Sony’s new flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 III, is set to be released this month – and there’s plenty to be excited about with the new device.
With a unique aspect ratio, high specifications and a distinctly premium vibe, the latest III series – which also includes a slightly smaller and more affordable Xperia 5 III – sports major camera and audio innovations, and both come with 5G.
If you find all the numbers and numerals as confusing as we do, it's worth noting that Sony officials usually refer to them as the 'Xperia 1 Mark Three' series.
The new smartphones were officially unveiled by Sony on 14th April during a live-streamed event on YouTube – with a number of photographers, filmmakers and video game developers explaining why the new line-up is set to be special.
Now, anticipation is rising as the Xperia 1 III release date approaches. Read on for more about what you can expect from the new smartphone. And for a wider list of handsets due to launch this year, don't miss our new phones 2021 round-up.
Sony Xperia 1 III release date & pricing
Despite being unveiled months ago, the flagship phone is still not released in the UK – but the good news for Sony fans is they don’t have much longer to wait. The Xperia 1 III will be available in the UK starting 19th August in two colours: called Frosted Black and Frosted Purple. The Sim-free Xperia 1 III model will cost £1,199.
The second smartphone in the series, the 5 III, will start shipping in the UK from September, coming in two colours: Black and Green. The Sim-free 5 III model will cost £899. Upon launch, Sony offers a free set of headphones with both phones.
Anyone who buys a 1 III at launch is eligible to claim a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless noise-cancelling headphones, worth £329 RRP. Meanwhile, anyone who picks up the 5 III is eligible for a pair of its WH-H910N headphones, worth £250 RRP.
There will also be pay-monthly contracts from networks. We've put together a list of the providers that offer tariffs for the Sony Xperia 1 II – they’re all likely to stock the Xperia 1 III when it releases later this month and the 5 III from September.
Sony Xperia 1 III specs
Before we delve into specs in more detail, here’s a brief overview of the Xperia III specs, including screen size, camera, battery life, operating system and more.
- Display: 6.5-inch 21:9 CinemaWide 4K OLED
- Screen refresh rate: 120Hz
- Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon 888
- Dimensions: 165 x 71 x 8.2 mm
- Battery capacity: 4,500 mAh
- Operating system: Android 11
- Colours: Frosted Black and Frosted Purple
- Connectivity: 5G, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.2
- Cameras: 12 MP wide, 12 MP telephoto, 12 MP ultrawide, real-time eye autofocus, focal lengths of 16mm, 24mm, 70mm and 105mm.
- Audio: 360 Spatial sound technology, 3.5mm audio jack.
Sony Xperia 1 III camera
The cameras are always a major selling point with pricy flagship phones – and the Sony Xperia 1 III is certainly no exception. The Xperia series will boast a variable telephoto camera that will let you focus at lengths of either 70mm or 105mm.
A zoom function makes dizzying advances in phone camera technology: you'll be able to zoom in up to 300mm with the image remaining crystal-clear.
And there's also an exciting-sounding new real-time AF function that will allow you to track subjects while they're moving. In a rather sweet nod to the days of analogue photography, the Sony Xperia 1 III will have a dedicated shutter button and one that autofocuses if you press it halfway down, which sounds great.
Sony Xperia 1 III audio
Here's yet another first for the smartphone world: the Sony Xperia 1 III will deliver two-channel sound converted into a '360-degree' experience that claims to feel immersive. It’s the sort of tech we at RadioTimes.com are more used to writing about in relation to televisions – so it will be interesting to see how it works.
Sony Xperia 1 III display
On top of its photo and audio credentials, the Xperia 1 III boasts the world's first 4K 120HZ smartphone screen. It will definitely appeal to gamers who are looking for those super-smooth refresh rates. Gaming fans will also, no doubt, appreciate the Rewind Time Record function, which lets users retroactively record gameplay that can be streamed and shared. The display itself is OLED – an expectation of flagships these days – and 21:9 when in display ratio. This unusually long and thin aspect ratio has divided opinion, but it's good to see Sony stick to its guns.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021
Sony Xperia 1 III design
The display will be made of extra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, while the casing is IP65/68 water-resistant, which thankfully sets it up to survive 'sudden rain' – a definite boon in this fair country of ours, even in summer.
A classic 3.5mm headphone jack is also included. This might seem slightly archaic, but Sony is a company that values high-quality playback and knows that many people out there still want the quality offered by a corded connection or else own high-end corded headphones. The design is dominated by the 21:9 aspect ratio. It clearly won’t be for everyone, but it certainly helps the phone to stand out in a sea of competition from other brands, such as the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
For the latest news, reviews and deals, check out the RadioTimes.com Technology section. Shopping for a new phone? Read our best Android phone guide. And if you want a cheaper model, don’t miss our best budget smartphone guide.