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Sony Xperia 10 II review: A smartphone with a stunning display

By Liu Hongzuo - 4 Jul 2020
Launch SRP: S$569

Benchmark Performance, Battery, Conclusion

Benchmark Performance

The Sony Xperia 10 II packs a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. It's built on an 11nm process technology and packs an LTE-compatible modem, making it a 4G-capable device. With a processor of this tier and given how some mid-range devices aren't rated under modern versions of our benchmarks, we've decided to pit it against the Oppo Reno2, Google Pixel 3A XL, and Samsung Galaxy A80 (at least, for the scores we do have).

The Sony phone's processing subsystem doesn't quite stack up to these upper-tier mid-range phones from last year, so it's probably going to be a tough fight as the street price for all of these phones are currently evenly matched with the Sony's suggested retail price.

For the scores we don't have, we've shared scores from older flagship phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Google Pixel 3 XL, and Samsung Galaxy S10+ to see how it stacks up against 2019 flagship devices. For comparison's sake, we'll also throw in an OnePlus 8 Pro to see how it holds up next to current-gen flagship phones.

  Sony Xperia 10 II Oppo Reno2 Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) Samsung Galaxy A80 OnePlus 8 Pro Samsung Galaxy S10+ (128GB) Huawei Mate 30 Pro OnePlus 7 Pro (12GB/256GB)
  Sony Xperia 10 II Oppo Reno2 Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) Samsung Galaxy A80 OnePlus 8 Pro Samsung Galaxy S10+ (128GB) Huawei Mate 30 Pro OnePlus 7 Pro (12GB/256GB)
Launch SRP
  • From S$569
  • From S$899
  • From S$779
  • From S$898
  • From S$1298
  • From S$1398
  • From S$1298
  • From S$1278
Operating system
  • Android 10
  • ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9 Pie
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • One UI based on Android 9
  • OxygenOS 10, based on Android 10
  • Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI
  • Android 10.0 with EMUI 10
  • Android 9.0 with Oxygen OS
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Octa-core (2x2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6x1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver) with Adreno 618 GPU
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • Octa core (2 x 2GHz 360 Gold, 6 x 1.7GHz Kryo 360 Silver)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
  • Octa-core (2 x 2.2 GHz + 6 x 1.8GHz)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Octa-core up to 2.84GHz
  • Samsung Exynos 9820 8nm octa-core (2x2.7 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2x2.3 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4x1.9 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Hisilicon Kirin 990 Octa-core (2x2.86 GHz Cortex-A76 & 2x2.09 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4x1.86 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Built-in Memory
  • 4GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM
  • LPDDR5
  • 8GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM
  • 12GB RAM
Display
  • 6.0-inch / 2,520 x 1,080 pixels (456 ppi) / OLED Display
  • 6.5-inch / 2,400 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) / 20:9 ratio / AMOLED Display
  • 6-inch OLED touchscreen
  • 2,160 x 1,080 pixels resolution
  • 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED (393ppi)
  • 6.78-inch / 3,168 x 1,440 pixels (513 ppi) / 120Hz refresh rate / AMOLED Display
  • 6.4-inch / 3,040 x 1,440 pixels (526 ppi) / 19:9 ratio / Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display
  • Always-On Display
  • 6.53-inches FHD+ 2,400 x 1,176 pixels (409 ppi) OLED 18.5:9 ratio
  • Always-On Display
  • 6.67-inch / 3120 x 1440 pixels (516ppi) / 19.5:9 ratio / Fluid AMOLED
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 12MP, 1/2.8-inch sensor size, f/2.0, 77° FOV
  • 8MP, Telephoto, 1/4-inch sensor size, f/2.4, 45° FOV
  • 8MP Super-wide-angle,1/4-inch sensor size, f/2.2, 120° FOV
  • Front:
  • 8MP, 1/4-inch sensor size, f/2.0, Display Flash, HDR, SteadyShot, Portrait Selfie, Hand Shutter, Smile Shutter, Manual Mode
  • Rear: 48MP, f/1.7, 26mm, Telephoto 13MP, f/2.4, 53mm, 8MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 2MP Black and White, f/2.4,
  • Front: 16MP, f/2.0
  • Main camera: 12.2MP, F1.8, 28mm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Front camera: 8MP, F2.0, 24mm
  • 48MP main camera F2.0
  • 8MP ultra-wiode camera F2.2
  • 3D dept camera F1.2
  • Rear:
  • 48MP, Sony IMX689 1/1.4-inch sensor size, f/1.78
  • 48MP, Ultra-Wide-Angle, f/2.2, 120° FOV
  • 8MP Telephoto, f/2.44, 30x Hybrid Zoom
  • 5MP, Colour Filter, f/2.4
  • Front:
  • 16MP, Sony IMX471, f/2.45
  • Rear: Triple 12-megapixel dual f/1.5 and 2.4, 26mm wide + 12-megapixel f/2.4, 52mm telephoto, 2x optical zoom + 16-megapixel, f/2.2, 12mm ultrawide
  • Front: Dual 10-megapixel, f/1.9 + 8-megapixel, f/2.2 depth sensor
  • Rear: Quad: 40-megapixel f/1.6 27mm wide with 1/1.17" SuperSpectrum sensor, 40-megapixel f/1.8 ultra wide with 1/1.54" cine sensor, 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and 3D Depth Sensing camera.
  • Front: 32-megapixel, f/2.0, 3D Depth Sensing camera.
  • Rear:48 MP, f/1.6, (wide), 1/2", 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 8 MP, f/2.4, 78mm (telephoto), 3x zoom, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 16 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide)
  • Front:Motorized pop-up 16 MP, f/2.0, 25mm (wide), 1/3.0", 1.0µm
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz, 5GHz), NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, A-GNSS (GPS + Glonass), Google Cast
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac , dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, EDR, LE, aptX HD, dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NFC
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a
  • Bluetooth 5.0, aptX HD
  • USB Type-C
  • LTE Cat. 11
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a
  • Blueooth 5.0
  • USB-C
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4G, 5G, 2x2 MIMO), NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 (aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, AAC, SBC), A-GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, GPS (L1+L5 Dual Band)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4 + 5GHz), 4G+ LTE Cat 20 (up to 2000Mbps), Bluetooth 5.0, VHT80, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Screen Mirroring
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE-A (3CA) Cat 21 (up to 1400Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth v5, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot ,Bluetooth v5, NFC, 4G LTE Cat 18 (up to 1.2Gbps)
Storage Type
  • 128GB internal storage
  • MicroSD card slot (up to 1TB)
  • 256GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 256GB
  • 64GB internal
  • 128GB internal
  • 128GB internal storage
  • UFS 3.0
  • 128GB internal storage
  • 512GB (MicroSD)
  • 256GB internal storage
  • Huawei Nano Memory expansion (up to 256GB)
  • 256GB
Battery
  • 3,600mAh
  • Xperia Adaptive Charging, Battery Care, STAMINA Mode
  • 4,000mAh
  • VOOC Flash Charge 3.0
  • 3,700mAh
  • Fast battery charging 18W
  • 3,700mAh
  • 4,510mAh
  • 30W Fast Charging (5V/6A)
  • 30W Wireless Charging
  • 4,100mAh
  • 15W Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • 15W Fast Wireless charging
  • 9W Reverse Wireless charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 40W Huawei SuperCharge
  • 27W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge (Qi wireless charging)
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • 4,000mAh
  • Warp Charge 30 Fast Charging
Dimensions
  • 157 x 69 x 8.2mm
  • 160 x 74.3 x 9.5mm
  • 160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm
  • 165.2 x 76.5 x 9.3mm
  • 165.3 x 74.3 x 8.5mm
  • 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm
  • 158.1 x 73.1 x 8.8 mm
  • 162.6×75.9×8.8mm
Weight
  • 151g
  • 189g
  • 167g
  • 220g
  • 199g
  • 175g / 198g (ceramic)
  • 198g
  • 206g

