Buying a phone in 2021 is an entirely different situation than it was just a few years back. Many consumers are used to buying their phones from their wireless service provider but that’s slowly changing.

Thanks to the growing presence of unlocked handsets, customers are now able to choose from a much wider selection. Instead of being stuck with what your carrier offers, consider going direct to the manufacturer.


Sony is one brand that has pretty much only ever really offered its phones in unlocked manner. Sure, there were a few models in the early days of Android which could be purchased with a carrier, but that’s a distant memory.

We’ve put together this Sony phone buyer’s guide to help you make heads or tails out of everything. This should help you get a better understanding of what’s currently available from Sony.

Sony Phone Buyer’s Guide

Sony currently offers three lines of phones, each with two versions available. Much like it does with its cameras, these are mostly designated “Mark 1” and “Mark II”. The sole difference being that its Xperia 10 is offered in a standard and a Plus variant.

If there’s one thing people can say about Sony’s phones, it’s that they are easily distinguishable from their angular shoulders and premium appearance. Worth noting, too, Sony’s handsets tend to lean into camera capabilities with excellent sensors and shooting modes.

Xperia 1 II

Sitting at the top of the Sony food chain is the Xperia 1 II, a flagship phone that hangs with the best of them. For your money you get a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED (3,840 x 1,644) display, a triple rear camera setup, and a generous 4,000mAh battery.

Running Android 10, this one has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G processor backed by 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage capacity. Need more room? Toss in a microSD expansion card for up to 1TB of additional space.

One of the biggest draws is the suite of camera shooting modes, including the 4K HDR Movie recording with up to 60fps. The phone is a durable one, to be sure, thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass 6 and the IP65/68 water resistance.

If you’re shopping with a tighter budget but still want something incredibly robust, you may wish to consider the Xperia 1 which is still available.

Xperia 5 II

Moving down the ladder just a rung, the Xperia 5 II is equally impressive and likely more phone than what you’ll need for the next year or two. Also powered by Android 10, it comes with 128GB storage and its own triple-camera system.

The key difference is the 6.1-inch FHD+ (2,520 x 1,080) display is technically half that of the flagship model. Will you notice? We bet not. You’ve still got a 120Hz refresh rate and a host of excellent tuning for the image.

Also worth a look is the first generation of the Xperia 5, which comes in about $150 as of today.

Xperia 10

Despite its model number being the largest, this is the entry-level experience for Sony today. Powered by Android 9 Pie, it draws strength from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor with 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.

The standard version comes with a 6-inch FHD+ (2,520 x 1,080) display a 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel rear camera array, and 2870mAh battery. The Plus model goes a smidge bigger in the screen (6.5-inch), battery (3000mAh), and memory (4GB) departments and the camera is a bit more balanced.

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