Sony Xperia 1 III: The Ultimate Enthusiast Phone!
This mountain they’ve been climbing for all these years. They finally reached the top and they’ve created the most enthusiast targeted phone in the world more than any gaming phone more than any other niche phone. I recently made a video on why people don’t really buy that many sony phones, they’ve doubled down on all of that stuff. Since then, it’s kind of a work of art so i’ve been using this phone on and off for about a month now, and everything that you can think of that would make the ultimate enthusiast phone they’ve done. It sony’s done it in this phone. Everything from the specs to the features to the details, it’s all here i mean you – can start all the way from the top with the name it’s the xperia one. Three good luck explaining that to your normal friends and it was unveiled literally months ago in april. So you’d only know about it now that it’s quietly actually gone on sale, because you follow enough tech, blogs or youtube channels, because you certainly won’t see any ads for it or find it in any carrier stores here. But then just look at this design. I mean you can probably already see some of the enthusiast features, starting to stick out it’s kind of hard to know where to start actually. So, first of all, it has a super nice, frosted, matte black finish and it’s, actually even kind of like a little bit of a soft touch that i really like.
Even the sides are matte black and the whole thing is built around this 21×9 aspect ratio which an enthusiast would love, because now you can watch your 21×9 videos on a proper cinema display with no black bars, but then let’s just go down the feature list. Okay, dual sim card tray at the top removable without a tool and the second sim card tray actually doubles as expandable storage for those micro sd cards up to a terabyte. Your wacom enthusiasts there’s stereo front facing speakers flanking the edges of the phone and they’re nice and loud louder than the previous generation, and far enough apart to create a nice real stereo image and then up in the corner, yeah that’s an led notification light the feature You really don’t see in many features nowadays, but that enthusiasts will appreciate and as i say, that you’re probably already thinking about a headphone jack, so yeah, the headphone jack is up here too. Up top feels like the phone is barely thick enough for it, and this one actually also has some extra buttons so there’s a volume rocker up top. Then the super reliable, fingerprint reader power button combo. Underneath that then a custom button that’s mapped to trigger google assistant. Then, underneath that a dedicated shutter button for the camera system and it’s got the half press for focusing and the full press for actually taking the shot and everything all of that wrapped in a body that’s ip68 water resistant and pretty squared off.
Overall, maybe a little bit of a boring design to some, but i like it, i really like it it’s the finish: it’s the overall like pretty square aesthetic that i’ve liked in the past, but it’s just it’s nice. The fingerprint reader on the power button is very fast and very reliable, so i’m, a fan of that and just the whole phone is of course, very easy and comfortable to hold because it’s so narrow because 21×9. But speaking of 21×9 let’s talk about the screen. This phone has a six and a half inch 4k 120hz display right off the bat jesus in in the settings. You can switch between the super smooth, 120 hertz or just normal 60 hertz, but you actually cannot adjust the screen resolution at all. It is always locked at 4k, which is a little bit crazy. I mean i get that it’s an enthusiast phone and only an enthusiast would want to toggle their phone to 4k. Sometimes, to you know, watch a 4k youtube video or a movie or something, but this is just 4k all the time. This is full on maximum enthusiast. If you literally can’t turn it off no 1080, no 1440 it’s locked i’m, actually kind of surprised. They do. Let you turn off 120 hertz, i don’t know maybe they’ll remove that option in the mark iv. The display itself, though it looks pretty great, as you might expect sony – has this 10 bit creator mode it’s had it before and it’s, also a highly adjustable white balance to tune this oled display to look exactly how you’d want i’d expect nothing less here.
But, of course the downside to having a 21×9 display is, there are still some apps that aren’t perfectly optimized for it and honestly, probably never will be. That includes instagram stories and tick tock. You know the normie apps most everyday people use. They have black bars at the top and the bottom, because most phones aren’t this crazy tall aspect ratio but that’s fine. This is an enthusiast phone and so people who are willing to make that sacrifice to have a nice narrow, taller, better looking display with cinema videos. They’Ll be fine with that couple: apps, not working no big deal. This is gon na be great with 21 by nine stuff. The one thing you can’t get around, though, is having a display at 4k, 120 hertz, all the time yeah it eats into battery life. Pretty hard, so this phone has a 4 500 milliamp hour battery, which is solid but that’s, not gigantic, but the rate that you can chew through battery at high brightness, 4k 120 hertz is pretty high, so i’d recommend you have one of those enthusiast battery banks somewhere Near you, if you plan on getting a whole day past about four hours of heavy screen on time away from your charger, the brick included does get you 30 watt fast charging, and it does have qi wireless charging as well, but yeah. If there is a weak point of this hyper enthusiast phone it’s, definitely that so you’ve got your crazy enthusiast hardware with the headphone jack and the notification led you’ve got your crazy enthusiast screen.
4K uh you’ve got your enthusiast specs. Of course, you got snapdragon 812 gigs of ram, and the works are all here, but what’s it like to actually use this phone with such crazy hardware. You guessed it it’s, riddled with quirks and features i’d feel like doug demiro, trying to point all of these out. There’S a lot going on now sony software actually think overall, is pretty nice, mostly because let’s be real. They don’t try to do too much. Aesthetically it’s like if you took near stock, android 11 and then just plugged a bunch of features into it that work with sony’s hardware. I mean that’s. What an enthusiast like me wants. So you’ve got your near stock. Looking quick settings and the google discover feed next to your home screens, even the default google search box at the very bottom of your home screen for reachability. But then in the settings like i’ve said you have a ton of display customization. You have always on display controls, reverse wireless charging, toggle lots of battery care features to help. You reduce the amount of time your battery spends at full 100 charge to prolong the life of your phone and then one of my favorite sony editions is called side sense. So sony fans taught me if you’ve heard this before, but it puts this little bar over here to the side of your screen. You can double tap that bar anytime. You want to bring up a quick, app launcher which you can customize with whatever eight apps you want, or just bring up the whole list hilariously, and then you can slide up on that bar anytime.
