Sony has a fairly long history of devices. Solid appliances without unnecessary fuss. In this review, we will work with the Sony Xperia 1 III, the latest high-end smartphone from the Japanese manufacturer. What does this device have to offer?
- 1 Sony Xperia 1 III review
- 1.1 Sales package
- 1.2 Design and interface
- 1.3 Communication: calling, chatting and surfing the internet
- 1.4 Multimedia
- 1.5 Camera: photo and video
- 1.6 Video camera
- 1.7 Other options
- 1.8 Side sensor
- 1.9 Performance: battery, speed and memory
- 1.10 OS Updates
- 1.11 Final Review
Sony Xperia 1 III review
After the extensive Sony Xperia 10 III review appeared earlier in July, it is now time for the new flagship of the manufacturer: the Sony Xperia 1 III. Equipped with the best hardware and improvements in various areas, Sony hopes that consumers will choose its device. We test whether that is a good choice in the Sony Xperia 1 III review.
The sales package of the Sony Xperia 1 III is quite minimally equipped. This means that we only encounter some paperwork, the adapter, data cable and the device itself. Because the SIM slot does not have to be opened with a pin, it is also not included.
Design and interface
The Sony Xperia 1 III is designed like a real Sony device. This is immediately noticeable by the size of the smartphone. The Xperia is quite a long device and less wide than many of its competitors. Especially in the beginning, it is difficult to operate the device with one hand. The device is also very slippery, so make sure you have a good case. It is a device that feels very solid, as we are used to from Sony. Above the screen, there is even room for an LED notification light. We don’t see that often with smartphones anymore.
Sony has given the Xperia 1 III a 6.5-inch 4K OLED screen. Excellent readability on sunny days. In the evenings, the brightness can be turned down sufficiently so that it is still pleasant to stare at the screen, for example, in bed. It’s a beautiful screen, and if you can’t quite agree with certain things such as the white balance or colour adjustment, you can go to the screen settings, where you can adjust everything.
If we look at the sides, we see the opening for the SIM card slot on the left. Unlike other brands, you don’t need a pin for this, just your fingers. At the top of the device, there is the 3.5-millimetre connection for a headset, while at the bottom, we find the speaker and the USB-C connection.
At the back of the Sony Xperia 1 III, you will find a large camera module with the flash outside. In total, there are three lenses placed in this camera module. We will come back to this in detail later in the Xperia 1 III review.
This is close to the pure interface of Android and works nicely. As is known, you can fill the home screens with shortcuts and widgets. The left home screen has space for news items from Google Discover. You can also activate the quick settings from the notification bar. I only miss a shortcut for NFC; to turn it on or off, I have to go into the settings menu myself.
An interesting addition from Sony to the notifications is that you can open a notification in a floating window. The app of the notification will then overlay other apps. This can certainly be useful in different circumstances. You can move, resize and minimize the window to just a shortcut to WhatsApp, for example.
You can also set additional options for the Always On Display. For example, you can indicate that a sticker should be shown. This can be your own photo or a preset icon of something like a polar bear, owl, dog, or anything else Sony has come up with.
Communication: calling, chatting and surfing the internet
Unlike many other smartphones today, the Sony Xperia 1 III features a SIM slot that you can simply open with your fingers. So no fiddling with a sim needle. There is room for two SIM cards. If you don’t need a second SIM card, you can use that space for a memory card to expand the internal memory. To make calls with the Xperia 1 III, use Google’s dialer app. Sending messages is also possible with the Android Messages app.
In terms of connectivity, Sony also has a lot to offer. WiFi, 5G support, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC… everything is onboard the device. Although we see that the number of bars range is often less than with other devices. You use the Chrome browser as standard for browsing the internet, but of course, you can download a browser of your choice from the Play Store.
On the 6.5-inch OLED screen of the Xperia 1 III, watching a movie is a joy. The image quality is excellent, and if it is not quite to your liking, you can adjust the settings. On sunny days, reading the screen is no problem at all; the brightness can be high enough. In the evenings, the screen can be dimmed sufficiently so that it is pleasant to read.
Sony wouldn’t be Sony if it didn’t think about the multimedia capabilities on the Xperia 1 III. That is certainly the case. First of all, there is the option to use the 3.5-millimetre connection for a headset. The stereo speakers provide excellent sound quality. There is a right balance between high and low tones. The volume can also be loud enough. The Xperia 1 III is very pleasant to enjoy your music with.
We have already seen it in previous Sony devices; ‘Dynamic vibration’. It is a gimmick from Sony with which the vibration motor in the device vibrates to the beat of the music to make it experience better. You can turn it off, and to be honest, it was always off for me too.
Camera: photo and video
Sony has a reputation to uphold in the field of photography. In many smartphones, one or more camera sensors come from the Sony factory. However, Sony did not always have the best photo quality with its smartphones. This is also the coordination of hardware and software. To make taking pictures easier, the manufacturer has provided the phone with a physical shutter button on the side; useful.
