Test: Sony Xperia 1 – A breathtaking display

9 min

Review: Xperia 1 is Sony's best flagship mobile to date, but it still can't quite compete with competitors.

Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1

Photo: Mobile site

Sony Xperia 1 was launched at this year's Mobile World Congress, where it surprised with a new 21: 9 screen format. It was crazy and daring, but how is it in practice? We have had the flagship for testing and are now ready with our assessment.

I always get nostalgic when I send Sony products for testing. I am reminded of a time with Sony's Amps, Walkmann and Minidisc players, which I personally owned several copies of. One of my first smartphones was a Sony Xperia X10, which also proved to be their first attempt with Android. Since then, Sony has come a long way, but in recent years it has struggled with declining sales and smartphones, which unfortunately could not quite keep up with competitors.

But now Sony is trying again and it looks very promising on paper. 6.5-inch 21: 9 OLED display and 4K resolution, new triple camera, stereo speakers and the lightning-fast Snapdragon 855. Expectations were high when Xperia 1 landed in the mail. There is no doubt very good to say about the Sony Xperia 1, unfortunately I have again put a Sony mobile from me that did not quite live up to expectations.

Sony Xperia 1: Pros and Cons


  • Incredibly nice screen
  • 21: 9 screen format works well
  • Performance is top notch
  • Good stereo speakers
  • A good camera


  • Unreliable fingerprint scanner
  • Slv vibrator motor
  • Battery life does not impress
  • Some bloatware that cannot be deleted
  • Weak antenna
  • No wire charging

Sony Xperia 1 is a beautiful mobile.

Sony Xperia 1 is a beautiful mobile.

Photo: Mobile site

Sony Xperia 1: Designed

Sony Xperia 1 is one of the better looking smartphones on the market. Its sleek line, the rounded sides, the notch-free screen and the neat back cover give the Xperia 1 a very exclusive look.

The Xperia 1 is a large phone, in fact it is almost 17 inches long, about a centimeter longer than a Huawei P30 Pro, which has the same screen size. The very elongated design, due to the 21: 9 screen format, seems to start with a little exaggeration. However, it is only until you get used to it and until you experience the benefits it provides.

The back of the phone is slightly rounded, which makes it very comfortable to hold. The sides are also rounded and provide more of the same comfort. Unfortunately, the processing of the pages is greasy, the mobile phone is incredibly smooth and it does not help that the back is in glass. Fortunately, it is protected by Gorilla Glass 6 on both front and back, but we recommend a cover for it. Fortunately, the rear cameras do not protrude far and sit centrally, which does not cause the phone to tilt when it is on a table and you use it.

On the right side of the phone you will find all the physical buttons, including fingerprints. Both the camera button, power button, fingerprint scanner and volume buttons are pretty busy. When you hold it in your hand you can easily hit one or more of these many buttons.

We have had mixed experiences with the fingerprint reader. Sometimes it dissolves without hernia and other times it refuses. In addition, it can be annoying that it is hiding in the right side of the phone if one is left-handed. Alternatively, you can use the built-in facial solution, but unfortunately it is too slow.

Several smartphone manufacturers have started to focus on high quality vibrator motors because it gives a good feeling, for example when typing on the keyboard and makes the mobile look more responsive. Both OnePlus and Samsung have gotten a lot better, but still don't beat Apple with their Taptic Engine. Unfortunately, the Xperia 1 vibrator motor is dormant and not a thing to cheer for.

All in all, the Sony Xperia 1 is a beautiful phone and is design and quality at the same level as its competitors. However, it is a bit strange that the buttons rattle when you shake the phone.

Sony Xperia 1 includes a new triple camera.

Sony Xperia 1 includes a new triple camera.

Photo: Mobile site

Sony Xperia 1: Specifications

Ml and vgt 167 x 78 x 8.2 mm
Skrm 6.5 "OLED
1644x 3840
21: 9 format
X-Reality Engine
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Chipset Snapdragon 855
Battery 3330mAh
Storage space 128GB
Up to 1TB MicroSD
Camera 12MP f / 1.6 with OIS
12MP Ultra wide angle f / 2.4
12 MP f / 2.4 2x zoom OIS
Front 8MP, f / 2.0
software Android 9 Pie
Other things Stereohjtalere
Bluetooth 5.0
Dolby Atmos
IP68 dust and water resistant

The Xperia 1 display and hardware

The world's first 4K HDR OLED display in 21: 9, which uses the X1 mobile processor for BRAVIA's HDR remaster technology. Yes, Big Order Sony is writing about their new mobile screen, but it's not just hot air. The 6.5 inch screen is breathtaking.

