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Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III: What’s the best Sony smartphone for you?

Sony’s two latest smartphones have plenty to offer, but which one is the best choice for your needs? We put them head to head so you can find out.

Even if you’re loyal to one particular phone brand, it still can be difficult to select the right model from their range of products, and it’s certainly a tall order to choose between Sony’s latest top-end devices. Take a look through our detailed comparison to find your favourite — and you can see them both in action in our hands-on comparison video below:

Design

Sony’s phones are not simply a copy-paste job of the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S21 or the OnePlus 9; they have forged their own path, and that’s to be applauded. Unlike many other Android examples, both of these devices have retained the 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot, while they both house the selfie camera in a bezel rather than a holepunch camera in the screen.

The main difference here is size, as the Sony Xperia 1 III measures 165x71mm rather than the 157x68mm of the Xperia 5 III — but they’re equally thick, both clocking in at 8.2mm. Also, the Xperia 1 III has a matte back panel, whereas its smaller sibling has a glossy finish that’s more prone to picking up fingerprints and even getting slippery when slightly wet.

Screen

Both phones in the series are defined by the unusual design choice of a 21:9 aspect ratio, which means that the screen is longer and thinner than those of its competitors. On the one hand this are intended to be the perfect proportions for watching films or TV series, but if that’s not what you’re doing then you may find that apps such as Instagram are poorly optimised for this shape. Aside from that, the two also have an IP68 water resistance rating and a maximum 120Hz refresh rate in common too.

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Sony Xperia 1 III

The key difference between the two comes down to the resolution. The Sony Xperia 1 III has a pin-sharp 4K resolution, which is as high as any other smartphone you’ll find on the market today. By contrast, the Sony Xperia 5 III offers a respectable but inferior 1080 x 2520p resolution.

Camera

Once again, there are more similarities than differences between both phones even in this crucial area. Both offer three 12-megapixel sensors (wide, ultrawide, and telephoto) that deliver a welcome variety of results. The difference is that the Xperia 1 III also packs a depth sensor which is intended to deliver a better bokeh effect in portrait mode, and may also come in handy for Augmented Reality.

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Sony Xperia 5 III

Though there are plenty of options available to customise the photos you take with these handsets, you may find that the default natural look may appear a little flatter than results from rivals such as the iPhone 13, and low-light performance doesn’t hit the heights of other flagships. Nonetheless, cameras on both these phones are relatively reliable.

Performance & Battery

Both of these devices run on the top-end Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 888, which delivers strong performance on intensive gaming or just everyday tasks, and also provides 5G connectivity.

The battery stats are near-indistinguishable too, with both packing 4500mAh cells that support 30W fast-charging. Though the endurance is not exceptional, the two handsets did reliably last us through a full day’s use, and juiced back up again quickly.

Price

There’s bound to be a different in price between a flagship and any another device from the same brand, but you might be surprised by just how large that gulf is given the relatively slim disparity between the two smartphones.

The Sony Xperia 1 III has a starting price of £1,199 for the configuration with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the Sony Xperia 5 III costs £899 in its base model (8GB RAM and 128GB storage). This crucial difference in affordability might be what sways you for the latter over the former.

Vote: Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III

You’ve read our full rundown, but now it’s time for you to decide which is the smartphone best suited to you. Let us know your thoughts in the poll below:

 

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