Sony’s camera app works a little differently than most other manufacturers. The interface is partly taken over from the Alpha cameras. As with large cameras, you can switch between different modes in the camera app. Choose the shutter speed yourself, regulate exposure or activate the well-known ‘P’ mode? It’s all possible with the Xperia 1 III. You can also adjust things like ISO, focus area and the like in Sony’s camera app.
But what about the photo quality of the Sony Xperia 1 III? We have looked at the photos on the big screen and can conclude that the photo quality has clearly improved considerably. Where some brands go too far in saturation, the one on the Xperia 1 III is exactly as I saw it in real life. The Sony Xperia 1 III shoots sharp, detailed photos, both during the day and in the evenings.
In terms of colour fidelity, this Sony scores higher than many of its competitors, in my opinion. In total, you can zoom in 4.4x. With 2.9x zoom, the quality is still quite good; at 4.4x zoom, the sharpness is lost, but you don’t shoot worthless photos. If you want to photograph a lot with a smartphone, you will have a lot of fun with the Xperia 1 III. The Xperia selfie camera also shoots decent photos, although I find the colours’ too cool’.
In the evenings, the Sony Xperia 1 III also shoots excellent photos. It is striking that, unlike many of its competitors, there is no separate night mode available. However, after shooting a photo in the dark, a certain process seems to be started that should improve the quality of the photo. What strikes us is that even in low-light environments, very little noise is captured.
Below we have two photos we took with the Sony. If you want to see more photos, we have a nice selection ready for you again, this time in the digital photo album.
The video camera of the Sony Xperia 1 III lets you shoot images in 4K, in Full HD (30/60fps) or in HD quality. We made the video below with the device and shows that the Xperia is a nice device to film with. The sounds are captured clearly, as are the images. It is better not to zoom in; that does not affect the quality.
Sony has provided the Xperia 1 III with even more options and possibilities. In this part of the Xperia 1 III review, we go into more detail.
Unlike many high-end smartphones, the fingerprint scanner is not located on the screen but on the right side of the device. Despite the fact that you might expect the fingerprint scanner on the side with a mid-end device, it does an excellent job. We can hardly comment on this. As you might expect, you can save multiple fingers.
Bloatware, we always get a little itchy. You pay a lot of money for a new smartphone, and some manufacturers still fill their devices with applications. Presumably, because manufacturers themselves receive a commission for this. With the Sony Xperia 1 III, we see a lot of bloatware. They are ranging from the LinkedIn app to the Asphalt racing game and some more games and apps. It is not necessary. We keep saying it; give users the option of whether or not they want to install certain apps. The apps cannot be removed either but can only be disabled. Even though you will have plenty of memory with 256GB of storage space, a game like Call of Duty, for example, still eats up 3.36GB.
Just like with Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, you will find an extra bar on the side of the screen for extra options. The function, which is called “side sensor” at Sony, makes it possible to quickly open one of your favourite apps. You can also set that you can open certain apps in multiple windows by default. You can adjust the position and size of the Side sensor menu in the settings.
Performance: battery, speed and memory
The Sony Xperia 1 III has equipped the smartphone with the lightning-fast Snapdragon 888 chipset from Qualcomm. This is assisted by 12GB of RAM. This results in a lightning-fast smartphone, where we do not notice any annoying hitches when using the phone.
Then the endurance of Sony’s high-end device for 2021. What about the battery life of the Sony Xperia 1 III? The smartphone manufacturer has provided the device with a 4500 mAh battery. You can change this with 30W, which is slightly faster than with Samsung, but much slower than, for example, OnePlus, which can charge devices with 65W. The endurance of the smartphone is very moderate. With intensive use, you will get just at the end of the day, but absolutely nothing more. The screen-on-time is always between 3 and 3.5 hours. Not impressive at all. Hopefully, a software update can improve this. The previous Xperia 1 II did this much better, even with a smaller battery capacity.
Updating devices is not something that every manufacturer tackles equally well. Sony is a bit of the less good player in this. In the case of the updated policy for the Xperia 1 III, the manufacturer remains very vague, and that is very strange, given the price of 1300 euros for a smartphone. Then it would be nice if you know what to expect. For two years, Sony promises security updates and Android updates, which, again considering its price, is very scant. For example, Samsung gives devices four years of updates, OnePlus three years, and Nokia does the same.
With its smooth housing, the device slides out of your pocket quite quickly; this has happened to me several times. We definitely recommend a case for the device. Once wrapped in a case, you have a very nice device in your hand. The Xperia 1 III has a beautiful screen, good sound quality and a fast chipset. The strongest feature is the phone’s camera, which is very good.
But to be honest, the list of negatives is considerably shorter with many other devices. The battery life disappoints, the device quickly gets (very) warm, the updated policy is very vague, and the smartphone has a lot of bloatware. Do you have 1299 euros for that? If you’re going purely for the camera, it might be worth considering. Otherwise, we would look further. For example, the Galaxy S20 FE is much cheaper, and it also has a very good camera.