Sony’s new flagship smartphones put the emphasis on photography
THESE days the phone in your pocket is as much a camera as it is a communications device, and Sony has had as much to do with that as anyone else.
It makes the cameras that you’ll find in many smartphones, including some of the units found in Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S21 device. It has, over the years, supplied many of the camera units found in Apple’s iPhone, too.
It’s no surprise then, to find that Sony makes its own smartphones… and they’re great cameras, too.
This week Sony revealed a new line-up of flagship phones that really train their focus back to imaging quality.
The Xperia 1 III and the Xperia 5 III look like spectacular devices for photographers, and great devices for anyone else.
The tech in these phones is designed and built in collaboration with Sony’s own Alpha team – the group that makes the company’s ‘real’ cameras.
And they’ve added some pro features that help make the images captured by these devices as good as they can be.
The headline feature is a first for a phone – a variable telephoto lens paired with a dual phase detection sensor. That might not mean much to you… but it essentially means that you can capture images at different focal lengths with super-fast autofocus.
Sony has paired this with fast and accurate object tracking so that even the most challenging fast-moving subjects stay sharp. In the Xperia 1 III that object tracking is actually real time – no excuses, then, for blurry photos.
There are other photo-centric features, like the AI-powered super-zoom to capture decent images of things off in the distance, a dedicated shutter button, superb image stabilisation software for shake-free video, and a redesigned interface that can be simplified into a basic mode if you want a point and shoot, or expanded to expose pro-features for when you need more control.
Video has always been important to Sony, obviously – one of the unique features of the Xperia range is the aspect ratio of the screen, which mimics that of a cinema screen at 21:9… and it can shoot in that format, too. It’s capable of capturing 4K at 120fps.
The screens match the excellence of the capture with a 6.2in 4K HDR OLED display with 120Hz Refresh rate on the Xperia 1 and a 6.1in HDR OLED display, also with 120Hz Refresh rate. Round everything off with a fast processor, decent battery life, and an OS built on Android 11, and you have a very capable duo on your hands.
Xperia 1 III will be available from August 19 in Frosted Black and Frosted Purple for £1,199 SIM free. If you buy at launch, you’ll be able to claim a free pair of awardwinning Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise cancelling headphones worth £329.
Xperia 5 III will be available in Black and Green and will start shipping in September for £899 SIM free. A free pair of Sony WHH910N h.ear on 3 wireless noise cancelling headphones worth £250 is available for those who buy at launch.