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Sony Xperia 5 VI wishlist: All the features I want to see

Sony's flagship could use a few improvements and a release in the US!
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Published onFebruary 18, 2024

The Sony Xperia 5 V was one of the most powerful compact phones released in 2023 and yet for many of us, it wasn’t even an option, as Sony chose to only launch the Sony Xperia 1 V in the United States. While there’s still a possibility that the Xperia 5 V might come to the US later, it might be too late, given the arrival of powerful new flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S24 series.

It’s unclear if the US will ever see Sony’s compact flagship again, but there are a few things I’d like to see improved. With that in mind, here’s my wishlist for what I’d like to see in the Sony Xperia 5 VI in 2024.

Sony needs to finally update its design language

Sony Xperia 5 V back standing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

One aspect of Sony’s design philosophy that stands out is its consistency. Sony seldom makes changes, and when it does, it tends to adhere to the new style for many years. On the upside, this consistency helps distinguish the Sony Xperia series from its rivals. However, this approach can also render its design somewhat stale and uninteresting.

While Sony isn’t the only company to maintain a consistent design language, others like Apple, Samsung, and Google typically incorporate a few minor changes every few years to keep things fresh. Although the Sony Xperia 5 and the Xperia 5 V are obviously different, their aesthetic similarities suggest that there hasn’t been much evolution over a five-year period.

Sony Xperia 5 V display in had
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony doesn’t necessarily need to abandon its current metallic design to add excitement to the Xperia 5 VI. A simple yet effective change could be in the color options. Brands like Samsung and Apple use unique colorways for each generation to make their phones stand out, whereas Sony often limits its palette to primarily black and white, with an occasional additional color. It would be refreshing to see the return of Sony’s classic purple, alongside the current green, and perhaps introduce a new, unique color to complement the standard white and black.

Another aspect for Sony to consider is the Xperia 5 V’s relatively thick bezels, which are quite noticeable for a modern smartphone. Reducing these bezels could be a key design improvement, making the phone appear more modern and sleek. Additionally, experimenting with a new aspect ratio could also inject some fresh energy into the design.

Continue improving the camera experience, and bring back the telephoto lens

Sony Xperia 5 V camera app
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Sony Xperia 5 V delivers a competent camera experience, though it may not entirely match the prowess of competitors like the Galaxy S24, iPhone 15, or Pixel 8 series. There’s room for improvement in features such as Night mode, Portrait, Cinematic Blur, and AI-assisted capabilities. Sony could also benefit from leveraging its Alpha brand more effectively, distinguishing its camera technology from others.

Encouragingly, there’s a rumor from a reliable Japanese website suggesting that the upcoming Sony Xperia 1 VI and 5 VI might introduce a “world first” feature allowing digital signatures on images, which would help verify if they have been altered. While innovations like this are promising, I just really want to see the return of the Xperia 5’s long-range camera capabilities, which have gradually worsened since the Xperia 5 III and were notably absent in the last iteration.

I’ve always valued how Sony’s compact phones maintain parity with their larger counterparts with minimal compromises. This approach is quite distinct from Apple and Samsung, which offer multiple flagships differing in size and core features. Unfortunately, the disparity between the Xperia V models seems to have widened recently, a trend I hope Sony will address. Better realigning these models could reinforce Sony’s unique position in the smartphone market.

Faster charging options

Sony Xperia 5 V chassis
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Sony Xperia 5 V boasts an impressive 5,500mAh battery, which is notably larger than what’s typically found in smartphones of its size. As expected, this results in exceptional battery life, with the device comfortably lasting two days on a single charge. The substantial battery size is a commendable feature from Sony, especially in a compact phone.

However, the current 24W charging capability feels limited, particularly for a battery of this magnitude. This slower charging speed becomes more noticeable when coupled with the Xperia 5 V’s heat issues, which lead to throttled charging rates after about 15 minutes of use.

Addressing the overheating could likely be achieved with an updated SoC and other optimizations. Alongside these improvements, it’s time for Sony to consider enhancing the charging speed, possibly to 45W, similar to what is offered in the Galaxy S24 Ultra. While there are faster-charging smartphones available, many are not sold in the US, often due to regulatory constraints. Balancing battery capacity with efficient and speedy charging is crucial for the next iteration of the Xperia series.

Better update policy

Sony Xperia 5 V logo box
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Samsung and Google have set a new standard in the smartphone industry by offering seven years of updates for their latest flagship models. Even brands like Motorola and OnePlus are enhancing their update commitments. In contrast, Sony persists with its policy of providing only two years of upgrades and patches for its devices. This approach, while possibly driven by a desire to minimize resource allocation to a niche brand, is increasingly at odds with industry norms.

A two-year update cycle not only appears inadequate but is also becoming somewhat of an embarrassment, especially when compared to the strides made by competitors. For Sony to maintain, let alone enhance, its credibility in the smartphone market, extending its support to at least four years of OS and security updates is essential. Such a change would not only meet evolving customer expectations but also align Sony with the broader trend of long-term device support, which is becoming a significant factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

It needs to be released in the US, please

Sony Xperia 5 V vs Xperia 1 V cameras
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Sony Xperia 5 V didn’t launch in the US, with the company stating it wanted to focus attention on the Xperia 1 V instead. It’s unclear what that means for the Xperia 5 series in the future. Sony’s approach suggests that the company may view the U.S. as a secondary market, preferring to concentrate its efforts on selling just one flagship model. Alternatively, Sony might be reevaluating the need for annual releases of its compact phone in the States, possibly considering a strategy akin to Apple’s handling of its budget iPhone SE series, which sees new models every two to four years.

While the Xperia 5 V and the iPhone SE are quite different in their offerings, the underlying principle of less frequent updates could be a viable approach for Sony. The hope is that the Xperia 5 V, or its successors, will eventually make their way back to the US market. The scarcity of compact smartphones makes the absence of the Xperia 5 series all the more felt.


Will there be a Sony Xperia 5 VI?

Sony Xperia 5 V standing by plant 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony has been pretty consistent over the years with releasing its flagships, save for the big change it made in 2023 by opting not to release the Sony Xperia 5 V to American audiences. While we don’t know for sure if we’ll see the Sony Xperia 5 VI release in the United States, we are very confident the phone will exist in most major markets, which is only further corroborated by the recently leaked camera feature we mentioned in the wishlist above.

  • Xperia 5 V — September 1, 2023
  • Xperia 5 IV — September 1, 2022
  • Xperia 5 III — October 8, 2021

As for when it might launch? While it’s too early to know anything official about the Sony Xperia 5 VI release date, looking at the Xperia 5 series history it seems a pretty safe bet that we’ll see it in September or October of 2024.

Should you wait for the Sony Xperia V VI?

Apple iPhone 14 vs Sony Xperia 5 IV in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Sony Xperia 5 VI is still nearly a year away, so there’s no reason to wait off. If you want a compact Xperia in the US, your best bet would be to check out the Xperia 5 IV ($998 at Amazon) or look into import options for the Sony Xperia 5 V ($799.94 at Amazon). Not concerned about the display size? The Sony Xperia 1 V ($1398 at Amazon) is available in the US now.

If you don’t mind venturing outside of Sony, there are still a few great small Android phones like the Zenfone 10 ($699.99 at Amazon), the Galaxy S24 ($859.99 at Amazon), or the Pixel 8 ($699 at Amazon).