Sony Xperia 1 III & Xperia 5 III

Today Sony announced the release of two new smartphones, the eagerly anticipated Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III. The previous iterations of both phones were released just last year, so we’re excited to see what changes Sony has implemented in such a short turnaround time. Here’s everything we know so far about the new Sony smartphones.

Sony Xperia 1 III

Sony Xperia 1 III
Sony Xperia 1 III | Courtesy of Sony

The Sony Xperia 1 II was a universally well-received smartphone when it launched in May last year. In our review, we called it the perfect smartphone for photographers, and identified several features that also made it an ideal choice for gamers, movie buffs, and audiophiles.

From what we know so far about the Xperia 1 III, it seems Sony has implemented several key updates that make it an even more powerful phone.  Some of the features that haven’t changed include the:

In addition to the features listed above, the Xperia 1 III offers the following upgrades:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform

The Xperia 1 III is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processing engine. Qualcomm announced the powerful microchip at the end of last year as their flagship 5G smartphone processor, and it’s also used by competing 2021 models including the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, S21 Ultra, and the Xiaomi 11.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the Xperia 1 II is that it isn’t able to use 5G within the US. The new processor means the Xperia 1 III won’t have this problem. Additionally, it ensures the phone has the brains to power its new photo and video capabilities.

Triple-Lens Array with Four Focal Lengths

Sony Xperia 1 III Triple-Camera System
The triple-camera system on the Sony Xperia 1 III | Courtesy of Sony

Like the Xperia 1 II, the 1 III features a triple-camera system that uses Zeiss optics and Zeiss T* coating. However, Sony has implemented several key upgrades.

Firstly, each camera now uses a 12MP Dual Photodiode Autofocus (PDAF) sensor, increasing the speed and accuracy of the phone’s autofocus abilities. This will be particularly helpful when photographing moving subjects. Like on the 1 II, you’ll be able to shoot continuously at up to 20fps, with AF/AE tracking occurring up to 60 times per second.

Secondly, there are now four focal length options. The lenses on the Xperia 1 III are a 16mm F2.2, a 24mm F1.7, and a variable telephoto 70mm F2.3, which can also reach 105mm F2.8. While these are the definitive focal length options, users will also have the option to digitally zoom between 70-105mm.

Like the previous model, the 1 III also still utilizes a 3D iToF sensor for faster, more accurate autofocus in low-light settings, and Optical SteadyShot™ for video stabilization.

4K HDR Video Recording up to 120fps

In addition to an improved autofocus and more focal length options, the Xperia 1 III now supports 4K HDR video recording at up to 120fps (slow-motion).  For comparison, the 1 II can only record in 4K up to 60fps, although 120fps recording is available at 1080p.

Dedicated Shutter Button

The shutter button on the Sony Xperia 1 III
The embossed shutter button on the Sony Xperia 1 III | Courtesy of Sony

The Xperia 1 III has a dedicated shutter button with an embossed finish on its side. In case you couldn’t tell already, the 1 III is nearly more camera than phone. 

120Hz Refresh Rate & up to 240Hz Motion Blur Reduction

Despite it’s advanced photo and video abilities, the 1 III isn’t just for photographers. The new model inherited several features from the Xperia 5 II that help make it the superior gaming smartphone. Namely, the 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz motion blur reduction. These features provide smoother scrolling and image transitions, resulting in an optimized, blur-free gaming experience.

240Hz Touch Scanning Rate

Gaming on the Sony Xperia 1 III
The Sony Xperia 1 III is a superior gaming smartphone | Courtesy of Sony

A 240Hz touch scanning rate is another feature the Xperia 1 III shares with the 5 II. A fast touch response is crucial for gamers, and this feature provides that edge.  

New 4,500 mAh Battery 

Up from the 4,000 mAh battery on the Xperia 1 II, the 1 III should still offer decent battery life despite its powerful new features. Wireless charging is still supported, and using the included charger, you’ll also be able to fast charge the battery up to 50% in just 30 minutes. 

Full-Stage Stereo Speakers 

The stereo speakers on the 1 III have been improved, and are 40% louder than on the 1 II. Additionally, you can now use the 360 Reality Audio feature through the speakers (it previously required headphones) for a more immersive listening experience. 

Check out the product launch video below for additional information about the new Xperia 1 III:

Sony Xperia 5 III

Sony Xperia 5 III
Sony Xperia 5 III | Courtesy of Sony

The Xperia 5 III also shares many features with its predecessor, the Xperia 5 II. These include:

  • 21:9 CinemaWideTM 6.1’’ 4K HDR OLED Display
  • 120Hz refresh rate & up to 240Hz motion blur reduction
  • 240Hz touch scanning rate
  • Continuous shooting up to 20fps AF/AE
  • 4K HDR video recording up to 120fps
  • RAW support
  • Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals 
  • Optical SteadyShot™ (hybrid OIS / EIS video stabilization)
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • 360 Reality Audio & DSEE Ultimate audio enhancement
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 6
  • IP65/68 weather sealing

New Features 

The Xperia 5 III features many of the same upgrades as the Xperia 1 III in a slightly smaller build. This includes the Snapdragon 888 5G processor, improved triple camera system, dedicated shutter button, stronger battery, and improved full-stage stereo speakers. Like the 1 III, it also inherited several features from the 5 II that make it a great phone for gamers. These include the 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz motion blur reduction, and 240Hz touch scanning rate.

Check out the product launch video below: 

Which Model Is Right For Me?

The previous, second generation of the Xperia 1 and 5 smartphones appeared to appeal to photographers and gamers respectively. The new, third generation models are a little different.

The Xperia 1 III is the ultimate smartphone for photographers, gamers, and movie buffs – or just about anyone interested in an all-powerful smartphone. Meanwhile, the Xperia 5 III offers many of the same features in a smaller build, and will likely have a smaller price tag. While pricing for either model has not yet been released, everything we know so far about the new models indicates they will be a powerful entry into the smartphone market in 2021.


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