Sony Xperia 1 Review

With a suggested retail price of 1066 dollars, Sony has something to prove with the Sony Xperia 1. Will Sony make it happen with this device? As always, it is not the specifications of the smartphone. However, the question is: who exactly is the Xperia 1 for?

Specs and Performance:

Although 6 GB of memory now a days no longer seems that much for Android smartphones (if you look for example at the devices of the Chinese competitor with the OnePlus 7 Pro ), it is still more than enough for daily use and the heaviest Android current games. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, the company's most recent high-end processor, naturally also plays a major role in this. Together with 128 GB of internal storage space, Sony delivers a capable smartphone on paper.

The only thing that can spoil things here is the battery in the Sony Xperia 1. With a power of 3,330 mAh we manage to get through the day, but usually, there's nothing more than that - despite the energy-efficient Android on board. The device can warm up well, but only when you are on the Xperia 1 for a long time without interruption. Furthermore, the elongated screen ensures that not all apps are fully displayed - but that also has to do with app support.

Hardware and Design:

The Sony Xperia 1 has a striking design, which is not that incredibly striking when you look at it a little longer. The device is relatively narrow and therefore seems higher than actually the case. That is pure deception. In reality, the Xperia 1 is just a little higher than an average high-end device and just a bit narrower, but the few millimeters that are missing ensure a unique presentation. However, we come across screen edges on all edges of the screen: they are at their thickest at the top and bottom.

On top is the step for a SIM and micro SD card, while we have no buttons or connections on the left. On the right are the button for the camera (with which you activate the app and with which you take photos), the volume button and the fingerprint scanner. Also here is the on-off button. At the bottom are a single speaker and the USB-C connection. On the back are three camera lenses that all have their functions, as well as an LED flash above the camera module. All in all, the phone has a sleek design and fits comfortably in the hand.


Where Sony leaves the best impression is the screen. This is namely an OLED panel with a maximum resolution of 3,840 by 1,644 (the 4k resolution). Besides, there is support for HDR content. In the past, Sony has already offered the 4k resolution, but only on LCD screens. Now that an OLED display has been chosen, that means that we can enjoy deep blacks, huge contrast, and a generally more vivid screen. The display of the colors is also quite true to nature.

By presenting the screen resolution on a 6.5 ″ display, we have an extremely high pixel density of 562 pixels per inch. As a result, movements flow over the screen and everything looks incredibly tight. The screen ratio of 21: 9 is ideal for viewing video content (in the same format) and multitasking, since you have more space for two apps next to each other. You will also immediately see more of an app or site on your screen. However, the maximum brightness of the screen is somewhat disappointing.


Fortunately, Sony has not cut back on connectivity. You can do everything with this device that you can do with other flagships. The addition of micro-SD card support is always nice, especially if you find 128 GB of storage space too low. The striking factor here is the fingerprint scanner, which is located on the right side of the device. It is in a great place for your thumb and you can easily reach it when the device is in your palm. But it also feels less premium than in-display scanners.


Recently we have seen more and more smartphones with stereo speakers. The Sony Xperia 1 also has them. The phone combines the ear speaker with which you call with the speaker on the bottom. The sound is well distributed and has beautiful, high tones. Conversations are easy to understand. However, the middle tones and the lower tones sometimes drop out a bit, so the sound itself is not balanced. And that's a shame, since Samsung, among others, has shown that you can get a great sound from a phone.


This is the first Sony device that has three cameras. It concerns three cameras of 12-megapixels: the main sensor, one for telephoto photos and one for photos with wider angles. Although Sony often supplies camera modules to other manufacturers, there is still something to be desired in the area of ​​camera processing. With the Sony Xperia 1, we encounter that idea less often since the smartphone is perfectly capable of taking photos in all kinds of environments. There are also plenty of options.

For example, you can zoom in up to twice without quality loss (which is not the case compared to the Huawei P30 Pro ) and you can zoom in up to ten times with quality loss. Also, you can, therefore, take photos with a wider angle. What you have to pay attention to is a specific setting that automatically adjusts the round edges, because otherwise, it looks like you are standing in a fishbowl. These wide-angle photos can, therefore, be corrected automatically. This possibility is also indicative of the user-friendliness of the camera.

Because although the camera software can more than perfectly edit the images - and those images have a neutral color, without overexposure or a higher contrast - we notice that many functions are hidden. They are not directly presented in the camera field. There is also a button for switching between the cameras. Exactly, that is one button: to take a photo from a wide-angle, you must first go through the 2x zoom function. And with us, it has happened that the application of the camera got stuck as a result.

