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Sony's 2019 Xperia lineup announced with 21:9 screens, ups the camera ante
Sony today announced the Sony Xperia 1 flagship, alongside the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus mid-rangers. Sony hopes the three devices appeal to people who want modern looks and powerful performance.
Taking a new direction
Sony is going all in with the 21:9 aspect ratio. All three of its latest phones adopt this screen shape in part, says Sony, because more creators are publishing 21:9 content. Sony points to how major video providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Sony Pictures are shifting to the 21:9 aspect ratio. More filmmakers are prepared to shoot 21:9 movies. In other words, Sony expects people to watch a lot of video on this Xperia line.
The 21:9 aspect ratio defines the 2019 Sony Xperia experience. In fact, Sony’s unofficial tagline is “21:9 for 2019” for the “ultimate wide” view.
The most obvious impact the screen has on the Sony Xperia line is the shape of the phones. Sony used to be the king of bezels. These 2019 phones are all slim and tall. They also look a little awkward when compared to phones that still use the 16:9 aspect ratio. The benefit is that the phones are narrower.
The Xperia 1 is Sony’s premiere device for 2019 and it includes several firsts. The 6.5-inch screen is the first 4K HDR OLED panel on a Sony phone. Sony worked with its television team so the Xperia 1 features the Bravia engine to improve color. The phone also packs Sony’s X1 for Mobile tech and can upscale content to 4K in real time. It’s also one of the first phones to adopt Corning Gorilla Glass 6.
The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus have 6- and 6.5-inch LCD screens. The resolution is reduced to full HD+ and the front is protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
The Sony Xperia 1 will be among the first wave of devices to launch with the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm’s premiere mobile processor. The chip is paired with a modest 6GB of memory and a respectable 128GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 512GB. The 855 gives the Xperia 1 incredible photography powers thanks to its advanced modules.
Sony’s mid-range phones stick to mid-range chips from Qualcomm. The smaller Sony Xperia 10 has a Snapdragon 630 with 3GB of memory and the larger Xperia 10 Plus runs a Snapdragon 636 with 4GB of memory. These should be enough to keep the phones running smoothly, though Sony could have opted for one of the more advanced 600 series Snapdragons.
Battery life is important and Sony claims all three phones can keep you running from early ’til late. The Xperia 1 has a rapid charging 3,330mAh battery while the Xperia 10 has a 2,780mAh battery and the Xperia 10 Plus has a 3,000mAh battery. Sony has long offered powerful battery software and says the 2019 Xperias can go the distance.
On the wireless side of things, the Sony Xperia 1 has a Cat19 LTE radio with 4×4 MIMO and gigabit speeds. The 10s have Cat12/13 LTE.
All three phones launch with Android 9 Pie.
These phones are media powerhouses
Sony put a lot of effort into the cameras for its 2019 Xperia devices.
The Xperia 1 is the first Sony to jump to the three-camera trend, which has now been adopted by Samsung and LG. A trio of 12-megapixel cameras adorns the back of the Xperia 1, including a 16mm super-wide angle, 26mm wide angle, and a 52mm telephoto. The 1 also adopts some of Sony’s Alpha camera tech, such as Eye autofocus (camera will automatically focus on a person’s eye). It includes new RAW noise reduction, can shoot at 10 frames per second, and supports AF/AE. The Xperia 1 can record 4K video in HDR10 and Sony is working with CineAlta to bring a powerful on-device video editor to its flagship. This software will arrive after the phone launches.
The camera configurations on the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus are a little different from one another. The 10 includes a 13MP/5MP combo on the back. The first shoots full color and the second shoots for depth and contrast. The 10 Plus has a 12MP/8MP combo that work together in the same fashion. Both the 10 and 10 Plus can shoot 4K video, and have 8MP selfie cameras.
Sony didn’t leave out audio. The Xperia 1 supports Dolby Atmos, has stereo speakers, and includes Sony’s Dynamic Vibration System. The 10 and 10 Plus drop Dolby, but still offer high-resolution audio. They also have single speakers.
The fine print
Sony moved the fingerprint sensor to the right side for all three phones, so no more accidentally smudging the camera lens on the back. The Xperia 1 is rated IP65/68 so it is generally safe to use around water. The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus do not have an IP rating and are susceptible to water damage if submerged. The premium 1 has USB-C but no 3.5mm headphone jack. The mid-rangers do offer a headphone jack. All three include NFC.
Sony Xperia 1 release details are a bit vague
The Sony Xperia 1 has a pretty nebulous launch date. It goes on sale in “late spring.” It comes in black, gray, white, and purple, and the U.S. will get black and purple. No word on how much it will cost.
Thankfully we have a little more detail for the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus. Pricing wasn’t announced, but global sales for both phones kick off on March 18. The 10 will be sold in black, silver, blue, and pink, while the 10 Plus will be available in black, silver, blue, and gold. The U.S. will only see the black and silver variants. Sony says they’ll be available unlocked on the open market via Amazon and Best Buy. Of note, the 10 and 10 Plus are certified to run on Verizon’s network.