You want to open multitasking, which is pretty sweet on that extra tall 21×9 display. I assume, if you’re a true enthusiast you’re doing this all the time and you’ve got your favorite app pairs queued up, so you can launch them both at the same time with a single touch, and you can also launch one handed mode from here which makes sense If you can’t quite reach the top of this phone honestly it’s so tall that the top corners can be a little annoying to reach even with big hands, so you can customize the position of this bar the size, the transparency level, the sensitivity every little thing dial. It to your heart’s content and it’s all over here in this little sidebar that’s super reachable wherever you want to put it well done sony. This one has really good strong haptics, which is good to see always and there’s. Also dualshock 4 support. So you can connect a sony, ps4 controller to this phone to play certain games. If you’re into that, i imagine they’re building in a dual sense. 5 support it doesn’t work with the ps5 controller yet, but that would be cool, but you want to know you want to know the worst part of the software, though, for some reason – and this annoyed me a lot – this phone has the slowest auto rotate. I have ever witnessed in a modern, smartphone yeah that’s, not a bug, it’s it’s, that slow every single time.
I don’t know why i feel like this is either a. I guess it is a bug and they can fix it with software, but yeah that’s. That was extremely annoying now an enthusiast phone wouldn’t be complete without some enthusiast cameras and boy does sony have that on lock? Here, literally, there is no basic android camera app as soon as you squeeze that shutter or double tap the power button or just hit the camera icon. Whatever you like, you’re, thrown immediately into sony’s advanced camera app. Now they do give you a basic mode in that camera app, which is funny and that lets you switch to video mode and toggle between the ultra wide the standard and two different telephoto focal lengths. But then, of course, you can just go straight from basic mode into basically a full on sony, alpha camera with programmable, auto modes and manual modes and 20 fps burst shutter and slider sphere, shutter, speed and iso, and focus and all that it’s great. But did you catch one little thing? I just said there two telephoto focal lengths, but there’s only one telephoto camera on the back of the phone. So how are there two telephoto focal lengths? Well, it turns out quietly for their hyper enthusiast phone sony’s dropped. Variable optical zoom on a single telephoto camera, so this horizontally oriented telephoto camera has glass inside that moves to change the focal length optically instead of digitally. So in the software, you can snap these between 70 millimeters and 105 millimeters.
These focal lengths are both shot by that same sensor, it’s pretty intense, now, sony won’t tell me exactly how they’re doing this. I guess it’s a secret, but i imagine there are probably some sort of magnets involved moving the glass around the best i can show. Is this animation on sony’s youtube channel one of their videos, but this animation actually shows several different internal lens positions, which kind of confused me because there’s only two focal lengths. So i don’t know what this is about or how accurate this visualization is. But you get the idea: it’s moving glass inside the phone, to give you two different zooms, and so the result is kind of amazing. You now have two different focal lengths of telephoto in one sensor. You have 70 and you have 105 and you can digital zoom between them, but you can also just snap between them back and forth for optical zoom to match sharpness that’s, pretty cool. The brutal part, though, is even after all, that technical wizardry the photo quality, really isn’t. That great, like i’d, like to think i know what i’m doing and i’ve shot with plenty of cameras, plenty of sony, alpha cameras and other sony phones, but it’s just never actually looked that great. Despite all the incredible innovative manual control, the shutter is very fast. Auto focus is incredibly fast. I never miss a shot with the dedicated shutter button, it’s awesome, but the actual shot. I get pretty soft a little bit muted, colors a little noisy, sometimes pretty meh.
So i was hoping for better there. So the best thing i get out of this phone’s camera system really is just it’s, a technical marvel and it’s really cool to appreciate – and i have hope for the future of smartphones with optical zoom. But i also don’t want to get my hopes up because well, if you remember what samsung did with dual aperture in the galaxy s9, it was kind of just like this. It wasn’t smoothly adjusting aperture between a range, but you could snap between two different apertures on the same camera lens with a moving lens that was in the samsung galaxy s9 and then the next year. It was gone and it never showed up again and it would have been really useful in some of their later years. Galaxy s20 having such a thin plane of focus having dual aperture, could make a bigger range of focus. If you shut down the aperture a little bit, but they didn’t do it anymore. So i see that and then i think of sony’s, where now you’re snapping between focal lengths and it’s cool and i hope it advances but there’s no guarantees so we’ll cross our fingers for that. But overall sheesh this, this phone is a lot. It’S got a camera. I’Ve never seen before it’s got a screen. I’Ve never seen before. It’S got a ton of features, there’s just a lot going on, and so, if you care about smartphones at all, this is a really exciting phone.
And aside from the awful auto rotate i thoroughly enjoyed using it now, would i recommend it honestly? Probably almost no one should actually buy this one. I mean it is 1200 bucks that’s how much i get it for it’s on b h right now, i you can get a galaxy s21 ultra for that price, which would have better battery faster charging, better cameras, better software, with more updates and just overall a bit More versatile, so you have to you, have to really want this, but if you are that enthusiast or if you’re into sony headphones or sony, ps5 or sony, i don’t know bravia tvs or the other stuff they make. Then you might consider this one too.