Home Reviews Sony Xperia 1 II review: Cinematic 4K screen, 5G and better battery life, but…

Sony Xperia 1 II review: Cinematic 4K screen, 5G and better battery life, but…

Sony Xperia 1 II review: Cinematic 4K screen, 5G and better battery life, but the price is high

The Sony Xperia 1 II is Sony‘s 2020 flagship handset, and the first from Sony to support 5G (in Europe, but not in the US). As we’ve come to expect from Sony, it packs in the features, but it’s pricey even given the top-end specifications. Last year’s Xperia 1 costs £849 (inc. VAT) or 799.99 in the US, but the Xperia 1 II moves into four figures at £1,099 or 1,199.99. That’s a lot of money for a smartphone, and while there are some really superb features here, it’s going to have to be pretty much perfect to justify the price. Let’s see.

The Xperia 1 II looks very distinctive thanks to its tall, narrow design housing a screen that adopts an unusual ‘cinematic‘ 21:9 aspect ratio. It’s the same aspect ratio we saw on last year’s Xperia 1 (in fact, the screen is the same size and has the same pixel count too.- more on this below).

Sony Xperia 1 IV 5G. 108 MP, 4K Display, 6000mAh Battery, 12GB RAM | Price & Launch Date !

This makes for a phone that’s an awkward fit for many s. It’s not unduly wide though, and is very thin. The Xperia 1 II’s dimensions are 72mm wide by 166mm deep by 7.9mm thick, and it weighs just 181g.

The design is very much in the Sony mould. A flat rather than curved screen, with rounded corners but flat edges. The Gorilla Glass 6 back is black and mirror-shiny. Unfortunately it loves fingerprints and is rather slippery.

That’s even more of an issue with an extra tall handset, especially when trying to work one-handed, which I often found exceptionally difficult. I found sweeping notifications away, tapping at links in web pages, and even working through my feed all rather tricky to do one-handed. Often it felt as though I was unbalancing the phone when working one-handed, and in danger of dropping it on the floor, and that slippery back was no help at all. For a £1,000 handset, this could be a deal-breaker.

Sony continues to use a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is located halfway down the right edge, built into the power button. I found it very efficient. The button is slightly recessed, in contrast to the volume rocker above it and camera shutter towards the bottom. Yes, camera shutter: the Xperia 1 II majors on its screen and camera setup, and that physical button has an important part to play. A press launches the camera app, a half-press focuses, and a long press takes an image.

The SIM slot sits on the left edge, and unusually these days, only one SIM is accommodated. The slot will also accommodate a MicroSD card if you want to boost the internal storage. There’s a USB-C port on the bottom edge, while the top edge has a rare thing for a 2020 flagship phone.- a 3.5mm headset jack. This is a durable handset, rated IP65/68 for dust and water resistance.

Top ZDNET Reviews

Top ZDNET Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

There are no visible speaker grilles on the edges of the phone because the stereo speakers are discreetly hidden in the bezels above and below the screen. That’s the ideal location: the speakers throw sound right at you, and avoid being covered by palms when the phone is held in landscape orientation. Sound quality is pretty decent, and Sony has included ‘dynamic vibration’ just as it did with last year’s Xperia 1. You can set the handset to vibrate to the beat of music, with varying levels of intensity. The controller is an on-screen slider that sits beside the volume control. I didn’t think much of it the first time round and I’m still not a fan, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

As noted earlier the screen is the same 6.5-inch size, 3840-by-1644 pixel resolution and 21:9 aspect ratio as last year’s Xperia 1. It’s an OLED panel with HDR 10-bit support. Those speaker-housing bezels mean that the screen-to-body ratio is a relatively low 84%.

Sony does not offer a super-high refresh rate option, so you can’t dial up to 120Hz as you can with the OnePlus 8 Pro or Realme X3 SuperZoom, for example. And although the top and bottom bezels are relatively wide, at least there’s no need for an in-screen notch or punch-hole for the 8MP front camera.

sony, xperia, review, cinematic

The screen-related choices all pay off. I found watching video footage an extremely satisfying experience. Colours are rich but don’t have that over-saturated look that sometimes comes with OLED. The refresh rate was fine and I’m not sure what boosting it would really add to everyday use. Most of the video I watched wasn’t in the screen’s 21:9 aspect ratio, so there were black bars on either side of the content. A quick finger-spread stretch will zoom 16:9 or 18:9 video to fill the screen, and it’s generally perfectly watchable in this state.

