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Sony Xperia 1 III Review

Sony’s flagship stands out from the crowd thanks to its unusual aspect ratio and practical design, but are its key features good enough for a place at the top table?

What we love – Nice notchless screen and handy physical features

Before you’ve even switched on the Sony Xperia 1 III, you’ll notice that its screen is unlike any other thanks to the 21:9 aspect ratio that’s taller and narrower than most phones in order to perfectly suit widescreen films. Even better, it doesn’t have a notch or cut-out for the selfie camera, and the display specs are incredible: 4K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and excellent HDR support.

There are a few other practical touches that are also likely to endear this phone to some fans; unlike other top of the line flagships, it keeps a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MicroSD card tray all while maintaining an impressive IP68 rating.

The performance, bolstered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset, 12GB RAM and 5G connectivity, is also very strong, while software has mostly been scaled back to be less intrusive than previous Sony Android skins.

What we don’t like – The screen lacks brightness and photography problems persist

The specs for the three 12MP cameras on the rear of the Xperia 1 III are very impressive, but photographic results are likely to prove divisive. The app does give you lots of adjustment options if you know exactly what you want, though post-processing is by default geared to a natural look that may look flat by comparison to some rivals. While autofocus is brilliant in daytime, like much of the camera performance it dips sharply in quality when you’re shooting in low light conditions.

The screen is very good for the most part but it does suffer from an unusual problem in a high-end phone in that the display fails to be bright enough when you’re outside on a sunny day. Given the competition it’s up against, this feels like a strange oversight.

Verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 III is without a doubt the brand’s best smartphone yet, being truly feature-packed. Everything you could want is here according to the specs sheet, but there remains a couple of issues when using this phone day-to-day, including an unintuitive camera and a disappointingly dull screen.

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