When I think Sony, I think Bravia. I think OLED rich color TVs and cinematic sound even thousands of colorful bouncy balls in San Francisco. But in 2019 I wouldn’t have necessarily thought, mobile phones. My last Sony device was the Sony Ericsson W810i, the World’s first Walkman phone. It was the first product to combine a mobile phone, a high-quality digital music player with up to 30 hours’ battery life, and a 2 Megapixel camera. All of this was packaged in a slim, lightweight device (for the time) with an ultra-stylish design. It was one of my first proper camera phones. I also got dumped by text message in 2007 on that thing, ah memories!
Memories fade, but today I had a welcome blast from the past. Sony seems to have content creators and cinematographers at the forefront of their new 21:9 aspect ratio displays. Yes, you heard right, 21:9 across the range of new Xperia handsets. The 10, 10 plus and the higher end Xperia 1.
We’ll delve into the specs of the handsets in a more in-depth post, but in the meantime here are my initial thoughts on the new Xperia range.
Sony introduces the world to its 21:9 smartphone cinematic display
The Xperia 10 is unsurprisingly the 10 plus’s smaller counterpart. From the outset, the device appears tall, very tall! The matte tactile body feels great in the hand and the software is not laggy or sluggish. Everything works as it should. The sound is pretty crisp and the video playback appears quite smooth. The screens are vibrant as you’d expect from a Sony handset. Dual rear camera arrays on both flash and subtle NFC logo.
Not much changes from the outside with the 10 Plus, just an all-important extra half inch in height and a lovely brushed aluminum back. Both the 10 and 10 Plus are nice and light, leaving no fatigue in my hands during the 20 mins of intense playing around.
Next up is the Xperia 1, very different in comparison to its siblings. It’s Glass sandwich, with a triple camera on the back, a gorgeous 21:9 cinematic 4K display. During the demo there was a side-by-side comparison between Sony’s Xperia 1 and its Bravia TV range, showing how close the two are tuned. What really had me enthusiastic to learn about the Xperia 1 was the sheer amount of R&D and attention to detail that Sony has put into this new device. I got the sense that they want everything to be perfect before it goes on sale.
It has the potential to be a creator-centric masterclass from Sony, one of the world’s leading creative entertainment company. Think of this as your one-stop-shop “Pocket Studio.” Everything about this device screams “Make great things! and tell them you did it on a Sony Xperia 1!”
Sony Xperia 10 & 10 Plus camera test
The results of the Xperia 1’s Eye Auto Focus and Studio Modes were really impressive and gaming was also a prominent part of the pitch. I’m not a gamer in any sense of the term, but the cinematic screen felt like it went on forever when held in the horizontal plane. My lumpy thumbs didn’t get in the way of the screen and the game play felt very natural with the ultra-wide display.
The sound was loud and punchy with the inclusion of a haptic bass engine that you can adjust on the screen along side the volume slider. There was some sound distorted at full volume and full bass, but i won’t hold it against them, it’s not final software and there is quite a way to go before they get that cinematic sound perfected.
I was not allowed to use that camera since the software isn’t ready. In fact, all demo units were locked to a background with no icons or menus. Disappointing? Yes. Understandable? Of course. I’m just hoping to get the opportunity to test this one out when it’s ready.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with the Xperia 10 and 10 plus and really impressed with the Xperia 1 on paper. I hope everything works out for Sony on this one since it could change the game for the next generation of content creators and cinematographers.