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Price : $ 1,299 / £ 1,199
YOU : Android 11
Display : 6.5 inches 4K (3840 x 1644) 120 Hz HDR OLED
CPU : Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
RAM : 12 GB
Rear cameras : 12 MP wide (ƒ / 1.7); 12MP ultra wide (ƒ / 2.3); 12MP Tele (ƒ / 2.3-2.8)
Front camera : 8MP (f / 2.0)
Storage : 256GB
Battery : 9:10
Size : 6.5 x 2.8 x 0.32 inches
Weight : 6.56 Ounces

If Sony’s PlayStation is “For The Players” then the unofficial slogan of the Xperia smartphone line should be “For The Creators”. However, at the end of my imaginary slogan I would also add “with deep pockets”.

The Sony Xperia 1 III is a premium Android phone in every respect: the 21: 9 4K OLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz is stunning, its triple camera setup with numerous advanced photo and cinematography functions is exemplary and works also for audiophiles from Sony. There’s a reason this flagship smartphone was blown off shelves in certain regions of the world, particularly China, where Sony reportedly rubbed shoulders with Apple and Huawei in the launch of the Xperia 1 III.

However, there is also a reason why Xperia is not such a big buzzword among smartphone titans like the iPhone, Pixel or Galaxy. Many will rightly say availability matters, while others say Sony needs to upgrade its Xperia product launch strategy and marketing to the standard it used when the PS5 launched. But there are two other reasons: price and niche.

The Sony Xperia 1 III is a wonderful Android smartphone that many photographers and content creators will love, but are they ready to spend over $ 1,200 on a phone with features they may already have in a professional camera? Read on to find out.

Sony Xperia 1 III price and configurations

The Sony Xperia 1 III comes with a flagship smartphone price tag. It is undoubtedly one of the most expensive smartphones to hit the market in 2021, with Sony’s premium price point only being surpassed by the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Sony Xperia 1 III Test Fuer die Macher

The Xperia 1 III is priced at $ 1,299 / £ 1,199, which means that customers in the US can get a far better deal. There is only one configuration with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The Xperia 1 III also launched two other “III” series smartphones, including the Xperia 5 III and the Xperia 10 III. As you’ll see in our Sony Xperia 5 III review, we’re fans of the $ 899 mid-tier Xperia, which has the same Snapdragon 888 chip and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It loses out on wireless charging, a bigger 4K display, and better thermal management. The low-budget Xperia 10 III at £ 399 is also a great option, offering 5G, the same 4,500 mAh battery, and the same OLED display as its more expensive siblings.

To put the price of the Xperia 1 III in perspective, the OnePlus 9 Pro with the same 12GB of RAM and 256GB storage configurations costs $ 1,069 / £ 929, while the Oppo Find X3 Pro costs £ 1,099 (about $ 1,500), while the Google Pixel 6 Pro with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage costs $ 999. Even the iPhone 13 Pro Max with 256GB of storage and 6GB of RAM costs $ 1,199. On the flip side, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 costs $ 1,799, which means the Xperia 1 III is nowhere near the most expensive.

Sony Xperia 1 III design

I’ve never been a fan of the new standard for gigantic flagship smartphone sizes, but Sony miraculously designed the Xperia 1 III to fit perfectly in the hand without feeling intrusive. Despite its long footprint and brick-like thickness, it feels like a compact phone – something that, in my opinion, was only reserved for Sony’s now-dead XZ2 Compact. However, those with smaller hands may think the exact opposite.

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The Xperia 1 III comes in black and purple. We got the chic, signature black color from Sony, which comes with a glass back and a brushed surface. Though it looks top notch, the back is a smudge and fingerprint magnet, and ruins the polished aesthetic. However, it has an IP65 / 68 rating for water resistance and dust protection. Still, I love the subtle “Sony” logo in the center, and the triple camera setup doesn’t look like it encases the phone like many flagship phones do these days.

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Similar to the Xperia 5 III, this Xperia also has a dual SIM tray on the left side that can be opened without a stylus. Other smartphone manufacturers also have to consider this, because it is extremely practical for globetrotters who constantly change their SIM cards. On the right side, the Xperia 1 II has a lot of buttons, including a two-button volume control, a Touch ID power button, a button dedicated to the Google Assistant, and a camera shutter button. The latter is an excellent addition for trigger-happy photographers and cinematographers, but I’ve rarely used the Google Assistant button. It’s a nice idea, but one button too many.

The Xperia’s 21: 9 aspect ratio contributes to the phone’s uniquely long shape, which comes with advantages and disadvantages. The thin bezels at the top and bottom of the screen are almost unnoticed thanks to the length of the screen, with the former housing a small selfie camera so there is no punch-hole situation. I loved being able to scroll through apps and watch YouTube videos and shows in landscape mode. However, the phone’s tall frame also means it’s not the easiest phone to slip into a pocket or purse, as it can look like you’re carrying a slim brick around. I don’t find this annoying, but many are distracted by the design of the Xperia.

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With dimensions of 6.5 x 2.8 x 0.32 inches and a weight of 6.56 ounces, the Xperia 1 III is only slightly larger and heavier than its brother Xperia 5 III (6.2 x 2.7 x 0, 3 inches, 5.9 ounces). It’s considerably lighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max (6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches, 8.5 oz) and is slightly larger but lighter than the Oppo Find X3 Pro (6.4 x 2.9 x 0.32 inches, 6.8 oz), OnePlus 9 Pro (6.4 inches). x 2.9 x 0.34 inches, 7 ounces) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (6.5 x 3.0 x 0.035 inches, 7.4 ounces).