The resolution is at 3840×1644, which gives a pixel density of 643, by comparison the Samsung Galaxy S10 + 522. Fortunately, the screen is well balanced, so colors are not excessive, but instead natural and with extremely good contrast and viewing angles. It is a wild experience to watch 21: 9 movie on eg Netflix, which already offers two thirds of their library in this format. Combined with a few good headphones and Dolby Atmos added, it's hard to put away the Xperia 1. The 21: 9 format also comes to your right when, for example, you read content on websites, because you can see much more content in the screen.

In direct sunlight, it is slightly easier to see the screen of the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, but definitely approved on the Xperia 1.

It's a near-perfect screen. With 90Hz refresh rate, we would not be able to get more of the screen.

There f

Unfortunately, there is too little bloatware with Xperia 1, where most can't be deleted.

Photo: Mobile site

The hardware
In addition to the new great display, Xperia 1 offers the fastest chipset from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 855. This includes 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that can be expanded by up to 1 terabyte of memory card. As one would expect from a flagship, there is plenty of profits in Xperia 1. Everything happens fast and fluid, except for the camera app, but we will find out later. It is not quite as fluid as the OnePlus 7 Pro, which we think is due to OnePlus' good software optimization and not least the 90Hz screen.

The Sony Xperia 1 software is based on Android 9 Pie. Here are not all possible software additions, branded theme or other mischief. It is a simple user interface that most people will find clear to get started.

I wish Sony tried to follow a bit more with the competitors here, including faster and safer face resolution, faster charging, reverse wireless charging, and a screen that automatically turns on when you pick up the phone, etc .. Well, an overlay, by the name Page Sense, is onboard and gives you your most used apps by double-taping the screen's pages, but rarely does it actually bother to open. I There are still errors that I previously encountered in Sony's software: If you listen to music and open the camera app, to take a picture, it pauses the music. Why don't I have both?

Strangely, Xperia 1 comes with a lot of bloatware, for example. Arena of Valor, Asphalt 9, Fortnite, Booking.com etc., several of which cannot be deleted. At a suggested price of 7,299 kroner I think it is just tight enough.

The software in Xperia 1 works fine and is nice to look at, but we miss some innovation.

Author mode for Netflix. One can really achieve

Author mode for Netflix. You can really achieve a near-terrifyingly good movie quality on Xperia 1. The screen is fantastic.

Photo: Mobile site

The sound in Xperia 1

We are big fans of stereo speakers in mobile phones and fortunately Sony Xperia 1 is equipped with it. The individual volume of the speakers is well balanced, but does not sound as good or plays as hard as the Samsung Galaxy S10 + and Apple iPhone XS – in return, they are far better than the Huawei P30 Pro, for example. The sound in headphones is also excellent, but not quite up to par with the best.

The sound during conversations is good, where voices appear clear and with ample volume. During the test there have been complaints about the sound at the other end of the tube, whether it is the signal or the phone itself is difficult to answer.

It's nice with stereoh

It's nice with stereo speakers, but they don't play as well as the Galaxy S10 + and iPhone XS.

Photo: Mobile site

Antenna Challenges in Xperia 1

There have been challenges with the antenna in Xperia 1, especially on mobile data. Where I usually have 4G and 4G +, Xperia 1 only manages to capture HSPA +. Almost daily, I find that radio, podcasts and video streams are interrupted due to lack of mobile data speed, in places where I usually do not experience such problems.

In addition, Xperia 1 may find itself dropping all connection to the mobile network, without giving any notice. When you discover that there is no hole in it, it takes a trip to flight mode and back again for it to work again.

NB. Sony announces that they have not experienced this problem before and has sent a new Xperia 1 that I can test on. I will update the article afterwards.

