Big features we want to see in the Mark 3

Sony finally managed to impressed us with its flagship phone, the Xperia 1 II. But how does the company improve upon that with the likely Xperia 1 III follow-up?

Featuring a sharp display, technologically advanced cameras and sleek 21:9 display, the latest Xperia flagship dazzled us where previous models didn’t.

With Sony expected to launch a new flagship soon, how can the iconic Japanese brand improve upon its latest outing – aside from fitting it with a Snapdragon 888 to deliver a series of speed improvements. Here are five areas it could start.

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1. Aim for a lower price

The Xperia 1 II might have been the best Sony phone in years – but it didn’t come cheap upon release.

We’ve come to expect that flagship devices are likely to come in at the £1000 mark; however, after a run of disappointing devices, it was slightly odd to see Sony’s offering matching the price of the top-end iPhone 11 Pro Max.

In our opinion a lower price would be better for Sony, enticing more potential buyers, especially when the slate of phones around the £500-800 mark pretty much match this device spec-for-spec in most areas.

2. Improve picture taking in Auto mode

Overall, we loved the camera experience offered by the Xperia 1 II, but we did find that you had to work hard to get great snaps. This involved using the dedicate Alpha-inspired apps and spending time tweaking the settings. If you’re more a point-and-shoot person, then the Xperia 1 II probably wasn’t the phone for you.

So, while we hope that Sony retains the high-end camera internals and options in the Xperia 1 III for those who really want them, they should be paired with a more capable auto camera app that offers a quicker and easier experience.

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 1 II

3. 120Hz rather than 4K, especially at this size

Sony has been the only big-name brand to stick with 4K screens on its phones – and, for what it’s worth, they’re very good. The Xperia 1 II’s OLED HDR panel was rich, bright and came packing plenty of tech featured in Sony’s Bravia TV range. However, it lacked in one key area: speed.

This was one of the few Android flagships of 2020 to eschew a faster refresh rate, instead of using software trickery to add smoothness to its regular 60Hz panel.

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We’d like this to change in Sony’s next device, even if it comes at the expense of a 4K resolution. For most, that many pixels over such a small area is overkill anyway, and a 1080p or 1440p screen is more than sufficient for most tasks.

4. Let’s have a bigger battery

The 4000mAh cell inside the Xperia 1 II translated to decent endurance day to day. In our review we said, “The regular 60Hz refresh rate does offset the drain somewhat and you can easily make it through the day. I don’t think this will be a multi-day phone for heavy users, even if my usage has changed somewhat with the current lockdown.”

Nevertheless, for the next version of the Xperia 1 we’d welcome a much larger cell so we can push the device even more, without the worry of the battery gauge hitting zero if we forget to charge it one night. Note that if Sony did add a 120Hz display, we’d need more juice to help push that faster display.

5. Use some of that PlayStation goodness

Sony loves making mention of some of its most notable product lines in the branding of its phones. We’ve seen Bravia tech mentioned with regards to the screen and many Alpha references when it comes to the camera.

With the PS5 now a reality, it would make sense for Sony to use the hype surrounding its latest console to sell the next Xperia device. Dedicated control of the console through the phone perhaps, or some updated Remote Play features that work with a DualSense controller.

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