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About Sony Xperia 1 - Review, Specs + more

Enter the Xperia 1, Sony has - finally after much fanfare - launched its new top of the range smartphone model, but this time under a new name. Thanks to the extra-large OLED HDR display you can experience movies in cinema-esque quality, and there is also a universal triple camera and a powerful processor. But should you buy one on pay monthly or opt for something a bit cheaper? As we all know, SONY are not the cheapest of smartphones... Let's find out:

Sony Xperia 1: More on that "!cinema" screen

The trend towards extra-large (or long) smartphone displays for videos and games is continuing here, clearly. Sony goes a step further and equips its newest, range-topping model with a 6.5-inch OLED display in 21: 9 format. In addition, the manufacturer has opted for a 4K resolution and an unusually large DCI-P3 colour space. Why? It's simple, really - so that you should feel like you're part of an authentic movie experience in HDR quality.

However, it is worth noting that the actual resolution of 3840 × 1644 pixels does not quite match the UHD standard available elsewhere, but nevertheless, the display dazzled our reviewer with a brilliant, high-contrast and extremely sharp image reproduction.

A negative point is the brightness is a bit too low in some lights, but it is not excessively noticeable on paper with 412 candelas / m², but this does however make reading in direct sunlight difficult.

Another high-end SONY product...

The large display is surrounded by an elegant metal frame and this feels really high quality in teh hand; indeed it also looks the part - the manufacturer has dispensed with any kind of notch, instead they have integrated other components such as the camera in conventional black bars. This makes the smartphone stand proud at 16.7 cm long and 7.2 cm at its narrowest point. The housing is sealed against dust and splash water, front and back are also protected by robust Gorilla-6 glass.

This is a particularly well thought-out phone though, that immediately becomes clear:  sides are rounded, and all the buttons are on the right hand side. The fingerprint scanner is sandwiched between the volume and power keys, and there’s also a camera key, which can be half-pressed to focus.

At the base is a USB-C port, and the bottom firing speaker, which is complemented by a front firing speaker above the display. Speaking of, at 6.5in, the screen’s big, and so too is the phone, so if you can get it in your hands before taking the plunge, we’d suggest doing so.

We didn't notice much smudging or fingerprint marks compared to other models, but this needs further investigation before we can firmly draw any conclusions here. We'll update this review in a short while.

Versatile: main camera, plus 2 more

On the back is the rather strange but also rather neat vertically arranged triple camera setup... It consists of a 16 mm super wide angle, a 26 mm wide angle and a 52 mm module with 2 x optical zoom.

All cameras come complete with 12-megapixels, with the 26-mm wide-angle module has a slightly larger sensor surface. For shake-free shots, you can rely on a steady-shot image stabilisation. In addition, you have the option of manual exposure control available.

In addition to the ISO value, the exposure time can also be set manually - this brings several additional design options, especially in low light.

Superlative photo quality

As we mentioned above, the photo quality is great but the lighting is key - t'was always thus. For portraits, the eye auto focus is likely to be beneficial to some users, as is the AF tracking function for moving subjects in the image sequence mode. The video mode promises the highest image quality in the form of 4K HDR recordings. The Cinema Pro technology with professional colour presets should also create that authentic cinema look that'll be popular with some - it may be a bit of a novelty, though.

The bokeh effect could also be more accurate according to this review, as in: the separation of foreground and background isn't always perfect and sometimes the AI struggles. At this price point, that's a bit of a shame - but not every user will be after the bokeh effect; but this is a phone marketed at the arty and the cool.

Another point of criticism is that neither photos nor videos can be recorded in the super 21: 9 format.

Excellent performance, short battery life

For a smooth performance, the Xperia 1 comes with the latest Snapdragon 855 processor with 8 cores and a fast clock rate of 2.8 GHz (max). The operating system is Android 9 Pie - although you will be able to get Android 10 which has launched in recent days, within a few weeks to months, Sony says.

The 6 GB of RAM as standard provides you with enough resources, so that even RAM-hungry applications do not falter. For your personal data you have an internal memory with 128 GB as standard, and if required, it can be expanded to 512 GB via microSD card.

The power source is a 3330 mAh battery, which - note- cannot be charged wirelessly.

According to reviewers on YouTube and elsewhere, several people we saw reckon the battery has an average running time of 10 hours, but oneCompare's reviewer reckons only 7.5 hours. In view of the large display, the battery capacity should be a bit more generous, and this is a bit of a drawback - why didn't SONY add a larger battery in a premium model like this?

In addition to USB-3.1, Wi-Fi and NFC and Dolby ATMOS all come as standard, the latter is included to enrich the cinema-like experience with surround sound.

The oneCompare Verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 is a big step up for the brand, due to the excellent display, the fast processor performance and high quality workmanship we're prepared to give it an 85% approval rating. It does come at a cost, though.

The battery life is a letdown, so some bigger battery alternative models to consider are the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus or the Huawei P30 Pro - equipped with a 4000 mAh or 4200 mAh battery respectively.

Sony Xperia 1 price UK

You can get the Xperia 1 on contract for about £25 a month on a 25 month contract. Alternatively it costs £799 to buy now in the UK.


Other Xperia models

Sony Xperia 1: Specifications

  • Case
  • Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2 mm
  • Weight: 178 g
  • Operating System
  • Platform: Android
  • Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Display
  • Resolution: 1644 x 3840
  • Performance
  • Memory Card:
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • Autonomy
  • Battery Capacity: 3330
  • Camera
  • Front Camera: 8 MP
  • Back Camera: 12 MP
  • Connection
  • Connection Type: 4G
  • GPS:
  • SIM Capacity: 2
  • Network
  • WIFI:
  • WIFI Hotspot:
  • Bluetooth:
  • USB: