Are you looking for a photographic smartphone? A smartphone with a recognizable design? Or maybe a smartphone with a high quality screen accompanied by an excellent audio sector? Here’s the new one Sony Xperia 1 III it could be the device for you, but it is a pity that the list price, 1300 euros, puts it at the same level as the iPhone 12 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 in the 256GB denominations.
Price is really the biggest obstacle, because otherwise there is no phone on the market that offers everything we find on Sony Xperia 1 III. We are in fact in front of a smartphone that does everything very well, but which ultimately probably does not yet have its own target audience. Sure photographers and videographers who already use Sony cameras might have some advantages, but is it worth the money? Let’s see it together in this Sony Xperia 1 III review.
Sony Xperia 1 III review: design and features
After having tried and appreciated last year Xperia 1 II I was really very curious to understand if Sony had managed to fix those few defects that of the previous model. The new top of the range from Sony presents itself once again with the classic tall and slender format, protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus for the front and an opaque Gorilla Glass 6 layer for the back. I would call it an elegant smartphone that only has a small element in the photographic module that breaks the cleanliness of the device.
At the front also on Xperia 1 III we do not find the notch to insert the camera, but rather there is still a frame where the notification LED also finds space. Therefore, in addition to the characteristic format of the Xperia 1 smartphones, this is also a choice that makes them well identifiable in a context in which it is difficult to notice the differences between the various devices. The same goes for the positioning of the buttons, all on the same side – the right – which is certainly practical for a right-handed person. Left-handed people might complain. On the left profile we find instead only the compartment for the double SIM card or to insert a SIM card and a microSD card. No accessories of any kind are needed to access this compartment, what a great convenience!
If there is not much else to add in terms of design, except that we also find a 3.5mm audio jack and which is equipped with IP65 / 68 certification, the time has come to see what lies inside a device certainly promoted from an aesthetic point of view.
Inside is the best processor currently available, it Snapdragon 888, accompanied by 12GB in RAM which make the use of Xperia 1 III very fluid and probably one of the most responsive ever in multitasking. The merit of this speed is also given by Sony’s optimizations on Android 11. The display used is one OLDE 4K HDR in 21: 9 format that boasts a refresh rate up to 120Hz and a brightness capable of showing us everything even under the sun. It may be because of the very hot and sunny days in which I carried out my test, but all this technology leads to a slight heating of the device.
However, the excessive heat generated is not the only problem in stressing Xperia 1 III these days. In fact, we must also deal with a high battery consumption if you start using all the functions consistently, thus requiring maximum performance from the device. Take for example the gaming sector, an area in which Sony aims to challenge, and with good results, devices born exclusively for mobile gaming. Among other things, we can easily connect a DualShock 4 for a better gaming experience. Xperia 1 III also offers a dedicated mode to prune all the concentration of the user, but also of the device, on the game being played. The performance is really good, but the battery doesn’t hold up for a long session.
With normal use we can easily go beyond the working day; in my case with just over two hours of active screen i went to sleep with 50% battery left.
In detail the battery was brought to a capacity of 4500mAh compared to 4000 of version II. After all, it all lies in the specific use we make of it, but if you equip a device with all this technology it is to exploit it without worries.
Signal reception is also good even if compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max that I usually use, it would seem to have some network uncertainty at times. For a smartphone born in 2021 obviously there is no lack of preparation for 5G reception, but instead we cannot take advantage of eSIM. Finally, the Wi-Fi module is equipped with smart functionality that detects any connection problems.
I conclude this first part of the Sony Xperia 1 III review by talking to you about the audio sector. In addition to having the 3.5mm jack as anticipated, it counts on two speakers capable of reproducing clean audio even at the highest volumes.
Camera at the top
Sony is back in the office with regards to the photographic performance of its latest top-of-the-range smartphone. On board there is obviously the application designed together with the engineers of Sony’s Alpha department and it is truly complete. The perception is that of using a Sony camera and not a smartphone. The merit is of Photography Pro, which is hands down the best photo app customization on android. But it is not only the software side that is appreciated, with this model we discover in fact the first telephoto lens with variable focal length.
In detail, we therefore have four different native focal lengths to exploit, a 16mm wide-angle, a normal 24 and two 70mm and 105mm telephones. Thanks to the solution adopted by Sony we can shoot at 105mm without any loss of quality given by digital or hybrid solutions. A clear step ahead of the competition.
In general, the results are confirmed to live up to expectations, with aexcellent reproduction of details even smaller ones and chromatically always well balanced images. Even in low light conditions, for which there is no real night mode as happens with all other smartphones out there. Simply Sony Xperia 1 III allowing you to adjust all the shooting settings, it independently manages the parameters for the best results. Obviously you need a good photographic knowledge to get the most, but even relying on the Auto mode of Photogrphay Pro the results are satisfactory.
Another correct choice was not to overdo the pixels on the sensors. All three in fact have 12MP, what is perhaps the best compromise between pixels and sensor size to date. In addition we also have an iToF 3D sensor and advanced focus management features. In fact, we can take advantage of the AF tracking with continuous shooting up to 20fps and the Real-time Eye AF for people and animals. There is also an optical stabilizer and the ability to record in the uncompressed DNG format. Everything is then processed with excellent timing by the BIONZ X processor.
As for the photo sector, also for the video sector the app dedicated to videomakers is back: Cinema Pro. We can register until terminated 4K HDR a 60fps being able to take advantage of the optical stabilization which is really a godsend.
Sony Xperia 1 III review: conclusions
As a leader in the photography market, Sony knows better than anyone what it means to make cameras. And today that the photographic behavior is the most important parameter for evaluating a smartphone, we only need to give credit to what has been developed in combination between the mobile and photographic divisions. If the previous version of Xperia 1 had already shown great potential, the third generation is further proof of the engineering skills at Sony.
It’s obvious that 1299 euros are not fewindeed, but we are faced with a top-class product that, albeit with some limitations, has nothing to envy to the competition. The problem, if we want to define it, lies in the target for this Sony Xperia 1 III. To date, professionals or aspiring ones who already know Sony equipment are the only ones who could really benefit from the combined use of this smartphone with Alpha cameras. For the rest, I think it is legitimate for a user to consider the price far too high if you don’t need to have such a good camera in your pocket. And it is a shame, because the project is ambitious and successful, but to compete with the big names in the mobile world it will still take an effort.