So, year after year, every time I test ANY of Sony’s Xperia series, whether or not it’s the 10, 5 or this 1 series, I always have that comfortable feeling using the phone daily.
Now, If you are familiar with my channel, my daily Android smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 because other Android phones don’t excite me that much because of that unique foldable form factor.
So because of that, I would test a phone out for a week, and then I immediately switch back to the foldable smartphone… BUT this Sony Xperia 1 III though… I have been using the phone for 2 weeks now and I don’t feel like I am eager to move away from the phone, why? Let me explain.
But first, allow me to go through the unboxing process with you all.
The Sony Xperia 1 III comes with the usual white color box, with the Xperia 1 III in the middle and the Sony logo down below. Then at the back, you will find some of the specs over there, including the IP65/68 rating.
Opening the box, you will immediately find the phone itself.
Then there is the start-up guide and underneath is the USB-C to USB-C cable and the 30-watt charging brick.
As for the phone’s specs, it comes with the Snapdragon 888, with the Adreno 660 GPU.
And the variant that I have is the massive 12 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage, with Xperia UI skin on top of Android 11.
The first obvious change is that this Mark 3 variant now has a frosted matte glass finish, and of course we all can agree on how that is better than a glossy glass back besides the whole fingerprint, the durability of the phone does play a huge role when the phone has that sort of a glass glossy finish.
The sides are also in a matte finish, which is made in aluminum and what’s interesting is that prior to using this phone, I was testing out the Z Fold3 which also has a matte finish, with ALMOST this same long form factor, so switching from that to this was a seamless transition.
The camera bump was about a medium size, so it will wobble a bit if you type the phone on a surface, especially towards the middle right.
Then the screen has Corning Gorilla Victus Glass protection, which is an upgrade from the Gorilla Glass 6 last year.
As for the ports and buttons, you will only find the USB-C port below as the speakers are up firing speakers at the bottom and the top of the screen near the earpiece area.
On the right, you will find more buttons than a typical smartphone, other than the volume rocker and the side fingerprint sensor power button, there is two additional unique buttons:
One is for Google Assistant, which I found extremely useful since my smart home devices here in the studio are using the Google Home ecosystem, so I can just press this quickly just one to perform commands, which was sweet.
Then there is another button, where by default if it’s pressed it will trigger the camera app and also works as a shutter button, to make it easier to take photos in a landscape orientation since the phone has a longer form factor.
Then on the left, unique to the Sony Xperia series, there is the dual SIM card and micro SD card slot, which can support up to 1 Terabyte of storage, which can be easier taken out by using your fingernail, instead of using the SIM ejector pin.
Then finally on top, there is the old and familiar headphones jack making the phone very functional in every area.
And while we are at it with all the functional buttons and ports that Sony has for the phone, one bonus thing that I would wish is for Sony to take the alert slider that OnePlus has and THAT would have been extra perfect right?
So with everything, I had absolutely no issues using the phone daily for typing, heck, I even typed this video’s script on the phone instead of typically using my laptop.
And making phone calls or any other typical daily smartphone tasks was pretty much a breeze as well.
Alright, next let’s talk about the display.
The Sony Xperia 1 III comes with a 6.5-inch OLED HDR Display with a high resolution of 1644 x 3840 pixels
So yes this is a 4k display, following the footsteps of the previous mark 2 as usual.
But where there was a HUGE improvement is the 120-hertz refresh rate, which you can toggle in the display settings, but you can only toggle between that or 60 hertz, so I would have wished to give another adjustment to 90 hertz but it doesn’t.
And speaking of options, there is no way to change the resolution to a lower resolution if you want to, but honestly with the gorgeous 4k screen, I don’t think you will ever want to because this screen is hands down the best smartphone display that I have reviewed this year so far and unless some other smartphone manufacturer plans to give us a 4k screen I don’t think they could come close.
