Sony remains faithful to the classic design and creates its phones, especially flagship models, with Sony Alpha camera users in mind. At a time when telephones have practically replaced cameras, this is a very narrow target group. But that’s what makes Xperia phones unique from the competition. A separate issue is whether such an original and bold strategy will allow Sony to survive in the smartphone market. The Japanese manufacturer certainly does not try to compete with the price because the Xperia 1 V costs Euro 1450, the same as the best flagships on the market. As a Sony photographic ecosystem user, however, I like this phone.
Sony has retained almost all the key features of the classic design of smartphones. The fingerprint scanner is housed in the power button, and there is also a headphone jack on the phone’s top edge. In addition to the volume and power buttons, a separate, two-stage camera shutter release allows you to focus, lock the exposure, and then release the shutter. The Xperia 1 V is one of the last flagships to support a memory card. The housing complies with the IP68 standard.
The Xperia 1 V has stereo speakers facing you. The sound of the Sony phone is full and balanced and has enough volume.
I like the finish of the phone case. The glass on the back of the housing is Victus. The smartphone has the most noticeable texture on the glass I’ve encountered. Perfectly hides traces of touch. Each physical button can be identified by touch, shape, and texture.
Despite its rectangular shape, the phone fits well in the hand as it is narrower than many other devices on the market. This is a consequence of the screen aspect ratio of 21:9.
However, two issues are worth mentioning. In Xperia 1 V, Sony gave up the notification diode in previous models. There is also no option to unlock the phone with your face.
Xperia is available in black, platinum silver, and khaki.
It isn’t easy to evaluate the screen in the Xperia 1 V in a short, unambiguous way. On the one hand, it has the highest resolution on the market – 4K 3840 x 1644 pixels, translating into an extremely high pixel density of 643 PPI. It is made in OLED technology, supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz, and has a diagonal of 6.5 inches.
On the other hand, the screen was not made in LTPO technology and did not smoothly adjust the refresh rate to the displayed content, which is already standard in flagships. The Sony display is also not as bright as the competition, which can be disturbing when shooting in full sun.
It is also worth noting that Sony offers the most settings for image parameters and white balance settings. It offers a special Creator mode with faithful reproduction of colors by the BT.2020 standard. The screen is protected by Victus 2 glass.
Sony Xperia 1 V has the latest and most powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, supported by 12 GB RAM and 256 GB UFS 4.0 for system and user files. In addition, the memory can be expanded with a micro SD card.
In the Antutu benchmark, the Xperia scored a very good score of 1,328,854 points, but something else is more important than performance. Sony smartphones have struggled with overheating and aggressive throttling for many generations. Performance dropped quickly, the phone got hot, and warning messages interrupted the camera while recording video. The first improvement of this problem was seen in the Xperia 5 IV. It looks like the Xperia 1 V is Sony’s first flagship for a long time, which is not a problem. Running Antutu multiple times over and over again did not result in warning messages or disable the benchmark. There were no problems using the camera either. The phone still heats up, but the decrease in performance mainly affects the graphics system and is not as noticeable as in older models.
Sony runs the latest Android 13 with security updated to the April version. It is an almost pure Google system with a few Sony features and apps added. The Side Sensor function allows you to bring up a list of shortcuts at the thumb’s reach on the side edge. There is also a control panel dedicated to managing gaming-related functions. Sony has also expanded the functionality of sharing the screen between two applications, which is favored by the 21: 9 aspect ratio. You can easily select pairs of apps and two separate carousels for switching between apps, separately at the top and bottom of the screen.
The most important addition to the system is content creation applications. There are as many as three programs related to the built-in camera and the ability to operate Sony Alpha cameras, including preview on a smartphone like on an external screen (third-party applications allow this on other smartphones).
The Music Pro application allows you to record extensive, multi-track tracks divided into vocals and individual instruments. There is also a paid option to process the recording in the cloud, offering the user the highest quality of the final file.