Sony Xperia 1 III display

The display on the Xperia 1 III is the dream smartphone makers are aiming for, but there is such a thing as hyperbole.

This Xperia has a 6.4-inch 4K (3840 x 1644 pixels) 120Hz HDR OLED panel with an aspect ratio of 21: 9. These specs match a dazzling display that I hardly get amused about every time I use it. The 120Hz refresh rate isn’t turned on by default, but even at 60Hz, scrolling through apps and navigating menus looks and feels buttery smooth. Turning on the high refresh rate setting provides a constant 120 Hz for all apps that support this, which consumes more battery compared to smartphones with adaptive refresh rate. Did that make me turn off 120Hz? Not in the least.

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The Xperia 1 III also offers a number of picture quality settings, including “Standard Mode,” which Sony claims extends the original color space for brighter and more vibrant color effects, and “Creator Mode,” which is HDR’s 10-bit colors. provides specification and faithful reproduction of images and videos for the 4K display. This is automatically applied to certain apps, including the Cinema Pro and Photography Pro apps. Unfortunately, the 4K resolution goes unnoticed on a display of this size. I could barely tell the difference between using 4K settings in apps and QHD (2560 × 1440). Don’t get me wrong, the Xperia’s display is a delight, but I bet

To test the viewing experience of the Xperia 1 III, I watched Netflix’s vengeful The Harder They Fall and was blown away. The aspect ratio of 21: 9 is a game changer because I felt like I was holding a cinema in my hand. It was exciting to watch old-fashioned shootings in the great desert canyons, and seeing monetary shots like Regina King on horseback pulling an oncoming train down on railroad tracks is a visual delight for the eyes.

As expected, the colors are vivid when taking pictures or viewing content. Surprisingly, the brightness of the Xperia 1 III does not match the standard compared to other smartphones. The Xperia offers up to 560 nits of maximum brightness, which cannot be compared with the Find X3 Pro (800 nits), Pixel 6 Pro (842 nits) or the iPhone 13 Pro Max (837 nits). In real use, however, increasing the adjustable brightness level made the screen shine brightly, but the automatic adjustments can dim the panel depending on the lighting.

Sony Xperia 1 III audio

Thanks to its suite of audio technology, including the amazing WF-1000XM4 earbuds and WH-1000XM4 headphones, Sony is arguably the king of music – and the Xperia 1 III is a shining reflection of its status.

Thanks to the integrated LDAC codec, the Xperia 1 III offers Hi-Res wireless audio and 360-degree surround sound. Unfortunately, I don’t have Sony headphones to test this out, but Jason England at komponentenpc tested it on the Xperia 5 III and has this to say:

“The big headlines here are support for Hi-Res wireless audio thanks to the built-in LDAC codec and 360-degree surround sound. That means you can get the most out of Sony’s own WF-1000XM4 earbuds or the Soundcores Liberty 3 Pro or Edifier Neobuds Pro. If you haven’t heard the difference between standard AAC audio and LDAC yourself, it’s night and day. ”

“Another big win is the continued support for wired headphones thanks to the 3.5mm audio jack. My classic Sennheiser cans are trained and that speaks for the versatility of the smartphone. ”

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What I can talk about are the full-fledged stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support. In the mood for something bombastic, I turned up the volume on “The Only Thing They Fear Is You” by Mick Gordon of Doom Eternal. While I was happy with the volume and surround sound effect from either end of the phone, the chainsaw-like guitar riffs and manic beats sounded like they were interlocking. The lack of a distinctive bass also muffled the adrenaline the track is supposed to heat you up with.

Looking for softer tones, I listened to Halsey’s Bells in Santa Fe, which was a better sound experience. I could hear the clear, somber tones of Halsey’s voice, along with the distinctive high industrial sounds of Trent Reznor. Still, audio sounds tinny at higher volumes, with background instruments fading to give way to Halsey’s voice.

While the speakers are a disappointment, I liked the tricky Dynamic Vibration feature. This allows the Xperia 1 III’s haptics to provide physical feedback that matches what is being played, be it music or media. I didn’t pay much attention to it when listening to music and preferred it to be placed on a table, but I have a sense of immersion when watching movies or TV shows. Like I said, it’s like a movie theater in your hands.

Sony Xperia 1 III performance

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and 12 GB of RAM, the Sony Xperia 1 III is a beast in the performance department. It outperforms the competition, but is strangely outperformed by the cheaper Xperia 5 III.

During my testing, I have never experienced any type of lag or slowdown that is expected from a high-spec smartphone. Having up to 70 tabs open in Google Chrome while watching a Netflix show with multiple apps in the background (including Call of Duty Mobile) worked like a breeze and meant I could easily switch to recently opened apps and jump right back into it could did.

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Speaking of Call of Duty Mobile, the Xperia 1 III is a standout device for playing games. The 12GB of RAM offers top performance, while the 21: 9 aspect ratio allows for more screen real estate so my thumbs didn’t get in the way of aiming the perfect headshot. At maximum graphics quality and frame rate, the phone did not warm up during the quick 5 minute matches I played. With the Google Play Store now offering 120 fps games, I also tried Real Racing 3 and was thrilled to finally see 120Hz in action on a smartphone. It’s the buttery smooth refresh rate that every gamer should enjoy.

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In the Geekbench test, the Xperia 1 III achieved a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 3,591. This will wipe the floor when …