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12MP Exmor RS 1/2.6-in. sensor
Pixel pitch 1.4μm
G lens at f/1.6
26mm with 78 degree FoV
RAW noise reduction
960fps Super slow motion video (FHD/HD)
12MP 1/3.4-in. sensor
Pixel pitch 1.0μm
16mm with 130 degree FoV
SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode
12MP 1/3.4-in. sensor
Pixel pitch 1.0μm
52mm with 45 degree FoV
4K at 30fps
Full HD at 30fps or 60fps
HD at 30fps
Hybrid OIS/EIS video stabilizationFront:
8 MP 1/4-in. sensor
Pixel pitch 1.12μm
SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode
Portrait selfie effects
Sony’s 2023 flagship, the Xperia XZ3, had but a single camera on the rear. This year’s phone has three. Sony stepped up its imaging configuration to match those of its competitors. The Xperia 1 has a standard camera, a 2x optical telephoto camera, and a super wide-angle camera. All three feature 12MP sensors, though the primary has a larger IMX586 Exmor RS sensor and G Lens from Sony.
The feature list for the cameras is extensive and should please spec fiends. I’m glad to see OIS in the standard and telephoto cameras, as well as hybrid OIS/EIS for video capture.Camera app
Ease of use: 6
Advanced settings: 8
Any and every camera should excel at daylight shooting, when the most light is available. It’s therefore amazing how poorly some perform.
The Xperia 1 is all over the place in daylight situations. All four of these samples have bright and dark regions that aren’t particularly well balanced. What we notice most is the loss of detail in the darker spots, such as the trees in the first image, the sides of the buildings in the second and third images, and the pillars in the fourth. I’m glad the sky isn’t blown out in any of the images.
These are passable shots, but not fantastic ones.
Focus is mostly sharp, and colors are mostly accurate, if a bit muted. For example, the yellow and red shades in the second image were brighter in real life.
There isn’t too much noise, nor are compression artifacts obviously visible. These are passable shots, but not fantastic ones.
Obtaining good color relies on a mix of things, including proper exposure and white balance. If one or the other is off, colors suffer. Some phone makers, such as Samsung, make up for this by boosting colors in the end results. Sony does not.
Here we see the Xperia 1 at its best. The top two images turned out spectacularly well with rich, bright, accurate colors. There is no banding, and the transitions between shades are smooth. These images look exactly like what I remember seeing on the streets of New York City. Color me impressed (pun intended).
Preserving details relies on focus, resolution, and maintaining control over compression and noise.
Once again we’re faced with inconsistency from the Sony Xperia 1 camera. In the top two images, the detail is clear enough that you can read the text in the images, there’s no doubt of that. Too bad neither is properly exposed.
The images with the brushes in the foreground is terrible. Much of the detail in the leaves is lost on close inspection, with the green foliage blending together. It was much easier to tell the individual plants apart in person. The third image also has lots of noise in the sky.
In the last picture, all the parts of the electric meters stand out and you can even tell where the gauges are pointed on the closer units. Here everything comes together, the exposure is on point, and there’s no noise at all.
When shooting land- or cityscapes, focus and balance are generally what you seek. Three of these images provide those, one does not.
What I like about image 1 is that the green looks rich, the sky is still blue, you can read the text on the sign, and even the darker areas have some detail. Image 2 shows sharp lines, accurate color, and relatively good detail. Both these images are a bit on the noisy side, with compression artifacts here and there.
Image 3 is a disaster. The phone’s HDR tool completely failed here. The sky is overblown and yet nearly all the detail on the statue is lost because it is underexposed. At least the foliage is green.
The last image turned out fairly well. Despite the strong shadow, there’s lots of texture visible on the right wall compared to the fully sunlit left wall. You can see all the bricks and the sky is blue. There is still far too much noise.
What is portrait mode on a smartphone?
The phone did do a decent job of outlining my profile cleanly and blurring out the background. I like that you can select the amount of background blur. In images 1 and 3, however, I look like I was artificially added to the pictures via PhotoShop. The second and fourth images look more natural. Exposure in all these shots is good, and I don’t see too much noise.
I’m flummoxed that there’s no actual portrait mode, which might make capturing these a touch easier.
HDR shots generally blend several exposures to create a balanced whole, with detail visible in both bright and dark regions. The Xperia 1 struggles with HDR across the board.
Images 1 and 4 are total failures of HDR. In the first, all the detail in the trees behind the fountain is lost due to underexposure. In the fourth, the top half of the image should have been bright with daylight and is instead dark and dreary. What is going on here, Sony?
