Sony Xperia 1 Unlocked Smartphone 6.5" 4K HDR OLED CinemaWide Display, 128GB - Black - (US Warranty)
- 6. 5 inches 4K OLED smartphone with 21: 9 Cinema Wide display. SIM Capability - Number of SIM - Dual SIM hybrid
- Triple lens camera system with Eye auto focus and up to 10 fps burst shooting with AF/AE tracking for precision focus and exposure
- Enhanced display setting Creator mode (ITU R BT. 2020 support and 10 bit tonal gradation) and new cinema recording function Cinema Pro “Powered by CineAlta" to reflect the creator’s intent
- Immersive multi dimensional Dolby Atmos. Durability : Water resistant (IP65/68). Corning Gorilla Glass 6
- Game Enhancer mode optimizes the game’s processing performance
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Worlds first 4K OLED smartphone with 21: 9 Cinema Wide display (6. 5”) and HDR remastering technologies worlds first eye AF in a smartphone with triple lens camera and up to 10 fps burst shooting with AF/AE tracking for precision focus and exposure enhanced display setting creator mode (ITU-R BT. 2020 support and 10-bit tonal gradation) and new cinema recording function cinema Pro “Powered by cinealta” to reflect the creators intent.
Top reviews from the United States
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• You’re buying this phone for the display. The 21:9 display dominates everything about this phone. With a 4k viewing, it’s the best cinema movie screen I’ve ever seen, in phone size. 21:9 is what you usually see in the movies. Under this display layout, the widescreen appearance is applied to the movies you’re watching on this phone. You won’t get any black bars on the top or bottom of the display (because of the 21:9 layout) as you’ll only get a full 4k image. No other phone does this and it’s the reason you’ll buy this one.
• One other feature of the display is that gaming on this phone is really fun. The screen aspect ratio, and the Snapdragon 855 chip, makes gaming quite an experience. The screen is so large that your thumbs never get in the way of playing.
• The design is very premium. All gorilla glass, front and back, while providing a narrow design. It’s not bulky or heavy, has curved metal edges, and overall a unique design from the rest of the smartphone crowd.
• System-wise, the phone is fast and efficient like any other smartphone. Quick Bluetooth connectivity, fast internet connection, and the expected performance for the average daily user.
• The button layout is perfect for those who are right-handed as the fingerprint scanner is on the side that provides convenient access to my thumb.
• Because of the tall display, I found it efficient to be able to split the screen into two separate apps. This is the first phone that actually works well with this feature.
• There are a couple of short cuts to be able to use this phone one-handed. The best one I think is, with the large display, just double tapping the home buttons will shrink the whole interface down so your thumb can reach anything that it couldn’t originally reach. This features a small perk, but it’s well made.
• One juicy gift is Sony’s Cinema Pro app. This is a real beauty because it gives complete control on how you want to film with the camera. Color settings, stabilization, manual focus frames, brightness, saturation, and so on. This is such a cool app because you can modify the look of what you’ve filmed all on the phone. Filmmakers are going to love this if they’re on the go and need to do some color correcting.
• Another awesome feature is Sony’s Creator Mode. When turning this feature on and watching “Stranger Things” with the Netflix app, the colors became much more accurate and vibrant than my past experience with the iPhone X. Note that this mode is softer on the eyes and displays less artificial tones. Honestly any movie you’re watching on this, you need to turn this on.
• The camera system has great eye-tracking autofocus. When you get a group photo, you can see a little green box on the screen to let you know which person is focused. It works great and is very helpful for those who need to know if everyone is in focus.
• Launching the camera is super quick as you have a button on the side for it. You just press and photo is taken. Quick and the photos are reliable.
• Filming on this gives you a lot of options. You can record 21:9 content, to get that movie feel, alter key settings like white balance, resolution, shutter speed, color filter, etc. Overall, this is a phone with a hell of filming experience.
• It does alright taking night photos for a phone that doesn’t have a dedicated night mode feature. It takes a little more time to shoot a pic, but that just means that the camera is gathering all the light it can before presenting your shot. Shooting on the sidewalk at 11 at night does give you solid results.
• The charging on this phone is quick. Plugging it in, from 0 to 60%, took around 36 minutes. The system has a feature called Adaptive Charging where the phone regulates the charging speed if you leave your phone plugged in overnight. One of the killers in batteries is overcharging and this feature ensures that it won’t happen. Sony thinks ahead of longer-term battery health so my hats off to them.
• The speakers are extremely loud and have great directional separation.
• Water resistance. I didn’t test this one, but Sony states it. You might have to look at some videos to confirm if this is true.
Cons and Oks:__________
• The Camera app is horrible. It’s slow to launch, to take shots and you have to swipe through the end of the app in order to switch from rear to front camera. It’s laborious, not user-friendly, and ruins the point of getting a casual capture as you have to dig around the app in order to take the picture that you want. Yes, you have a quick camera button on the side, but taking a shot really depends where you’re at, the number of peoples, the time, etc. You need to make sure the setting you want will fit the picture you’re taking. The app provides this but it’s poorly laid out.
