[Test] Xperia 1 III: (again) the best in everything, and especially in photos

The range of Xperia 1 (x) ended up becoming a real alternative to high-end products from Apple, Samsung Where Xiaomi. By dint of perseverance, work, and finally coherent technological choices, Sony delivers us since the Xperia 1 II a flagship in relation to the price positioning, even if the mobile is clearly not part of the top in terms of quality-price ratio. With the Xperia 1 III, Sony promises us changes, and in particular on one of the rare points which had disappointed us a little on the previous model: the photo. After a few days of testing, were the good impressions left by the Xperia 1 II confirmed? Is the photo part finally at the level of high-end standards? It’s time to take stock:

Nice design for a “different” form-factor

The Xperia 1 III comes in a now well-known form factor … although still quite original. The 20: 9 display remains an oddity in the highly standardized smartphone industry, but after several generations it may be time to get used to it. The matt black back with a rather classy rendering and the almost absence of border on the front – well, two very thin black bands at the top and at the bottom – reflect the general improvements of the design. We can say it: the Xperia 1 III has a certain allure. Regarding the comfort of use, it is also a success: the mobile fits well in the hand and the elongated format is no longer really a problem for one-handed use, knowing that the icons of the apps, quite small, can easily be placed in the lower half of the screen.

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A 4K display that impresses

The 4K screen of the Xperia 1 III offers a high-level display. In addition to the necessarily impeccable sharpness (643 dpi of density), the panel displays vibrant and accurate colors. In games, it’s really ecstasy: never Genshin Impact will not have seemed so detailed to us. Ditto for YouTube videos and movies where HDR processing works wonders. The colors are generally faithful, although drawing slightly on the blue. This very beautiful slab is protected by a glass Gorilla Glass Victus, but of course, we weren’t “brave” enough to put it to the test. After all, our test model does not belong to us;) The display frequency in 120 Hz is available, but only by passing in the settings (except on the games, via the Game Optimizer). In the end, it is just a shame not to be able to lower this 4K definition at the output, which inevitably pumps on autonomy.

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Full on the sound

The audio part is not lagging behind this Premium panel. The stereo sound rendering is very convincing (balanced sound without saturation even at high volume), and it’s even better with headphones, knowing that Sony is one of the few manufacturers that still offers a Jack port! In headphones, this Xperia 1 III is even the most convincing smartphone that we have tested to date. Small additional bonus, a Dynamic Vibration mode brings a “haptic” feedback in connection with the sound rendering. The results are not always “super” far from it (it is even often parasitic on Netflix series, but with games, the effect is really cool.

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Overall performance without a hitch

The overall performance of the machine is up to the on-board components: the Snapdragon 888 supported by 12 GB of RAM ensures fluidity at all times as well as a seamless interface. The heaviest applications, like games, operate at their full performance, and as if that were not enough, the Game Optimizer makes it possible to further refine performance: this settings menu (therefore dedicated to the game) is accessible via a small icon located at the top left of the screen. Screen capture, choice of a performance mode, fine adjustment (until freeing of RAM or optimization of the integrated microphone for voice chat), adjustment of the type of image (standard or game), multitasking (second screen displayed in miniature), the possibilities are wide. On the other hand, with 120 Hz activated, the most demanding games quickly raise the temperature. The back of the device is still much less hot than that of my iPhone 12 Pro in the middle of Genshin Impact. Almost a good point in the end.

Xperia 1 III Ganshin Impact

Photo: Sony, the comeback

The photo part had quite disappointed us on the Xperia 1 II. Fortunately, Sony has revised its copy quite drastically. We find the still well thought-out photo app, but the image quality has jumped. Ok, the pictures still lack a bit of pique, but the colors are really faithful, and the overall rendering remains very pleasing to the eye. The three photo sensors of the 1 III are 12 megapixels, but the similarities stop at the definition of the sensor: there is indeed a 12 megapixel wide-angle (f / 1.7), an ultra-wide-angle 12 megapixels ( f / 2.2), a 12 megapixel telephoto lens with variable focal length from 70 to 105 mm, and even a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor, for depth calculation and autofocus improvement.

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Macro mode is very effective

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Still a slight lack of sharpness, but very faithful colors

The Macro mode has proven to be very effective (even if the distance to the subject is still too high for us to be able to speak of a real Macro), but it was the low light shots that really caught our eye. On this point, the Xperia 1 III does better than the competition (in any case the competition from the devices we tested). Our test shot (the table above) shows a very low noise level for this type of shot, details preserved, without any need for remote lighting! Really hat!

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Low-light shots deliver truly convincing results

Finally, and this is nothing new, we must also congratulate the designers of the Xperia photo application, an app that offers an interface and options adapted to different uses: Basic mode for those who want to go fast but with a few accessible settings, Auto mode for those who let the camera decide the parameters according to the analysis of the lighting and exposure conditions and several modes which disengage a multitude of parameters for the most meticulous and the true photographers / videographers. Only downside, the 8 megapixel sensor on the front is a small disaster, and almost incongruous on a device of this level. Perfs in video recording are on the other hand connected: the Xperia 1 III films in 4K up to 120 fps, and in Full HD at 240 fps.

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Autonomy in the nails, but no more

The autonomy of the Xperia 1 II is within the average of smartphones of this price, either a good fifteen hours in standard use, or a small dozen hours with the 120 Hz display.

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Conclusion: best in everything, but not the best of all

Conclusion: this new Xperia series 1 confirms the efforts of the previous model, and once again here, the originality of this smartphone is no longer a hide-and-seek. Quite beautiful, really efficient, with a high-level 4K panel, great on the sound part, and almost exciting on the photo part (despite the pictures that still lack details), shielded with good ideas in terms of software, the Xperia 1 III is a flagship that does honor to the Sony brand, even if at the proposed price, the pill is likely to be still as hard to swallow.

The Sony Xperia 1 III is available from € 1289 on Amazon, Boulanger, Fnac and Darty

➡️ See all the prices of the Sony Xperia 1 III Smartphone on our price comparison

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