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Sony Xperia 1 III launches with 4K display, Snapdragon 888, and a variable telephoto camera

By Liu Hongzuo - on 18 Apr 2021, 10:09am

Sony Xperia 1 III launches with 4K display, Snapdragon 888, and a variable telephoto camera

Note: This article was first published on 14 Apr 2021.

Sony Xperia 1 III.

Sony unveiled the Xperia 1 III, its flagship smartphone for 2021, through a live stream hosted on its official YouTube account today (14 April 2021).

The Japanese electronics firm is still staying true to its Alpha-branded, photographers-first approach for its imaging capabilities. Returning photo-taking features of the Xperia 1 III include a dedicated shutter button, ZEISS optics, and its triple 12MP rear camera setup.

What's improved are speed-related upgrades. The Xperia 1 III's real-time tracking capabilities means nearly instant autofocusing for moving subjects, a first in recent smartphones (conventional focusing requires readjustments whenever the subject moves too close or too far). To use real-time tracking in photo taking or video recording, simply tap the subject and let the Xperia 1 III do the focusing work for you. Dual PDAF also graces across all its rear lenses, which translates to faster autofocusing, regardless of the shooter's lens choice.

While the main, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses are all staying at 12MP, Sony gave the zoom lens a variable telephoto feature. The 12MP telephoto camera packs two different telephoto lengths and can move physical lenses within its periscope chamber without touching the sensor. As a result, it offers two optical zoom lengths at 70mm and 105mm.

Its 6.5-inch 4K OLED HDR display at a 120Hz refresh rate is another world's first for a smartphone that goes to the Sony Xperia 1 III. While 120Hz isn't new for phones, it hasn't been done on a 4K resolution smartphone display. Sony's choice to have such an insanely high resolution paired with a high refresh rate isn't just a technology flex, but it's also intimately linked to Sony's attention to cinematography. Users can watch high-resolution content at fluid refresh rates on a smartphone.

Unlike most other smartphone brands, Sony didn't neglect the audio optimisations for the Xperia III. For film watching, Sony has Dolby Atmos tuning. For gaming, Sony put in an Audio Equaliser that lets the user control which sounds to emphasise during gameplay and an optimised voice chat microphone for better voice clarity while in a game.

Gamers also get 120fps burst screenshots and Rewind Time Record, capturing the last 30 seconds of your gameplay even if you hit the record button after the win.

If you're particular about audio, you'll be pleased to know that Xperia 1 III still comes with a 3.5mm audio jack that supports DSEE Ultimate. The built-in stereo speakers get 360 Reality Audio compatibility, too. Audiophiles aren't left out, either way.

The announcement also confirmed some previously leaked specs. Xperia 1 III has 5G network support, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, and IP65/68-certified water resistance. Interestingly, Sony said that the Xperia 1 III has a "long-lasting lifespan battery" and claimed that it could hold most of its original capacity even after three years. That's good news for Sony fans and Sony phones in general. The 4,500mAh battery also has Qi wireless charging support.

The Sony Xperia 1 III has Frosted Black, Frosted Grey, and Frosted Purple. Availability dates and prices aren't out yet, but Sony said it's coming "Early Summer" 2021.

Joining it is the flagship Sony Xperia 5 III, the non-4K version of its flagship Xperia 1 III. Just about all the key gaming and photography features are also on the Xperia 5 III. The 6.1-inch OLED HDR, Full HD+ smartphone also has the same 4,500mAh battery capacity and 5G network support. The announcement didn't specify which chipset was used for the Xperia 5 III, though.

Sony Xperia 5 III has Black, Pink, and Green, coming in "Early Summer" 2021.

Even the mid-range Sony Xperia 10 III also packs 5G support and a 4,500mAh battery. Sony kept its introduction very brief, stating that it has a 21:9 HDR OLED display, triple rear cameras, a water resistance body, and a 4,500mAh battery.

Sony Xperia 10 III comes in Black, Blue, White, and Pink, with a due date of "Early Summer" 2021.

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