A distinct strategy to cell pictures

Sony’s smartphones have all the time differed from different handsets available on the market, in that they by no means appeared to care about business traits. This may very well be one thing as superficial as bezel sizes — Sony has by no means bothered to chase the all-screen look the best way different Android manufacturers have — to one thing as essential as digital imaging philosophies. Whereas each different telephone model has been touting their computational pictures prowess — the concept that their telephones’ AI is so sensible at analyzing scenes it may possibly virtually take the photograph for you — Sony’s doubled down on giving customers extra handbook controls over its smartphone digital camera. The truth is, Sony invited the engineers of its in style Alpha digital camera line to develop the digital camera system of final 12 months’s Xperia 1 III (pronounced Xperia One mark three), which turned a cult hit amongst digital camera lovers.

Now comes the Xperia 1 IV (mark 4), an iterative replace on the mark three that continues the handbook digital camera strategy with extra “actual digital camera” options like real-time eye autofocus (a Sony digital camera specialty), burst taking pictures mode that may snap as much as 20 pictures in a second, and the flexibility to shoot 4K/120fps movies on each rear-facing lens. However maybe extra importantly, Sony additionally polished different issues to make the Xperia 1 IV much less of a hardcore area of interest system. This features a smarter, easier-to-use primary digital camera mode for many who do need to simply level and shoot, and a considerably bigger battery to energy that attractive (and overkill) 4k/120Hz OLED show.

Make no mistake, the Xperia 1 IV continues to be a really area of interest telephone principally catering to followers of Sony’s Alpha cameras. However at the very least it’s now fairly usable for a mean joe too.

    Sony Xperia 1 IV
    Sony’s new Xperia 1 IV is an iterative replace on final 12 months’s cult-favorite Xperia 1 III, so that you get the identical 4K, 120Hz OLED display screen together with a triple-lens digital camera system that strives to supply extra handbook controls. There are enhancements right here clearly: together with an improved zoom lens.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Specs

Specs Sony Xperia 1 IV
  • Colours: black, turquoise, purple
  • Safety: Corning Gorilla Victus (back and front), IP68 ranking for water and dirt resistance
Dimensions & Weight 165mm x 71mm x 8.2mm, 191g
  • Important
    • 6.5-inch 4K OLED HDR (3840 x 1644)
    • 120Hz refresh price
    • 240Hz contact sampling price
    • 100% DCI-P3
    • HDR BT.2020 (Rec.2020)
    • D65 White level
    • 21:9 facet ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM & Storage
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256GB/512GB storage
  • MicroSD card assist
Battery & Charging
  • 5,000mAh
  • 30W quick wired charging
  • Wi-fi charging assist
  • Aspect-mounted fingerprint scanner
Rear Cameras
  • Main: 12MP, f/1.7, 24mm, 1/1.7″, 1.8µm, OIS, Twin Pixel PDAF
  • Secondary: 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 16mm, 1/2.6″, Twin Pixel PDAF
  • Tertiary: 12MP variable periscope, f/2.3-2.8, 85mm-125mm, OIS, Twin Pixel PDAF
  • Quaternary: 3D iToF sensor
  • Options:
    • ZEISS optics
    • 20fps AF/AE monitoring burst with noise discount
    • 60fps steady AF/AE calculations
    • Actual-time Eye AF
    • AI super-resolution zoom
    • Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye
    • Cinema Professional 4K 120fps recording with as much as 5x gradual movement
Entrance Digital camera 12MP
  • USB Sort-C
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio & Vibration
  • Full vary front-firing stereo audio system
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Hello-Res Audio
  • 360 Actuality Audio (via audio system)
  • 360 Spatial Sound (over headphones)
  • 5G (Sub-6Hz)
  • Bluetooth 5.x
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band WiFi
  • NFC
  • GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Software program Android 12

About this evaluation: This evaluation was written after two weeks of testing a Sony Xperia 1 IV offered by Sony Hong Kong. Sony didn’t have any enter on this evaluation.

Sony Xperia 1 IV: {Hardware} and Design

The brand new Xperia 1 IV appears nearly equivalent to the Xperia 1 III, with the one variations being the removing of a bodily button that was used to launch the Google Assistant final 12 months, and the relocation of the SIM tray to the underside of the brand new mannequin. This implies the brand new telephone continues to be an oblong glass-and-metal slab that’s a bit blocky and elongated than most telephones available on the market. Sony’s resolution to make use of a 21:9 facet ratio is supposed to cater to followers of cinematic movies — when held sideways, the display screen is ideal for widescreen content material — however it additionally makes the telephone simpler to carry as a result of it’s not as broad from left to proper.

