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The best Sony Xperia phones you can buy

Get ready to spend a pretty penny and let your creativity fly.
By
September 3, 2022
Sony Xperia 1 IV back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony has been launching mobile phones since the Sony Ericsson days of 2001. It took a further seven years for the Xperia name to appear, but the X1 was a Windows Mobile phone. Now the Ericsson name is gone, and so is Windows Mobile, but the Xperia name lives on. If you’ve been waiting to give Sony a try, here are the best Sony Xperia phones you can buy.

Sony doesn’t offer entry-level phones as part of its Xperia line, so we’ll kick things off with the newest and most powerful devices and work our way backward. We’ll also limit the Xperia Pro-I to a mention here at the top. It packs an impressive camera sensor, but the eye-watering price rivals the most expensive smartphones out there, and surpasses most, so it’s not worth the cost for most people.

With that out of the way, let’s get to it.

See also: The best Android phones

The pros and cons of Sony Xperia phones

Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III cameras
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There’s plenty to like about what Sony brings to the table. Its Xperia devices are certified flagships with plenty of high-end specs, but there’s really only one place to start. Sony still offers headphone jacks on its Xperia devices. If you have a trusty pair of wired earbuds or headphones, they’ll pair perfectly with the Xperia 1 or Xperia 5 series.

Sony devices also offer plenty of punch to get you through your day. Both the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 pack premium Snapdragon 888 processors and solid RAM/storage configurations. If you spend a little extra, you can get up to 12GB and 512GB on the Xperia 1, while the Xperia 5 is more affordable with up to 8GB and 256GB, respectively. The newer Xperia 1 IV is even more powerful with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset.

Sony is well known in the camera market, with its Alpha series among the most popular mirrorless cameras you can buy. The Xperia devices pack some of that camera know-how, with some of the most advanced camera interfaces on a smartphone. You can take full control over things like ISO and aperture, and the physical shutter button means you won’t have an accidental camera shake.

Unfortunately, there are also a few reasons to shy away from Sony’s Xperia lineup. The price is perhaps the biggest one. Sony isn’t known for its speedy software updates either.

The best Sony Xperia phones:

Editor’s note: We’ll update this list of the best Sony Xperia phones as new options launch.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV lockscreen
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

This is the best phone from Sony you can currently get. The Xperia 1 IV was announced in May and offers high-end specs as well as loads of bells and whistles power users will enjoy.

Read next: Sony Xperia 1 IV buyer’s guide

You get a large 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate, the fastest chipset currently available, a headphone jack, and even a microSD card slot. The battery comes in at 5,000mAh and supports 30W charging, getting it up to 50% in 30 minutes, according to Sony. It’s a great phone for creators, offering super camera autofocus, stellar video capture, and a few unique content creator apps. The speakers are great as well.

Sony’s flagship also features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, and a 21:9 aspect ratio that makes it quite tall and slim. The biggest drawback of the device is its price, which comes in at $1,600.


Sony Xperia 1 IV specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP + 0.3MP ToF
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Sony Xperia 5 IV

Sony Xperia 5 IV Hero Shot of all three colors
Sony

This is a smaller and less powerful version f the Xperia 5 IV. It’s an interesting phone on paper, although we haven’t tested it out yet. You get a smaller 6.1-inch Full HD+ display, less base storage, and RAM, and a slightly downgraded camera system.

The chipset remains the same, though, making this a great phone for power users. The battery is also the same at 5,0000mAh, which is interesting considering the phone has a smaller footprint. The battery life should be better overall than on the Xperia 1 IV. The phone also has an IP68 rating, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a headphone jack. 

The phone is already up for pre-order in a lot of countries, with sales officially kicking off at the end of September.


Sony Xperia 5 IV specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Sony Xperia 1 III

Xperia 1 III rear of phone showing camera module
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Last year’s Xperia 1 III packs everything you could ask for in a premium device, including features other OEMs have left behind.

Even though you’ll still have to shell out a lot of money to bring it home, this phone packs an incredibly sharp 4K display, a headphone jack, and Gorilla Glass Victus that’s tough as nails. Behind the impressive OLED panel, you’ll also find a speedy Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM to power through your day. Sony tapped 256GB of storage out of the box, but you can always give that a boost with the microSD slot.

See also: Sony Xperia 1 III review

As far as other features go, the Sony Xperia 1 III offers an IP68 rating against water and dust, as well as a side-mounted fingerprint reader. It is a content creator’s dream device, especially if you rely on a Sony camera. The headphone jack supports Dolby Atmos and DSEE Ultimate, and you can hook your phone onto your camera as an external monitor.

Unfortunately, the 30W charging isn’t the fastest we’ve seen, and Sony’s latest flagship comes with a bit of bloat. All told, it’s an excellent tool for creators and easily the best Sony Xperia phone on the market.

While its successor has already been announced, this is still a great phone if you can get it on sale.


Sony Xperia 1 III specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP + 0.3MP ToF
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Sony Xperia 5 III

Sony Xperia 5 III face down on grid
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Those of you hoping to save some money on the cost of an Xperia flagship might want to turn to the smaller Xperia 5 III instead. It trims down to a 6.1-inch display, swaps the 4K resolution for a Full HD Plus version, but keeps most of the other key elements. Sony stuck with the Snapdragon 888 at the heart of the Xperia 5 III, even if it did drop to 8GB of RAM.

The Xperia 5 III skips the 0.3MP ToF sensor on the back, but it retains the trio of 12MP shooters to go with the front-facing 8MP option. Sony might have a winner here if it turns out to be half as good as the Xperia 1 III when we get our hands on it. You’ll get the same 3.5mm headphone jack you know and love, and the fingerprint reader is in the same side-mounted position.

See also: The best phones with a headphone jack

Perhaps the savings are the biggest benefit of choosing the Xperia 5 III over the Xperia 1 III. The previous model launched at just under $1,000, and Sony decided not to mess with a good thing for version three. Don’t forget that you can pair your Sony device with a Dual Shock controller to tap into your favorite games on the go.

Keep in mind that this is the predecessor of the Xperia 5 IV listed above, meaning it’s not the latest phone anymore. However, it’s still a great option that will save you money compared to the newer model.


Sony Xperia 5 III specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Sony Xperia 10 IV

Xperia 10 IV AA homepage on screen
Adam Birney / Android Authority

If you’re looking for a mid-range Sony device, this is the one to get. We’ll admit that it has its fault and that there are better phones available at this price point, but if you’re a Sony fan, it’s worth taking a look at.

The Xperia 10 IV has a lot going for it. It’s lightweight and compact, the battery life is great, and the display gets plenty bright. You also get an IP68 rating for dust and water protection as well as a headphone jack. However, the main camera is below average and the display tops out at 60Hz. The phone also charges slowly — at 21W — and the fingerprint scanner is a bit inconsistent.

Whether the pros outweigh the cons is up to you. If you can afford it, one of the phones above is a better buy, but Sony fans looking for a  mid-ranger may still be happy with the Xperia 10 IV.


Sony Xperia 10 IV specs:

  • Display: 6.0-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 695
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 8, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Finding a good smartphone is only half the battle. Now it’s time to complement it with some added accessories. We have a guide to the best smartphone accessories if you’re interested.