Score: 6/10Low light
One of the biggest omissions of the Sony Xperia 1 camera is any sort of night mode. Sure, the AI Cam senses low light situations and takes steps to mitigate the exposure, but there isn’t a dedicated mode for shooting in the near dark. That’s a serious boo-boo considering phones such as the HUAWEI P30 Pro can practically see in pitch black night.
All four of these images were taken post-sunset. The first, just after sunset, has a reasonable amount of detail in the trees, but the sky is overblown. The colors are about right. The second image actually turned out pretty well, and was true to the scene. Shame about the noise. The third image may be accurate, but is soft.
The last image is clearly a stinker. For this, the camera took several seconds to capture the shot and we can still barely see what’s going on. The subject stands out, but the darker portions of the background are completely gone.
Without an explicit low-light or night mode, the Xperia 1 trails the competition. The Google Pixel 3a XL, which costs half as much, delivers far superior results.
All the Xperia 1’s portrait powers are found under the purview of the selfie camera. You can add effects, dial in skin correction, make your eyes larger or your face thinner, and adjust lighting. I captured these samples under a variety of conditions, including bright sunlight, indoors, and at nighttime. The results speak for themselves.
The first two images, which were aided by sunlight, turned out well. Focus is good, colors are accurate, and things look pretty much as they did when the photos were taken.
Things are a bit different in the third and fourth images. You can see that my face is a bit softer in the third image and the brick wall behind me looks a bit washed out. The last picture is a mess. Though it wasn’t that dark out, the Xperia 1 used the screen flash to light me up. While my face is properly exposed, the background is almost lost completely. Moreover, my face looks incredibly soft.
On a whole, I’d call these average selfie shots at best.
Flagship phones need to be able to capture 4K video, full stop. While we’d prefer to see 60fps, we can deal with 30fps which is where the Xperia 1 camera tops out.
I captured a variety of video with the Xperia 1 in 4K and Full HD (the latter in 60fps). It may be hard for your eyes to really see the difference between the two, but the 4K footage from Sony impressed. I was pleased with the way the phone captured motion smoothly, despite the fact that I was moving around. Moreover, the phone’s sensors are better able to adapt to changes in lighting when recording video.
Here, the Xperia 1 matches the competition.
As I said in my full Sony Xperia 1 review, I’m stunned at how poorly the Xperia 1’s camera performs. Not only is it not up to snuff when compared to other flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, HUAWEI P30 Pro, and Google Pixel 3 XL, it doesn’t even compare to the budget Google Pixel 3a XL. It’s hard to recommend a $949 phone when a $479 phone beats the snot out of it in the core category of photography.
Bottom line, if you thought Sony’s adoption of the triple-camera setup would lead to a dramatic improvement in imaging quality, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.Score: 6.8/10
You're reading Sony Xperia 1 Camera Review: When Three Cameras Aren’T Enough
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is a weird phone. Sony could have made a svelte mid-range Xperia at a lower cost than its flagships, but has instead made a £379 chunky mess. You can get the XZ1 for £449 in the UK now, and we strongly recommend that Sony phone over this one. If you really want a 6in 16:9 screen then the XA2 Ultra is one of the only ones on the market and its performance is solid. The rear camera is acceptable and the audio quality, run by Android Oreo, is top notch. But with cheaper mid-range phones like the Honor 7X boasting more compact 18:9 6in displays, the huge XA2 Ultra is a phone that will only appeal if you love the design, its audio quirks, and have a pocket big enough to fit it in.Best Prices Today: Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
Sony makes good phones. Even some great phones. But it cannot escape criticism for its design language and large bezels.
This isn’t because the bezels are actually that much of an issue. Big bezels do not a bad phone make. It’s because Sony releases so many phones with such regularity that we, and other tech reviewers and consumers, end up getting disappointed at seeing the same design every three to six months. The design itself isn’t much of a problem.
But if you just hate on bezels (and many do), the Xperia XA2 Ultra won’t make you happy. It’s a pricier version of the XA2 that has more battery, a larger display and dual selfie cameras. Is that enough to ignore its unwieldy size?
Price and release date
The cost of technology continues to rise and the XA range is more expensive than ever before. Although the Xperia XA2 Ultra isn’t quite at the top of the mid-range, it’s still a fairly pricey 450€ with the smaller Xperia XA2 100€ lower.
We’re still waiting for an official UK price but it’s listed for pre-order on Clove and Amazon at £379, £80 more than the regular £299 XA2.
It’s currently listed on Amazon US at $449.95.
This is not only more than its predecessor, but puts the device in direct competition with some brilliant phones that are effectively flagships with a mid-range price. It’s hard to beat the OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10, both at £449.