• The camera is decent but not as near as good in what you expect. In dull lighting, the images look flat and on clear sunny days, they looked a little washout. I do wish that the telephoto provided a little more zoom, and the wide angle lens is way too wide. It makes the picture look unnaturally stretched, like a fish-eye lens.
• The selfie camera sucks. Without modifying it, it applies some of the most significant beauty filters I’ve seen in a camera.
• There is no night mode. It does an alright job without this feature, but it’s not nearly as good in what you want a night picture to be.
• No wireless charging. With a price this high, you expect this feature to be common sense.
• No headphone jack. This is a movie phone and no headphone jack reduces the experience. You get a USB-C adapter that attaches to the phone’s charging port, but that’s one more thing to carry.
• The speakers are loud but 80% of the clarity comes at the bottom speaker. In landscape mode, it’s easy to cover this speaker with your hand. Not the best in the arrangement.
• The screen is too dim. Forget watching movies outside as even in max brightness it becomes a challenge to see what you’re watching, or filming. Another issue is when you’re using the camera, because of the screen’s low brightness, videos can be overexposed and you won’t be able to notice it. I found this out when transferring my shots to my computer and saw the significant brightness of my shots that my phone screen didn’t display enough.
• Because of the design of this phone, it never sits in my front jeans properly and the narrow design always makes me feel that it can bend at any moment. It feels sturdy but, with a thin body, I assume bending this phone will be easy.
• Not a great phone if you’re left handed as all the buttons (volume, fingerprint sensor, separate power button, and the camera button) are on the right side of the phone.
• Kind of annoying that the fingerprint sensor and power button are not combined. You now have this extra button that adds a little more nuisance into the experience.
• The nuisance grows even more when the fingerprint sensor isn’t even reliable. I had a lot of issues trying to get the sensor to recognize my fingerprint. Multiple times I’ve gotten the “Too many attempts” error to the point that I had to use my pin. The scanner isn’t reliable.
• On the filming side you can’t use the flash to brighten your shot, the image stabilization needs to more effective, and there is no built-in editing software. This is a con because the whole point of this phone if the play movies and customize your viewing experience. If this is targeting filmmakers you expect this phone to come with some form of editing software.
• Sony’s Side Sense feature is frustrating. I can never get this feature to work and when I don’t try it pops up. Software issues need to be made here.
• Another annoying feature is having the phone vibrate in sync with the sound. This Dynamic Vibration vibrates with the music games you play. It does do well when you get a notification or a call, but watching a film isn’t a need for this. It takes you out of the moment if you’re watching something and suddenly vibrations come from your phone. Disable this feature.
• The battery life is not great. With a 4k display, you’re going to sacrifice a decent amount of battery life. Around 8 hours of life, this includes watching a 90-minute video. You’ll get through the day with it but will have to charge it every day.
• Only one SIM Slot
• There is very little grip on this phone. Because of all-around glass design, it makes everything slippery. Simple vibrations on the phone will move the phone thanks to its smooth surface. Never place this on any edge without a case.
• I have the 128GB and 20GB is already used out of the box.
• A fingerprint magnet on every part of this phone.
• There is bloatware of programs you’ll almost certainly never use.
• Not all apps will match with the display. Just like a tablet, you’re going to get black bars running down either side of the screen if it doesn’t automatically resize.
• The movie 21:9 experience is only for videos that are adapted to that. Most YouTube and sitcoms will not offer this feature. It’ll becomes a 4:3 or a 16:9 display, depending on your choice (like any other phone)
It’s a movie phone, plain and simple. As I mention in the first pro, you’re getting this phone because of the display. A 4k screen viewing, that can provide you a 21:9 immersion, is a great experience if you’re in your bed or on an airplane. You get complete customization on how your display will look and with a narrow premium design, you’re bound to turn heads. I had a great time watching shows on this phone.
Still, there are a lot of issues on the phone itself. The camera app, the dim lighting, and the fact that if you’re left-handed this phone is going to be a little more of an inconvenience. The reason I’m giving it 4 stars is because of the viewing experience of this phone when watching movies. Without the 21:9 feature this would’ve been a three-star layout. I can only hope software updates will resolve the numerous issues that have lower the value of what the phone is. For a price this high, you should stick with Sony Xperia 10 Plus until the bugs are fixed.
Overall: A movie theater in your pocket but nothing more than that.
Hope I was a help to you.
That said, Sony has the best battery management software I've seen. Their batteries hold up better than Samsung over time, which is the #1 reason I switched brands. This phone is great. 4k HDR OLED screen looks brilliant. The best screen out there. The 21:9 aspect ratio is awesome, and the phone just feels sexy. The only complaint I had with the XZ Premium was the loudness of the speakers. I'm happy to say these speakers get very loud and sound great except at max volume, where they struggle with clarity. The fingerprint scanner is solid, but I wished they integrated the power button in the reader like the XZ Premium.
