Sony has creatives and camera owners firmly in its sights for its latest top-tier smartphone. The Sony Xperia 1 V continues a legacy of high-end hardware borrowed or inspired by the firm’s different divisions, only this year has been overhauled with an all-new main sensor for its trio of rear snappers. The combo aims to trade blows with the very best smartphones going, while also stepping up on pro-level features.
The all-new 52MP Exmor T sensor has a stacked CMOS with 2-layer transistor, which Sony says is twice as good at low light snapping than the Xperia 1 IV. There’s an effective 48MP output, with 4-to-1 pixel binning producing 12MP stills. It’s physically 1.7x larger than before, and uses more advanced computational photography to take low-light shots on par with a dedicated digital camera. The sensor layout provides 20% more room for image stabilisation when shooting video compared to the previous generation phone, too.
It keeps the same 24mm focal length as last year, and brings back a pair of 12MP secondary snappers: a 16mm, f/2.2 ultrawide and an 85-125mm, f/2.3-2.8 telephoto with optical zoom. All three shoot 4K footage at 120fps, support 20fps burst stills, and benefit from uprated AI-based object and scene detection for autofocus, white balance and exposure.
The more advanced Photo Pro and Video Pro apps have been updated with a new vertical UI, gain focus peaking when shooting in manual mode, and let creative types experiment with a handful of different creative looks. Vloggers should appreciate the product showcase focus setting, inherited from compact system cameras like the ZV-E1, and the additional microphone dedicated to vocal frequencies for extra clarity.
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The 21:9 aspect ratio OLED display returns largely unchanged from last year, complete with 120Hz refresh rate and HDR support. It remains one of the only phones out there with a native 4K resolution, which dips down to Full HD until you load up some UHD content to preserve power. A 12MP selfie camera is hidden inside the top display bezel, ensuring no part of the screen is obscured by a punch-hole or notch. Uprated front-facing stereo speakers should make it a portable entertainment powerhouse, with improved bass response and a higher maximum volume.
The monolithic styling is in keeping with previous Xperia efforts, while colour choice has been expanded to Black, Khaki Green and Platinum Silver. Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on both the front and rear should survive an accidental drop or two, while IP65/IP68 water resistance means dunkings don’t spell disaster either. A physical camera shutter button makes a return, and the Xperia 1 V remains one of the only flagship phones to keep both a 3.5mm headphone port and microSD card slot.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor provides the power, along with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of on-board storage. Sony has paid special attention to thermals this year, adding a heat diffusion sheet 60% larger than the one seen on the outgoing Xperia 1 IV. The camera module is said to use 20% less power consumption, and the Snapdragon CPU is 40% more power efficient too, so hopefully overheating will be a thing of the past.
Battery is still a beefy 5000mAh, with Sony saying it’ll retain 80% of its capacity after three years of regular charging. It should manage 20 hours of 4K video playback between top-ups, as well as last an entire day of mixed use. USB-C charging isn’t especially rapid at 30W, and there’s not a power brick included in the box. Wireless charging is on board, though, as is reverse charging for keeping accessories refuelled.
The Sony Xperia 1 V is officially on sale from the 29th of June, for £1299 – the same as last year’s model, which is a pleasant surprise given the cost of living increases we’re seeing pretty much everywhere else. That puts it up there with the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (with equivalent storage) and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Even better, Sony fans putting their pre-order in between the 15th and 28th of June will get a free pair of WH-1000XM5 noise cancelling headphones. Our favourite ANC over-ears would usually set you back £350, so is a pretty epic bundle.