The XA2 Ultra should go on sale at the end of February.
Design and build
At the front, the Xperia XA2 Ultra looks pretty much identical to the previous model. The main giveaway that it’s new comes via the two camera lenses in the top bezel.
Looking at the phone from the top or bottom sees a subtle slight curved design, complete with bevelled edges. However, the remainder of the XA2 Ultra looks distinctly average and even dated.
Granted, the screen goes right to the edges at either side but the phone has fairly hefty bezels above and below. The wait for an 18:9 bezel-free Xperia goes on.
Unless you have huge hands (and pockets) or simply love physically huge phones then the XA2 Ultra is too big. Previously, having a large 6in screen would justify its massive size but we’ve rightly come to expect slim and light handsets, even in the mid-range.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 is in the same price range with a bezel-less design very similar to the pioneering Galaxy S8, making the XA2 Ultra look fairly ridiculous by comparison.
It’s not just about the looks though, it’s also impossible to use one handed. The Xperia XZ1 had big bezels but was slim, light and packed stereo front facing speakers. The XA2 Ultra is very heavy and uses only its top bezel effectively, housing the headline dual selfie cameras.
The build quality on show is premium, and the metal design is robust though the back is a textured plastic. Volume rocker, power key and the excellent dedicated shutter button are on the right side, while Sony has moved the fingerprint sensor to the rear for the first time, under the camera lens.
Thankfully for American Sony fans, the fingerprint sensor now actually works thanks to the end of a weird long running legal battle. The camera also had a flash, as do the two front facing sensors.
A speaker on the bottom edge accompanies a modern USB-C port. The XA2 Ultra amounts to a monolithic slab of smartphone, an unashamed brick of a thing.
It comes in the blue of our review unit, as well as black, gold and silver.
Specs and features
As you’d expect, the XA2 Ultra is a bigger version of the regular model. However, there’s more differences here than just a larger screen.
The screen is actually exactly the same as the XA1 Ultra at 6.0in with a Full HD 1080p resolution resulting is a fairly poor 367ppi. That’s a decent chunk bigger than the 5.2in XA2.
Despite the low ppi, Netflix binges on the train look pretty decent. But you’ll have to put up with its mad 221g weight, one of the only phones we’ve reviewed recently that tips the scale over 200g. For comparison, the 6in screened Honor 7X is just 165g.
It’s nice to have a big screen but you’ve got to really want it here to live with the size and weight of the phone, as the 16:9 aspect ratio makes it huge. The 6in screen on the recent Honor 7X is a slighter 18:9, looks great and costs £269.99 at the time of writing – £100 less than the XA2 Ultra.
The display settings hidden away do improve things though. Usually phones come with the saturation turned up which is less natural but more attractive. You can turn on standard mode to boost it at little, or go all-out with super vivid mode. We prefer standard, but it’s good that the option is there to bring some life to the natural but dull out of the box settings.
Unlike the Mediatek chip in the previous XA1, the XA2 Ultra has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor. A small upgrade on the power-efficient 625, the 630 here proved to give excellent battery life both in real world usage and the Geekbench 4 battery test, where it ran for an excellent 9 hours and 57 minutes. The pairing of energy efficient chip and 3,850mAh battery proves solid. There’s also NFC for mobile payments.
There’s a relatively tame 32GB storage on board but you can expand with a microSD card up to 256GB. Some regions will get a 64GB option but both versions come with 4GB RAM, an upgrade on the regular XA2’s 3GB.
As is the case for most phones in this price range, there isn’t wireless charging or any form of official water or dust resistance rating. Despite this, the Ultra has a decent set of specs for the price.
The XA2 Ultra’s camera mostly excels in daylight landscapes
In low light the sensor struggles considerably
Sony markets the Ultra as a phone for selfies as the two front facing cameras allow for wide angle group shots, or just a way to get more of the background in. It’s quite good but you get the fish bowl effect often seen at the edges of pictures taken with such a set up. You may also want to turn off the on-by-default skin softening mode.
A real boon here is the selfie cameras’ optical image stabilisation, something the rear camera actually lacks. It means your group selfie shots will be largely blur free, and it’s good to see on the phone considering the price.
If you’re into your selfies you will enjoy the feature, but there are better camera set ups on other mid-range phones.
The wide angle selfie cam in action
One nice-to-have feature is 4K video recording, unusual on a mid-range handset. The phone does struggle to process it though and lags considerably during recording. The slo-mo recording feature from Xperia flagships has also been ported over for recording bursts of 120fps footage.