Xperia 1 IV's back


That 6.5-inch, 4K 120Hz OLED display screen launched in final 12 months’s Xperia 1 III returns, however it’s noticeably brighter. Sony didn’t reveal numbers, however it’s a giant enchancment over final 12 months’s considerably mediocre brightness stage. And whereas it nonetheless doesn’t come near Galaxy S22 Extremely ranges vivid, it’s now greater than usable even exterior on sunny days. It’s definitely higher than the Pixel 6 Professional’s display screen brightness.

Xperia 1 IV's tall screen

I’ve gone on document earlier than saying 4K decision on a smartphone show is pointless, and I stand by this. Positive, this display screen is razor-sharp, however so are the 1440p screens in a half dozen different flagships that I’ve examined up to now few months. The wild factor is, Sony doesn’t provide the choice to manually decrease decision, and the refresh price is both 120Hz or 60Hz. So sure, this display screen is a battery hog.

Sony answered the battery challenge this 12 months with a 5,000mAh battery, and whereas it improves battery life over final 12 months’s 4,500mAh cell, it’s nonetheless not fairly sufficient. It may be an all-day telephone when you’ve got a lightweight day, however on heavy days you’ll need to prime up earlier than your night time ends — extra on this within the efficiency part later.

The display screen is sandwiched by noticeable bezels, and I don’t thoughts them an excessive amount of — they’re symmetrical they usually home excellent front-facing stereo audio system. Sure, this telephone is an excellent on-the-go NetFlix machine due to its comparatively gentle 191g, widescreen that eliminates letterboxing for a lot of films, and front-facing audio system. There’s additionally a headphone jack if you wish to plug in high-end headphones.

On the suitable facet of the system sits the facility button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner, quantity rocker, and a textured bodily button that’s meant for use as a digital camera shutter in not one, however two digital camera apps that include the telephone. The button has some journey, permitting it to start autofocus when pressed midway (similar to in Sony cameras). A full press, in fact, snaps the photograph.

The telephone is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 as anticipated, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage. There’s additionally wi-fi charging and an IP68 ranking for water and dirt resistance.

Sony Xperia 1 IV: Cameras

The Sony Xperia 1 IV incorporates a triple 12MP digital camera system protecting the broad (24mm), ultra-wide (16mm), and a variable portrait zoom lens that may fluctuate its optical zoom size between 85mm (or round 3.5x) to 125mm (5.2x). This latter lens is exclusive, because it’s a periscope zoom lens with a bodily shifting lens inside that, so far as I do know, solely Sony is doing. Final 12 months’s Xperia 1 III used the same expertise already, however that lens may solely leap between two set optical zoom ranges. This 12 months, the vary is fluid, which means the zoom lens is producing optical zoom wherever between the three.5x to five.2x distance. There’s additionally a TOF sensor which helps with further depth mapping.

Xperia 1 IV camera system

In case you’re new to Sony’s smartphone cameras, that you must know that Sony approaches cell pictures in a different way from different manufacturers. Basically, Sony desires you to take pictures the best way you’ll with an actual digital camera. For instance, most photographers know that you need to keep away from taking pictures in opposition to a backlight (straight in opposition to the solar or going through a window that’s letting in lots of gentle) as a result of it’ll end in an unbalanced shot with overly robust distinction. Actual cameras will both correctly expose the sunshine supply and depart the remainder of the body drenched in shadows, or attempt to expose the darkened space; although, because of this, fully blow out the sunshine supply.

Current smartphone cameras, utilizing computational pictures tips like multi-stack HDR, have managed to throw that standard knowledge out the window. You may level your iPhone or Pixel straight in opposition to the backlight and shoot, and the telephones ought to produce a shot that’s evenly illuminated (or at the very least speculated to, as a result of from my testing, the iPhone 13 Professional/Professional Max really fails at this typically). That is nice for most individuals, who now not have to fret about lighting when taking pictures, however typically a telephone whose HDR is just too loopy good (just like the Vivo X70 Professional Plus) will produce pictures that look a bit unrealistic, nearly like there’s been enhancing work performed — as a result of there was, by the telephone’s ISP.

Within the under pictures, shot in opposition to the harshest gentle supply on the planet, Sony’s pictures blow out the sky and depart something floor stage lined in shadows, leaving some elements in darkness. The iPhone 13 Professional and Vivo X70 Professional Plus, by comparability, produced a shot that higher exposes every thing. I believe most individuals would agree the Apple and Vivo pictures are “higher”, however these Apple and Vivo pictures are additionally unrealistic. Sony’s pictures are nearer to how the scene regarded to my eyes.

