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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
May 14, 2022
Sony Xperia 1 II review 1 year logo
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 latest 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 design black 16.9
Sony

This is the latest and greatest phone from Sony. It was announced in May and is already up for pre-order in a lot of markets. The handset offers high-end specs and loads of bells and whistles power users will enjoy.

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. We’ll put this to the test as soon as we get out hands on a review unit.

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 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 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.


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 III

We’re moving from the flagships down to an affordable mid-range option that keeps most of your favorite Xperia specs. If you really need to save some money but want the power of a Sony device, the Xperia 10 III may fit the bill. It was first teased in April 2021 before making a full launch in June.

The Xperia 10 III landed with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage — not bad for a mid-range option. You’ll also find a smaller 6.0-inch Full HD+ OLED display crafted from Gorilla Glass 6. Sony’s side-mounted fingerprint reader, headphone jack, and 4,500mAh battery are all exactly as you would expect.

More: The best budget phones available

Of course, the Xperia 10 III skips a flagship-grade Snapdragon 888 chipset, instead opting for a Snapdragon 690. It may not pack quite the same punch, but the device is 5G-ready to carry you into the future. You’ll notice a tweaked camera array, too, as the trio of 12MP lenses is no more. Instead, you get a pair of 8MP options flanking a single 12MP shooter. Luckily, the front lens hasn’t dropped any megapixels from the original 8MP.


Sony Xperia 10 III specs:

  • Display: 6.0-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 690
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 8, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Sony Xperia 10 IV

Sony Xperia 10 IV
Sony

This is the latest mid-ranger from Sony, offering a bit more than the Xperia 10 III listed above. However, the phone isn’t officially available yet in the US, but it should go on sale any day now. It’s already in pre-order in the UK and a few other markets, though.

Compared to its predecessor, the Xperia 10 IV is lighter slightly smaller, as well as narrower. At the same time, it packs a larger 5,000mAh battery. The display is of the same size and resolution but is said to be 50% brighter. The chipset gets an upgrade as well, as the phone is powered by the Snapdragon 695 SoC.

The camera system is more or less the same, with the exception being that the primary sensor now has OIS.


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.