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Sony Xperia 1: First impressions review

Posted: 26 February 2019 11:54 pm

Here are our very early impressions of Sony's just-announced Sony Xperia 1.

This Week at MWC in Barcelona, Sony has taken the wraps off its latest flagship device the Sony Xperia 1.

The Sony Xperia 1 is Sony's answer to the emerging multi-camera smartphone with an ultra-wide 21:9 6.5 inch 4K screen that was simply stunning. It's no surprise that Sony is positioning this as a media consumption and imaging powerhouse.

We got hands-on with an early build of the Xperia 1 on the show floor. Unfortunately, the software was locked so we were only able to get a quick look at the display and the fit and finish of the device.

We'd definitely need a lot more time for a comprehensive review, so just consider this a taster, rather than the full course review.

Sony Xperia 1: On the plus side

  • CinemaWide Display. This is absolutely a screen first phone. Sony has put a lot of focus on its 6.5 inch 21:9 4K HDR OLED display and its tie into content consumption. This is not surprising considering that Sony owns one of the largest content creation studios.
  • Triple Camera. Sony's heritage in both traditional photography and mobile image sensor production has coalesced in their triple rear camera set-up. The Xperia 1 sports 3 x 12MP Sony sensors including a 26mm, f/1.6, 1.4 micron, 78-degree camera, 16mm, f/2.4, 1.0 micron 135-degree wide angle camera and a 54mm, f/2.4, 1.0 micron 45-degree telephoto camera.
  • Cinematography. Sony isn't simply content with excellent still image prowess with the Xperia 1. To match the gorgeous display you'll be able to record video in 4K HDR.
  • Plenty of power. The Xperia 1 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 855 SOC paired with 8GB of RAM, 128GB onboard storage and microSDXC support up to 512 GB. Or in other words, it should be nice and powerful.
  • Android 9 installed. The Xperia 1 will ship with the current version of Android. Although we will have to see if Sony provides regular security and software updates.

Sony Xperia 1: On the minus side

  • Australian availability uncertain. Sony didn't comment if the Xperia 1 would come to Australia in the future. At the moment it's not launching here and with Sony's devices currently not being carried by any Australian carrier we're not hopeful it will.
  • No access to Software. Sony has traditionally taken a light approach to adapting Android, but without being allowed to view the software it's hard to know how well it works and if what it's done has been done well.
  • No headphone jack. We know half of you love the 3.5 mm port and the other half are ready to move on and simply use Bluetooth headphones. Depending on which half you fall into this may or may not be a big deal for you.

Sony Xperia 1: Early outlook

All of that aside the Sony Xperia 1 is a truly beautiful device. The slightly longer aspect ratio makes it very distinctive.

The 4K HDR panel is every bit as good as you would expect a Sony device to be and the overall package felt great in the hand.

Alas, it could be that what looks to be both one of Sony's best ever phones and a real contender in the flagship tier may never officially see the Australian shores.

With only limited hands-on time and no working software to speak of we're not able to provide in-depth impressions outside of the physical hardware and that lovely screen. But if they are any indication, the Sony Xperia 1 is a device we'd love to use and see released down under.

For more news from MWC 2019, check out our MWC 2019 news hub.

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