Sony’s no-compromise flagship phone is back for a fourth go round, with an even greater focus on camera cleverness. The Sony Xperia 1 IV picks up where last year’s model left off, adding what its maker calls the world’s first true optical zoom in a phone.
While the Xperia 1 III’s telephoto lens could swap between 70mm and 105mm focal lengths, it fell back on digital zoom for everything in between. Now the Xperia 1 IV delivers continuous zoom between 85 and 125mm. Another boon to mobile videographers is the ability to shoot 4K at 120fps across all three lenses.
The 24mm, f/1.7 main snapper and 16mm, f/2.2 ultrawide return, the former with optical image stabilisation. All three lenses have 12MP sensors with 120fps high-speed readout, good for real-time autofocus, eye-, and object-tracking across all lenses. Each one is now capable of multi-frame shooting, which should boost HDR performance, and all support Sony’s shake-reducing Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye tech. Other improvements include HDR support when shooting in the ultra-fast 20fps AE/AF burst mode.
There’s also an all-new 12MP camera up front, with a larger 1/2.9in sensor for clearer selfies. It can also record 4K HDR footage for the first time.
Sony is going big on livestreaming this year, with the ability to stream direct to YouTube through the Videography Pro app. The phone also supports the Bluetooth shooting grip accessory, for fine-grain physical control and extended battery life.
The rest of the Xperia 1 formula should feel familiar. It’s still “the best of Sony” in a phone, with display expertise borrowed from Bravia TV team. The 6.5in, 4K OLED display is now 50% brighter than before, and gets a real-time HDR boost for even greater contrast. It’s still packing a 120Hz refresh rate and is now protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
The stereo speakers have been upgraded with all-new drivers and enclosures, to deliver better bass and greater maximum sound pressure. The all-important 3.5mm headphone port makes a return, and there’s full support for all the usual Hi-Res audio formats.
Sony has evolved the phone’s design, keeping the general proportions while also avoiding bulk. At 185g it’s practically a featherweight compared to some flagship phones. The power button/fingerprint sensor combo on the right side of the handset makes a return, along with the dedicated camera shutter button. It’s still IP65/IP68-resistant to dust and water, too.
No compromise hardware
Naturally the Xperia 1 IV has all the internal upgrades you expect from a 2022 flagship, including a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU. There’s 12GB of RAM and 256GB of on-board storage, plus a microSD card slot. Expect Android 12 at launch, with three years of software and security updates to follow.
The battery has been boosted to 5000mAh, up from 4500mAh in the Xperia 1 III. Sony promises the same lifetime away from the mains, despite the more power-hungry components. Fast charging should deliver a 50% top-up in half an hour, and wireless charging is on-board too.
You’ll have to provide your own power brick and USB-C cable, though: Sony has ditched both from the box in the name of sustainability. It could shrink the packaging by 50% as a result, and cut CO2 emissions per handset by a claimed 36%.
Premium phone, premium price
The Xperia 1 IV is set to land from the 16th of June. Prices start from £1299, which puts it on par with the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.