With this new entry in Sony’s smartphone division, the Sony Xperia 1 features an improved chipset, camera array, and software loadout over their previous phones models.
The Sony Xperia 1 seems to be aimed for audiences who love to consume movies on the go, and for those who appreciate the widescreen experience with the 21:9 aspect ratio.
Additionally, the Sony Xperia 1 also boasts popularity among filming enthusiasts, with a specific movie creation app and range of settings for optimizing viewing allowing for more options and creativity. Reportedly, its Cinema Pro app lets you film 21:9 4K footage as though you’re using a Sony Alpha DSLR camera.
List of specifications
|Dimension||167 x 72 x 8.2 mm (6.57 x 2.83 x 0.32 in)|
|Weight||178 g (6.28 oz)|
|Display||Type OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
1644 x 3840 pixels, 21:9 ratio (~643 ppi density)
|Storage options||64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM with MEMORY Card space|
|Software||Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10|
|Rear Camera||Triple 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, predictive Dual Pixel PDAF, 5-axis OIS
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.4″, 1.0µm, predictive PDAF, 2x optical zoom, 5-axis OIS
12 MP, f/2.4, 16mm (ultrawide), 1/3.4″, 1.0µm
|Front Camera||Single 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4″, 1.12µm|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3330 mAh battery (Supports Fast charging 18W)|
|Other Features||Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass, colour spectrum|
- Great for filming
- Advance options for the display
- Can match DSLR filming quality
- Dim screen when outside
- No proper Night mode
Design and Layout
Following Sony’s other 21:9 aspect phones, the Sony Xperia 1’s appearance is long, thin and lanky. With the dimensions of 167 x 72 x 8.2mm, and with a weight of almost 180g the phone isn’t actually that much longer than your average plus-sized handset. The Sony Xperia 1 also features ‘Corning Gorilla Glass’ on the front and back, with a metal frame between the glass.
Comparatively, the Sony Xperia 1 can feel a little heavier than some other phones. Although it should be noted that the other plus-sized devices can be up to 20g heavier than this.
Reportedly, the Sony Xperia 1 feels a little delicate because its long thin body feels like it could bend if you applied pressure despite all these premium materials and its weight. It inspires the need for additional care and attention which could be troublesome for those concerned about durability and maintenance.
The bottom of the device is where the USB-C port is, and arranged down the right side from top to bottom are the volume rocker, fingerprint sensor, power button and a unique camera button. The latter two are not regularly found on other smartphone designs and are normally seen on high-end models.
The Sony Xperia 1 is available in white, purple, black and grey; although the grey colour set seems to be exclusive to a few retailers.
The display also features a 6.5-inch OLED, with a resolution of 1644 x 3840 and pixel density of 643 pixels per inch. This is a rather impressive spec for a smartphone screen that enhances content viewed on it.
The Sony Xperia 1 also features a special option in the settings called ‘Creator mode’ that replicates the RGB setup and image processing of cinema screens.
Unfortunately, the Sony Xperia 1’s display has a surprisingly low max brightness. It’s apparently hard to see the screen when you’re outdoors, making it challenging to take pictures, record videos, or view everyday phone functions.
The 3330 mAh capacity is slightly below average. With the expected use of playing games, watching movies, shooting video and generally making the most of the elongated display, the phone really could have done with a bigger battery. It does however compensate it with a fast charging adapter, giving an output of 18W which helps get your phone up and ready after recharging it for just an hour.
However, the Sony Xperia 1’s ‘Smart Stamina’ can predict how long power will last and adapts the energy usage for longer use. Reportedly with an average use of 4-5 hours throughout a day, the Sony Xperia 1 can last until nightfall.
Software and Performance
With the focus on ‘movies’ in mind, it seems Sony has made some improvements over the Xperia’s product range with the Sony Xperia 1 becoming a staple for enjoying a video watching experience.
The Sony Xperia 1 includes a ‘Dynamic Vibration’, which causes the handset to vibrate slightly when viewing any sound media. This is to replicate the effect of booming audio similar to what you would feel when watching a movie in a cinema.
As mentioned earlier, the Sony Xperia 1 also has ‘Creator mode’ which replicates the RGB setup on any graphic file. It slightly alters the RGB makeup of the screen to resemble the colours of a theatre screen.
This allows the display content to be viewed in a slight red tint to the display, as opposed to the bluer look in ‘Standard’ mode. A rather invaluable feature for people with specific colour blindness.
It seems Sony has finally listened to feedback and gave us three rear cameras, which most other premium smartphones already have at this point. All three cameras are in 12MP and comprise a primary shooter, a wide-angle and telephoto lenses.
Unfortunately, the wide-angle lens has too wide of a field-of-view, so pictures taken with it tend to look unnaturally stretched, almost like they’re taken with a fish-eye lens. The telephoto lens on the other hand isn’t telephoto enough as its maximum optical range could only zoom in about 2x from its original view.
The Sony Xperia 1 also has no night mode, a feature found on most modern smartphones. While the ‘scene optimization mode’ has a specific setting which lightens nighttime shots, it isn’t nearly as good as proper night modes compared to other phones.
For those who want a high-quality movie experience on their phone, it is a compelling purchase. But outside of this niche, it doesn’t stand out much comparatively. Rather, it’s a specialist handset for a relatively niche audience of movie lovers who want to experience the 21:9 aspect ratio paired with the stats for quality filming.
Although for a high price tag, you’d expect a more advanced phone that could sweep away the iPhone and other Android smartphones, the Sony Xperia 1 just isn’t what you’d expect to compete with Apple.
If you really do want the 21:9 experience but not something as pricey as the Xperia 1, the Sony Xperia 10 Plus is a good alternative. It’s got almost exactly the same dimensions and a similar 21:9 screen. However the trade-off would be having a weaker processor and a lesser camera spec, all with a much lower price tag.
The Bottom Line
The Sony Xperia 1 is a solid improvement on most of Sony’s recent smartphones. However, it has a few missteps and annoyances. The dim screen being a notable one.
The Sony Xperia 1 should be of particular interest to movie buffs or those interested with filming. As mentioned, its ‘Cinema Pro’ app lets you film 21:9 4K footage as though you’re using a Sony Alpha DSLR camera.
However, outside of its niche, the Sony Xperia 1 doesn’t hold out well when compared to other premium phones. Frankly, if one doesn’t need the best movie-viewing or video-recording handset, there are better smartphones in the same price range and similar ones for half the cost of Sony Xperia 1’s price.