Having two apps open at the same time is a trick that many handsets offer, but it’s often not very practical. With the 21:9 aspect ratio creating a taller than usual screen in portrait mode, dual app use becomes viable. To encourage this, Sony provides a utility called ’21:9 Multi-window’. Pairs of pre-configured splits such as YouTube / Chrome sit alongside the option to pick specific apps from a list. It’s nicely thought-out, and would encourage me to make more use of the split screen mode.

Sony is really pushing the camera capabilities of the Xperia 1 II, which can shoot RAW images, make fast autofocus and exposure calculations at up to 60 times a second, and has eye tracking for humans and animals that helps with autofocus. The aforementioned shutter button is also much more usable than tapping on the screen. What you won’t find is fancy super-zoom functionality that inevitably breaks up as the software loses its grip.- or, indeed, any other arguably gimmicky features.

With flagship smartphones sporting four or even five cameras at the back these days, a triple-camera setup may seem behind the times. But the Xperia 1 II bucks the trend, and does so very successfully. All three cameras have 12MP sensors, and there are 24mm f/1.7 (wide-angle), 70mm f/2.4 (telephoto, 3x optical zoom) and 16mm f/2.2 (ultra-wide-angle, 124°) lenses.

The software is nice, too. Turn the handset into landscape orientation and pitch into ‘pro’ mode and you get a seriously Smart split screen with image framing on the left and various controls on the right, plus a nifty pop-out left side wheel for flicking through various shooting-mode preferences and other settings. If you’re prepared to tweak, there’s an awful lot you can customise pretty easily, and Sony has done a great job of making pro mode very accessible.

Equipped with Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 865 5G chipset and 8GB of RAM, the Xperia 1 II performed well under the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark, turning in average scores of 905 (single core) and 3362 (multi-core). With 12GB of RAM starting to crop up in flagship handsets like the OnePlus 8 Pro, the Xperia 1 II still delivers comparable Geekbench scores (the OnePlus managed 907 and 3375).

There’s 256GB of internal storage, and Sony adds a lot of extra bits and pieces to Android 10, much of which can be declined at startup if you wish. Accepting everything on offer will take up 21.5GB, but that still leaves 234.5GB free for your own data.

The 4,000mAh battery is on the small side these days, but it lasted for 10 hours 52 minutes under the PC Mark Work 2.0 battery rundown test. Watching video is one of the key use cases for this handset, so I fully charged the battery and left a YouTube video running for three hours, after which it had fallen to 80%. anecdotally, I always finished a day’s average use with at least 30% remaining. This is a significant improvement on last year’s Xperia 1 with its 3,300mAh battery, which lasted for just under 8 hours when we tested it.

Fast charging (21W) and wireless charging (Qi, 11W) are available on the Xperia 1 II.


Sony’s Xperia 1 II isn’t for everyone.- and even those who are drawn to its features and can handle the form factor may be put off by the four-figure price tag. After all, there are plenty of well-specified smartphones that cost half as much as this one. On the plus side, there’s a superb cinematic OLED screen and a well-implemented triple rear camera array. Sony also provides a top-end 5G chipset, plenty of RAM and storage, and sleek industrial design. It’s Sony’s best phone for some time, but price is likely to be the main issue.


Sony Xperia 1 II review: Stand out from the crowd

Sony is doing its utmost to make devices that don’t conform with the 2020 smartphone rules. The Xperia 1 II (yes, that’s “one two,” as in the sequel to the Xperia 1) isn’t a curvy all-screen phone, it doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint sensor, and to get the most from the camera, it expects you to know your camera tech already. It does follow the herd with the price though, coming in at a hefty 1,200.

  • Design
  • Screen
  • Camera
  • Performance, connectivity, and software
  • Battery and sound
  • Price, warranty, and availability
  • Our take
  • Is there a better alternative?
  • How long will it last?
  • Should you buy it? Show 5 more items

It’s refreshing to use a phone that’s not a clone of another this year, but while Sony gets a lot right, the direction it takes in its effort to make the phone stand out is a little too niche. Let’s look at it in more detail.


