Sony brought the headphone jack back on the Xperia 1 II to give people “a smartphone that they will love”
The Sony Xperia 1 II was announced back in February and became available last month. Despite the odd name (pronounced “mark two”), this is another excellent phone from Sony. It has pretty much all of the specifications that have become standard for flagships in 2020, but one feature, in particular, stands out: the headphone jack.
Headphone jacks are not completely extinct from high-end phones, but it’s a feature that has become increasingly rare. So much so that it’s actually noteworthy that the Sony Xperia 1 II has one. Engadget Japan interviewed four members of Sony Mobile and one of their questions was about the return of the headphone jack. Here is the response from Yuki Ikeda, a member of the System Design Department:
The decision was made to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Xperia XZ2. We made that decision based on the priority we were placing on improving the design of the phone and the fact that wireless earphones were becoming more common.
The reason for bringing the 3.5mm headphone jack back for the Xperia 1 II is from the same mindset we had when developing the Xperia 1, which is to say “giving people a smartphone that they will love.” We also felt it was indispensable for viewing entertainment-related content and for playing games.
That’s a pretty interesting response. Something that a lot of people complain about in regard to removing the headphone jack is the inconvenience. Wireless headphones are great…when they work correctly and are charged. But there are plenty of times when they can overcomplicate a situation that used to be pretty simple. Bringing the headphone jack back ensures that people always have a solution.
Engadget Japan‘s interview is quite insightful and there are a number of other things to note. We typically don’t get this much transparency when companies talk about their phones.
- The Sony Xperia 1 II has a 4K resolution OLED panel that runs at 60Hz refresh rate but has a “Motion Blur Reduction” feature that produces a “90Hz equivalent” refresh rate experience. What this feature does is “increase the voltage in time with the activation of the OLED pixels when displaying an image.” Sony says this has the advantage of avoiding the “pixel looking gray” which can happen when “[sending] the instruction to activate a pixel” as “it takes some time to switch from black to white.” XDA’s Dylan Raga posits that this might help reduce black smearing and motion blur when scrolling with black text on white backgrounds showing, which is a common problem on high refresh rate OLED panels. Motion Blur Reduction is active at all times when the feature is enabled, even when watching a movie.
- 70-80% of users who purchased the Xperia 1 were satisfied with the display performance, which is what Sony used to justify keeping the 21:9 aspect ratio (a “CinemaWide display”). Sony says that over 50% of Netflix movie content is optimized for 21:9 and a few games like Call of Duty Mobile are also optimized.
- The Xperia 1 II can be set to a white point of D55 or D65 so colors of a photo can be faithfully reproduced before printing them out. This is aimed at pro photographers.
- The T* after the “ZEISS” logo on the camera bump is “related to the special coating applied to the lenses.” This coating “minimizes flare and ghosting.”
- The 16mm and 24mm sensors on the Xperia 1 II use a Dual Photo Diode (Dual PD) sensor which allows 100% of the pixels on the sensor to be used for phase-detect autofocus. This results in faster and more accurate autofocus, and is how the Xperia 1 II achieves its “world-first 20fps burst shooting with AF and AE.” Sony decided to keep the sensors at 12MP because choosing a higher resolution would affect the sensor’s readout speed, reducing the high-speed shooting and autofocus performance, and also “prevents the issue of the resolution changing when changing the magnification.”
- Photography Pro is a separate camera app that is coming in a future software update. It will have more settings like manual shutter speed exposure settings, more white balance presets, and the aforementioned 20fps burst shooting mode.
- Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature was developed for surround-sound systems with 13+ channels but Sony created a virtual surround sound system using only 2 channels on the Xperia 1 II. Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and Deezer have 1000+ titles that are compatible with 360 Reality Audio.
- The speakers have been improved from the Xperia 1 –> 1 II. The speakers are now on front, improving the L/R channel balance. Sony also increased the cabinet size, added more powerful amps, and collaborated with Sony Pictures and Sony Music to tune the audio.
- Sony added a wind noise reduction feature when recording video.
There are tons of great tidbits from the full interview, which we recommend you read here.