e are just past halfway through 2021 and from what we see so far, the recently released Sony Xperia 1 iii should be this year's best smartphone, at least for the smartphone photographers and smartphone enthusiasts out there.
If you ain't a smartphone enthusiast, you might not know that Sony still makes smartphones.
Sony used to make the best android phones back in the day. Their Walkman series and their Xperia phones were really popular from 2006 till about 2014, before brands like OnePlus and Samsung took a major share in the android smartphone market.
Sony kept releasing newer versions of the Xperia phone series, which were in fact good phones spec-wise but none garnered much interest from the market.
I personally am a huge fan of Sony phones. Their Walkman phones were my favourite in my college days.
As a Sony fan, Sony Xperia 1 iii is a bit of a surprise for me. It's a happy reminder that Sony's still got it.
This phone ain't perfect but I am glad it ticks a lot on the checklist an enthusiast would like to see in their daily driver phones.
Sony Xperia 1 iii Specs
Display of the Sony Xperia 1 iii
The display of the Sony Xperia 1 iii has a 21:9 aspect ratio, so if you love watching videos on your phone, you can do so in ultra wide format.
Most high resolution cinematic content can be watched in its truest form as the display supports 4K HDR video. The 120 Hz refresh rate gives you a crystal clear video viewing experience unseen before on a phone display.
Having a ultra wide display comes with its cons. If you watch regular youtube videos, you would have black bars on the outside.
Even apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok would have black lines around them to make up for the wide display.
Of course, these are not so bad to be any sort of deal breakers, but it takes a week or two to get used to this wide display.
The refresh rate can be toggled from 120 Hz to 60 Hz, but the resolution remains at 4K.
It has got a full HDR setting and as expected from a Sony phone, the display panel is just amazing to look at. I mean, just compare it to a Samsung S21 ultra, which is also in the same price range, you would see there is a 'clear' winner.
Form Factor of Sony Xperia 1 iii
Sony Xperia 1 iii has a nice and thin form factor thanks to its 21:9 display.
The feel and grip we get while holding the phone is much different from the phones we have been using for the past couple of years.
Most of the phones right now in the market have a thicker form.
If you have a phone that has a height greater than 6 inches, you know it's a bit hard to use it with just one hand.
Sony Xperia 1 iii feels so nice. It just fits right in our hands.
For the thicker phones, we know it's tough to get to the top corners with just one hand, but with this phone that's pretty easy.
Battery Life of Sony Xperia 1 iii
The one downside that we found in our review is that the battery life of this phone ain't great.
It has got a 4K panel paired with a 4500 mAh battery. No matter how efficiently you use the phone, the 4K display is always going to drain the battery of this phone.
While using the phone as our daily driver, it would hardly last a day with full charge. You would need to juice it up by late evening if you use it to watch videos and play games during the day.
This also is not a deal breaker, but I would have been happier if the battery lasted 20% longer.
In our reviews, we got a screen on time of 4 to 5 hours video playback.
Sony Xperia 1 iii has Amazing Speakers and immersive sound quality
Over the past years, smartphone manufacturers are increasingly moving towards a mono speaker setup on the phones. Even if the newer phones have dual speakers, they are not exactly aligned.
The top speaker would be on the front face near the camera and the bottom speaker would be near the charging port, both pointing in different directions.
This setup affects the stereo sound quality of the phones and even if the audio is algorithmically tweaked to make it sound like stereo, it's always lacking the true stereo quality.
Sony Xperia 1 iii makes no compromise on sound quality. Its speakers are correctly aligned on the top and bottom of the phone and both are pointing towards you to give you a true stereo sound.
The speaker quality is great. It's loud, clear and has got a great timbre.
Also, did I mention that this phone KEEPS the 3.5 mm audio jack. Thank you, Sony!
Sony Xperia 1 iii is an awesome phone for photographers!
To start off, let's start with the dedicated shutter button. Makes it clear that this phone is aimed at smartphone photography enthusiasts.
If you have used Sony DSLRs and Sony digital cameras, you will be right at home with this phone camera because you get many of the same professional cameras features like an optical telephoto lens, faster autofocus and a bigger sensor that gives you better low light images.
Sony Xperia 1 iii has a 12-megapixel triple camera setup.
The telephoto lens switches between 70mm to 105mm focal lengths.
Additionally, we have the 16 mm ultra-wide mode as well as the 24 mm standard wide mode in this phone camera.
The camera app on this phone is actually Sony's Pro Camera app, which in my opinion is way better than the stock camera app as it gives you more options to play around for taking good photos. I am sure the photography enthusiasts would appreciate that.
There are different modes on the camera app.
- Aperture Priority
- Shutter Priority
There are additional controls with these modes that let you tweak and get that perfect shot.
Processor and other features
Sony Xperia 1 iii has got the latest silicon Snapdragon 888 paired with 12 GB of RAM.
The top-end mobile chip and the whopping 12 GB of RAM enable smooth process management on the phone.
Everyday tasks like browsing, gaming, watching videos, listening to music, all feel like a breeze!
It has got a self-removable hybrid sim card slot tray which can hold 2 sim cards or 1 sim card and an SD card.
If you opt to add external storage with SD cards, it supports up to 1 TB of expandable memory.
It's amazing how Sony still got an IP68 rating despite adding the self removable sim card tray and the 3.5mm headphone jack on this phone.
Instead of the in-screen fingerprint sensor, we get to see on every new phone these days. Sony Xperia 1 iii has placed its fingerprint sensor on the ON & OFF /Sleep button, which is much more practical than the in-screen sensors.
We also get a mappable button that's defaulted to google assistant.
Overall, I am excited to own this new Xperia phone. When I say 'new', I gladly mean new.
I hope Sony stays in this trajectory and come up with more awesome phones like these in the future and I really hope Sony makes a comeback as a market leader in the android segment.
As for this phone, Sony Xperia 1 iii. Well Done, Sony!