Sony’s new Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III feature 4K 120Hz displays and a unique camera system


We’ve seen flagships launched from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo, but there are still more options to come. The latest of which comes courtesy of Sony, as the company has announced its latest flagship with the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III. Think of this similarly to the Galaxy S21 lineup, despite the different monikers because Sony seems completely lost in that regard. Naming issues aside, Sony has surely provided a contender for the best camera smartphone so far in 2021, but before jumping into that, let’s dive into the other specs.

Sony Xperia 1 III / Xperia 5 III Specs

Sony Xperia 1 III Sony Xperia 5 III
Screen size 6.5-inches 6.1-inches
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM 12 GB 8 GB
Storage 256 GB, expandable via microSD 128 / 256 GB
Battery 4,500 mAh 4,500 mAh
OS Android 11 Android 11
Rear camera Triple cameras:
16MP, Dual-PDAF, f/2.2, (main)
24MP, f/1.7, Dual-PDAF, OIS (ultra-wide)
12MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm, Dual-PDAF OIS (telephoto)
3D iToF Sensor
16MP, Dual-PDAF, f/2.2, (main)
24MP, f/1.7, Dual-PDAF, OIS (ultra-wide)
12MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm, Dual-PDAF OIS (telephoto)
Front camera 8MP 8MP
Dimensions 165 x 71 x 8.2 mm 157 x 68 x 8.2 mm
Weight 186g 168g
Water Resistance IP65/68 IP65/68
Wireless Charging Yes No
Special features 30W fast charging, Qi wireless charging, Battery Share, 240Hz Touch scan rate, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, 3.5mm headphone jack 30W fast charging, 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz Touch-scan rate, 360 Reality Audio, 3.5mm headphone jack, sub-6 5G
Colors Frosted Black, Frosted Purple Black, Green

In traditional Sony fashion, we have the outlier of a device featuring a 21:9 display, versus the more-traditional 16:9 panels found on other handsets. This makes both the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III taller, but easier to handle since they are a bit thinner than you might find elsewhere. Unlike the Samsung’s and OnePlus’ of the world, Sony is fine with leaving some chunky bezels on its latest devices, as its for good reason. Both of these devices are the first to be released with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology, which is said to provide up to 40% more output compared to last year’s model.

The 2021 Sony Xperia lineup is bringing a few different “firsts” to the market, and we’re not just talking about with audio quality. For the first time on a smartphone, we have a display that not only features a 120Hz refresh rate, but is also equipped with a 4K resolution. That right there could be enough for some, as the 6.5-inch 21:9 display is going to be one of the best that we’ve ever seen. Throw in the 240Hz touch sampling rate, along with Sony’s DualShock 4 Direct Connection, and this makes for a very compelling gaming phone, even if that’s not the primary focus.

All about the cameras

Speaking of focus, that brings us to the camera system found on the Xperia 1 III and 5 III. These devices are packing a triple camera setup, headlined by the 16MP f/2.2 primary camera, while being accompanied by a 24MP, f/1.7 ultra-wide camera. Before moving to the last lens and its features, it’s important to note that the 24MP sensor features optical image stabilization (OIS), while the 16MP lens does not. This seems to be a glaring omission, but Sony definitely made up for it.

Rounding out the camera array, we have a 12MP telephoto sensor with OIS onboard, and featuring an f/2.3 aperture. But that’s not what makes this telephoto lens so exciting. Instead, this camera can physically shift between 70mm and 105mm to make sure that you getting as close to the shot as you want, without worrying about using a wide-angle lens. The 70mm sensor provides up to 3x optical zoom, while the 105mm lens bumps that optical zoom all the way up to 5x.

But we’re not done just yet. Sony’s “a” series of mirrorless cameras are some of the most popular options amongst photographers and videographers. Well, Sony is bringing some of that awesome technology to its latest smartphone with the ability to record 4K video at 120fps. There is even a mode that brings 20fps burst mode shots to the forefront if you want something truly unique, along with Real-time Eye Autofocus for both humans and animals. Oh, and there’s even a dedicated hardware button on the frame of the phone that acts as your shutter button, so you don’t have to worry about tapping the screen when trying to take a picture.

For those who are intrigued and infatuated with the larger Xperia 1 III, you’ll also be happy to know that Sony included a 3D Time of Flight sensor to round out the new camera system. Finally, Sony has improved its camera app and software by featuring both a Photography Pro and Cinematography Pro mode, while introducing a new “Basic Mode” for those who just want to snap a quick picture.

Extra features and the Xperia 5 III

We have fast charging aboard both of these handsets, courtesy of the 30W charging speeds that will push the battery from 0-50% in 30 minutes. We really didn’t expect too much here from Sony, as the company put more focus into the camera hardware and that gorgeous display. But the Xperia 1 III has an extra trick or two up its sleeve with wireless charging capabilities, and the ability to use “battery share” for reverse wireless charging.

There are a lot of similarities between the Xperia 1 III and the smaller Xperia 5 III, but there are also a few key differences to help you decide which is the best for you. The camera system is almost exactly the same, save for the Time of Flight sensor on the larger Xperia 1 III. Both of these devices feature a 4,500mAh battery, along with featuring the 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch-sampling rate. But the Xperia 5 III only features 8GB of RAM compared to the 12GB offered in its larger brother.

As for price and availability, we are still waiting for Sony to provide that information. The company stated that these devices will be coming sometime this Summer, but we don’t have anything more specific than that. We’ll be sure to update everyone once that changes.


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