Sony is back at it again and despite the ever dropping sales results, it’s even got a few smartphone firsts for us. The Xperia 1 III, the latest true flagship in the lineup, is the logical vehicle for those, and we’re here to tell you all about it.
Ever since the Xperia Z5 Premium all the way back in 2015, Sony’s top-tier phones have had 4K resolution displays. The Xperia 1 III combines the high resolution and a high refresh rate in one, making it the first smartphone with a 4K 120Hz display. (Update: We’ve confirmed 4K and 120Hz to work simultaneously only after this review was published.)
The other novelty is the variable focal length periscope telephoto camera. 5x periscopes are essentially mainstream now, and the long reach is most welcome. But for intermediate zoom levels, you typically need to rely on digital zoom or a second telephoto camera. The Xperia 1 III presents an alternative – its periscope camera can switch between 2.9x and 4.4x zoom levels (70mm and 105mm respectively). Now that’s a first.
The rest of the Xperia is fairly standard, or at least not something we haven’t seen before. It’s a high-end Android phone in 2021, so that means the Snapdragon 888 is at the helm, and there’s more RAM than on this reviewer’s ultrabook (12GB come standard). Gorilla Glass front and back, dust and water protection, a 4,500mAh battery with (somewhat) fast charging – some things just can’t be all that different.
Sony Xperia 1 III specs at a glance:
Body: 165.0x71.0x8.2mm, 186g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass 6), aluminum frame; IP65/IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins). Display: 6.50" OLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR BT.2020, 1644x3840px resolution, 21.02:9 aspect ratio, 643ppi; [email protected] / [email protected] Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660. Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.X; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot). OS/Software: Android 11. Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm, 1/1.7", 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 124˚, 16mm, 1/2.6", Dual Pixel PDAF; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm, f/2.8, 105mm, 1/2.9", Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4.4x optical zoom, OIS; Depth: 0.3 MP, TOF 3D. Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm. Video capture: Rear camera: [email protected]/25/30/60/120fps HDR, [email protected]/60/120/240fps; 5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS; Front camera: [email protected], 5-axis gyro-EIS. Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 30W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), Fast wireless charging, Reverse wireless charging, USB Power Delivery. Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; 3.5mm jack.
Sony Xperia 1 III unboxing
The Xperia 1 III ships in what’s been Sony’s go-to two-piece white packaging for a few years now. The Xperia logo and the model number are embossed in the center of the lid in shiny lettering, while a smaller gray ‘Sony’ logo sits on the near end. It’s a simple, yet stylish and sturdy box.
Our review unit came bundled with a charger and a USB-C cable, and nothing else. We got the XQZ-UC1 adapter (30W, USB PowerDelivery) which is the best one Sony has to offer, and we reckon that’s what will ship with retail-grade units as well. Still, your bundle may differ from ours.