Not only the screen was super pleasant to use daily but watching videos on this phone was truly amazing, especially when you switch to the Creator Mode, under the Image Quality settings, which gives you a BT.2020 color gamut, instead of the standard Rec. 709 and 10-bit color depth with HDR specifications.
You will get THE BEST 21:9 aspect ratio Netflix and YouTube viewing experience as this Creator Mode will also adjust according to how the video was color graded and made.
As I did a comparison when watching my own videos with the Creator Mode turned off and on, and I know that the color was way more accurate when the Creator Mode was turned on.
And speaking of the viewing experience, since there is no camera hole punch, it makes the experience even better when it comes to consuming video content.
So if you are not a huge fan of those vivid color types of screens that you see on Samsung and OPPO smartphones you will LOVE this Creator Mode and if you do prefer a vivid screen, then you can switch to the Standard Mode which will give you that.
And like the previous generation, you can dial in and adjust the White Balance if you want to as well.
Now, my slight complaint during the Creator Mode is that there were times where the adaptive brightness was adjusted to just a bit brighter for my liking during a very dark environment but I guess that’s better than having an extremely underperforming screen.
So with this I personally feel that there is no other smartphone that can come close to what Sony Xperia 1 III has to offer for their screen and that, my friends, is a HUGE plus.
As for the cameras, the phone has quite a nice set of Zeiss optic lenses, with the Zeiss lens coating as well.
Firstly, the main lens is:
- a 12-megapixel f 1.7 aperture, 24mm wide lens,
- a 12-megapixel f 2.2 16mm ultrawide lens
- a TOF 3D depth sensor
- and finally the unique 12-megapixel f 2.3, with a variable optical zoom that can change its focal length between a 70mm telephoto lens to an even higher focal length of 105mm. You can change this through the Pro menu on the camera app. This is represented in the focal length in the Pro Menu or the as x2.9 or x4.4 zoom.
Then the front camera is:
- an 8-megapixel f 2.0 aperture lens.
So, with all of this technology and Zeiss optics and all, how do the cameras perform then? All of these shots were taken on Basic Mode.
Firstly on the Ultrawide angle lenses, I really loved the image quality and the dynamic range over here, and I feel that 16mm is the perfect focal length for an ultrawide lens.
Then as for the main lenses, as predicted the colors were amazing, without over saturating the images, which gives you more flexibility in post, from taking photos with the sky present or on objects were flawless, as you guys can see.
Then as for the telephoto or the zoom lens options, while the 2.9-times zoom images or the 70mm focal length shots looks nice, but I did find that the pictures for the 4.4-times zoom, also known as the 105mm shots, to be not as sharp as the main lens, but very usable indeed.
Then the rear portrait mode was also great, with flagship level subject to background blur.
Like the previous Mark II, there is no dedicated Night Mode on the phone, but the camera software will adapt to the scene accordingly so expect some inconsistency during lowlight situations, but when you do get the shot, it looks decent as well.
The sharpness and details for the regular selfie were really nice as well, without getting the background to be overexposed, as seen as the sky area in this shot.
The portrait selfie, images were just OK, as I did see it struggled on the edge detection so let’s hope for a software update to fix that.
Then as for video, like the camera photo app, there is the Pro Video app too, which can give you some nice pro like Sony Alpha camera features, like having a Venice look which is usually available on the Pro cameras on the Sony line up.
And in there, you can even adjust the frame rates to even up to 4k 120 frames per second as well.
However on the standard video camera app, you can record up to 4k 30 frames per second for the rear but still only 1080p for the front camera, not sure why until now there is no 4k video recording for the front camera.
Where both the video quality for the rear and the front cameras did turn out great, and so was the overall image stabilization.
So as mentioned, the speakers are front-facing speakers and since the aspect ratio of the phone is wider, it will get a nice and wider stereo sound stage with amazing speaker quality.