The added AR feature is fun to turn your living room into a prehistoric scene and the timeshift burst mode lets you select the best shot from several, handy if you have a moving pet or child to snap.
We still recommend spending more on a higher-end phone if photography is important to you. Despite Sony’s insistence that the camera tech here is top end, it isn’t quite. A better display and better software processing are needed such as on Google’s Pixel 2 or the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Where the XA2 Ultra does deliver is in its audio delivery. Though it lacks front facing speakers, the wired headphone experience on the phone is great. ClearAudio+ is a software setting that optimises the sound output, making music and video brighter and more immersive.
It’s a surprisingly decent feature, but might not be to your taste if you prefer a compressed sound and isn’t driven by a hardware DAC like on the (admittedly pricier) LG V30.
Pleasingly, the XA2 Ultra comes with Android 8.0 Oreo on-board. This is excellent news for a mid-range device, and Sony has beaten tons of handsets double the price to get it. You can enjoy features like picture in picture and password auto-fill. Sony is also doing a good job at the moment with monthly security updates.
Sony’s Android skin is minimal, with only minor aesthetic changes to Google’s stock version. It’s very crisp and clean and doesn’t make any change for change sake like Honor does with its EMUI skin.
Sony still pre-installs and pushes SwiftKey on you, but we prefer to download and use Google’s Gboard.
Below are benchmarks from the XA2 Ultra and some comparable phones. The Ultra is a solid choice for mobile gaming, though if that’s the reason you’re looking to buy you will want to spend a bit more on a high-end phone.
Casual gaming looks great, and the extra money you will pay compared to the Honor 7X (with its Kirin 659 chip) or the Moto G5S Plus (with the older Snapdragon 625) will be worth it.
Multi-tasking is also fluid even when using many apps or when in split screen mode but the phone can lag when shooting and playing 4K video.Specs Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra: Specs
Android 8.0 Oreo
Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
32GB storage (microSDXC support up to 256GB)
6.0in Full HD (1080×1920)
23Mp rear, 24mm wide-angle, f2.0 lens
16Mp front camera with OIS
8Mp front camera, 120 degree wide angle
3580mAh battery with Quick Charging 3.0
There’s a lot to like about the Xperia Z3 and PS4 owners may find this battle a no brainer thanks to PS4 Remote Play. However, at more than £100 less expensive, the LG G3 is our overall winner with its amazing Quad HD screen, excellent camera and premium build.
The fight for top spot in the smartphone market continues to rage and Sony’s latest effort is the Xperia Z3 but can it outpace the amazing LG G3? Find out in our Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 comparison review. See also: The best smartphones of 2014Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Price
Both phones we’re looking at here are premium and although Sony’s official price for the Z3 is £549, Clove has it for just £515 which isn’t too bad for a brand new smartphone. Read: Sony Xperia Z3 release date, price and specs.
However, because the G3 has been around for six months, it’s already reasonable price (£479) is even more reasonable and you can get one for just £379 from Amazon which is quite a big saving in this comparison.
Cheaper isn’t necessarily better though, so read on to find out whether the Xperia Z3 can trump the LG G3 in design, hardware and software.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Design
The Xperia range has always been quite big and the Z3 is still a pretty large phone but Sony has trimmed it down to 7.3 mm and 152 g. Its rounded sides make it more comfortable to hold than previously.
Meanwhile, the LG G3 is surprisingly manageable considering its screen size (see below) thank to tiny bezels and a rounded back. At its thickest point, it’s a bit bigger than the Z3 at 8.9 mm but it’s lighter than its rival at 149 g.
That weight is largely down to the fact Sony uses glass front and back with an aluminium frame while LG uses a plastic rear cover with a metallic skin. Both feel equally premium in the hand.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Screen
Sony has made no change on the Z3’s screen compared to its predecessor so it has a 5.2in display with a Full HD resolution. It’s a great screen at 424ppi and Sony says the reason not to go to Quad HD is partly because it’s unnecessary and the negative effect on battery life.
LG was the first to equip a smartphone with a Quad HD display (1440 x 2560) resulting in a 534ppi pixel density. It’s something of a debate whether this kind of resolution is worthwhile on a screen this size but we thinks it’s incredible and the LG G3 has the best display of any smarthphone.
It’s worth noting that although LG has done a great job with tiny bezels, 5.5in is still quite large so some users may find the size difficult to use. In this comparison, it’s no harder than the Z3 with its chunky top and bottom bezels, though.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Processor and memory
Things are pretty similar here with both phones running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, a quad-core chip clocked at 2.5 GHz. It’s a powerful and reliable processor but isn’t 64-bit so won’t run Android L to its full potential when these handsets are upgraded.
