blue tint
    • 21:9 tall aspect ratio

    We like the dimensions of the Xperia 5 V for its unusual tallness, which results in a 6.1-inch OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio. It’s narrow but you can fit more vertically on the screen. It means it’s good for the infinite scroll of social media, reading text on websites or in books, and when turned landscape can display TV shows and films full screen with no letterboxing – also helped by the lack of a camera notch or cutout as the selfie camera is in the top bezel.

    Unfortunately, the screen has a noticeable blue tint

    Unfortunately, the screen has a noticeable blue tint that spoils it, particularly if you run the phone in light mode. When the screen is white it has a weird blue tint to it that only gets worse when you tilt it. This can happen to a degree with all screens but it’s especially bad here, and it put us off using the phone as it feels like a big flaw.

    That’s a shame when things look otherwise great at the 120Hz refresh rate, though phones of a similar price and spec have variable refresh rates to scale the motion back and save battery – the Xperia 5 V does not, and you have to pick between 120Hz or 60Hz in the settings.


    • Solid main sensor
    • True-to-life photo look
    • Ultra-wide lens

    Sony uses the same 52Mp Exmor-T main camera sensor here as in the pricier Xperia 1 V, and it’s great, though however you shoot, the phone turns out 12Mp final images. Point and shoot shots look excellent in most conditions with a natural feel that isn’t over processed or saturated like you will find on many Samsung phones. Outdoor photos especially have a realistic quality that we love.

    Sony is doing some processing here, but to get the most out of the setup you’ll have to turn to the manual modes in the Photography Pro app that sets up the screen like a Sony Alpha camera. You also get two other apps, Cinema Pro and Videography Pro, to create video in either a cinematic or broadcast style respectively. This will be a dream for professional videographers, with more manual controls than we’ve seen on any other phone.

    Point and shoot shots look excellent in most conditions with a natural feel that isn’t over processed or saturated

    The 12Mp ultrawide camera is average in comparison, and less useful to film fanatics than a telephoto lens would have been. The front-facing camera is great in a pinch for selfies, group shots, and video calls.

    Performance and battery life

    • Top tier Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
    • MicroSD card expandable
    • Good battery life but slow charging

    Performance is great thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a high-end mobile chipset. The phone can crunch through many apps being open at once, and the 8GB RAM seemed enough to cope with the video apps that require a lot of computing power to run.

    Our review sample had 128GB storage, which we half-filled straight away with apps and media, but there is a microSDXC card slot for expansion, which is rare to see these days.

    The phone has a 5,000mAh battery that easily lasts all day, which is good because charging is annoyingly slow at a maximum of 30W, but note there’s no charging brick or cable in the box so you’ll have to buy a USB-C charger if you don’t already have one. You also get wireless charging to top up, and reverse wireless charging that lets you top up other phones or wirelessly chargeable earbuds by putting them on the back of the Xperia while it’s face down.


    • Android 13 at launch
    • Great look and feel
    • Only three years of total support

    Even though Android 14 is the latest version of Android, the Xperia 5 V has Android 13 at the time of review in November 2023. We like the light and clean version Sony uses as it feels uncluttered and left alone, unlike the heavily modified versions of Android used by Samsung and Xiaomi.

    It’s simply not good enough for Sony to only bother with three years of support

    There’s a software tab on the edge of the screen that lets you quickly access your most used apps anywhere and open them in split screen, which is handy. There’s also an app called Music Pro that’s for musicians to record audio in a studio-like setup with advanced editing tools.

    But possibly the worst thing about this phone is that Sony is only promising two Android version updates to Android 15, and only three years of overall security software support. That means by 2026 the Xperia 5 V will be unsupported, which is simply not good enough for a £849 phone. Google says it’ll support the Pixel 8 for seven years, and iPhones get updates for at least six (with easily replaceable batteries at the Apple Store). It’s simply not good enough for Sony to only bother with three years of support, especially as the Xperia 5 range is only one of three phone series the company seems to release annually now.

    Price and where to buy

    The Sony Xperia 5 V costs £849. You can buy it from Sony, Laptops Direct, and Clove in the UK. 

    That makes it the same price as the Samsung Galaxy S23, and £100 more than the iPhone 15. The Xperia has better manual controls for the camera, great battery life and premium build, but it’s hard to recommend it against those two phones when it has a dodgy blue tint to the display and only three years of software support.

    Buy the Sony Xperia 5 V today from trusted UK-based retailer Clove Technology


    We’ve enjoyed using the Xperia 5 V mostly because of its unusually tall and narrow design in a very well-built body, with top performance, solid battery life, and a refreshingly natural tone to the camera. The addition of two dedicated video apps to create films and content is great, and a real differentiator for Sony.

    But the blue tint of the screen is a real shame, spoiling the daily use of the phone as it’s so noticeable. The short three years of software support is also just not good enough in 2023, when Samsung, Apple, and Google are promising five, seven, and about six respectively. If you want a phone that acts like a true manual camera then this is the one for you, but otherwise there are options out there that have better screens and will get software updates for several more years.


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