Sony Xperia 1 III review: An expensive flagship phone with a superb 21:9 screen Review

Maria J. Danford

We’re made use of to flagship handsets costing over £1,000 SIM-free of charge, and Sony has extra one more to this exceptional team with its Xperia I III. At £1,199 ($one,299.99 in the US), it can be a small extra pricey than the Oppo Obtain X3 Professional 5G and matches the Xiaomi Mi eleven Extremely, each reviewed right here in new months. The Xperia one III stands out for its large refresh fee (120Hz), 4K OLED display screen and a lavish characteristic established developed close to Qualcomm’s major-end Snapdragon 888 chipset and an outstanding rear camera array. 


The 6.5-inch Xperia one III operates Android eleven on Qualcomm’s major-end Snapdragon 888 5G chipset with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of interior storage (expandable by way of MicroSD card at the expense of one of the two SIM slots). The display screen is a 4K OLED panel with a greatest refresh fee of 120Hz.

Impression: Sony


The screen’s 21:nine facet ratio tends to make for a tall (165mm) handset. 

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Sony usually takes a distinctive approach to handset design, with its Xperia variety incorporating a tall (or broad, in landscape mode) 21:nine display screen that is suited to online video viewing, games taking part in and pictures. The handset’s elongated 165mm by 71mm by 8.2mm chassis can poke out of a pocket, and though I could attain across the display screen quickly when navigating one-handed in portrait mode, you can find no way I could sweep from major to bottom. When you are performing one handed, however, the Xperia one III feels nicely balanced and not way too weighty at 186g. 

In phrases of proportions, you can find pretty much no variation in between Sony’s 2021 flagship and previous year’s Xperia I II — just small gains on thickness (8.2mm vs 7.6mm) and excess weight (186g vs 181.4g). This may possibly have some thing to do with the incorporation of a larger sized battery this time close to (4500mAh vs 4000mAh). 

Design and style-clever, Sony’s handsets have characteristically squarer corners and a extra slab-like physical appearance than rival phones. The corporation would not ring the improvements each and every year, as some makers do, and if I had the Xperia one II sitting down facet by facet with this year’s product, it would be really hard to explain to the variation. 

The handset’s edges and Gorilla Glass 6 backplate have a matte end compared to previous year’s reflective look. This tends to make it simpler to keep the phone securely, though the again is significantly less inclined to capturing finger-marks. The camera lozenge positioning and shape is unchanged, and Sony should possibly have made design improvements right here, as the tall, slim lozenge protrudes appreciably. This indicates the phone has an annoying inclination to bounce close to on a desk if the upper left or bottom correct quadrants of the display screen require a tap. 


Buttons on the correct edge (from major): quantity, electrical power, Google Assistant, camera.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The correct edge properties a electrical power button incorporating a fingerprint scanner, a little quantity rocker and a raised, tactile camera shutter button in direction of the bottom. This will start off up the camera application when pressed, making it possible for you to seize fleeting photograph opportunities. These three buttons ended up current on previous year’s product, but the Xperia one III adds a fourth — a Google Assistant shortcut button. 

Prime ZDNET Testimonials

The SIM caddy on the left edge pops out quickly devoid of the require for a exclusive device. The phone accommodates two SIMs or a single SIM and a MicroSD card. Some handsets help two SIMs and a MicroSD card at the very same time, and a flagship phone at this value level really should be extra flexible. 

There’s a three.5mm headset jack on the major edge, and a USB-C connector on the bottom. Speakers are embedded in the entrance, previously mentioned and down below the display screen. They’re noticeable and, as ever with this variety of design, could turn out to be repositories for fluff. That said, the Xperia I III has an IP65/68 rating, which indicates it can be totally dust-proof and can endure each ‘water jets’ and immersion in one.5 metres of drinking water for up to thirty minutes. 

The 6.5-inch OLED display screen, which is secured by Gorilla Glass Victus (Corning’s hardest), is a crucial selling level for Sony. Some could blanche at the noticeable bezels, which are a couple of millimetres thick along the extensive edges and relatively wider on each quick edges. As a outcome, the screen to body ratio is only eighty four%. 

Continue to, this is the to start with smartphone display screen to present 4K resolution (three,840 x one,644 pixels, 643ppi) with a 120Hz refresh fee. Nonetheless, you have to empower 4K output as ‘Creator mode’ in the Screen options, in which it can be concealed underneath the ‘Image high quality settings’ submenu. The moment enabled, 4K resolution will kick in when ‘specific apps’ are made use of, but you can find no listing of these applications offered when you implement the setting. In the same way, the 120Hz refresh fee has to be established manually: you can find no setting to mechanically change refresh fee, despite the fact that presumably the handset does a bit of this to preserve battery existence when a lessen refresh fee is satisfactory. 

All this is relatively fiddly considering 4K at 120Hz is a headline characteristic. Continue to, at the time established, viewing online video in 4K was a pleasure. For me, this was not just due to the fact of greatly improved subtlety of color rendition and definition on the visual facet, but also due to the fact of the screen’s broad facet ratio and the superb speakers that pump out a good deal of quantity and potent bass tones. 


White equilibrium options (left) and Multi-Window mode (correct).