The Xperia 1 II’s look will split opinion, but I think it looks excellent. It uses a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, giving it an elongated, more-tall-than-wide style, and has square- off sides for a boxy, monolithic shape. The black, high-gloss finish on my review phone is classy if a little faceless, and the build quality and construction are superb.

You’d expect that, right? Of course, but it stands out here. While the sides of the phone are flat, the glass on the front and back has a 2D curve on all sides, and it beautifully and seamlessly blends into the chassis. It’s like the phone has been expertly hewn from a single block of black glass.

On the back is a vertical camera lens module in the left corner. It’s so densely packed with sensors that two wouldn’t fit inside, spilling out onto the body itself. Down the right-hand side is a volume rocker, and a power button that also houses the fingerprint sensor. Below this is a two-stage dedicated camera shutter button. on these later.

On the opposite side is Sony’s easy-open SIM card tray. It doesn’t need a special tool to extract from the body, making it easier to live with for those who regularly change SIMs or MicroSD cards on the move. It’s also considerably more secure than the one I used on the Xperia 10 Plus, which was too easy to pull out of the phone.

Lightweight at 181 grams and slim at 7.9mm, the Xperia 1 II doesn’t have the curves of the OnePlus 8 Pro, or the slick form of the Huawei P40 Pro, but it does have comfort, grip, and class. The 21:9 aspect ratio means the body isn’t too wide to hold and use with one hand, the glass isn’t slippery, and there’s a cool simplicity to the design that means it’ll still look good in a year’s time.


What an absolute beauty the screen on the Xperia 1 II is — exactly what you’d expect from a company that makes some of the best televisions out there. (Have you seen the new A8H 4K OLED? It’s superb.) The Xperia’s screen measures 6.5-inches and is an HDR-capable OLED panel with an amazing 3,840 × 1,644 pixel resolution. That’s a pixel density of 643ppi — for comparison, even the beautiful iPhone 11 Pro only manages 458ppi.

To call it simply sharp is an understatement. It’s glorious in ways a smartphone screen doesn’t really need to be. I experimented with wallpapers, videos, and images online and from my own gallery, and it never disappointed. From the inky blacks — set the Dark Mode to really appreciate its depth — to its unwillingness to show even a single pixel, and viewing anything and everything is a joy. This is also where the flat screen pays dividends, as the screen appears to be right on the surface of the glass.

Dig into the settings and you can change the white balance or activate Creator Mode, which tunes the visuals through a special color gamut and 10-bit HDR. It’s created with the help of Sony’s CineAlta team, which is usually busy working on video cameras that shoot the latest blockbuster movies. Sony has also added a video enhancement mode and a motion blur reduction mode. Both are effective, but the look won’t be for everyone. Motion blur, for example, does indeed smooth out video playback on YouTube, but at the expense of realism.

Carfection’s 4K resolution video review of the Alpine A110S on YouTube really plays to the Xperia 1 II’s strengths. The level of detail is fantastic, right down to reading the tire brand and sizes even at a distance, and the color balance is exemplary. If I have a criticism, it’s that the palette is quite cool, so whites can be rather stark at high brightness, but activating Creator Mode can improve this.

Colorful, vibrant, and extremely customizable, it’s probably the best phone screen I’ve seen. What a great shame it doesn’t have a 90 or 120Hz refresh rate, a feature many would consider a staple on any 2020 flagship phone.


Here’s a rundown of the cameras on the Xperia 1 II. You get a standard 12-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and a 12-megapixel telephoto with OIS. It has a 3D time-of-flight sensor, a flash, a photo light, and Sony’s highly accurate eye-tracking tech. Camera expert Zeiss provides the lenses, and there’s a 3× optical zoom, HDR, 4K HDR video recording at up to 60 frames per second (fps), and a 20 fps burst mode, too.

Sony has also preinstalled two custom camera apps, Cinema Pro and Photo Pro, which emulate the user interface and features found on Alpha cameras such as the Sony A9 and Sony A7 III. Sony has continued to utilize expertise from within, and wants its smartphone cameras to be an extension of its pro-level equipment, providing a similar level of versatility in a compact, portable device. As a strategy, it makes perfect sense; in reality, it’s still something that regular phone buyers may never get to grips with.

