Sony - Sony Xperia 1


Sony Xperia 1: a screen of the most beautiful effect

Aprox. 695€ - see price -

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With the Xperia 1, Sony wants to revitalize its smartphone division. Here is a smartphone equipped with an Oled 21: 9 panel, a triple photo module on the back and a state-of-the-art chip. Enough to convince? The answer here.

Our review


Struggling in the smartphone market, Sony is restructuring. The Japanese company thus merged its mobile, TV and photo branches in March 2019. The opportunity to combine the know-how of these different divisions at the same time. So comes the Xperia 1, a smartphone with ambitions on the side of the screen, the photo, and in the format still not widely used.

Proposed at 999 €, the Xperia 1 faces the flagships of the competition, such as the Galaxy S10 + from Samsung, the Pixel 3XL from Google, the iPhone XS or even the P30 Pro from Huawei.


Ergonomics and design

With its 6.5-inch screen in 21: 9 format, the Xperia 1 is a long-length smartphone. And as with the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus, this poses some problems in terms of ergonomics. The height of the terminal prevents smooth use with one hand, even if the narrowness of the smartphone allows it to cover its entire width thanks to the thumb. Unfortunately, the volume buttons, located on the right edge, are a little high and the unlock button, a little low. The best positioned button is finally the fingerprint sensor also located on the right edge. Rather reactive and reliable, it naturally falls under the finger.

The finishes of the smartphone are however flawless. The glass back of the smartphone proves to be of the most beautiful effect despite a certain ease in catching fingerprints. The facade is equally worked, despite a slab which occupies only 82% of the surface. The fault with too imposing upper and lower borders.

High-end requires, there is a USB-C connection on the lower edge of the smartphone. Capable of accommodating two nanoSIMs, the Xperia 1 also has a port for microSD cards up to 512 GB. The smartphone also offers 128 GB of internal memory, including 4 GB used by the operating system. Finally, the Xperia 1 is IP 68 certified, so it is waterproof, like most of its competitors.

Ergonomics and design


For its Xperia 1, Sony offers us one of the most beautiful panels on the market and almost flawless. However, it should first be noted that the 6.5-inch Oled screen does not actually display in 4K (4,096 x 2,160 px) or even in UHD (3,840 x 2,160 px), because of its CinemaWide 21: 9 aspect ratio sweetening a few pixels on the height. We are therefore left with a definition of 3,840 x 1,644 px, for an excellent resolution (642 ppi). The colorimetry is just as excellent, as long as you take a little trouble.

To get the best out of the screen, you need to go through the settings, click on Display, then choose the Creator Mode screen profile and customize the white balance (see screenshots above). That done, the slate offers an exemplary color temperature (6,496 K) and a perfect average delta E (2,8) with controlled shades from start to finish. Added to this beautiful painting is the infinite contrast and the imperceptible afterglow, properties inherent in Oled.

The screen of the Xperia 1 is just as exemplary in terms of performance. It is thus able to climb up to 690 cd / m². Enough to stay readable even in direct sunlight, especially since it benefits from good quality reflectance. Conversely, the slab can go down to 1.6 cd / m² and is careful not to burn the user's retina. Finally, the only shortcoming of this panel is on the touch delay side, slightly too high (92 ms).


The Xperia 1 has the most powerful chip on the market today, the Snapdragon 855, composed of a Kryo 485 core clocked at 2.84 GHz, 3 Kryo 485 at 2.42 GHz and 4 Kryo 485 at 1.8 GHz. The whole is supported by 6 GB of RAM. An arrangement allowing Android 9.0 to work without the slightest problem. Juggling between apps is a breeze on Sony's smartphone.

When launching a game, the Adreno 640 chip takes over. She has no problem managing the greedy 3D games from the Play Store. Without suffering from a slowdown or a decline in graphic quality.


In good shape of 2019, the Xperia 1 does not have a 3.5 mm mini-jack connection. It will therefore be necessary to do with the USB-C adapter supplied in the box of the smartphone. An adapter that turns out to be quite average, despite a perfectly contained distortion and a wide dynamic range. It sins on the crosstalk, much too leaky, and the output power too low.

The dual speakers of the Xperia 1 are located on the upper and lower edges of the smartphone. And their rendering turns out to be rather good with a scene that is finally quite clear and spaced. Obviously, the Atmos effect once again highlighted is only marketing.


High-end 2019 requires, the Xperia 1 offers a triple photo module on its back, composed of three photo modules. In addition to a conventional wide-angle, we find a very wide-angle and a 2x zoom. A most classic combo that is found on more and more smartphones. All these beautiful people are articulated around the photo application developed by Sony, which always remains fluid, despite some slight ergonomic snags.

The main module of the Xperia 1 offers a 12 MP sensor supported by a lens opening to f / 1.6. By day, he takes halftone shots. Image processing is discreet, with preservation of quality at the periphery. There are even more dive than on a P30 Pro, for example. But the picture still suffers from an excess of noise, giving a slight feeling of blurring of camera shake. The scene is also very cold, with a white turning to blue, and perhaps a little underexposed.

At night, the Xperia 1 reacts rather well. The smartphone achieves a controlled increase in sensitivity (ISO 800) with an extended pause time (1/5 s). The whole is softened by an image processing, perhaps exaggerated. Finally, the scene is content to be readable and clear. A minimum for a smartphone launched at a thousand euros.

As on the main module, the very wide-angle shots are cold and marked by excess noise. An unfortunate rendering since the whole is rather well treated. Despite the short focal length, the photos are almost not distorted and the loss of quality at the periphery is contained.

At night, the very wide angle of the Xperia 1 does pretty well. Despite a scene drowned in noise, the center of the scene is rather legible. This time the periphery does not escape the vignetting effect, slightly present.

Finally, the third and last module of the Xperia 1 dedicated to 2x zoom is also satisfactory. At least by day. Always noisy, the scene is clear up to the periphery. The whole unfortunately remains a little cold. For its part, the P30 Pro and its 5x zoom holds the competition.

At night, the Xperia 1 switches the 2x zoom on its main module, the result is therefore not very usable and not very interesting. But it's hard to blame the smartphone as its competitors share this trend.

The back portrait mode of the Xperia 1 uses the 2x zoom module supported by the main module to assess the depth. And it must be said that the combo is quite effective. The bokeh is progressive while the cutting is precise, even when faced with curly hair. At the front, the result of the portrait mode is slightly less convincing, while remaining of quality. The front photo module consists of an 8 MP sensor and a lens opening to f / 2.0. The pictures he takes certainly lack sharpness, but remain realistic.

With the Xperia 1, Sony wants to set foot in love with the seventh art. His argument is a smartphone with an Oled 21: 9 panel, but also ...

Finally, the Xperia 1, dedicated to videographers above all, offers an application dedicated to video, Cinema Pro, which we have analyzed in detail in a lab article. The photo application is also capable of filming, in 4K and with great fluidity. Video renderings are clean, regardless of the definition chosen.


Like the Xperia XZ3 released just under a year ago, this Xperia 1 offers very average autonomy. Despite its 3,300 mAh battery, the smartphone only lasted 13 h 35 min during our SmartViser autonomy protocol. This corresponds to approximately two days of autonomy in real conditions. An honest result, but far from the competition standards.

Using the charging block provided, the Xperia 1 fully charges in approximately 1 h 45 min.


As usual, Sony offers a sawtooth smartphone. Despite a screen of very good quality and good performance, the Xperia 1 is not convincing enough in photo to make up for its shortcomings in autonomy. So we end up with a smartphone a notch below its direct competition, whether the Huawei P30 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S10 +.