Right here’s the factor: if an actual photographer holding an actual digital camera has determined to snap this photograph, they’ve made a acutely aware resolution to shoot a really contrasty shot with excessive shadows and highlights. In a means, Apple and Vivo manufacturing a bluer sky and brightening up shadows go in opposition to what would have been a photographer’s intent. That’s Sony’s concept with its cell cameras: don’t simply mindlessly level and shoot; as a substitute, have intention along with your pictures.

Sony approaches cell pictures in a different way from different manufacturers. Basically, Sony desires you to take pictures the best way you’ll with an actual digital camera

In much less harsh circumstances, the Xperia 1 IV pictures will nonetheless depart extra shadows within the shot, nonetheless gained’t artificially brighten up scenes like each different smartphone, and often, it really works fairly properly. Within the under set, we are able to see a part of Sony’s shot is noticeably darker than the opposite two pictures. The iPhone 13 Professional’s shot could be very vivid and displays main digital sharpening — have a look at the onerous, deep traces on the Buddha statue in comparison with the opposite two pictures. Personally, I believe Apple’s shot appears terribly unnatural. Vivo’s shot, unsurprisingly to me, is probably essentially the most balanced and aesthetically pleasing of the three — it’s illuminated a bit greater than the scene on the time, and there’s an additional punch to the inexperienced leaves. But it surely’s additionally not as pure. Sony’s shot is essentially the most correct depiction of the scene on the time to my eyes, and the distinction of the left body lined in shadows higher conveyed the temper of the scene on the time.

All of the above Sony pictures have been captured in handbook mode. If I switched to auto mode and let Sony’s brains assist me repair lighting and publicity, the outcomes are fairly good. This can be a change from earlier Xperia telephones, whose auto modes have been merely lower than par. Under are extra pictures captured in auto mode by the Xperia 1 IV’s primary digital camera.

As talked about in the beginning of the evaluation, the Xperia 1 IV has three digital camera options that Sony could be very pleased with:

  • Computerized eye autofocus, which means the telephone will detect most mammals’ eyes and lock onto one in all them for focus in pictures and movies
  • Burst taking pictures mode for snapping as much as 20 pictures in a single second
  • 4K 120fps video recording, which is used principally for slow-motion movies

All these options are supported on each lens within the rear-facing primary system. All of them work as marketed. Eye autofocus kicks in robotically whether or not I’m utilizing the broad or telephoto lenses, and it really works on people, cats, and canines from my testing.

Burst taking pictures mode is nice for many who need to shoot fast-moving scenes like sports activities or shifting animals. Within the under screenshots, you may see I used to be capable of seize burst pictures of a cat in the midst of a stretch, or a person taking pictures a basketball. If I cycle via the pictures in speedy succession, they appear to be animations.

The flexibility to snap rapid-fire burst pictures with zoom lenses has allowed me to seize some nice pictures {that a} slower telephone could not have been capable of get. The under zoom pictures have been captured whereas I used to be in a shifting bus on a freeway.

Whereas Sony is eager to market its variable optical zoom lens, the fact is the standard is fairly good however not nice — positively not Galaxy S22 Extremely stage. However nonetheless, it’s a greater zoom lens than a telephone and not using a Periscope lens, like an iPhone 13 Professional.

The ultra-wide digital camera is okay in good lighting circumstances however at night time produces photographs which are a bit mushy on particulars.

The Xperia 1 IV’s digital camera app can be utilized in computerized point-and-shoot mode, however most lovers will need to swap over to handbook mode, which gives granular management with a UI just like Sony’s Alpha cameras. Right here, you may tweak ISO, shutter pace, and white steadiness, in addition to use a histogram to gauge publicity ranges.

With a couple of tweaks, you may produce drastically totally different pictures of the identical scene.

That very same whole management over the digital camera carries over to videography too — I can pull off cinematic tips like “rack focus” utilizing the handbook focus dial, zooming out and in is smoother than in most Android telephones, however most significantly, 4K 120fps slow-motion movies look nice.

Total, I actually loved utilizing the Sony Xperia 1 IV’s digital camera system. I’m no skilled photographer, however I do personal two Sony Alpha cameras for work functions, so I’d say I produce pictures and movies at a semi-pro stage. I respect the Xperia 1 IV for not going the identical route as all the opposite telephone manufacturers and attempting to stay to the essential rules of pictures. Having a bodily shutter button and a digital camera UI that gives extra controls makes me need to snap pictures much more than I already do.

Having a bodily shutter button and a digital camera UI that gives extra controls makes me need to snap pictures much more than I already do

I discover myself continually strolling across the metropolis holding the telephone sideways, with a finger on the shutter button, able to burst fireplace at any fascinating factor I could encounter. Now, are the pictures the best-looking pictures? Not essentially, however they at the very least have a definite vibe to them, as a substitute of trying just like the overly punchy, good HDR Google Pixel look.