Take the Cinema Pro app. It gives you complete control over how you shoot video on the Xperia 1 II, from the FOCUS to the shutter speed, the white balance, the ISO, and even the overall look of your footage. I’ve no doubt that if you’re well-versed in using a pro-level camera to shoot video, the features will be clear and you’ll be shooting top-quality video immediately. If you’re like me, someone who leaves the camera on Auto, then the learning curve is very steep and you’ll shoot a lot of rubbish video before arriving at something halfway decent. The thing is, you could just shoot using the normal camera app and cut out all the sweat and swearing that comes from trying to wrangle Cinema Pro’s settings correctly.

Sony has put stereo front-facing speakers on the Xperia 1 II, and they’re excellent, with a full, deep, and engaging sound. Audio is enhanced with a feature called Dynamic Vibration, which uses haptic motors to add a vibration to media played on the phone. It operates in many apps including YouTube and. and is surprisingly effective. It can get a little too much during music videos, where it just constantly vibrates, but is quite fun on movies. Best of all, you can adjust the intensity or turn it off completely if you don’t like it, right from the volume panel.

The excellent audio performance combined with the stunning screen make the Xperia 1 II a superb multimedia phone.

Price, warranty, and availability

The Xperia 1 II costs 1,199 in the U.S. and is available now from Sony, Amazon, and other retailers. In the U.K., the Xperia 1 II costs 1,099 British pounds.

Our take

The Sony Xperia 1 II is something a little different, and that instantly makes me warm to it. The screen is one of the best in the business, the camera takes some great photos, and the quality of the phone itself is superb. I also appreciate Sony’s attempts to make the Xperia 1 II stand out from the crowd. But the complex, pro-level camera apps have very niche appeal, and the decision not to include 5G in the U.S. models is as baffling as it is unfortunate.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. If you want a top-spec Android phone with a good camera, we recommend either the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus or S20 Ultra, depending on your budget, or suggest you go take a look at the Galaxy Note 10 Plus or the new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The OnePlus 8 Pro is also highly recommended, and is considerably cheaper. If you’re in the U.K. or don’t mind importing, then the Oppo Find X2 Pro is also excellent.

Our other suggestion here is to buy an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max. The camera is excellent, and if you want pro-level tools. there are many apps available in the App Store to replicate Sony’s Cinema and Video Pro app functionality. You’re getting our recommendation of the best overall phone you can buy today as a bonus, but be aware that it too does not come with 5G. For that, you’ll have to wait for the iPhone 12, which arrives in the fall.

How long will it last?

The Xperia 1 II has an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, giving it a good chance of survival if things take a turn for the damp, and the Gorilla Glass 6 both front and back is durable. My review model did pick up a couple of faint scratches on the screen simply by spending a relatively short amount of time in s and bags. A screen protector and a case would be advisable.

While the lack of 5G in the U.S. version isn’t a big deal for everyone right now, it will become an increasingly desirable feature over the next two years, which is the minimum amount of time we’d expect you to keep this phone, and not having it as an option may be a problem. We advise you to think carefully whether you’re likely to want 5G in the near future, and purchase accordingly.

Sony has not said when Android 11 will arrive on the Xperia 1 II. When we checked about ongoing software updates more generally, we were told, “Sony Mobile is providing regular and timely security upgrades. While phones cannot be upgraded indefinitely, we provide security upgrades within the industry standard on our devices, depending on regions and carriers.”

Should you buy it?

No. Despite its strengths, you can buy a phone with similar features that has 5G on board and is ready for the future. When you spend 1,199 on a phone, you expect it to have the very latest tech to guarantee longevity. In the U.K., where the phone does have 5G, the Xperia 1 II becomes a better choice.

Editors’ Recommendations

Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…

Google has been notoriously slow at sending out meaningful software updates to WearOS, so Fossil has taken things into its own hands and delivered its feature update to the Gen 5 range of smartwatches. Fossil calls them “enhancements,” and there are five to look out for: A Wellness app, sleep tracking, VO2 max data, a new phone app, and a new set of extended battery modes.

But wait, didn’t Google buy Fossil’s smartwatch division? Indeed it did, and while the details around what Google actually purchased are confusing, there’s a chance what we’re seeing on the Gen 5 smartwatch is a part Fossil, part Google endeavor.

