With the Xperia 1 III, Sony has introduced the world’s first smartphone with a telephoto camera with variable focal length. But apart from that, the new Sony Xperia 1III flagship has a lot to offer, including exciting camera features, Zeiss lenses, a 4K OLED screen, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC.
The Xperia 1 III is at the top of Sony’s new smartphone portfolio, which also includes the Xperia 5 III. Compared to its predecessor ($1,048 on Bhphotovideo and Amazon), only little has changed on the surface: The Sony Xperia 2021 device still relies on the 6.5-inch 4K OLED display in 21:9 format, which is even in the new model a frame rate of up to 120 Hz and a touch sampling rate of a maximum of 240 Hz.
Gaming enthusiasts are one of the most important target groups for the device this time, as Sony offers a whole range of “Game Enhancer” features, which can be used, for example, to light up dark areas in games in order to be able to recognize opponents who are hiding in the shadows. Wired headsets can be connected via the 3.5 mm jack plug to benefit from the shorter latency compared to Bluetooth earphones. The Sony Xperia 1III automatically records the last 30 seconds of gameplay so that key moments can be saved as video clips.
As usual with Sony, the display does not have a notch or punch hole, but the screen edges are slightly wider at the top and bottom. Sony uses this space among other things to install the 40 percent louder, front-facing stereo speakers. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with integrated 5G modem should ensure the best possible performance. There is also 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash memory.
The focus of Sony is clearly on the cameras because the Xperia 1 III offers a world-first – Sony was the first manufacturer to install a telephoto lens with a variable focal length in a smartphone. However, this is not a zoom lens in the conventional sense, because the focal length cannot be continuously adjusted; instead, the user has the choice between a focal length of 70 mm and 105 mm (each 35 mm equivalent). The camera uses a sensor in 1/2.9″ format and an aperture of f/2.3 or f/2.8, depending on the focal length.
There is also a 16 mm f/2.2 ultra wide angle camera with a 1/2.5″ sensor and a 24 mm f/1.7 wide angle camera with a 1/1.7″ sensor. All three sensors have a resolution of 12 MP. The smartphone has a dedicated trigger on the side of the housing, which has a special embossing for the best possible feel.
As usual with Sony, there is an advanced camera app that gives the user full manual control over the cameras and allows them to save RAW files. The cameras offer some exciting features, including object tracking with real-time tracking, which can keep a subject precisely in focus using the ToF sensor. The Xperia 1 III can record 20 frames per second and 4K HDR videos with SteadyShot image stabilization at up to 120 fps.