Sony Xperia 10 II review: A better version of an interesting smartphone!


The smartphone experience on the Sony Xperia 10 II

I used the Sony Xperia 10 II for approximately a week, and, during this time, I had more than enough time to make an opinion on how it performs in everyday use. Its mid-range processor and 4 GB of RAM were enough to offer a good experience in the apps I regularly use, such as Gmail, Chrome, and Firefox for Android, Facebook, Slack, Whatsapp, Netflix, or Microsoft Word. I didn't see the Xperia 10 II stutter or lag like the first Xperia 10 smartphone did. The better chipset and the additional 1 GB of RAM do the trick apparently. 🙂

Watching a movie with 21:9 aspect ratio on the Sony Xperia 10 II

The fingerprint reader that's built into the hybrid power button worked unexpectedly well too. I can say that, in 99% of the cases, it registered my fingerprint correctly, which is quite an achievement. I can't say the same about most smartphones I've used and tested, so this is a big positive for the Xperia 10 II from my point of view.

Sony Xperia 10 II: the hybrid power and fingerprint reader button

Phone calls were also of excellent quality, clear and crisp, even though the area where I live is mountainous, so the mobile coverage is far from great.

Making a phone call on the Sony Xperia 10 II

Just like on the first Xperia 10, the 21:9 screen found on the Xperia 10 II is excellent for watching movies. The OLED panel looks gorgeous, its colors are vibrant, and the brightness levels are high. Unfortunately, to enjoy it to the max, you must first find movies that are filmed and available in this ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio. For all the others, you get thick black bars on the left and right sides of the screen. It's a shame, but it has nothing to do with Sony, but rather with Netflix, HBO, and the other movie streaming platforms.

Watching videos that are not available in 21:9 ratio on the Sony Xperia 10 II

The 3.5 mm audio jack is a thing I and probably many other people like seeing on any smartphone. Some say that it belongs in the past. But being able to charge my smartphone while using a pair of wired headphones is something I want to be able to do. I dislike having to use Bluetooth headphones or USB-C audio adapters, and that's why I love Sony for giving us that old 3.5 mm audio jack on the Xperia 10 II.

Sony Xperia 10 II has a 3.5 mm audio jack and a pair of in-ear headphones

As far as games are concerned, I'm not a big fan of smartphone gaming and, if you're not either, you won't be bothered by the low-key performance offered by the Sony Xperia 10 II in this area. I tried playing a few games on it - Fortnite and Asphalt 9 Legends - for testing purposes. Unfortunately, it didn't do great in either of them. They are playable, but only if you can do with low framerates and low-quality visuals.

Playing Fortnite on the Sony Xperia 10 II

The Sony Xperia 10 II is a good Android smartphone for everyday use and for multimedia. Its interface is fluid, apps run without lag, phone calls are of excellent quality, and its display is gorgeous, especially for movies. However, gaming is not great at all, and if you want to play demanding games with high-quality visuals, you're going to be disappointed.

The camera experience on the Sony Xperia 10 II

On its backside, the Sony Xperia 10 II holds a triple camera system. The primary camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, f/2.0 aperture, autofocus, and a field of view of 77 degrees. The secondary camera also has 12 megapixels, f/2.4 aperture, and 2x optical zoom lens, but no autofocus. The third camera comes with a wide-angle lens - 120 degrees field of view - but no autofocus either. To see how good the triple-camera system of the Xperia 10 II is, we took several photos. We tried to get photos in various lighting conditions and with different subjects. We only used the automatic settings. What we wanted to know was what the Xperia 10 II could offer to regular people who don't fiddle with manual settings.

The camera app on the Sony Xperia 10 II

Unfortunately, the smartphone's camera system often focuses incorrectly, except for when it automatically determines that the main camera should be used. Also, it's pretty slow at saving the photos you take. Regarding image quality, shooting outdoors in good lighting conditions gives you good quality photographs, with detail, accurate colors, and usually just the right exposure (although it tends to oversaturate photos taken in bright light). But, in low light, the Xperia 10 II did not manage to take good photos. In such conditions, it struggled to focus properly, and our pictures were often grainy, lacking sharpness and lacking detail. Similarly, the selfie camera does a decent job in good lighting, but not in low light.