The Xperia Z3 has 3 GB of RAM like the Xperia Z2 o but you’ll have to but the 32 GB model of the LG G3 to match this as the 16 GB model has 2 GB. LG says the software is designed for 2GB so the extra GB is headroom.
See also : What’s the fastest smartphone of 2014: processor, web and graphics performance comparison.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Battery life
Sony has opted to stick with Full HD to offer great battery life, touting two days from the 3100mAh non-removable battery. We’ve found that it easily lasts this amount of time and will go even further with Son’s excellent Stamina mode.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Storage
As we’ve just explained, the LG G3 comes in two storage capacities: 16- or 32 GB. That is at least some choice which Sony doesn’t offer because the Z3 only comes in 16 GB. Fortunately, both have a microSD card for adding up to 128 GB additional storage.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Wireless
As we’ve come to expect from 2014 flagship smartphones, the Xperia Z3 and LG G3 come with the latest wireless technology: 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Cat 4 LTE 4G. However, the LG G3 is the only one in this comparison to have an IR blaster and wireless charging.
It’s not a big deal but the Z3 uses a nano-SIM while the G3 uses the more common micro-SIM.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Unique features
We’ve already mentioned the G3’s IR blaster and wireless charging so that’s two unique features with LG boasts and it can also track your steps out-of-the-box.
The Xperia Z3 has the waterproof design (see above) and it also has front facing stereo speakers. Interestingly, both the Xperia Z3 and G3 support playback of High-Res audio although Sony has added support for DSD files making it the first to do so.
Sony’s other magic trick is PS4 Remote Play which will arrive in November. This allows PS4 owners to play games on the Xperia Z3 rather than the TV which the console is plugged into. That’s a neat feature but only if you own a PS4 or plan on getting one.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Cameras
More of the Xperia Z3 hardware is the same as the Z2’s with a 20.7 Mp rear camera (you can hardly blame the firm) and it does have improvements in the form of a 28 mm wide angle lens and up to ISO 12800 which is the highest on any smartphone. We also love the dedicated camera/shutter button.Sony Xperia Z3 vs LG G3 review: Software
Both the LG G3 and Xperia Z3 come pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat but Sony keeps things simpler with its user interface.
While LG’s is recognisable as Android, the firm has done a lot more customisation than Sony. It’s still easy to use and looks good too. It has far more built-in features than the Xperia Z3 with LG’s range of Q apps (QMemo, QSlide, QVoice and QRemote). You can also run two apps side-by-side, adjust the keyboard size and there are ways of making the large screen easier to use including the ability to reposition the dial pad and an optional navigation button for the notification bar.
While the LG G3 is packed with more features, it’s understandable for a simpler setup to be more appealing. This is where personal taste is important.Specs Sony Xperia Z3: Specs
Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
5.2in Triluminos Display (1080×1920, 424ppi)
2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
Adreno 330 GPU
16GB internal storage
microSD slot (up to 128GB)
20.7Mp rear camera AF with LED Flash
2.2Mp front camera
Video recording at up to 2160p
Wi-Fi up tp chúng tôi 4.0
4G LTE Cat 4
Dust and waterproof (IP68)
It’s a strange shortcoming, not least because Xperia phones can boast the latest processors and decent cameras, and yet, the company struggles to compete with its biggest rivals in the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Look past Sony’s unconventional naming systems; consisting of Zs, Xs and more recently, Roman numerals, and the chart below should help you better understand the current range, as well as which one will best suit your needs and budget.
We’ve looked at everything from the humble Xperia L4 to the cutting-edge Xperia 1 IV flagship, with its 4K 120Hz HDR display and triple 12-megapixel camera setup. Here is our ranking of the best Sony Xperia phones you can buy in 2023.Best Sony phones 2023
1. Sony Xperia 5 IV – Best overall
Incredibly capable cameras
Excellent battery life
Cameras take work and patience
Only two years of software and security updates
The Xperia 5 IV is our pick above the pricier, larger Xperia 1 IV. The more compact 5 IV has everything its pricier sibling has but in a nicer form factor. All it really lacks is the 1 IV’s truly optical moving lens, which is no big miss.
You get awesome utilitarian build quality, great battery life, a headphone jack, front facing speakers, and capable cameras – though the latter require patience as Sony has opted to prefer manual controls, like its Alpha cameras, for you to get the most out of them. The auto mode is good, but results aren’t on par with premium phones from Apple, Samsung and Google.
The phone charges a little slow too and it’s criminal that Sony only offers two years of software and security updates. This is the worst thing about an otherwise excellent phone, and Sony needs to do better here. But if it’s an Xperia you want, this is the one to buy.
