Sony’s latest flagship device, the Xperia 1, is equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. But, unfortunately, it was launched for €999.
If you’re looking for an Android phone with excellent cameras and a broad range of features, Sony offers one of the best options available. Overall, the quality is good enough for a smartphone in this price range. But some high-quality shots will not be possible with only one camera.
On May 16, Sony released the Xperia 1, a smartphone with a 6.5-inch display and 4K resolution. Specs-wise, it runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which means it is no less potent than Samsung’s Galaxy S10. The list price of the Xperia 1 is $ 999 in the United States. The price is relatively high compared to other flagships like the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Display
Although Sony and LG claim to be making their first 6.5-inch smartphones, they are similar. For example, the LG UX 6.5 runs LG’s custom version of FHD+ + resolution, while Sony uses a 4K display with HDR10 support.
As for the front camera and speaker, the arrangement is more like an iPhone XS than a Samsung Galaxy S10. However, unlike the curved OLED screen of the Galaxy S10, the Xperia 1 uses a flat 6.5-inch OLED screen that is 6 inches wide and 2 inches tall. Behind the screen are a hidden front camera and dual speakers.
What makes this phone stand out from the crowd is its “second-generation” OLED panel. Sony claims it has excellent black levels and supports high color accuracy, but it also helps reduce power consumption by optimizing the backlight control. On top of that, Sony also integrates a layer of transparent protective film to shield it from scratches and daily wear and tear.
In particular, this film layer is not only resistant to scratches but also has a self-healing surface that helps repair minor scratches on its own over time. Another thing worth mentioning is that this 4K IPS panel supports HDR10 playback. In other words, the Xperia 1 has the best screen of any Sony smartphone.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Design and Build
When it comes to design, Sony has made a real breakthrough with this Xperia 1 smartphone. Like glass and aluminum materials adopted by most manufacturers, the company has launched a new kind of crystalline composite material (called QX1) that is both sleek and durable.
Sony describes its quality as being “resistant” to scratching as hard as a sapphire crystal screen for four times longer than Gorilla Glass. It feels like a hard material, making it easier to grip than glass or metal. The top of the side bezel is curved like a curve on Apple’s iPhone XS (the side), but unlike Sony’s Xperia 10 series smartphones, this device is a single-flip model for easier use.
It seems to have a wide “S” shape—like the Samsung Galaxy S10 series—with a screen that curves slightly toward the front edge, which is more likely to give you a good grip on your palm during typing and other tasks.
The corners are also carved off slightly to give the device a narrower body and make it easier to use with one hand. Also, Sony has added a small bezel on the bottom of the screen, which is identical to LG’s UX 6.5 smartphone (though smaller than the front camera and speaker holes on the Xperia 10). As for ports and buttons, this flagship does not come with a 3.5mm audio jack but a USB-C port and supports Qi wireless charging.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Camera
Both cameras are very similar: 12 MP resolution f/1.6 aperture lens with an 8MP wide-angle lens with f/2.0 aperture. However, the dual ecosystem between the cameras makes this phone stand out. Sony has used its second-generation HDR image sensor with the same pixel size and lens design as last year’s Xperia XZ2 Premium.
This means that the camera can support a 4K UHD + frame rate at 60 frames per second, similar to the Samsung S10 Plus and Apple XS Max (although Sony is not only able to record slow-motion video with a frame rate of 720p but also supports 1080p 960 fps slow-motion). However, it has only one camera aperture and a shorter telephoto focal length (4x less than Samsung) for lower-light photography.
The wide-angle camera can capture images with a 12 aperture and supports full HD resolution. In addition, the two cameras can work together to support the HDR mode Sony calls “Dynamic Auto,” which is similar to the S10 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 but not the same as the A9. It does a great job of detecting motion and fast-moving objects and tracking fast-moving sports and wildlife.
The camera app is also quite impressive. Sony’s new Pro Mode lets you adjust ISO, shutter speed, manual focus, white balance, and other basic settings to get the best results in your photo. In addition, the on-screen dial allows you to adjust these settings by dragging a finger around the screen without touching the physical buttons. It’s much more intuitive than Samsung’s S10 dial system or Apple’s iPhone XS and is a great feature for entry-level users.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Software and performance
The Xperia 1 runs Android 9 Pie on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM. As a result, it should be extremely fast, regardless of what you’re doing. It’s important to note that, unlike the Pixel 3, this device will support Google’s upcoming Android P software.
Like most 2019 flagship smartphones, the Xperia 1 comes with Android 9 Pie as its operating system. This feature makes it stand out from the crowd but also has drawbacks.
In addition to working smoothly and quickly throughout your day, Android 9 Pie has more apps available than other phones at this price point. Because more developers have put more time and effort into creating their versions of Android 9 instead of using Google’s “stock” version of Android 8 Oreo. Although Xiaomi has also adopted Android 9, the end-user experience is not as good as on non-Google smartphones.
One of the major advantages of the Xperia 1 is that it features Sony’s proprietary skin, which gives users access to a range of handy features. For example, you can customize their profile by choosing between basic and advanced modes, so you can easily toggle your phone into an easy-to-use mode if you only have time to glance at it.
This also activates predictive text suggestions, so you don’t have to look at the notification bar whenever you want to type a word. However, since it is not a single-app solution, it can sometimes be annoying.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Fingerprint scanner
There is also a fingerprint scanner hidden inside the “power key,” up at the top-left corner of the phone. It can be used as a traditional button, but you can type with your index finger on it and choose to hide it if you don’t want it.
Sony Xperia 1 III: MicroSD card
The new flagship has a microSD card expansion slot, which Sony says can add up to 2TB of storage via another adapter. As you know, Google is no longer a major contributor to the Android world, and third parties are much more willing to provide access to such devices.
Sony Xperia 1 III: Battery life
The battery capacity is set at a hefty 3430mAh, which should provide at least a full day of use on a single charge. The battery was mainly used to test charging times and in everyday tasks. After 15 hours of use (50% screen and 70% brightness), the phone consumed 6% of its battery. This indicates that the Xperia 1 will last for about 16 hours with normal use.
It is not ideal for heavy students or multimedia enthusiasts who often play games, watch videos or listen to music apps for over 10 hours daily. However, for those who use it daily with moderate use, the battery life is more than enough for a smartphone in this price range.
Overall, Sony has launched an interesting new smartphone that provides a clear alternative to other great smartphones in this price range. However, it isn’t easy because the Snapdragon 855 processor is not as powerful as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chip, used by most other flagship phones.
However, if you want one of the most powerful smartphones or get value for your money, Xperia 1 may not be your best option.
Sony is still cheaper than its competition and offers good quality at a reasonable price. At this point, the Xperia 1 is not a smartphone you should buy, but if you are a big fan of Sony’s recent smartphone line, it’s worth watching to see if Sony can address its performance shortcomings in a new model.