Sony Xperia 1 V Review: A Step Closer to Besting Apple and Samsung



The brand new Sony Xperia 1 V retains all one of the best options of earlier Xperia 1 telephones, like a 4K excessive refresh price show, expandable storage, cutting-edge cameras with eye-tracking autofocus, a 5,000-mAh battery, a devoted {hardware} shutter button and a headphone jack, all wrapped in Sony’s beautiful, mundane utilitarian design. The telephone brims with quite a few high quality of life enhancements for its audience of inventive sorts like photographers, filmmakers, musicians and players who need nuanced management over the content material they make.

The edges of the telephone are ribbed, which make it simpler to grip, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor makes issues quick, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 provides sturdiness to the telephone’s display screen, and the flexibility to rotate the Picture Professional and Video Professional apps between panorama and portrait simply is sensible. The glass on the again of the telephone has an imprinted texture that elevates the appear and feel. Although — regardless of its excessive worth — you’d by no means describe this as a complicated telephone.

After which there are the cameras. Oh, the cameras! This previous December, Tim Cook shared a post on Twitter about Apple and Sony’s lengthy partnership going again over a decade revolving across the iPhone digicam. The tweet included a photograph of Tim Prepare dinner in a really Vincent D’Onofrio Law and Order-esque lean-in pose iPhones being examined in a Sony digicam lab. Apple makes use of Sony digicam sensors within the iPhone and those self same sensors usually make their debut in Xperia telephones. One of many greatest upgrades to the Xperia 1 V is a brand new sensor for the primary digicam. I ought to word, that it is not assured that the sensors on this telephone will likely be utilized in a future iPhone.


Sony Xperia 1 V


  • Delicate design enhancements

  • Pictures in blended and medium gentle look nice

  • Utilizing it as an exterior monitor/video recorder

Do not like

  • The $1,400 worth

  • Night time mode pics are hit and miss

  • Movies recorded in low or blended lighting do not look nice

I have been utilizing a preproduction Xperia 1 V on mortgage from Sony for a few week. And I am impressed with almost the whole lot, particularly the cameras. Sony pushed its state-of-the-art {hardware} to a different degree by embracing extra computational pictures like Apple, Google and Samsung.

However there’s a downside that overshadows all these niceties. The Xperia 1 V prices $1,400, which converts roughly to £1,110 or AU$2,070. In case your eyes sting a bit from that quantity, you are not alone. And no, the telephone would not fold in half. In reality, the Xperia 1 V has achieved one thing unthinkable: It made the $1,200 Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely appear to be a deal. Sure, the Xperia is the one telephone I am conscious of, apart from final yr’s mannequin, with a 4K 120Hz refresh price show and a telephoto digicam with lens components that transfer like an precise digicam lens. The S23 Extremely and iPhone 14 Professional haven’t got both. However each Apple and Samsung discovered methods to make photographs and movies look simply as wonderful, and at instances extra so, than Sony does with out the extraordinarily excessive worth — I imply, a grand or $1,200 continues to be loads.


Watch this: Evaluation: We Examined the Cameras on the Sony Xperia 1 V

There’s one specific use case the place the Xperia 1 V is price contemplating, and that is in case you plan to make use of it as an exterior subject monitor and video recorder for a devoted digicam. You cannot solely livestream from an exterior digicam by the Xperia however now you’ll be able to file the video feed. The Xperia’s 4K decision show units it aside from different exterior monitor recorders like Atmos, SmallHD or Blackmagic, which are inclined to have FHD shows. At $1,400, the Xperia turns into a good worth in comparison with the price of shopping for a separate telephone just like the $1,000 iPhone 14 Professional and a $400 FHD show.

You possibly can order the Sony Xperia 1 V beginning July 28 with preorders beginning at this time at 8 a.m. PT. To make the Xperia extra engaging, Sony has a preorder particular the place you get a pair of $180 Sony LinkBuds at no cost.

The Sony Xperia 1 V’s cameras

{Hardware}-wise three out of the 4 cameras are the identical as final yr’s Sony Xperia 1 IV. On the entrance there is a 12-megapixel selfie digicam and on the again there’s the identical 12-megapixel ultrawide, and a 12-megapixel telephoto digicam. Whereas not new, that telephoto is likely one of the standout options on the Xperia 1 V. The variable telephoto lens provides the telephone an optical zoom vary of three.5x to five.2x magnification. Evaluate that to the iPhone 14 Professional, which solely has optical zoom at 3x and something extra is digital zoom. Or have a look at the Galaxy S23 Extremely, which has a 3x optical zoom digicam and a 10x optical zoom digicam, however in between 3x and 10x it is all digital zoom. The extra a telephone digitally zooms in, the extra the picture begins to crumble.

In use, the tele makes the Xperia a way more versatile digicam than the iPhone. And whereas it lacks the 100x digital “house zoom” discovered on the S23 Extremely, it matches Samsung in its utility to seize close-up snaps and movies whereas being far-off out of your topic. The Xperia 1 V, just like the S23 Extremely, could be an prosperous dad or mum’s dream telephone. It may simply seize their child’s face shut up in a faculty play, recital or soccer match.