Read our full
2. Sony Xperia 1 IV – Best camera system
Amazing 4K OLED screen
Slim, tall shape
True optical zoom
Camera apps confusing
Best Prices Today:
Sony has stuck to its guns in recent years by producing premium (and expensive) smartphones bleeding edge camera hardware – and the Xperia 1 IV is no different.
It’s the best Sony phone you can buy thanks to its gorgeous 4K HDR OLED display, with a tall but manageable 21:9 aspect that allows full screen video playback for films and TV shows with no letterboxing. It’s also the perfect viewfinder for the several included camera and video apps. If you put in the time and effort to learn their professional-grade nuances, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding control over your photos.
That is this phone’s main caveat as well as its strength though, as this is not a camera for casual point-and-shooters – and let’s face it, that’s most of us. The phone also heats up a little too often, particularly when charging.
But it’s still the best Sony phone going if you want one of the best displays on a phone and the deepest level of options and control in photography and videography on a mobile device. It’s also the first phone ever to have a physically moving optical zoom lens, from 3.5x to 5.2x.
Read our full
3. Sony Xperia 1 III – Best for less
Lacklustre battery life
Difficult to use camera
The Xperia 1 III offers up more of what we’ve come to know and love from Sony’s flagship phone line – namely a killer camera setup and an eye-popping 4K display.
The big upgrade for 2023 was the move to 120Hz, which joins a smattering of other cutting-edge display technologies; including 4K resolution, an HDR OLED panel and an uncommon 21:9 aspect ratio, that’s brilliant for enjoying movies on the go.
The rear camera setup takes a little work to get the most out of it but offers unprecedented control, especially with regards to video capture; while the pairing of a Snapdragon 888 chip and 12GB of RAM delivers some of the best performance for an Android phone out there.
Battery life and price are the main things holding the 1 III back from true greatness but for some, it’s otherwise an obvious choice.
Read our full
4. Sony Xperia 5 III – Good small option
Lacklustre battery life
Difficult to use camera
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As with Sony’s last two generations of flagship phone, 2023’s Xperia 5 III is essentially a more compact incarnation of the Xperia 1 III.
As such, it features most of the 1 III’s strengths, as well as the same set of weaknesses. There’s no 4K display to speak of here, instead having access to a (still-excellent) Full HD+ 6.1in 120Hz HDR OLED panel.
Performance is still strong (although the phone is prone to heat-up), while a consistent and capable set of cameras is primarily held back by a convoluted still/video app setup.
Read our full
5. Sony Xperia 1 II – Best for entertainment
Superb audio abilities
Versatile camera capabilities
Difficult to use camera
Sony’s 2023 flagship doubles down on the unique attributes of the original Xperia 1; with an enhanced 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, a wealth of audio technologies (including a 3.5mm headphone jack) and a Sony Alpha-influenced triple-camera module.
Its augmented but clean take on Android includes meaningful inclusions and despite not looking as competitive on paper as other Android flagships from the same time, its performance and battery longevity prove more than capable in real-world testing.
Read our full
6. Sony Xperia 5 II – Great for gaming
Nice 120Hz display
No wireless charging
Difficult to use camera
In a world where so many smartphones look similar, you have to admire Sony’s desire to be different. Having a notch-less display and 3.5mm headphone jack is practically unheard of in the current smartphone market, but phones like the Xperia 5 II, remind us that we wish they were on more phones.
Not only does the 5 II feel like a notable upgrade over 2023’s model, it beat its sibling – the Xperia 1 II – to the punch with regards to adopting a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.
Performance is superb across the board, while the all-too-rare front-facing stereo speakers are a delight.
On the flip side, the cameras flatter to deceive – unless you’re willing to play around in the Photo Pro app – while a surprising amount of bloatware taints an otherwise excellent software experience. There’s also no wireless charging – a major omission at this price point, but battery life is considerably stronger than that of its Mk III successor.
Read our full
7. Sony Xperia 10 III – Unique mid-ranger
Great battery life
Good software experience
Slow wired charging
Display still only 60Hz
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While 2023’s Xperia 1 and 5 flagships are more impressive entries in general, Sony’s inconsistencies with long-term software support mean – as of early 2023 – the more modest but newer Xperia 10 III makes for a more sensible buy within the Xperia family.
Performance is good enough for some competitive mobile gaming, battery life is great and Sony’s Android tweaks are both as meaningful and unobtrusive as ever.
Despite its unique attributes for a mid-ranger, however – namely the pairing of an OLED display and IP65/68 dust and water resistance – there are a few too many shortcomings versus competitors outside of the Sony camp to make this an easy recommendation beyond the most die-hard fans of the brand on a budget.