Problems with the data connection in Xperia 1. Here I have good 4G connection, but still the phone has disconnected. A trip p

Problems with the data connection in Xperia 1. Here I have good 4G connection, but still the phone has disconnected. A trip in flight mode and back again and then it works. It may happen 1-2 times a day.

Photo: Mobile site

The battery in the Xperia 1

The trend is towards larger and larger batteries, fortunately. Who wouldn't want a slightly thicker cell phone, in favor of a bigger battery. But that trend has sadly been overlooked and has thrown in a 3330 mAh battery, which is quite similar to a 2 year old Huawei P10. In addition, the older Huawei offers even faster charging than the Xperia 1.

The battery is quickly used up when you enjoy movies on the great screen, in return it holds reasonably good power when the screen is off. I get on average one day's use with about 4 hours of screen time. Slightly lower than the other large mobile flagships.

There is a quick charge on board and an included quick charger, but only of 18W. At half an hour in the charger you get about 50 percent power and a full charge takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I experience on average an d

On average, I experience a day's battery life with about 4 hours of screen time.

Photo: Mobile site

The new triple camera

There are two major focal points in Sony's new smartphone: the monitor and the camera. The screen is amazing and so is the camera… for the most part. The results may be hit-and-miss and the camera app needs to be reviewed by the manufacturer. But there is no doubt that this is Sony's best mobile camera to date.

But let's start by taking a look at the hardware. Sony has for the first time thrown itself over a triple camera, consisting of:

  • Primary sensor of 12 megapixels, f / 1.6
  • 12 megapixel, f / 2.4 telephoto
  • Ultra wide angle of 12 megapixels, f / 2.4

Pictures in daylight appear beautiful, with natural colors and a really good contrast. Xperia 1's dynamic reach is not quite on par with its Samsung and Huawei competitors. Sony Xperia 1 does not manage to get as many details with large light differences present, but the colors often more true to reality. Unfortunately, sometimes the camera is completely wrong with the exposure, with the background completely over-exposed and almost gone.

The portrt feature / bokeh has been vastly improved in Xperia 1. The background ring is lovely and portraits look natural. There are a little too often areas that have not been cleared properly, but it is better than Sony's previous attempts. The post-processing of bokeh images is a somewhat tedious process where you have to wait 3-4 seconds to see the result. At the same time, it is slow to focus with bokeh enabled, so there is unnecessary waiting time between repeated images.

The video part in Xperia 1 is, like a photo, really nice. The colors are true-to-life again and the contrast is good. One can record in 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 and 60fps and 720p at 30fps, but there is no 4K at 60fps. The stabilization is good, especially in 1080p. Again, I don't think Xperia 1 can catch up with Huawei, Samsung and iPhone, but the quality is still really good. There is also slow motion video on board, but here the quality is not impressive.

Photos taken with Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1: Bokeh

Sony Xperia 1: Bokeh

Photo: Mobile site

Click to open the photo gallery:

Click to open the photo gallery:

Sony Xperia 1: Conclusion

There is no doubt that Sony has a special place in my heart. I had high expectations for the latest flagship, Xperia 1, which I first met at MWC in Barcelona. It is an incredibly nice mobile phone with modern slim and minimalist lines. It is Sony's best smartphone in a long time, but unfortunately for Sony, its competitors have also improved.

The new 21: 9 screen is nothing short of amazing. If you watch a lot of movies and series on your mobile, you have to take Xperia 1 into consideration. The stereo speakers help with the overall good media experience. At the same time, the performance of the Xperia 1 is a flagship worthy. There is never a stay and everything happens very quickly and with conviction.

The camera is much better than before, where especially photos in daylight impress. Exposure and bokeh function are sometimes experienced and it feels a bit like hit-and-miss.

Overall, the Sony Xperia 1 is a really good smartphone that you certainly won't regret buying. In many areas it is very difficult to follow with the major competitors, where Xperia 1 offers a smaller battery, difficult resolution, slower charging, poorer antenna, etc. In addition, the price of DKK 7,299 at the high end, though seen at around DKK 6,500, where you can get the Samsung Galaxy S10 + and Huawei P30 Pro for cheaper money.

Sony Xperia 1 lands 4.5 out of 6 stars.

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