Sony Xperia 1 IV: Software program

The Xperia 1 IV runs Android 12 with Sony’s very gentle Android pores and skin on prime. The telephone UI mainly behaves like inventory Android with a notification panel that appears similar to the Pixel 6 Professional’s. Probably the most notable addition is “Aspect Sense,” a sidebar situated on the fringe of the display screen that may be triggered by double faucets or swipes. Relying on the set off motion, it’ll launch a floating menu internet hosting typically used apps, or launch app pairs in split-screen mode. Due to the 21:9 facet ratio, two apps can open in a split-screen mode in symmetrical squares. Many apps, together with key ones I take advantage of each day like WhatsApp and Slack, can even open in floating window mode.

Animations are fluid, and the shutter button will be assigned to fast launch an app when long-pressed on the homescreen. For essentially the most half, I’ve no gripes with this software program. If I have to nitpick: the floating window choices have slight stutters when being moved across the display screen, it’s not as fluid as Samsung’s or OPPO’s implementation.

Sony Xperia 1 IV: Basic efficiency and battery life

With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the telephone performs at a flagship stage for many duties. Nevertheless, the telephone is extra vulnerable to overheating than different telephones, probably because of the mixture of the 4k display screen and strong digital camera {hardware}. I really don’t discover the thermal challenge when utilizing the telephone usually and even gaming. As a substitute, it’s once I’m recording movies. On events throughout scorching days, I’ll get a pop-up notification warning me the telephone is overheating. Nonetheless, regardless of the pop-up message, I used to be nonetheless capable of movie with the telephone with out points for an additional couple of minutes earlier than the telephone kicks me out of the video app.

xperia 1 iv

The Xperia 1 IV displaying an overheating warning.

The Xperia 1 IV is a superb Netflix watching machine due to its front-facing audio system and widscreen facet ratio

As talked about, the Xperia 1 IV is an excellent Netflix watching machine due to its front-facing audio system and the broader display screen eliminating most letterboxing from films. Battery life, additionally as talked about, is simply okay. On a really heavy use day, like final Saturday once I took the telephone out for a filming session, the battery drained from 100% to twenty% in six hours. On a reasonable use day, like the following day once I additionally took the telephone out all Sunday however didn’t shoot as many pictures and movies, then the Xperia 1 IV lasted me a strong 10 hours earlier than the battery dipped under 10%. On gentle utilization days, like a weekday once I’m principally tied to a desk on the pc, then the Xperia 1 IV could make it to the tip of a 12, 13-hour day with over 1 / 4 of battery left. Principally, when you take the telephone out on weekends, be ready to cost it earlier than your night ends.

Do you have to purchase the Sony Xperia 1 IV?

In a sea of similar-looking and feeling smartphones, I’ve a pure respect and fondness for Sony for pondering exterior the field, for sticking to its weapons, for zigging the place others zag. To be trustworthy, I nonetheless assume one thing just like the Google Pixel 6 Professional or the Vivo X70 Professional Plus can seize a greater shot more often than not, however I like that the Xperia 1 IV challenges me to make the changes wanted to search out higher publicity in a shot. However in between the nonetheless sub-par battery life (brought on by the pointless 4K show), thermal points, and a really excessive $1600 retail worth, the Xperia 1 IV is difficult to suggest to anybody however lovers.

The worth has rightfully garnered some scoff from those that observe smartphone information, however actually, individuals into cameras gained’t be deterred by the worth, as a result of digital camera gear is dear.  My 20mm lens for my Sony digital camera alone is $1,200. A model identify Manfrotto tripod can simply go for $800. A digital camera bag, $300. To that group, $1600 for a telephone isn’t excessive. However that group is a distinct segment, and the Xperia 1 IV is a distinct segment telephone.

You can purchase the Xperia 1 IV if:

  • You need a totally different, extra handbook, smartphone digital camera system
  • You’re taking lots of motion pictures and will use a burst taking pictures mode
  • You need a telephone that’s totally different from the pack
  • You need a headphone jack and entrance going through audio system from a prime tier flagship that isn’t styled as a gaming smartphone

You shouldn’t purchase the Xperia 1 IV if:

  • You need top-notch computational pictures with issues like dynamic HDR and actually good night time modes
  • You need/want all-day battery life
  • You care about getting a superb “standard” worth in your smartphone buy

    Sony Xperia 1 IV
    The Sony Xperia 1 IV brings a 4k, 120Hz OLED display screen, a triple lens system with Sony’s trademark eye autofocus and burst taking pictures mode, in addition to capacity to shoot 4K 120fps video.
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