Visuals: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There are controls for the white equilibrium which present pretty a large stage of customisation, and games gamers can also use the Recreation Boost options to alter lots of in-match options, such as setting the refresh fee (despite the fact that undertaking so is rather fiddly). 

The speakers also deliver great high quality spoken phrase output, and have a great bass/treble combine that handles orchestral and chamber new music very well. On the significantly less favourable facet (for me, at least), Sony has yet again executed its dynamic vibration procedure, which brings about the handset to deliver haptic feedback. I find this irritating, but many others may possibly adore it. If, like me, you don’t, you can basically disable it. 

Sony presents its Aspect Perception mini-menu procedure to present swift entry to applications and options, and to the break up-display screen mode identified as Multi-Window. This has its possess (relatively neat) user interface with pre-designated application pairs and an quick scroll-and-pick out procedure for finding applications to watch break up display screen. Aspect Perception is pretty intuitive, and Multi-Window is also accessible by way of an application icon on the dwelling display screen. 

Run by Qualcomm’s major-end Snapdragon 888 5G chipset with 12GB of RAM, the Xperia one III turned in excellent Geekbench 5 benchmarks: 1128 single core and 3629 multi core. The Xiaomi Mi eleven Extremely and Mi eleven each just conquer it with single core scores of 1134 and 1129 and multi core scores of 3718 and 3704 respectively, though the Oppo Obtain X3 Professional 5G was just powering with scores of 927 and 3302. These dissimilarities are marginal, however, and all Snapdragon 888 handsets we’ve examined so considerably carry out beautifully. 

With 256GB of interior storage and 27GB made use of out of the box, you can find 229GB free of charge for own use. Sony’s chunk of the out-of-box utilization includes its interface tweaks and usability enhancements as very well as pre-installed applications this sort of as its possess PS application for PlayStation admirers. 

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free of charge PDF) (TechRepublic)

There are three 12MP cameras at the again furthermore an 8MP f/2. entrance-struggling with camera. The principal rear camera is a 12MP f/one.7 broad-angle unit with OIS. This is joined by a 12MP f/2.2 extremely-broad-angle (124°) camera and a 12MP adaptive telephoto camera with OIS and twin lenses — f/2.three 70mm and f/.2.8 105mm. The idea is that when you happen to be undertaking telephoto capturing, the change in between the two lenses is easy and seamless. 

Highest zoom is twelve.5x hybrid, with stops at 2.9x and 4.4x for every single of the two telephoto lenses. This could seem challenging, but in exercise it can be swift and quick to work with. Just level the camera, and pick out which of the zoom solutions you call for from the on-display screen buttons, and then slide in between the presets to alter as essential. 

The 2nd outstanding characteristic right here is Dual PDAF sensors, which empower speedy autofocus, such as on shifting topics. I put together the zoom and autofocus capability to great influence, managing to quickly get zoomed-in pictures of my cat shifting close to the lawn. The picture shown right here was taken at 4.4x zoom and was a single level-and-shoot picture as the cat arrived in direction of me to question for a bit of notice. 


Photo taken with the 4.4x zoom setting on the Xperia one III’s twin-lens telephoto camera.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The Xperia one III’s 4500mAh battery saved it heading for ten hours 27 minutes underneath the PCMark for Android Work three. battery rundown examination. For comparison, all of the major twenty handsets examined with this benchmark lasted for over fifteen hours, though the longest-long lasting Snapdragon 888-based phone — Xiaomi’s Redmi K40 Professional — managed just over fourteen hours. In my tests, it dropped 29% from a entire charge in a three-hour YouTube streaming session, suggesting battery existence of close to ten hours.  

Sony states the battery can speedy-charge to fifty% in thirty minutes. On one celebration with the battery at twenty%, it got up to 66% in fifty percent an hour. Wi-fi and reverse wireless charging are each supported.  


Impression: Sony


The Xperia I III delivers Sony’s flagship handset up to day with a Snapdragon 888 SoC, improved cameras and a 4K OLED display screen with a 120Hz refresh fee as headline functions. It retains the unusual 21:nine facet ratio, and delivers great-high quality online video and outstanding audio. There’s a ton to like if you happen to be into pictures, online video, gaming or media intake, and the twin-lens telephoto camera is a usable remedy. Battery existence could be better, particularly if you make weighty use of 4K resolution and the 120Hz refresh fee, but speedy charging should hold downtime to a minimum amount if mains electrical power is accessible. 

The latest AND Linked Information

Sony Xperia one II review: Cinematic 4K display screen, 5G and better battery existence, but the value is large

Sony Xperia 5 II review: A compact version of Sony’s broad-display screen 5G flagship

Sony Xperia ten II review: An inexpensive but disappointing broad-display screen knowledge

Ideal camera phone 2021: Take the most effective photos and vids

Ideal Android phone in 2021

Read through extra assessments

Next Post

Brydge Air Max Plus keyboard first take: Multi-touch trackpad and protective case for work on the go Review

I just not too long ago picked up a new M1 Apple iPad Professional and quickly started off looking for keyboards to assist me get operate finished on my day by day prepare commute, on the airplane, and all over the business. Brydge just launched the Brydge Air Max As […]

Subscribe US Now