The Xperia 1 V's camera bump

A detailed up of the Xperia’s digicam bump.

John Kim/CNET

However the actual information is Sony’s new 52-megapixel sensor on the primary digicam. Not like the square-ish sensors on the vast majority of telephones, this one is wider. If you take photographs on just about another telephone, the digicam makes use of your entire sensor and whenever you file movies, the telephone makes use of a 16×9 crop within the center.

What Sony did is to widen the sensor in order that movies use the entire sensor’s peak. Pictures are cropped in from the edges all the way down to 48 megapixels and binned in teams to provide 12-megapixel photographs. The brand new sensor can also be quicker, which permits Sony to make use of extra computational pictures processing.

All of this provides up a brand new devoted night time mode and higher processing for medium, low gentle and blended lighting. In my week with the telephone, the whole lot besides night time mode has lived as much as Sony’s guarantees. I am particularly impressed how the Xperia makes highlights roll off so naturally in photographs.

Check out a few of my favourite photographs from the Xperia beneath.

A picture of a motorcycle in front of a blue building

The Xperia captured the sunshine and colours completely. I imply have a look at these highlights.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A picture of two people, one making a face

Mates undoubtedly not posing at brunch. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

A picture of a cat napping on a chair

Peebles the cat taking a nap. The dynamic vary in photographs is sort of good.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Close up of plant

A plant in Salesforce Park taken with the three.5x – 5.2x telephoto digicam.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A picture of a giant honey bear bottle as Ruth Bader Ginsburg painted on a building

I grabbed this pic of an enormous RGB honey bear bottle mural with the three.5x – 5.2x telephoto digicam.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A street photo

One other telephoto photograph, this time utilizing digital zoom. I dig how the Xperia is ready to make the Salesforce Tower appear to be it is looming over the road.

Patrick Holland/CNET

How does the Xperia evaluate to the iPhone 14 Professional? Fairly good, truly. Have a look beneath at photographs I took inside Peoples Barbershop in San Francisco. Within the Xperia’s photograph, discover the window and the person who’s seated on the left. Within the iPhone’s photograph, the person’s head and neck are in a shadow. Additionally discover that the lettering on the information signal on the proper is sharper within the iPhone’s photograph. In reality, on the entire, the iPhone’s photograph seems over-sharpened, in comparison with the one from the Xperia.

Under are photographs of a canine outdoors a skate store. I took these photographs at 3.5x on the Xperia and 3x on the iPhone. The feel of the canine’s fur seems nice in each. The Xperia’s photograph has a pure out-of-focus background from its lens, whereas within the iPhone’s photograph, the background can also be in focus. On the entire these are each good photographs, however I desire the one from the Xperia. The canine seems flat within the iPhone pic and pops extra in Sony’s snap.

Now let’s add the Galaxy S23 Extremely to the combo. Under are photographs of some baked eggs from Luna. The iPhone’s photograph seems over-sharpened, discover the bread. The colours are a bit muted. Additionally there may be daylight coming in from the left aspect, however heat overhead lighting above. The iPhone’s white stability seems extra cool. Samsung’s photograph nails the pink colour of the romesco sauce and did one of the best job by way of total colour temperature. The Xperia’s photographs undoubtedly skew heat, with the colours wanting oversaturated. Additionally, the Xperia selected to concentrate on the kale versus the bread — simply as my physician needs me to do extra usually.


The picture from the Sony Xperia 1 V has punchy distinction and colours.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Let’s go someplace actually darkish — just like the basement bar at Smuggler’s Cove. These photographs had been taken with the telephone’s night time mode. Of the three, my favourite is the one from the Galaxy S23 Extremely. The Xperia does an excellent job of dealing with the shadows and colours, however the bartenders’ actions throughout the seize resulted in a blurry mess with blown highlights.


The Xperia 1 V is the primary Sony telephone with an evening mode. Sadly, it is slightly hit-or-miss.

Patrick Holland/CNET

General, I am glad Sony boosted the computational pictures on the Xperia. It is a success in most conditions, however my exams additionally present Samsung’s dominance in terms of night time mode.

By way of movies, the Sony hangs proper together with the iPhone 14 Professional and Galaxy S23 Extremely beneath shiny gentle. However as issues get darkish, Apple’s video processing prowess retains its movies wanting higher. For samples of movies from every telephone, take a look at my assessment video for the Sony Xperia 1 V.

In spite of everything that testing, it is equally vital to think about the method of capturing photographs and movies. And that is the place the Xperia comes out forward of the iPhone 14 Professional and Galaxy S23 Extremely. There are individuals who desire to dial within the settings for precisely how their photographs and video are captured, and the Xperia is aimed toward them. It isn’t designed to be a one-handed point-and-shoot expertise.

The Xperia’s Picture Professional and Video Professional apps (and Cinema Professional) allow you to alter each final element to get photographs and movies wanting the way in which you need. There are third-party apps for the iPhone and S23 Extremely that may do the identical, however I have never seen something to the extent of what Sony does. Picture Professional primarily turns the telephone into an similar interface as Sony Alpha cameras. There’s additionally a devoted {hardware} shutter button on the proper aspect of the telephone, one thing the iPhone 14 Professional and Galaxy S23 Extremely lack.

