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Sony’s Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III combine the best of high end photography, display and gaming phones to create flagships everyone should pay attention to this year.

Now if only Sony could get them into the hands and in front of the eyes of everyone else…

Sony’s Xperia 1 II(pronounced 1 mark 2) was by far the best phone the company had created in years and one of our favourite phones of last year. It’s Xperia 5 II cheaper companion phone had a similar reaction too. But while those phones were cool yet lacking in enough ways to not be recommendable to everyone and falling short of the competition, this year’s Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III prove one thing: not only can Sony make great phones, they can still make ones that are definitely better that Samsung did with the S21’s this year.
Announced on Tuesday on a virtual Xperia event, The Xperia 1 III and 5 III(the naming sucks but let’s cut them some slack here) are the best kind of refinement to what Sony did with last year’s devices. Essentially, they’re Sony’s answer to Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range, with the Xperia 1 III meant to take on both the S21+ and S21 Ultra, while the 5 III is an honest to goodness clear step-up from the regular Galaxy S21.
In a time where I’ve now repeatedly said that smartphones seem to be taking a “less is more approach” where you get less features and capability from a phone at the same or a higher price than last year’s model, these Xperia devices still seem to remember that a flagship phone used to mean all the bells and whistles a customer could get. So they did that. We’ll get you a larger spec sheet below but here’s the basic gist : Qualcomm’s best processor the Snapdragon 888, 8-12GB of RAM, 3-4 cameras boasting specially-tuned sensors worked on by Sony’s Alpha professional camera team and boasting hardware and software enhancements tailored for professionals, a 4K 120Hz OLED panel on the 1 III while the 5 has a 120Hz 1080p panel , water resistance, headphone jacks and even some software and hardware gaming enhancements to make these the best balance between specialized features for super-nerds and fully-featured flagships for most people. The Xperia 5 III especially aims to do that while the 1 III might find itself a little more niche due to it’s more specialized camera and display setup.
Xperia 1 III
The software experience of the devices likely won’t be anything crazy, after all Sony itself never tries to heavily customise it’s Android skin and that may be a good thing considering that means no bloatware and the extra apps you get are the ones that actually enhance the phone’s experience such as the camera and game enhancement apps. That probably does make these devices simplistic, and maybe a little too simplistic for those who prefer special features like the ones Samsung and Google offer. But considering that this is Android and whatever you lack you can just download in an app, one probably can’t complain too much if you get what’s a very solid device.
Xperia 5 III

                                                                                               Sony Xperia 1 III

 Sony Xperia 5 III
Display6.1-inch OLED
21:9 aspect ratio
FHD resolution
120Hz refresh rate
240Hz touch sampling rate
Gorilla Glass 6
6.5-inch OLED
21:9 aspect ratio
4K resolution
120Hz refresh rate
240Hz touch sampling rate
Gorilla Glass Victus
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM8GB12GB
Storage128 or 256GB256GB
microSD card support
Power4,500mAh battery
30W wired charging
Charger included in box
No wireless charging
4,500mAh battery
30W wired charging
Charger included in box
Wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Cameras

Rear:

1) 12MP main (24mm)
1/1.7″ sensor
ƒ1.7, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

2) 12MP ultra-wide (16mm)
1/2.6″ sensor
ƒ2.2, dual-PD auto-focus

3) 12MP telephoto (70mm/105mm)
1/2.9″ sensor
ƒ2.3/ƒ2.8, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

Front:

1) 8MP single

Rear:

1) 12MP main (24mm)
1/1.7″ sensor
ƒ1.7, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

2) 12MP ultra-wide (16mm)
1/2.6″ sensor
ƒ2.2, dual-PD auto-focus

3) 12MP telephoto (70mm/105mm)
1/2.9″ sensor
ƒ2.3/ƒ2.8, dual-PD auto-focus, OIS

4) 3D iToF sensor

Front:

1) 8MP single

VideoCinema Pro 4K at 120fpsCinema Pro 4K at 120fps
Audio3.5mm headphone jack
Dolby Atmos and DSEE Ultimate
360 Spatial Sound
3.5mm headphone jack
Dolby Atmos and DSEE Ultimate
360 Spatial Sound
Connectivity5G support (Sub6 only, no mmWave)
Single SIM
5G support (Sub6 only, no mmWave)
[SIM + SIM] or [SIM + microSD]
SecuritySide-mounted fingerprint sensorSide-mounted fingerprint sensor
DurabilityIP65 against dust
IP68 against water
Gorilla Glass 6
IP65 against dust
IP68 against water
Gorilla Glass Victus
SoftwareAndroid 11Android 11
Dimensions and weight157 x 68 x 8.2mm
168g
165 x 71 x 8.2mm
186g
ColorsBlack or greenFrosted Black
Frosted Purple
The dual Telephoto aperture is pretty big deal
 
So…what’s the drawback? I mean no device is perfect after all. And I guess what is likely going to be the biggest breaking point for both these devices will be price. Sony’s devices are notorious for being overpriced or unfavorably priced. Last year’s Xperia 1 II definitely captured people’s attention, but at $1300 it fell short of phones like the Note 20 Ultra. The Xperia 1 III is better stacked, but in a year when even Apple might be a little conservative about it’s pricing, Sony’s not exactly in the best looking spot especially if it’s trying to increase sales. The same could be said of the Xperia 5 III that will likely be $950 , almost $200 more than the Galaxy S21 and actually comparable to the OnePlus 9 pro which is a S21 Ultra competitor, making it’s value also come into question again.

The second biggest issue is well….Sony again. Because as much as the price may be an issue for some, an even bigger issue is that Sony’s distribution and release of these devices is borderline terrible and a clear sign that their smartphone division is still an afterthought of sorts. The Xperia 1 II was shown in March of last year yet even mainstream markets like the US and UK only got them in July , including people who had preordered these devices. Add in Sony’s paltry, borderline terrible marketing budget, and you get why these phones will likely only be known by tech nerds and Sony fans. And that honestly sucks, considering that so far these are by far the best Android devices I’ve seen so far this year. Hopefully Sony has it learnt from its mistakes last year and these devices can have a little more success than just in the niche market. Only time will tell.

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