Sony’s Alpha-series mirrorless cameras are known for the best-in-class autofocus and fast continuous shooting, and those same features are now trickling down into Sony’s latest phone. The Xperia 1 II will ship July 24, with pre-sales beginning June 1, Sony announced today. The Android 10 device also borrows tech from Sony’s gaming and entertainment products.

No, the phone won’t get a large APS-C or full-frame sensor like an Alpha camera, but Sony is integrating several key performance features of its camera line into the Xperia 1 II, like a 20-frames-per-second burst mode. That’s as fast as the sports-oriented.- and 4,500.- Sony A9 II mirrorless camera.

If MWC 2020 had not been canceled and had gone ahead as usual, Sony would have started the first day of the show with its own smartphone launch. While the event itself may not be happening, we’ve still got the details of Sony’s new phones — the Xperia 1 II and the Xperia 10 II.

Leaving the unusual decision to use numbers rather than letters to differentiate these updated models aside, here’s what you need to know about the new widescreen Sony smartphones. Xperia 1 II The Xperia 1 II (or Xperia 1 Mk2 as it’s also known) is a serious upgrade over last year’s flagship Xperia 1 Sony phone, and the good news is it comes with the latest tech most will demand from a phone in 2020. It also continues the strategy seen in the Xperia 5, where it pulls in expertise from other parts of the Sony empire to enhance the new phone.

Upgrade your lifestyleDigital Trends helps readers keep tabs on the fast-paced world of tech with all the latest news, fun product reviews, insightful editorials, and one-of-a-kind sneak peeks.

  • Careers
  • Advertise With Us
  • Work With Us
  • Diversity Inclusion
  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Information
  • Manage cookie preferences
  • Press Room
  • Sitemap

Sony Xperia 1 II review: Yep, that’s a real telephoto lens

With a 1,200 price tag, Sony’s new flagship brings more mirrorless camera features to your

Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.

  • Patrick’s play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.

Advertiser Disclosure

This advertising widget is powered by Navi and contains advertisements that Navi may be paid for in different ways. You will not be charged for engaging with this advertisement. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, this advertising widget does not include information about every product or service that may be available to you. We make reasonable efforts to ensure that information in the featured advertisements is up to date, each advertiser featured in this widget is responsible for the accuracy and availability of its offer details. It is possible that your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms in this advertising widget and the advertised offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser which will be presented to you prior to making a purchase. All information is presented without any warranty or guarantee to you.

When I told someone about the Sony Xperia 1 II, their first reaction was, ” Sony still makes phones ?!” Granted, this phone isn’t aimed at the masses like an iPhone 11 Pro or a Samsung Galaxy S20. Sony is after creative types who want more control over their photos and videos. That’s why the company packed the 1,200 (£1,099) Xperia with controls and tools from its popular Alpha line of full-frame mirrorless cameras, and that’s what I’ll be looking at exclusively in this piece.

On paper, the Xperia 1 II seems like most other Android flagship phones powered by a Snapdragon 865 processor. It has a 6.5-inch 4K OLED screen, 5G (outside of the US) and on the back is a wide-angle main camera, an ultrawide-angle camera and a telephoto camera.- all of which have a 12-megapixel sensor.

But there are things that set this phone apart. For instance, the telephoto lens has the full-frame equivalency of a 70mm lens.- meaning it’s actually a telephoto lens! (Normally, when companies say their phones have telephoto lenses, they are really somewhere between 52 and 56mm.) There’s a physical shutter button on the phone, which is quite handy. There are also three preloaded apps that take full advantage of the camera. One is the basic Xperia Android camera app. The other two are Photo Pro and Cinema Pro, which give you detailed controls over every aspect of your phone’s photo and video capture.

To my delight these apps allow the Xperia 1 II to operate more like a camera than a phone. This made me wonder how good these cameras actually were, especially at video capture. To find out, I made a short film with the phone and I was very impressed.

I made a film with the Cinema Pro app

The best way to talk about and test the Xperia 1 II’s video quality and the Cinema Pro app was to go through the process of making a film. So I wrote, shot and starred in a 4-minute film called I, Robber, which you can watch below. Every shot was captured using the Xperia’s Cinema Pro app and I had a blast using it.

