Sony has announced two new phones, the Xperia 1 III and the Xperia 5 III. Both phones bring the goodness of Sony’s Xperia brand as well as Alpha digital cameras in one housing. With that being said, like has been the case, Sony is putting major emphasis on cameras — more so claiming it to be the “world’s first smartphone with a variable telephoto lens paired with a Dual PD sensor” with improvements in its autofocus system, which already was top of the line.
Like usual, Sony’s shenanigans in terms of availability and pricing continue, as the brand has not unveiled any pricing, but both phones are touted to hit the US market “this summer.”
The duo shares common internals as you’d expect from a flagship Android device: a Snapdragon 88 chipset, triple rear cameras, and 5G support, albeit just sub-6GHz network support.
Sony has not strayed away from its classic Xperia design language here. Both phones are tall and narrow and sport a glossy back with curved edges on all sides, offering it a sleek beast that we know of today. The aesthetics of Sony phones have always drawn me to them, and this is no exception. The only downside here is that it will cost as expensive as it looks.
The design has not always been Sony’s forte, but the Xperia phones build upon some unique or niche specs that are not found in other Android phones. The Xperia 1 III has a 4K OLED panel with support for a 120Hz refresh rate (though it’s locked). There are dual stereo speakers that are 40 percent louder and support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format.
Much like the Xperia Pro, both phones can now make use of that USB-C port to which you can connect a special cable to take an HD-resolution video signal from your Sony SLR camera and use the phone as a monitor. This should be helpful for those wanting to live-stream their content directly from the comfort of their phone without missing a lot in terms of details.
There’s a handy little 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a camera shutter button. You’ll also get a dual-SIM and microSD+SIM tray.
There are also some standard features like wireless charging with a 4,500mAh battery. And like gaming phones, or more so Sony’s pursuit to better battery life, you get a handy feature to redirect power away from the battery to reduce heat when plugged in and gaming. Both phones will ship with Android 11, though Sony has not said anything about the future Android upgrades.
The only major difference you can notice between both the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III is that you get a 6.5-inch 21:9 4K display on the former and a 6.1-inch 21:9 1080p display on the latter.
But, that doesn’t make the Xperia 5 III less of a phone here as Sony has put similar camera sensors on both phones. Both phones get three 12MP sensors on the back, and both the primary and telephoto lenses have support for OIS.
Sony mentions that it’s using lenses that are identical to 16mm (f/2.2 ultrawide), 24mm (f/1.4 wide), and 70mm (f/2.3 telephoto), but the telephoto lens can achieve up to f/2.8 105mm equivalent. That’s because Sony has added a folded periscope lens design, and it’s physically shifting the lens to get variable focal lengths, which is quite impressive on a phone.
Both of these phones are capable to take photos up to 20fps at 60 fps. There’s also support for 4K 120FPS in HDR. The eye-tracking autofocus is still there but this time you get real-time tracking for it.
Sony has also merged the pro camera app with the main camera app, which should make it easy for users to access it. But the complexity of the Pro mode is so much so that it’s mainly geared towards Sony’s camera enthusiasts.
Like usual, Sony’s phone, on paper, is one of the best you can get out there. But like every year, Sony has heavily struggled to get a market share mainly due to the higher prices and availability issues. This time, with Sony again focusing on enthusiastic users instead of mainstream buyers, it seems the two Xperia phones will yet again come short in terms of sales.
In terms of availability in Nepal, we aren’t expecting either of the phones to hit the Nepalese market anytime sooner, if not ever.