Sony boosts the midrange, with the camera-focused Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5

Last week we got word that Sony had something to show us, focused on camera improvements for the Xperia line.  Today is the day, and Sony has revealed not one but two Xperia smartphones.  In short, we have above-midrange performers, aimed to appeal to either large or small smartphone lovers.

Xperia C5 Ultra

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Implied by the “Ultra” suffix, the Xperia C5 Ultra is the phablet offering of the pair.  It has a huge 6″ display to satisfy your large screen lust.  Imagery is the game here, and selfie-takers are not forgotten about.  The C5 Ultra has twin 13 megapixel front and rear cameras, both rocking Sony’s new Exmor RS sensor.

It is assumed that this is the IMX230 stacked sensor that Sony had been developing.  Interestingly, they are touting Hybrid Auto-Focus, when Sony previously only outlined the 192-point Phase Detection Auto-Focus (PDAF) capability of the sensor.  We’ve seen Qualcomm discuss Hybrid AF in the past, which utilizes both PDAF and laser AF.  But Sony hasn’t indicated in their press release that they’re using a laser AF.

The rear and front cameras both use wide-angle lenses to fit more into the image, 25mm and 22mm, respectively.  The front camera includes an LED flash.  Both sensors are HDR capable and have image stabilization (Sony typically does software stabilization, not OIS).

Here’s what we know about the other specs:

  • Display:  6″ 1080P IPS LCD
  • SoC:  Octa-core processor at 1.7 GHz (the SoC manufacturer is not stated)
  • Memory:  2GB of RAM
  • Storage:  16GB on-board, up to 200GB microSD expansion
  • Battery:  2,930 mAh
  • OS:  Android 5.0 Lollipop

Bear in mind that this one is not water/dust-proof, for whatever reason.  But the C5 Ultra does include Sony’s 2-day battery life promise.  Design-wise, we have the same Sony story, but side bezels are significantly reduced.  We can see top and bottom speaker grills for a stereo audio experience.  There are 3 options for colors:  Black, white, or mint.

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Xperia M5

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Sony has been known to deliver with regard to compact phones (i.e. Xperia Z3 compact).  The new Xperia M5 is no exception, and is actually more powerful than the C5 Ultra.  We’re looking at a 5″ display.  And unlike the C5 Ultra, the M5 is waterproof and dust tight (IP65 and IP68 ratings).

We also have a 13 MP selfie camera on the front, but the M5 increases the megapixel count on the rear camera to 21.5 MP.  Both camera sensors are also the Exmor RS, with Hybrid AF on the rear camera.  Sony says that the rear camera is capable of 5x Clear Image Zoom (assumed via software tricks) and the sensor has a f/2.2 aperture.

Other known specs:

  • Display:  5″ 1080P IPS LCD
  • SoC:  64-bit MediaTek Helio X10 octa-core processor at 2.0 GHz
  • Memory:  3GB of RAM
  • Storage:  16GB on-board, up to 200GB microSD expansion
  • Battery:  2,600 mAh
  • OS:  Android 5.0 Lollipop

The M5 will come in three flavors:  White, black, or gold.

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Sony’s decision to differentiate the specs of the C5 Ultra and M5 is strange to me, especially considering that the smaller variant is the more powerful one.  Why shouldn’t the C5 Ultra have the better rear camera, better processor, and water/dust-proofing?  Were these two phones worked on by different teams that didn’t talk to each other?

Another thought is that this announcement gives us a glimpse on what’s to come from the Xperia Z5.  It was rumored that the Z5 would have a 5.5″ display, so what Sony is doing here is lining themselves up to suit users of different screen sizes.  The Z5 will be smack in the middle, with the highest-end specs.  Most users fall in this 5.5″ sweet spot, while they’re not forgetting about those who want either a smaller or larger device.  This is a great move.

Now, let’s just hope Sony doesn’t continue to stray from the U.S. market.

Xperia C5 Ultra product page

Xperia M5 product page