The mobile market is in a constant state of flux with the Chinese phone makers pulling ahead in innovation and new features. They usually introduce their best new phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) each year.
At the MWC 2019, a number of companies showcased their newest flagship phones and Sony was no exception.
Sony hasn’t been doing well financially, but that hasn’t stopped them from making new smartphones. This time, they’ve actually made a pretty good flagship device in the Xperia 1.
Let’s see how the phone compares with the other flagships launched recently.
If current phones weren’t tall enough already, Sony has gone one step further and introduced their first 21:9 aspect ratio ultra-wide display on the Xperia 1.
Called CinemaWide, the 6.5″ HDR OLED display comes at an eye-popping 4K resolution (3840 x 1660), borrowing image processing chops from the best of Sony’s Bravia TVs (X1 engine) and the color calibration of their Master series monitors.
You can toggle the Creator Mode on the display and it automatically adjusts colors depending on the image you’re viewing, making sure that you always see videos and other content in the exact colors that their makers intended to capture.
What all this means is that you’ll get an extremely color accurate and vibrant looking display on the Xperia 1.
Moving on to the rest of the design, Xperia 1 features a glass build (using Gorilla Glass 6) with a metal chassis. The fingerprint sensor has moved to the side again (it was on the back for last year’s Xperias) and is embedded in the power button.
Other than that there’s Dolby Atmos enhanced stereo speakers onboard the Xperia 1, with IP-68 dust and water resistance, sans the headphone jack.
Internals and Storage
In-line with the other flagship phones released this year, the Xperia 1 is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chip with 6 GB RAM and 64/128 GB of internal storage, expandable via a microSD card slot.
Sony is sticking with a stock-looking skin with Android 9.0 Pie under the hood. That said, there’s still a couple of features that deserve mentioning.
One of them is Side Sense. This is exactly the same as HTC’s and Pixel phones’ side-sense features allowing you to press down on the sides to trigger certain functions and apps.
You can tune the level of pressure and other specifics through the options.
The other feature is Game Enhancer, which will sound familiar as Huawei is doing something similar on their phones. It features a max-throttle option for maxing out everything, pushing the performance up for a while, another option locks the frames per second at 40 and improves battery life while gaming.
The third option mutes notifications and other pop-ups that might distract you while gaming.
As mentioned earlier, this is the first Sony phone with a triple rear camera setup. The trio comes in at 12 MP, with an f/1.6 MotionEye main sensor, a 2x zoom telephoto lens, and a wide-angle camera. The 960fps slow-mo from 2017’s XZ Premium has stuck around and you can still use it on the Xperia 1.
There’s a boatload of features for the cameras as well.
The first major addition is Optical Image Stabilization, which will work in tandem with 5-axis EIS, giving your shots and videos that extra bit of stability. Sony has normally stuck with its SteadyShot EIS over the years, so it’s nice to see them improving on it.
Next is the Bion-X for mobile, which gives you cinematography features, making full use of that 21:9 display on the Xperia 1.
One of these is Eye AF, which follows a subject’s eyes as they enter and exit your phone’s field of view. This massively improves focus for when you’re capturing a number of people.
Then there’s Continuous Burst Shooting and RAW Noise Reduction. The former captures images at 10fps, with autofocus and auto exposure, while the latter reduces noise in RAW images before they’re compressed and saved to your phone.
Finally, there’s a Cinema Pro app designed in collaboration with Sony’s CineAlta division. It’s designed specifically for cinematography enthusiasts, letting you capture in cinematic 23.98fps. It also lets you choose between different cinematic resolutions (3840 x 1640 or 2520 x 1080) and choose individual cameras for shooting.
There’s also a Look Selector, which lets you choose between different professional color spaces.
Sony claims that if paired with the Creator Mode (display setting) you can get the same experience as a professional video camera monitor on the Xperia 1.
Battery Life and Charging
The Xperia 1 will be powered by a 3,300 mAh battery, which seems kind of small for a 6.5″ 4K screen. It comes with the usual features like Battery Care and Smart Stamina Mode.
It will support fast charging via USB Power Delivery (also used by Google Pixel phones).
Price and Availability
Unfortunately, Sony didn’t announce official prices for the Xperia 1 yet, although you can expect it to be around $1,000. It will be available in Spring, most likely May 2019.
Sony Xperia 1 Specifications
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- GPU: Adreno 640
- OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)
- Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- Stereo Speakers (Dolby Atmos-certified)
- IP-68 Dust and Water resistance
- Side Sense
- 6.5-inch “CinemaWide” OLED with 4K (3840 x 1660) resolution, 21:9 ratio (~420 ppi)
- RAM: 6 GB RAM
- Internal: 64/128 GB
- Card slot: Yes
- Primary (triple):
- 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide), predictive Dual Pixel PDAF, 5-axis OIS
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), predictive Dual Pixel PDAF, 2x optical zoom, 5-axis OIS
12 MP, f/2.4, 16mm (ultrawide)
- Secondary: 8 MP, f/2.0, HDR
- Battery: 3,300 mAh, fast charging
- Colors: Black, Gray, Purple, White
- Price: $1,000 (expected)