I haven't played with the cameras too much yet. But from the quick launch and basic settings, it works great. I can't wait to try out the video recording. Sony did a good job with the software here, to. I hear people complain about side-sense on Youtube videos, but I honestly haven't had any issues. I made it a point to use it and now it's awesome. It just takes getting used to. The battery is big enough to last all day for 99% of people. I'm a heavy user and it gets me through the day. It's not as big as some competitors, which is something Sony could improve on. Also, no wireless charging. I have to dock the battery life a star because of its small size. But considering the actual lifespan of the batteries in Sony phones of the past, I give it an extra star.
If Xperia 1 was fast on Pie, it now flies on Android 10. Full gesture navigation only works on Xperia Home launcher currently. System-wide dark theme is a good addition for the OLED screen, potentially saving some power though I do not notice much difference in battery duration. Sony also tuned the speakers, and voice/music now has a little more bass and depth. In other words, more similar to iOS devices.
# Tall screen
The unique form factor is not always better than others, but once you get used to it, there is no turning back. Watching 21:9 content is simply stunning, web browsing is a breeze, but playing 16:9 content the display area is only slightly bigger than the 5.2" XZ1. I do not have issue using the phone under bright sunlight.
The tall screen can be hard to use one-handed at first, but instead of getting my thumb twisted, I found I became more fluent and can use the phone one-handed most of the time. The key to this is Side Sense.....
# Side Sense
Most of the press reviews said that Side Sense (SS) is gimmicky and inconsistent. Well, I beg to differ. With some tweaks, I find SS to be quite useful.
Sony claimed the default setting use AI to detect gesture. Unfortunately, I don't think it works well. Therefore, I changed the setting to:
1. Pin the sensing area to fixed location. For example, the middle section of each side of the screen.
2. Change swipe length to "Short."
3. Change transparency to make the sensing area visible.
4. Change swipe up to recent apps view.
5. Pin frequently-used apps in the popped up list.
With the above setting, SS functions as navigation bar and makes one-hand use second nature most of the time.
# Camera [Updated 12/2019]
I came from XZ1 so the interface of the camera app is fine for me. The camera system on Xperia 1 can produce great images, but as of August firmware, does have its quirks and sometimes needs user’s intervention to get the best result. This makes Xperia 1 feels like a DSLR at times, and can be good and bad depending on your taste.
Personally, I think the flexibility of the three cameras make the phone fun to use, and the great image quality that can be extracted out of the camera system makes it rewarding even though manual adjustment is occasionally needed.
Among the three cameras, the main one has the best image quality. The sharpness is stunning and even across the frame. Color is artistic and has a great depth. The camera has a big sweet spot, and even in lower-lit scenes, the image quality holds on reasonably well. I have people asked me if the photos I took with Xperia 1 were from DSLR. No kidding, in the best circumstances, the images are that good.
Telescope is a little bit softer and noisier. Color also does not have the same depth as the main camera, but at least the tone is similar. Telescope can at times hunt for focus, and needs switching to 1x and back to sort of reset the calculations.
The wide-angle camera is the weakest in terms of dynamic range, I feel like only about 80-90% of the main camera. It also can show a different color profile than the other cameras, especially in low-light conditions. Thankfully, sharpness is similar to telescope lens. Even though the image quality is the weakest of the three cameras, the wide viewing angle opens up a lot of opportunities, and therefore is my favorite one.
I am not a fan of portrait mode, which produces fake-bokeh, and Xperia 1 does not change my perception. The result is passable, but I can often spot imperfections when looking closely, especially when the background is complex.
There are a few issues before September SW update e.g. video stabilization issue, slower processing. Those issue are mostly gone after September update. The December Android 10 update brought the camera app on par with Xperia 5, and I found the following improvements:
- Digital zoom is significantly improved, at least for ratio <=2x. The photos are more than useable, and the reach is now effectively 4x.
- Noise reduction seems slightly improved, as edges and textures look cleaner.
The good thing about Xperia flagships is that Sony updates the firmware frequently. So hopefully future incremental improvements will still be brought to Xperia 1.
# Fingerprint issue [Updated 12/2019]
The FP scanner on Xperia 1 is known to be finicky, and can have FP recognition issue. Sony has tuned the scanner several times along the monthly SW updates, but the issue is never fully resolved. People worked around the issue by adding several entries for the same finger, and usually this improved the recognition rate to an acceptable level.
After moving to Android 10, I re-scanned my FP and alas, the recognition rate is almost 100%! Maybe something was changed in Android 10, but I doubt it because I have another FP (that has only one entry) that still has low recognition rate.
The phone is... special. It is a phone you buy with your right-brain. It is a phone you need to use it in person to appreciate (or hate). It has some quirks, and image quality is still not as good as the best in fully automated mode. But at the end of the day does it matter? When the phone works (and it works well most of the time), it feels convincing. So it is a phone worth trying, but be prepared, the ride can be bumpy depending on your preference and taste.