While shooting my film, the physical shutter button on the Xperia 1 II made it easy to record myself even when I couldn’t see the screen. The Xperia 1 is also small when compared to mirrorless cameras, and it allows me to put it in different locations for unique shots and perspectives. For example, for one scene I taped the phone to the inside of a cabinet door.

The left side of the phone has no buttons and is relatively flat meaning that the phone can stand on its own. mostly.

Unlike other apps that offer video-centric controls, Cinema Pro has a detailed yet approachable layout. Its minimal menus are very straightforward and all major settings are available at a glance. Things like shutter angle, ISO and manual focusing are simple to adjust, and you can automate a FOCUS pull between two subjects.- which is such a pleasure to watch.

Videos are recorded in an H.265 codec with 10-bit color. 4K video out of the Cinema Pro app is sharp, especially off the main 24mm camera. Resolution and frame rates top out at 4K at 60 frames per second or HD at 120 fps. I should note that since Cinema Pro videos have a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, it doesn’t actually record at full 4K. Instead, you have to use the native Xperia camera app to capture true 4K in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

But Sony can add improvements to the Xperia 1 II that would make it more helpful. For one thing, I wish there was more “pro” in the Cinema Pro app. It would be great to zoom in on the viewfinder to manual FOCUS or have FOCUS peaking. A true flat video profile would be nice, too.

If you’re filming outdoors, you need a neutral density filter in order to keep from getting overexposed videos. Since the aperture is fixed, the only way to adjust exposure is by changing the ISO and shutter angle. On a really bright day, I often bottomed out both the ISO and shutter angle and still had an overexposed image. One hack I learned was to shoot at 4K 60 fps (or HD 120 fps), which exposes each frame shorter than filming at 24 fps. It’s not ideal, but sometimes it would bring the exposure to a manageable place.

There are times I went to reshoot a scene and had to guess what my settings were for the original take. Access to ISO and shutter-speed metadata for clips I already shot, even if it’s only available in the project file, would be another great tool. Adding a histogram to the Cinema Pro app (instead of just the Photo Pro app), and additional tools like a waveform and zebras would all be helpful, too.

I realize my wishlist actually sounds like the feature list of the third-party video app Filmic Pro. While added tools to Cinema Pro would be great, I do understand that Cinema Pro and Filmic Pro are two fundamentally different apps and part of what I like about the former is that it’s quite simple. If I used Filmic Pro when I was a young scrappy filmmaker I’d be overwhelmed. Whereas Cinema Pro offers a solid place to get my feet wet and get what’s in my head captured as video.

Photo Pro app and Eye AF transform the Xperia 1 II into a mirrorless camera

When we think about phones that take great photos, such as the iPhone 11 Pro or Google Pixel 4. they stand out because they can capture a moment, process it and optimize it to create a single picture that looks as outstanding as possible. After you tap the shutter button, the phone’s computational photography does the rest. For many people, that’s all they ever want out of a phone camera.

But for people like me who want more creative control, the Xperia 1 II is a real damn treat. I get access to advanced controls and can interact with them like a regular camera.

If you’re already into the Sony Alpha camera ecosystem, the Photo Pro app will immediately look familiar, because it essentially mimics a Sony Alpha camera. There are controls for metering, FOCUS, exposure compensation and more. I can dial in shutter speed and ISO and there’s even an onscreen histogram and horizon level.

The best feature is Eye AF which is an autofocus tool borrowed from the 3,500 Sony A9 camera. Eye AF can identify a face in your frame and then lock in on your subject’s eye. It is jaw-dropping how well this works on the Xperia.

This feature is also supposed to work on animals, which sounds fun and it was something I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, despite numerous tries, I never got the eye FOCUS box to pop up for my roommate’s cat Cheddar. My video producer tried it on his dog Max and the green box didn’t pop up on his eyes either. I’m working with Sony to figure out exactly what’s going on.

Xperia 1 II photos are great

Whether I was using the default Xperia camera app or Photo Pro, I was able to capture consistently good photos with the Sony Xperia 1 II. Pictures had lots of detail, wonderful colors and accurate FOCUS.