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8. Sony Xperia 1 – Great for media
Lacklustre battery life
Best Prices Today:
The Xperia 1 goes for broke on being really, really Sony – and it pays off. By catering to a niche audience, this phone can still please, if you want an amazing display with a cinematic aspect ratio, very capable cameras and excellent build quality.
The tall design still feels different but makes the phone slimmer and so easier to hold in one hand, while a dedicated shutter button and the Cinema Pro manual video recording app are tailor-made for film enthusiasts.
Just bear in mind this phone is quite old now so it may not get any more security software updates.
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9. Sony Xperia 5 – Good performance
Great stereo speakers
Decent battery life
Inconsistent fingerprint sensor
The Xperia 5 is a scaled-down version of the larger flagship Xperia 1 from 2023 but retains much of what makes the 1 so capable.
A then-flagship Snapdragon chip, the same considerately-customised take on Android and the same trio of rear cameras all marry up with the Xperia 1’s feature set. The 5’s smaller footprint does mean a smaller battery, smaller, lower-resolution display and a lower asking price, though.
Besides the 21:9 aspect ratio, however, this is a tough recommendation, considering what else is out there at the same price and entries that have launched since. It also may no longer be supported by Sony for software updates.
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10. Sony Xperia L4 – Most affordable
Premium design touches
Great software experience
Stilted software support
There still aren’t many phones around this phone’s low price point that boast an expansive 21:9 display, making this a unique budget mobile media player.
Look past the mediocre cameras and Sony’s excellent user experience, plus its somewhat premium design, will help the L4 stand out from the crowd for some.
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Unlocking the bootloader allows you to put custom ROMs, kernels and boot images on your Xperia Z1 Compact which cannot be done otherwise. Say you want to install an AOSP based ROM on your Xperia Z1 Compact which need to change the boot image on the device to be compatible with the AOSP code then it can only be done by unlocking the bootloader on your device.
Generally, rooting and custom recovery installation also requires an unlocked bootloader, but thanks to the developer community at work for Xperia Z1 Compact that root is often achieved even without unlocking the bootloader.
Also thanks to Sony for having their entire range of Xperia devices released since 2011 to be bootloader unlockable. Not every Android manufacturer does that, at-least not so easy.
The bootloader unlocking process on Xperia Z1 Compact is fairly simple. And with our step by step instructions with screenshots below, even noob users will be able to do it easily.
Two methods of unlocking the Bootloader on Xperia Z1 Compact
There are two methods you could choose from to unlock the bootloader on your Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Unofficially using Flashtool: You can unlock the bootloader on your device using a program called Flashtool. Getting the bootloader unlocked through flashtool is very quick compared to Sony’s official way of doing it. And on a plus note you also save yourself from letting Sony know that you tried to unlock your device’s bootloader (which voids warranty)
Officially from Sony’s website: You can follow Sony’s official way of unlocking the bootloader which is also simple and easy to follow, but not as friendly as Flashtool. In the official method you’ve to get the bootloader unlock key from Sony’s website, which lets the manufacturer know that you intended to unlock your device’s bootloader (which voids warranty) by provding them your phone’s IMEI number to get the key.
Below are full step by step installation instructions for both the methods discussed above. So proceed with whatever method you think is best. In our opinion, go with the Flashtool method. It’s much easier to unlock bootloader using Flashtool.
You’ll void the warranty of your Sony Xperia Z1 Compact by unlocking its bootloader.
Back up your important data!
Every single file on your device will be deleted once you unlock the bootloader. So make sure you back up all your important data before proceeding with the guide given below and also make sure to move your back up files to your PC or Cloud storage because even any backup file kept on the phone will be deleted.
Check out the link below if you need any help with backing up your device.
Method 1 – Unlock Bootloader using Flashtool
Flashtool is a multi utility program for Xperia devices that does a lot of tasks in much easier ways compared to Sony’s official ways. Here in this guide we’ll be using flashtool only for the purpose of unlocking the bootloader.
Download and install Flashtool
Install Flashtool to the directory of your choice
Note: If you’re running a 64-bit windows installation then make sure you start the chúng tôi file
Instructions for unlocking bootloader using Flashtool
You’ll see a window asking you to connect your device in Flashmode. You can ignore the animated instruction on the screen as it’s not meant for the current generation of Xperia devices, instead follow the instructions given below to connect your Xperia Z1 Compact to your PC in Flashmode
Switch off your phone
Now while holding down the Volume Down key on your phone connect it to PC using a USB cable
Your device should now be connected in Flashmode and Flashtool should show a ‘Device selector’ pop-up window
Select ‘Sony Xperia Z1 Compact’ from the list of devices in the ‘Device selector’ window
Method 2 – Unlock bootloader using Sony’s website
Unlocking bootloader using Sony’s website would require you to first get the unlock from Sony’s website and then run a couple of fastboot commands using command prompt on your PC.