 

JetStream 2

To benchmark the phone's web browsing performance, we used the JetStream 2 benchmark test on the Google Chrome web browser app. The test measures a phone's capabilities in handling a variety of advanced workloads and executing codes. JetStream 2 is an updated version of older benchmarks, such as the first JetStream and SunSpider.

While some phones come with custom-made web browsers, We always run this benchmark test on Chrome as it gives the best indication across devices, processors, and OS platforms - whether iOS or Android. Also, we would adjust the phone's display settings to ensure that the screen doesn't turn off mid-test since this would relegate the browser's thread(s) to background processing. Where necessary, we would run multiple test instances to get a more accurate reading of scores.

Unlike the other benchmarks, we did have some scores from other mid-range devices that were tested on JetStream 2. For your reference, we've placed their scores in the chart and we'll talk about our experience in total after all the benchmark results.

 

AnTuTu

Note: As of 9th March 2020, all AnTuTu benchmarks were removed from the Google Play Store. This move likely arose from Google's attempts to relieve the Play Store of apps that violate their policies. AnTuTu is working with Google to restore their app listing. For this review, we used the APK file that was available on AnTuTu's website.

AnTuTu is an all-in-one benchmark that tests CPU, GPU, memory, and storage. The CPU benchmark evaluates both integer and floating-point performance, and the GPU tests assess 2D and 3D performance, the memory test measures available memory bandwidth and latency, and the storage tests gauge the read and write speeds of a device's flash memory.

Since AnTuTu is mostly unchanged in recent times, plus the fact it's an all-in-one benchmark, older versions of the benchmarking tool can still be referred to. We've included their relevant scores for reference.

 

Geekbench 5

Geekbench CPU is a cross-platform processor benchmark that tests both single-core and multi-core performance with workloads that simulate real-world usage. Geekbench 5 scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 1000, which is the score of an Intel Core i3-8100.