Even indoors and in medium and low-light situations, the Xperia 1 II produces photos with low image noise that look natural. Take a look below at the photo of Cheddar. The kitchen has a mix of warm and cool lighting, as well as bright areas and heavily shadowed ones. Cheddar’s fur has wonderful detail and his white fur highlights aren’t blown out.

sony, xperia, review, cinematic

The only place I’m disappointed is with the selfie camera, which takes only average-quality photos. Image quality is a big step down compared to the rear camera and there is a beauty mode that smooths the skin and enlarges eyes to a point that is too extreme. Some people might prefer this, but I’m not one.

The Xperia 1 II costs 1,200

Ultimately the Xperia 1 II’s triple-rear camera and preloaded camera apps are tools that made my pursuit of filmmaking and photography feel more legitimate on a phone than the LG V60 or even the iPhone 11 Pro.

But the phone’s 1,200 price tag is certainly not for everybody. If you’re deep in the Sony Alpha camera ecosystem then the Xperia 1 II is definitely worth considering, especially if you have the budget. Sony has a preorder deal where if you buy the phone it comes bundled with a pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones that cost normally 230. If you’re interested in the Xperia, I’d definitely take advantage of that.

Sony Xperia 1 II looks sharp from any angle

As a journalist and scrappy short filmmaker. the phone costs too much for me and I imagine for a lot of other people too. Still, using this phone was a great experience and perhaps Sony can port over these great camera tricks into cheaper phone models in the near future.

Xperia 1 II review part 1: Sony refines its cinematic phone formula

Sony Xperia 1 III vs Xperia 1 II vs Xperia 1: What’s the difference?

Here’s how the Sony Xperia 1 III compares to its predecessors, the Sony Xperia 1 II and the Sony Xperia 1.

Readers like you help support.lint. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read

Sony Mobile revealed the third generation of its flagship Xperia 1 smartphone during an online event in April 2021. Continuing to follow the naming structure of the Sony Alpha cameras, the Xperia 1 III offers a very similar design to its predecessor. the Xperia 1 II. but with several upgrades.

Here’s how the Sony Xperia 1 III compares to the Xperia 1 II and the original Sony Xperia 1 to help you work out which to buy and whether to upgrade.

What’s the same?

The Sony Xperia 1 III offers the same Omnibalance design we have come to expect from Sony Xperia devices, with a metal frame sandwiched between two glass panels like the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1. There are some differences, which we will go into in a minute, but it’s clear the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1 are part of the same family.

All three Xperia 1 devices are IP65/68 water and dust resistant and they all have a 6.5-inch CinemaWide display with a 4K resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio. though the third-gen model does offer some advancements here too. The Xperia 1 III, Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1 also all have a single front camera, fingerprint sensor and a number of Sony technologies including Stamina Mode for the battery.

What’s different?

Despite looking similar and sharing many of the same technologies, there are a few differences between the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1 which are worth considering if you are planning to upgrade or choosing between the three models.

sony, xperia, review, cinematic


  • Xperia 1 III: 165 x 71 x 8.2mm, 186g
  • Xperia 1 II: 166 × 72 × 7.9mm, 181g
  • Xperia 1: 167 x 72 x 8.2mm, 178g

The Xperia 1 III and Xperia 1 II have squarer edges than the Xperia 1, though the overall tall and slender look is shared between the handsets. The Xperia 1 III is slightly shorter than the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1 at 71mm compared to 72mm.

The Xperia 1 III is also ever so slightly narrower than the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1, and heavier. It’s also a little thicker than the Xperia 1 II at 8.2mm like the Xperia 1, compared to the Xperia 1 II’s 7.9mm slim frame.

The Xperia 1 III and Xperia 1 II see the reintroduction of the 3.5mm headphone jack and reposition their rear camera housing from the centre to the top left of the handset, as it was on previous Xperia handsets before the Xperia 1.


  • Xperia 1 III: 6.5-inch, 4K, HDR, 21:9, CineAlta, 120Hz
  • Xperia 1 II: 6.5-inch, 4K, HDR, 21:9, CineAlta, Motion Blur Reduction
  • Xperia 1: 6.5-inch, 4K, HDR, 21:9, CineAlta

Although the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 1 II and the Xperia 1 have the same size and resolution display, the Xperia 1 II adds a couple of extras and the Xperia 1 III expands further on this. All three devices have the Creator mode “powered by CineAlta”, which is designed to deliver a true representation of colours like a Master Monitor, and they are all HDR compatible.



| Denial of responsibility | Contacts |RSS