Fortunately, there is an extensive manual mode with which you can design the picture exactly as you want. This is also the place where you will find the high dynamic range position. Normally this mode is automatically activated, but unfortunately, it is very unreliable. So if you want to take photos with a nice color range, then you have to rely on manual mode. The camera does not use all kinds of functions based on artificial intelligence as standard so that colors are not over-saturated or too present.

Making selfies also works great, where the hdr mode is well able to distinguish between the back and foreground. However, the quality of the photos is not great. And although making videos is easier than taking pictures, we also notice some limitations here. For example, videos in 4k cannot go higher than thirty frames per second (fps) and we notice that the image stabilization can be somewhat better. Furthermore, you can only shoot videos with the main and telephoto lenses, not with the wide-angle lens.

Battery life:

If you are a heavy smartphone user, you will not have a pleasant experience with the Sony Xperia 1. You have to charge the device every day, especially if you plan to watch a lot of content or play games. The large OLED screen seems to us simply too much for the small battery of 3,330 mAh. We understand that Sony wants to put a narrow and thin smartphone on the market, but to have something like that at the expense of the battery is, in our opinion, a concession that you don't have to do.


The Sony Xperia 1 is equipped with an almost bare version of Android 9.0 Pie. The software responds smoothly and accurately and had no noticeable difficulty with the apps we tried. The security update is, at the time of writing, on 1 June. That is fine in principle since it is a recent update level. Sony promises to continue updating the Xperia 1 to two years after launch with new Android software and security updates, so hopefully, we will see a recent update soon.

The side sensor is striking here. This is a means with which you can quickly access frequently used apps. You bring this menu up by tapping twice or by sliding it up. There is even a tutorial available to get a feel for it. Although this idea sounds great in theory and can be a nice addition to Android, we notice that it does not work well. No matter how often you tap or how much you sweep, the menu just doesn't appear. We may not be doing something right, but that does not mean that it is inaccessible.

If you find the screen too large, you can reduce it if you want. You can set a double tap on the home button to push the screen to the right corner. All buttons, icons, and functions are therefore more accessible with one hand (but then the question remains why you want such a device with an elongated screen). Also, Sony supplies quite a few applications that are pre-installed; apps that unfortunately you cannot remove all of them and can sometimes only turn off.

Sony Xperia 1 - in use:

The Sony Xperia 1 is comfortable to hold. That is because the device is slightly less wide than we are used to. The smartphone also feels quite light. Because it is slightly longer, it may just not fit in your pocket or get in the way during bending, but that will be different for each person. the fingerprint scanner is in a great place, but unfortunately, it does push the buttons aside. The on/off button, for example, is a bit cramped, while the volume buttons are just a bit too high for the feeling.

Because the screen is again higher (or wider, in the horizontal position), not all apps and games work with the extra screen space. That is why you may encounter black bars where they do not belong. That is not a criticism of the device itself and has to do with built-in support in apps - or rather, the lack of it. Nevertheless, it is part of the experience. This is also a personal point: if you don't mind, there is nothing wrong. But some people can be bothered about this.

The vibration motor is a unique part of the Sony Xperia 1. That engine can be used while watching videos, which should provide a lively experience. It feels a bit gimmicky, but it does add something to the experience. However, the question is whether people are waiting for this. Besides, another unique component is the extra camera button, which makes taking photos feel natural again. You don't have to keep your hand in a separate claw formation to be able to take a picture quickly and that is nice.

In Xperia 1 tests he scored 333,684 in Antutu and 10867 in Geekbench on multicore and 3437 in Single Core.


At the bottom of the line, we cannot deny that Sony Xperia 1 is a nice device. That is the conclusion that we often hang on Sony devices; nevertheless, there are always flaws that hamper the experience in such a way that it becomes difficult to recommend such a smartphone for the price that Sony asks for it. In this case, the camera experience does not fully cooperate and you need to know a little more about taking good photos to get the best results; the flip side of the lack of AI.

Also, not all software functions come out well, the battery life is disappointing and we are wondering for whom the OLED screen with 4k resolution and HDR support is intended. Admittedly, you can watch films and series perfectly here and also create great content yourself. But for just about everything else, you better watch the competition. The Huawei P30 takes better photos, the Samsung Galaxy S10 + has better software and the OnePlus 7 Pro offers more for less, making the Xperia 1 more intended for a niche market.


  •  Battery life is disappointing 
  • No accessible camera experience 
  • Placement of fingerprint scanner


  •  Almost bare Android version 
  • Nice, big screen 
  • Sleek design

Post a Comment