Here is a couple of photos that we've shot with the Sony Xperia 10 II in various conditions, indoors and outdoors, in daylight and in the evening, with landscapes, as well as closeups and selfies:

Sony Xperia 10 II is capable of recording video at a maximum of 4K resolution using the mp4 H.264 video format. Here's an example of a video we took from a moving car so that you can get an idea of the smartphone's performance when filming moving objects:

Furthermore, here's another sample that we filmed to help you get a clearer picture of the smartphone's performance when shooting videos with less movement:

Sony Xperia 10 II is able to shoot good quality photos if the lighting conditions are also good. However, it's triple-camera system is not that great in low light and also has a tendency to oversaturate photos taken in bright light. Overall, the Xperia 10 II comes with a decent camera system, although it could have been better considering its price tag.

Android 10 and bundled apps

Sony Xperia 10 II comes with Android 10 and just a few apps bundled by the manufacturer. It does recommend some other apps when you configure your smartphone for the first time, but it doesn't force you to install them unless you want to. Here is the list of recommended apps:

Apps recommended by Sony for the Xperia 10 II

If you didn't select any of the recommended apps, Sony only preinstalls Facebook and Netflix, besides the default Google apps found on any Android smartphone. That means that you get an almost stock Android environment, which is great.

Default app preinstalled on the Sony Xperia 10 II

Regarding the user interface, the only thing that obviously is not stock Android is Sony's Side sense. It's a tool created to give you easier access to your commonly-used apps when you're using only one hand. On the first Xperia 10, we found Side sense to be useful but also annoying. On the Xperia 10 II, it is just useful! 🙂 In the past, Side sense used to open with a single touch, and we often accidentally launched it instead of other things. On the Xperia 10 II, Side sense opens when you double-tap on it, so it's much harder to launch it unwillingly.

Side sense on the Sony Xperia 10 II

We love Sony's approach when it comes to the apps bundled on the Xperia 10 II. The fact that it doesn't bundle apps that you might not want, and instead gives you the choice of selecting what recommended apps you get is great. Also, the Side sense tool is better than on the first Xperia 10.

Performance in benchmarks

The first benchmark we ran was Geekbench 5. It shows how fast the processor is: we got a score of 312 points in Single-Core and 1370 in Multi-Core. Although the scores are not those of a high-end smartphone, they are decent for today's Android world. Both scores are almost identical to those achieved by Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and Nokia 5.3, two smartphones that use the same processor.

Sony Xperia 10 II: Benchmark results in Geekbench 5

Next, we ran the PCMark Work 2.0 performance benchmark. This benchmark app tests the performance offered by smartphones in daily usage, and it includes tests for browsing speed, video, and photo editing, as well as working with documents and data. Sony Xperia 10 II's 6303 score was, again, close to those of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and Nokia 5.3. In other words, this is a good mid-range Android smartphone if what you're interested in is using it for work as well as for multimedia.

Sony Xperia 10 II: Benchmark results in PCMark Work 2.0 performance

We then ran some gaming benchmarks, and the first one was 3DMark with its Sling Shot Extreme tests. Sony Xperia 10 II scored 1139 points with OpenGL ES 3.1 and 1129 points with Vulkan. Both scores are average, similar to those of a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 or a Nokia 5.3, both for OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan.

Sony Xperia 10 II: Benchmark results in 3DMark

GFXBench, another gaming benchmark, showed that the Sony Xperia 10 II doesn't have the power required to run modern games at maxed visuals. The smartphone managed to render just four fps in Aztec Ruins OpenGL High Tier and 6.7 fps in Normal Tier, 5.7 fps in Car Chase, 11 and 16 fps in Manhattan 3.1 and Manhattan 3.0. The only test in which it did great was T-Rex - 30 frames per second - which shows that the phone does well in older games and those with lower hardware requirements.

Sony Xperia 10 II: Benchmark results in GFXBench

Finally, we also benchmarked the battery of the Sony Xperia 10 II using PCMark's Work 2.0 battery life test with the phone's display brightness set to auto. The good news is that the smartphone managed to keep on running for an impressive amount of time: 15 hours and 3 minutes. That's an excellent result - even if you're a heavy user, you should be able to use this phone for at least a day without having to charge it.

Sony Xperia 10 II: Battery benchmark result in PCMark Work 2.0 battery life

Although the Sony Xperia 10 II is not a high-end Android smartphone, it manages to offer decent performance. After seeing its results in benchmarks, we don't recommend it to gamers, but we do believe it is a good choice for anyone else.

Do you like the Sony Xperia 10 II Android smartphone?

Now you know what we like and what we don't like at the Sony Xperia 10 II. We love its cinematic screen, and we like both its design and build quality. On the other hand, the cameras didn't impress us, and gaming was not a great experience. Before closing this review, tells us if you agree with us. What are your thoughts regarding Sony Xperia 10 II? Would you buy it for yourself or your loved ones?

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