Sony stands out in the smartphone market with the greatest emphasis on the manual operation of the cameras, imitating ordinary cameras and camcorders. We will not find so many settings and functions in any other phone. However, this is done at the expense of extensive automation, which is less than in the competition. A new night mode has appeared in Sony Xperia 1 V, but it is not the equivalent of Huawei or Vivo modes. The second change in Xperia is the new matrix of the main camera with a resolution of 52 megapixels, of which 48 megapixels are used for image registration and 12 megapixels are saved. Sony has not opted for the inch matrix it supplies to other phones, including Xiaomi 13 Pro and Vivo X90. Despite everything, the new matrix is almost twice as large as in the Xperia 1 IV and has a layered structure that is supposed to translate into a wider tonal range.
Sony Xperia 1V Camera Kit :
- 48 MP, f/1.9, 24mm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS – main camera
- 12 MP, f/2.3, 85mm – f/2.8, 125mm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS – 3.5x-5.2x varifocal zoom
- 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm, Dual Pixel PDAF – wide-angle camera
- 12 MP, f/2.0, 24mm – front selfie camera
What is worth paying attention to:
- All cameras on the back have autofocus, including wide-angle
- All rear cameras can shoot bursts at 30 frames per second with auto exposure and tracking focus
- All cameras on the back record 4K video at 120 frames per second
- Sony is the only manufacturer to offer a zoom with a variable focal length on a smartphone
Suppose someone is allergic to features typical of smartphones, i.e. excessive sharpening, too many turned-up colors, too aggressive HDR, too aggressive noise reduction, etc.. In that case, Sony provides a cure for all these ailments. At the same time, the matrices of Xperia cameras have become so good that not using these improvements does not negatively affect the photos taken.
Xperia 1 V photos have some of the prettiest and most natural colors; they are detailed and have something that makes them attractive. However, I have a few comments that I wanted to mention.
The new night mode gives Xperia new possibilities, but it still does not match the best smartphones with night mode on the market. The Sony phone also has no macro mode and loses in this field to almost every other flagship and more. I am also not convinced about the zoom lens. I understand that this element distinguishes Sony from the competition, but it isn’t easy to find the advantages of this solution in practice. The range of magnification change is small, and the sharpness and detail of the telephoto lens are noticeably worse than with the fixed focal length. I would still prefer a prime lens with 3x or 5x magnification. Apart from these aspects, the photos from Sony are of the highest quality and have a character of their own.
Video recording is equally successful, with the ability to seamlessly switch between cameras when recording 4K footage. Sony is the only one on the market offering 4K recording at 120 frames per second, but you need to use the Cinema Pro application. The possibilities for manual adjustments and creating entire projects are huge but overwhelming for novices. The quality of the recordings is top-notch.
Sony has a battery with a capacity of 5000 mAh. The Japanese manufacturer does not try to compete with the Chinese charging speed and has stopped at 30 watts of wired charging. Wireless charging is also supported.
Unfortunately, of all the possible things introduced by the competition, Sony was the quickest to convince itself to remove the accessories from the box. This phone does not contain anything in the set, not only a charger but even a USB C cable.
When testing a YouTube video with the screen brightness set to half, the Sony ran quite short, around 13 hours, while the competition often approaches 20 hours. The lack of LTPO and screen refresh adjustment may have affected the operating time depending on the content displayed. During standard use, Sony did not discharge faster than the competition.
Sony Xperia 1 V is a rare case of an exceptional phone that does not differ from the competition in details, only in the whole concept. This will be a huge advantage for people looking for what Sony offers. For those simply looking for a good phone, one of many, this can also be a significant disadvantage. Solutions used by Samsung or Apple, emphasizing automation and simplicity, have a wider audience.
Xperia 1 V eliminated one of Sony’s biggest problems – overheating the phone under load. The smartphone can also be praised for its great photo and video quality, opportunities for professionals, and the quality of the housing finish.
I have mixed feelings about the display, which reproduces colors very well and has the highest resolution on the market. I would gladly exchange 4K for higher brightness and LTPO that allow you to adjust the displayed content’s refresh rate, extending the battery life.
Other than those aspects, it’s a great phone. I wouldn’t blindly recommend it to any friend because of its specific character. However, people looking for extensive manual settings in the smartphone camera should strongly consider the Xperia 1 V.