Getting the bootloader unlock key from Sony’s website
└ You also check the IMEI number from ‘About device’ under Settings on your Xperia Z1 Compact. And you can also look for the IMEI number on the packaging box of the device, just make that you’ve have the original box.
Check for new mail on the E-mail address you provided in the form above with the subject line ‘Your requested unlock boot loader key’. Open the mail and you’ll see your bootloader unlock key.
Save your bootloader unlock key in your Notepad, a text file or anywhere you could remember and refer back quickly.
Unlocking bootloader using the Unlock Key
Now we’ll run some fastboot commands on your PC and for that you’ll need to download some fastboot files on your computer. Below is the download link:
Extract the fastboot file you downloaded from the link above and open the folder where you extract it
Now connect your phone in fastboot mode
Switch off your phone
Hold the Volume UP key on your phone and connect it to PC using a USB cable
On the command prompt window we opened in Step 2 type the command given below and hit enter. This is to verify that your device has connected properly (check the screenshot below for reference) fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce getvar version
Now you’re going to run the main bootloader unlock code. So make sure you’ve backed up your important data on the phone because once you unlock the bootloader every single file on your phone will be deleted
Paste/write the following command in the command prompt window. Do NOT hit enter yet
fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0xKEY
Replace the last word in the command (KEY) with your bootloader unlock key that you received from Sony via E-mail. Your command should look like this fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0x636FF374683A24EF
Important note! The key used in the command above is for illustration purpose only. You must NOT use this key. Every single device has its own unique bootloader unlocking key.
Hit enter once you’ve put your unique bootloader unlock key in place
If patience is not your strong suit, we’ve got the Lollipop update for right here. Based off model no. D5803 which has already been bestowed the Android 5.0 update (NCB_1288-5411_23.1.A.0.690_R9C) by Sony, developer i360* tricked the said update to run on fellow D5833 Z3 Compact sets too.
So, you have an official Android 5.0 update right there, even though it’s not exactly officially made for Z3 Compact D5833. And thus there are some caveats. First of all, don’t try it on an encrypted device. And you need to have a TWRP recovery installed to be able to flash the 5.0 ROM we’ve got here for your Z3 Compact D5833. See step 2 of the guide for help. Further, you need to be running KitKat, firmware 23.0.A.2.93/23.0.1.A.5.77 to be exact, with full root access, too. Since this is the official version of D5833, it shouldn’t be problem.
All in all, check the software version in Settings – About phone, make sure it matches either of the two mentioned above, and then get this thing installed with TWRP recovery — you’re all now, though TWRP is sort-of tedious thing to get.
You can switch back to KitKat btw, but you’ll lose all data, including apps, games and game progress, and will need to use SP Flashtool to achieve that.Bugs
Download the ROM file in .zip format from the source development page here, where you could also keep a tab on updates for the ROM, and any current issues with the ROM with fixes, if any, available.
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, model no. D5833
Don’t try on any other device whatsoeverInstructions
Warning: Warranty may be void of your device if you follow the procedures given on this page. You only are responsible for your device. We won’t be liable if any damage occurs to your device and/or its components.
Important Note: Backup important files stored on your device before proceeding with the steps below, so that in case something goes wrong you’ll have backup of all your important files.
Transfer the ROM file package file to your device’s internal storage and remember the location where you save it.
You need TWRP recovery for this. Get it from here. There’s good instructions set there, too. For more help, Google is your friend.
Boot into Recovery mode.
Once in TWRP recovery, take a backup of your current ROM. Select Backup, then do a “Swipe to Back Up” on the bottom of the screen.
Once the backup is finished, do this: tap on Wipe, then Advanced wipe, and then select Cache, Dalvik cache and Data. Then do the “Swipe to wipe” at bottom to ready the device for ROM flashing by erasing the cache, dalvik cache and data in one shot.
Go back to the main menu of TWRP recovery and select Install.
Navigate to the file where you saved your ROM’s zip file, select it and “Swipe to Confirm Flash” on the bottom of the screen. Now wait until the flashing process finishes.
Go to back to recovery’s Main menu, select Reboot » select System.
Your device will now reboot with Android 5.0 update, version being 23.1.A.0.690.
In case you need any help over this, let us know. And, you can thank the developer for sharing this.
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