The Dynamic Vibration is still here, where in case you didn’t know that it vibrates according to the beat of the music or even when watching movies
The speaker also has Dolby Atmos support, with further settings in there and also DSEE Ultimate to upscale compressed music and of course this will work hand in hand with Sony’s WH and WF headphones and earbuds series.
Now in terms of the overall sound quality, it was pretty loud at 90.1 dB with no distortion at the maximum volume and words CANNOT explain how amazing the speakers are and I hope the music here could give enough justification.
Okie guys, I am a very simple man, when it comes to the software or any Android skin, and yes even on iOS, just two simple things makes me happy, wanna know what? Okie here it is – All I NEED is:
If I swipe down on any part of the screen, the notification menu comes down.
And if I swipe up any part of the screen and there is the apps drawer.
THAT’S IT! Simple right?
And yet ONLY few smartphones out right now do that and that to me, is already a great experience using a smartphone with just one hand, no matter how big the screen is.
And this Xperia UI is the closest to what you would get to a stock Android experience, with similar added features like before such as the Side Sense to quickly access some other apps through this shortcut menu and there is also the One-handed mode and Multi Window switch which I didn’t feel the need of using but it is nice that it’s there.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that, although this may be an “Old School” feature, but I really do appreciate the notification LED on the phone as well
And unlike most phones that have the Snapdragon 888 chipset, this phone does not overheat unnecessarily.
Alright, now on the phone’s battery, it comes with 4500 milliamps of battery, which is 500 milliamps more than last year.
However, here is where I felt that this was the phone’s achilles heel because compared to last year’s 5 and half hours of screen on time battery life, due to the higher 120 hertz refresh rate display, it did take a huge toll on the battery life as I got an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes of screen on time, when I was at 10% battery with dark mode turned on.
So if you want to save more battery you will need to change it back to 60 hertz refresh rate, and here is where I wished there was a 90 hertz option instead so we don’t have to have a drastic drop of the refresh rate, since there is no way of changing the screen resolution anyways.
However, to combat this issue, what’s sweet is that there is a 30 watts fast charging support, which could go from 0 till 50% in about 26 minutes and it has fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging as well.
And I also believe software options like Battery Care does give better options to save your battery’s lifespan with features like giving a charging limit and many other cool features over there, which is something that I wished that ALL smartphones had this feature.\
As for gaming, it kind of reminded me on how it was on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, where it was really wide and nice.
Playing games like Asphalt 9 was amazing because of the front facing speakers, where the game ran really well and what’s interesting is that there is a toggle to turn on 120fps in the settings over there, that made the game run really smooth.
There is the game enhancer mode, including the competition mode, similar to the ROG E-Sports Mode, where it will disable the navigation bar and notifications while playing.
As for PUBG mobile, it also ran great at graphics set to Ultra HD and frame rate set to Ultra. The game was indeed very satisfying because of the wide form factor of the phone as mentioned earlier. There was a little battery drain but not as heavy as how it was on Genshin Impact.
And yes speaking of Genshin Impact, the gameplay once again was really crisp and nice, the screen quality really showed here in this game but there were not only quite a battery drain, but it was really hot to the touch during a really long gameplay with medium settings at 60 fps, with motion blur turned off.
Alright, in conclusion, what do I think of the Sony Xperia 1 III and do I recommend it?
Well, while many will say that “oh, you can get a better smartphone for the price” you will need to ask yourself: Why is that better and in which area is it better? Because, price aside, with all the best things to have in a smartphone, besides the battery life, I don’t see any other reason why you should not get the Sony Xperia 1 III.
I personally feel that Sony has tweaked lots of the lower quirks or complaints that the previous Mark II and produced a more complete smartphone.
And if you are planning to get yourself one, I will leave a link at the description below as the phone is going for RM5799 for this exact 12 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage.
So guys, with this, would you consider getting the phone or would you rather look elsewhere? Do let me know in the comments section below!
Get the Sony Xperia 1 III at the link below:-