The Geekbench benchmarking tool is why we couldn't refer to older benchmark scores of other mid-range devices. Geekbench 4 had a baseline score of 4000 (the performance of an Intel Core i7-6600U processor). As one the first mid-range phones we're testing using Geekbench 5, we'll have to build upon the list of devices as time goes by.

That said, Geekbench publishes benchmark scores by other phones, which you can search via phone model or processor name. Below is a screencap of different devices with Snapdragon 665, showing how the Geekbench 5 performance for the Xperia 10 II is in line with other SD665 phones.

Single-core performance of other SD665 phones. Source: Geekbench.Multi-core performance of other SD665 phones. Source: Geekbench.

 

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. The test's Unlimited mode ignores screen resolutions.

Some of the other mid-rangers also had a go on a slightly older version of 3DMark (ES3.0). Since there isn't a huge version difference with the current benchmark, we've folded their scores into the graph.

 

Performance roundup remarks

By considering our user experience, the benchmarked scores we've gotten, and scores from phones with an identical processor from the benchmarking tools themselves, we must say that the Xperia 10 II isn't quite the mid-range beast we wanted it to be. In fact, it's entry-level benchmark performance, with the delays, loading times, and browsing interruptions all making sense now that we have these numbers. 

 

Battery Life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email

The Sony Xperia 10 II packs a 3,600mAh battery capacity backed by its proprietary Xperia Adaptive Charging technology for further battery care. It has neither wireless charging nor fast-charging capabilities built-in, which is status quo for devices in its class.

Typically, with lower benchmark performance, we've come to expect the device to excel at our battery life testing. We have to say 650 minutes isn't short, especially when it's not the lowest on the chart. It's still not comparable to equally matched alternatives like the Google Pixel 3A XL (almost 300 minutes more with just 100mAh extra juice) and the the upper mid-range Galaxy A80 by Samsung. Both of these comparison devices sport better specs and more powerful hardware, which only further shames the Sony's battery performance standings.

The Xperia 10 II took 120 minutes to charge from 0% to 70% (even with a fast-charging adapter and cable from a reputed electronics brand, but these shouldn't matters since the phone doesn't support fast charging). While we weren't expecting a full charge in an hour (i.e. standard fast-charging times for devices), two hours is still generous for the phone to reach full charge - and it didn't.

 

Conclusion

The Sony Xperia 10 II isn't a stunner, but neither is it just another mid-range with some "bells and whistles". In its defence, it has a 21:9 aspect rario screen, IP-certified water-proofing, a more durable glass body, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a dual nano-SIM tray that contains a hybrid second slot for storage expansion. Further to its credit is the highly practical design and aesthetics of the phone, which looks like textbook modern smartphone design. The software side of things also packs neat tricks like Side Sense and Multi-Window. These plus points are far too useful to simply be 'bells or whistles'. The primary camera isn't half-bad, either.

Where it does fall short are the secondary lenses on the rear, and more glaringly the real-world usage, and battery performance. The Xperia 10 II can be a tough phone that looks pretty, but its practicality can be hampered by the latency in little things, like checking the time or getting the fingerprint sensor to recognise its owner. We're not expecting a mini-powerhouse in our hands, but we still expect it to stand up to general usage day-to-day usage needs, and to a lesser extent, be better at the benchmarks.

Sure, it may be a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the upper mid-range alternatives like the Oppo Reno2 and Samsung Galaxy A80, but these phones are older (with Android 9 out of the box) and hence their market value is currently on-par with the S$569 Xperia 10 II, which is a new release.

If you compare phones from the entry-level range and upwards, there's Xiaomi Mi A3 with the same Snapdragon 665 processor retailing at S$349 on Lazada. While the Mi A3 offers a lower rated 720p display and no IP-rated resistances, it makes it up with a bigger 4,030mAh battery capacity and fast-charging technology, on top of dual-SIM support, 3.5mm headphone jack, expandable memory, and also a triple camera system on the rear. It's a tough competition for the Xperia 10 II from both ends of the smartphone scale.

If you value practical design, practical features, and a high-quality display to go with the whole package, the S$569 Sony Xperia 10 II could be a viable option. It's a very good backup phone to have given the core functionalities are all intact. If you're used to other mid-range or flagship smartphones from last year's releases, you might have to look elsewhere for an affordable daily driver that feels seamless enough for use.

6.5
  • Design 8
  • Features 7.5
  • User-Friendliness 6.5
  • Performance 5
  • Value 5.5
The Good
Amazing quality for its 1080p display
Practical features
IP68 dust and water resistance
3.5mm audio jack
Expandable storage available
The Bad
Iffy fingerprint sensor
Non-intuitive user experience
Average camera quality
Below-average performance (benchmark, real-world, battery life)
Mediocre loudspeaker
Unclear value for money