Xperia 10 III Teaser
Xperia 10 III Teaser

Sony today announced the launch of three new smartphones as part of a global launch. The new handsets in the form of the Xperia 1 III, Xperia 5 III and Xperia 10. Let’s take a look at what’s new with these phones.

Sony claims a major breakthrough in smartphone camera technology with the new models thanks to the implementation of a “world first” technology that essentially transforms the triple camera setup into a quad camera unit.

Innovation on the front of the camera seems to be the buzzword these days. Just a few days ago, Xiaomi made headlines when it announced its first phone with a liquid lens. Oppo also showcased its microscope camera, and now it’s Sony’s turn to flex its muscles.

This is the first time Sony has used variable focal length telephoto lenses in a commercially available smartphone. By changing the position of the periscope lens, Sony managed to turn a triple camera setup into a quad cam monster. Let’s take a look at all three devices:

  1. Sony Xperia 1
  2. Sony Xperia 5
  3. Sony Xperia 10

If groundbreaking events and news are not your thing, you can skip straight to the Sony Xperia 10 paragraph! Otherwise, let’s start with the most exciting device.

Sony Xperia 1

Sony presented its first Xperia 1 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019. Since then, the basic concept has not changed too much: the manufacturer still relies on a 6.5-inch display with a 21: 9 ratio and an OLED panel with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. In addition, the 4K resolution panel is also HDR -certified, which is a typical Sony signature. The high sampling rate of 240 Hz is exciting news for gamers too.

Sony Xperia 1 Mark III hero image

The variable focal length is located under the third camera lens! Huzzah! / © Sony

In order to fulfill its dual role as a gaming smartphone, Sony, like all other manufacturers, will rely on the powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC in 2021. This means 5G on board and the Adreno 660 GPU come with it to meet all of your graphics processing needs. Before we get to the camera segment, here is one more interesting detail: Sony has kept the 3.5 mm socket despite the IP68 certification, which will be good news for many.

Now to the “triple” camera on the back, which was created in collaboration with Zeiss. Sony is not only porting the real-time tracking of its alpha cameras and a dual PD sensor to its smartphone, but the telephoto camera can also switch between a zoom of 70 and 105 millimeters. To achieve this, Sony moved one of the elements in the periscope camera. However, it is not yet possible to achieve performance similar to that of a dedicated digital camera.

Sony Xperia 1 sample picture

This example image, which should show the focus of the eyes on animals, was taken with a focal length of 105 millimeters! / © Sony

With the telephoto lens, the smartphone covers the focal lengths 16 mm (ultra wide angle), 24 mm (main camera) and only 70 mm and 105 mm. Despite the new technology, the telephoto lens remains sufficiently fast with apertures of f / 2.4 and f / 2.8. Another lens on the back of the smartphone would be a ToF sensor, which helps with autofocus, among other things.

Last but not least: the Sony Xperia 1 has a 4,500 mAh battery that can be charged from 0 to 50% in just 30 minutes. Sony has not yet announced an official price – but its predecessor was sold for a whopping 1,199 euros.

Sony Xperia 5

While other manufacturers like Nokia have launched completely new product lines, Sony remains true to its original product lines with the Xperia 5. This smartphone is basically a lite version of the Xperia 1 and luckily also offers the new camera lens with variable focal length. However, the phone is a little cheaper.

Sony Xperia 5 Mark III hero image

Atypical for a smartphone in 2021: Instead of a notch, the front camera of Sony phones is still in the upper bezel / © Sony

Since the display is also available in a 21: 9 ratio, it is “only” 6.1 inches and has a refresh rate of 120 Hz. However, the FHD + resolution is far lower than the Xperia 1, but you get an OLED panel and an HDR certification.

Other than that, the biggest differences are in the camera, where Sony drops the ToF sensor and, with it, real-time focus tracking. However, the Snapdragon 888 SoC and the 4,500 mAh battery are retained. Sony has also remained the mother of the Xperia 5 III in terms of price and exact release date.

Sony Xperia 10

A few years ago when I was still a budding tech journalist visiting MWC, I got to spend a little time on the first iteration of the Xperia 10! It was an ugly duckling and targeted the mid-range smartphone market. Looking ahead, Sony looks like they’re ready to pass the 5G wand to the Xperia 10 while they rely on the Snapdragon 690 to get the job done.

Sony Xperia 10 Mark III hero image

The Sony Xperia 10 III will be the cheapest of the new models. / © Sony

The battery capacity has also increased by 25%, so you also have a 4,500 mAh battery in the Xperia 10 III, similar to the more expensive siblings! The 6-inch OLED panel also has an aspect ratio of 21: 9, but we don’t have any information about the refresh rate. Worst scenario would be a 60Hz panel, although I keep my fingers crossed that we’d see at least a 90Hz refresh rate.

You also have to do without the variable telephoto lens. However, the phone has a triple camera setup consisting of a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera (16mm), and a telephoto camera (54mm). Depending on the price of the smartphone, this could have a positive effect on the mid-range market. In most cases, mid-range smartphones offer a rather pointless macro or depth camera to improve the spec sheet.

Before I hear your thoughts on the new Sony smartphones, there are two more things you should know: yes, the Xperia 10 also has a 3.5mm jack, and yes, this model is also IP68 certified for water and water Dust protection. Isn’t this another unique selling point in the mid-range smartphone market? The exact pricing strategy is not known at the time of going to press, but Sony is aiming for a release date for “early summer 2021”. Give us something specific, Sony!

Now to you: what do you think of Sony’s new lineup? Are you excited or do you think this unconventional configuration completely misses the mark when you watch the current trends move? Let’s discuss this in the comments!


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