Japanese mainstay Sony has consistently demonstrated its resilience, staying the course in a turbulent smartphone market that has defeated once-titans like HTC and LG.
The latest addition to their lineup, the Xperia 1 V, was announced in May and is now widely available in the UK.
But how does it measure up against flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 14 Pro? Let's find out.
When it comes to design, Sony’s Xperia devices are well-known for their ergonomic appeal.
The Xperia 1 V excels in providing a superb grip experience, emphasising its suitability as a camera-focused device.
Additionally, the phone offers IP65/IP68 protection against both water jets and submersion in clean water. The back panel features a matte design with a noticeable texture, while remaining resistant to smudges.
Notably, the device sports a triple-camera array, which we'll discuss further.
Display-wise, the Xperia 1 V shines with its 6.5-inch OLED panel.
With a resolution of 1644 x 3840, it stands out as an interesting size choice, whilst , the 21:9 aspect ratio and high 643-pixel density contribute to its impressive sharpness.
Combined with access to crisp 4K content tailored to its dimensions via the Bravia Core service, the Xperia 1 V is one of the most visually appealing displays we've encountered, especially when factoring in that brisk 120Hz refresh rate.
The front screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, ensuring its durability.
Sony's reputation for both exceptional displays and speaker quality holds true for the Xperia 1 V.
The device features front-facing speakers, like its predecessors, delivering excellent audio performance. Thanks to a new amplifier, the phone produces deeper bass and richer sound quality.
The inclusion of Dolby Atmos further enhances the audio experience.
Additionally, the presence of a headphone jack makes the phone particularly appealing to creatives.
The phone operates on Android 13, offering a user experience that closely resembles stock Android.
Unlike OnePlus' ColorOS, Sony has made fewer alterations here but it does definitely exude that luxury feel with fonts and flourishes unique to the brand.
Sony has added their own features, such as Side Sense, which bears resemblance to Samsung's edge display for quick access to frequent used features.
The phone does come with a suite of sterling pre-installed software, such as Video Pro, Photo Pro, and Cinema Pro, all aimed at enhancing camera functionality.
Sony has managed to keep storage and memory options straightforward for the Xperia 1 V. The phone is available in two configurations:
256GB storage with 12GB RAM
512GB storage with 12GB RAM
It would have been desirable to have a 16GB RAM model for those looking for tip-top performance, but the memory options ought to be sufficient for even the most avid videographer.
Equipped with the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 12GB of RAM and speedy UFS 4.0 storage, the Xperia 1 V performs admirably.
The display showcases games beautifully, and the Game Mode ensures an optimal gaming experience.
Although Xperia devices have been known to exhibit heat-related issues when pushed to their limits, the phone performs perfectly well without any noticeable lag, even during intensive camera image and video capturing sessions.
The Xperia 1 V's standout feature lies in its triple rear cameras.
The primary shooter boasts a 48MP sensor, accompanied by a 12MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultra-wide camera.
Utilising the Sony ExmorT IMX 888 sensor, which is approximately 1.7x larger than its predecessor, the 1 IV, the Xperia 1 V captures stunning photos.
The selfie camera, featuring a 12MP sensor, also produces impressive results.
While the phone excels in photo quality, it struggles in low-light conditions, compromising detail and sharpness upon zooming in.
Video quality is superb, with the phone supporting up to 4K at 120fps HDR.
Delving into the phone's Photo Pro and Video Pro applications reveals an array of customization and advanced options, allowing users to truly leverage the device's capabilities.
With a 5000mAh battery, the Xperia 1 V offers 30W wired charging and regular wireless charging options.
Sony claims that the device can reach 50% charge in just 30 minutes, although this depends on various factors...and in real world conditions it does leave a bit to be desired versus the ridiculous charging speeds found on flagship competition today.
However for regular usage, it easily lasts a full day. With gaming or intense camera snapping, you may need to charge it a couple of times to last sufficiently.
The Xperia 1 V launch pricing is as follows:
The cost may deter some, as it places the device firmly in premium device territory. However, for photography enthusiasts, the Xperia 1 V certainly delivers on all fronts.
In conclusion, the Xperia 1 V is an impressive phone.
It features a lightweight design, an elongated frame, and a beautiful 21:9 aspect ratio.
Sony's focus on photography and videography is evident, and its processor and battery provide an excellent user experience.
However, the pricing may prove a barrier, especially considering the keen pricing of its flagship stablemates. Nonetheless, if photography is your primary focus, the Sony XPERIA 1 V unquestionably delivers.