Maybe some of the telling moments throughout testing got here when my colleague, CNET Principal Video Producer John Kim, and I had been filming the assessment video. After we had been strolling round Salesforce Park, and I noticed a child chicken on the bottom. I opened the Picture Professional app and the digicam’s eye autofocus immediately locked onto the tiny chicken’s eyes and tracked it. I did not even need to faucet on the display screen.


And this is the chicken. I used to be in all probability about 5 toes away; Eye AF did all of the work conserving the little man in focus.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Sony Xperia 1 V’s battery and efficiency

On the coronary heart of the Xperia is 12GB of RAM and the aforementioned Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. These specs make the Xperia 1 V peppy and quick. The telephone dealt with heavy days of capturing photographs and movies in addition to extra mundane issues like scrolling social media and enjoying video video games with ease. Lots of that’s due to the processor. We had the identical expertise this yr utilizing different 8 Gen 2 chip telephones just like the Galaxy S23 Extremely and the Asus ROG Telephone 7 Final. In benchmark exams, the Xperia hangs proper up there alongside Samsung, Asus and Vivo.

3DMark Wildlife Excessive

Sony Xperia 1 V 3,683Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely 3,802Vivo X90 Professional 3,700Asus ROG Telephone 7 Final 3,748

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

GeekBench V.5.0 Single-core

Sony Xperia 1 V 1,469Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely 1,541Vivo X90 Professional 1,384Asus ROG Telephone 7 Final 1,454

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench V.5.0 Multicore

Sony Xperia 1 V 4,971Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely 4,954Vivo X90 Professional 4,303Asus ROG Telephone 7 Final 5,080

Be aware: Longer bars point out higher efficiency

By way of battery, I simply acquired by a day on a single cost however that 4K show, particularly when it is at 120Hz, eats a number of it up. I query the selection of together with a 4K show. It’s actually beautiful having all that decision and excessive body price, but when Sony dropped all the way down to a QHD it could assist with battery life and certain decrease the general value of the telephone. I do not suppose most individuals would be capable to inform the distinction. However once more, the Xperia is aimed toward individuals who in all probability would discover, particularly in case you plan to make use of the telephone as an exterior monitor recorder.

In CNET’s streaming video take a look at, the place we set the show’s brightness to 50% and stream a video over Wi-Fi for a number of hours, the Xperia and its 4K 120Hz show dropped from 100% to 88% after an hour and all the way down to 75% after two hours. For perspective, when the OnePlus 11 went by the identical take a look at with its QHD 120Hz display screen, it dropped from a full battery to 92% after an hour and 85% after two.

By way of charging, the Xperia helps 30W quick charging. Sony would not embody the charger or perhaps a USB-C cable within the field. However after half-hour of charging with a 30W energy brick, the battery went from 25% to 73%. The telephone additionally helps wi-fi charging, and through a 30-minute take a look at the battery went from 58% to 85%.

The Sony Xperia 1 V ultimate ideas

The back of the Xperia 1 V

The again glass on the Sony Xperia 1 V is textured, which helps with grip and makes it look a bit extra stylish.

John Kim/CNET

I’m a giant fan of what Sony is doing with its Xperia line of telephones. The Xperia 1 V represents years of innovation and enhancements, all centered at its audience of artists and artistic sorts. And if I choose the telephone by that perspective, the Xperia will get a lot proper.

Nevertheless, my favourite Xperia telephones are usually the marginally decrease value 5 collection. Be aware that final yr’s Xperia 5 IV nonetheless prices $1,000. The 5 collection tends to inherit many of the wonderful specs and options from the 1 collection however comes with no $1,400 price ticket.

Personally, after I was a theater director and brief filmmaker, I’d have beloved the Xperia 1 V. However I’d have by no means been capable of afford one. As an alternative I would doubtless go for a devoted digicam like Sony’s Alpha line of APS-C cameras.

How we take a look at telephones

The front of the Sony Xperia 1 V

John Kim/CNET

Each telephone examined by CNET’s critiques crew was truly utilized in the actual world. We take a look at a telephone’s options, play video games and take photographs. We look at the show to see if it is shiny, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and construct to see how it’s to carry and whether or not it has an IP-rating for water resistance. We push the processor’s efficiency to the extremes utilizing each standardized benchmark instruments like GeekBench and 3DMark, together with our personal anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution movies and enjoying graphically intense video games at excessive refresh charges.

All of the cameras are examined in quite a lot of situations from shiny daylight to darkish indoor scenes. We check out particular options like night time mode and portrait mode and evaluate our findings in opposition to equally priced competing telephones. We additionally take a look at the battery life through the use of it day by day in addition to operating a collection of battery drain exams.

We bear in mind extra options like assist for 5G, satellite tv for pc connectivity, fingerprint and face sensors, stylus assist, quick charging speeds, foldable shows amongst others that may be helpful. And we in fact stability all of this in opposition to the value to provide the verdict on whether or not that telephone, no matter worth it’s, truly represents good worth.