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Sony Xperia 1 VI wishlist: All the features I want to see
The Sony Xperia 1 V may have only recently landed on store shelves, but I’m already thinking about Sony’s next flagship smartphone. While the current flagship is an excellent Android smartphone, it’s arguably a little stale. So, what could we expect from the Xperia 1 VI? Below, I detail all the features and upgrades I want to see.
It’s time for a new look
Sony’s monolithic black slab makes the range readily identifiable against the competition, but it’s pretty tricky to tell any of its phones from the past five years apart. That’s not good if you want your latest phone to appear fresh and exciting. Sony tweaked the formula with a new rugged back with the Xperia 1 V, but that hardly shakes things up meaningfully. If the Xperia 1 VI looks the same again, it’ll fall flat.
I’ve had similar criticisms about Apple and Samsung in the past, and these brands at least occasionally spice things up with new colors and design tweaks. At the very least, new colorways would help catch consumer eyes. I loved the occasional purple model in the past and the latest Khaki Green is nice, but black and silver are the series go-to’s in most regions. Throw some red and blues in there to give customers a bit more choice, especially at this price.
But really, the Xperia 1 VI will need a bigger departure from the look of old. Perhaps embracing glass or metal is the key, a new-look camera housing, or maybe even leaving the 21:9 aspect ratio behind would give Sony more leeway to play with the form factor. Failing that, some much niftier feature shakeups will be required to stand out.
Software with a real identity
Sony knows how to build good hardware, but the Xperia software suite is far less to write home about. It’s heavily reliant on Google, for one, which leaves the phone missing a core identity to call its own.
That’s not strictly a problem; there’s no point in reinventing the app wheel every time. But a multimedia phone that relies on Google Photos for its gallery, sans all the brilliant Google One features that cost extra, leaves me scratching my head. Surely Sony can bring its desktop image editing capabilities to mobile?
There are glimpses of this broader ecosystem potential evident in its Bravia Core, Cinema Pro, Photo Pro, and Video Pro apps, each of which leverages another part of the greater Sony juggernaut. But they’re still decentralized and disjointed in their appearance, leaving them feeling tacked on rather than central to the core OS.
That might sound incorporeal, but once you delve into rival ecosystems from Apple, Samsung, and Google, there’s a consistency that lends weight to the greater experience. On that note, Sony must improve its update pledge at this price point. Sony declined even to provide a commitment with the 1 V, but its previous two OS upgrades doesn’t stand up to the competition.
Double down into the Alpha camera experience
Speaking of cameras, this is an area that Xperia prides itself on but has historically underperformed compared to the competition. The Xperia 1 V righted a few wrongs but still doesn’t stand out enough to command its price tag compared to the photography capabilities of the far cheaper Pixel 7 Pro.
Sony is still awkwardly caught between mirrorless and smartphone photography. It leans heavily into manual dials and options but doesn’t quite compete with the best when it comes to the Night, Portrait, Cinematic Blur, and other features you’ll find plastered across virtually every other flagship. They’re all improved of late but Sony could still use extra refinement.
But embracing the Alpha experience is probably the way to stand out, and Sony recently made some positive moves in that direction. For example, the six color profile options introduced in the Xperia 1 V give users that extra variety without added complication. Likewise, its SLR-like variable zoom tech is something you won’t find anywhere else, and the Alpha viewfinder idea is neat too. It’s these unique but simple to use extras that keep the Xperia’s cameras interesting to use, rather than the layers and layers of toggles. Build on those ideas, and Sony could be back in contention for the very best camera phone.
What would you like to see most on the Sony Xperia 1 VI?
Will there be a Sony Xperia 1 VI?
Sony has been fairly consistent with its Xperia launch window, so I have a good idea about what to expect here. Based on Sony’s launch history, we’re likely waiting until late Spring or Summer 2024 before we see official details on the Xperia 1 VI’s release date.
Of course, the phone is all very unofficial at this stage, and Sony could change its usual flagship roadmap next year. Sony has barely tweaked its line-up much in recent years, so things could continue on a very predictable path, or we could see a more significant shakeup to reinvigorate the series. We’ll have to wait and see.
Should you wait for the Sony Xperia 1 VI?
There are plenty of devices worth buying ahead of the Xperia 1 VI’s debut. With the Xperia 1 V ($1398 at Amazon) only just landing on store shelves and no real concrete information on what to expect from the 1 VI, Sony fans can’t go wrong picking up the current model. If budget is a concern, Sony’s more affordable Xperia 5 V ($799.94 at Amazon) is available for European customers, but we’re still waiting on a US release.
Of course, if you need a phone now, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra ($1199.99 at Samsung) and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max ($1199 at Amazon) are well worth a look at slightly lower price point. They’re not embued with all the multimedia features you’ll find in Sony’s powerhouse, but they’re not far off and come with much longer update promises.