Sony Xperia 1 IV review

3 days ago 12

The Sony Xperia 1 IV brings immoderate stellar originative features, with its continuous optical zoom wowing for photography and its quality to sprout 4K 120fps footage connected each 3 cameras a large instrumentality for video. It’s besides a well-rounded telephone with a good-looking display, almighty processor and long-lasting battery. However it’s unsmooth astir the edges with a fingerprint scanner that struggles to prime up your print, and a terms that volition apt enactment disconnected galore buyers.


  • +

    Continuous camera zoom is fantastic

  • +

    Good-looking display

  • +

    Impressive artillery life


  • -

    Temperamental fingerprint scanner

  • -

    Playback issues for recorded videos

  • -

    Incredibly precocious price

Two-minute review

It’s hard to cognize whether to people this Sony Xperia 1 IV reappraisal arsenic an investigation of a consumer-grade smartphone oregon a professional-level creativity instrumentality designed for moving artists As the former, it’s astir intolerable to recommend, but if you dainty it arsenic the latter, it’s hard to enactment down.

This is an obscenely costly telephone that conscionable can’t vie with rivals similar the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra oregon iPhone 13 Pro Max for ‘average’ telephone fans - it has a clunky plan and unassuming software, and it doesn’t trust connected AI to instrumentality vibrant and captivating photos.

But Sony knows that, and it isn’t aiming astatine the benignant of consumers who bargain the archetypal handset they spot connected a store shelf. No, the Xperia 1 bid is aimed astatine nonrecreational ‘content creators’ (for deficiency of a better, not-cringe-inducing term) with a scope of bespoke photography, videography and, caller to the Mark 4, audio signaling features.

This is the fourth-gen mentation of Sony’s top-end enactment of Android smartphones (what gave it away?), pursuing connected from the Sony Xperia 1 III, and accompanied by a mid-range Xperia 10 IV. These premium devices seldom person immense changes implicit their predecessors. Sony alternatively opts to tweak specs and bring utile caller features for creatives.

The large caller diagnostic present is the continuous optical zoom, with the telephoto lens moving betwixt 3.5x and 5.2x without having to usage integer zoom (which is fundamentally conscionable cropping). It’s a truly utile mode for photographers who similar long-range shots.

Other large upgrades see the rollout of 4K and 120fps video signaling connected the 3 rear and 1 front-facing camera, an audio signaling app that lets you layer, cleanable and premix sound, functions for mobile games streaming and a bigger artillery than before.

Sony’s phones are already considered immoderate of the champion devices for creatives, and the caller additions to the Xperia scope guarantee that Sony is keeping head-to-head with Samsung and Apple for that crown - though admittedly the Xperia’s camera is designed for much technically-minded users than the Galaxy oregon iPhone point-and-shoots.

There are besides immoderate unsmooth edges that adjacent originative users can’t overlook, which means we can’t springiness this telephone a wholly glowing reappraisal - you’ve already seen that 4/5, haven’t you?

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The backmost of the Sony Xperia 1 IV. (Image credit: Future)

The large occupation we recovered was that the side-mounted fingerprint sensor was incredibly inaccurate, and it failed to unlock the telephone much times than it succeeded. This has been a accordant occupation with Sony’s flagships and it boggles the caput that the institution hasn’t fixed it yet.

There were besides a fewer bundle issues, similar video playback not moving connected immoderate of the cardinal video-recording apps, apps crashing and the inclusion of bloatware that we wouldn’t expect connected a pricey device.

Yep, this is an costly telephone - it volition adjacent outgo you much than immoderate Ultra-suffix devices oregon foldable phones. Even our ‘price and availability’ conception beneath isn’t for the faint of heart. Sure, you get tons of unsocial and utile originative features for that price, but fixed the outgo of surviving situation astir the world, it seems a spot much. How galore ‘starving artists’ person $1,600 to spend?

We enjoyed our clip investigating the Sony Xperia 1 IV, but apt wouldn’t urge it to the immense bulk of our friends, astatine slightest the ones who aren’t creatively inclined. But for the number who’d bask the Cinema Pro apps, the continuous camera zoom oregon the 120fps recording, and could besides spend that terms tag, we’d wholeheartedly urge this device.

Sony Xperia 1 IV terms and availability

  • Costs $1,599 / £1,299 - nary Australia release
  • Costs much than Samsung and Apple rivals
  • Sells June 16 successful Europe, September 1 successful the US

The Sony Xperia 1 IV terms is capable to enactment disconnected each but the astir dedicated buyers.

In the US, the handset costs $1,599.99, and that gets you a instrumentality with 512GB storage. In the UK it’ll acceptable you backmost £1,299.99, which volition nett you 256GB storage. Sony hasn’t sold its past fewer generations of phones successful Australia, truthful don’t expect a motorboat there.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV Photography Pro app, showing the determination of the carnal shutter fastener too. (Image credit: Future)

The telephone costs much than its predecessor - the Xperia 1 III went for $1,299.99 / £1,199.99, and some regions got a 256GB device. And earlier you accidental thing - no, doubled retention abstraction doesn’t warrant a $300 terms increase.

At that price, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is competing against the precise champion phones connected the market. For discourse the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra costs $1,299.99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999 for 256GB retention and $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149 for 512GB, portion the iPhone 13 Pro Max is priced astatine $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$2,019 for 256GB and $1,399 / £1,349 / AU$2,369 for 512GB. 

So successful the US, the Sony is priced higher than similar-storage heavyweights, portion successful the UK it’s playing astatine their level.

Sony gave preferential attraction to Europe successful its merchandise of the Xperia 1 IV. It launched connected June 16 determination (including successful the UK), portion the US has to hold until September 1 to bask it. That whitethorn look similar a agelong wait, but this was really a amazingly abbreviated turnaround betwixt motorboat and merchandise compared to the company’s habits with erstwhile Xperia releases.

  • Value score: 2/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV design

  • Angular show is uncomfortable to hold
  • Retains 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Shutter fastener is utile for photography

Both your eyes and your manus volition archer you the aforesaid happening astir the Sony Xperia 1 IV, that it’s a long, thin, angular smartphone that’s not going to triumph immoderate plan awards - particularly the grant for “biggest redesign from predecessor”.

Measuring 165 x 71 x 8.2mm, the telephone is surely tall, but it’s constrictive capable not to agelong the hand, and it’s reasonably airy astatine 185g.

It’s not wholly comfy to hold, since its level edges marque telephone rather angular, but astatine slightest it’s not arsenic wide arsenic galore different smartphones we see.

As with astir premium phones, the instrumentality is simply a solid sandwich with the sturdy Gorilla Glass Victus connected the beforehand and back, and a metallic frame. It has some IP65 and IP68 certification, truthful it’s good protected against particulate and little submersions successful water. You tin prime up the instrumentality successful violet, achromatic oregon black.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV from the side, showing its thickness. (Image credit: Future)

If you similar other ports and buttons connected your smartphone, the Xperia 1 IV is for you. Not lone does it person a USB-C port, but it’s 1 of the lone premium phones we’ve seen successful the past fewer years with a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio and microphones. Plus it has a tiny measurement rocker, a powerfulness fastener with embedded fingerprint scanner, and a tiny camera shutter button.

We’re immense fans of this camera instrumentality - pressing it portion you’re successful the camera app takes a picture, but depressing it helps you find focus, conscionable similar connected a existent camera. Plus, pressing it portion the phone’s surface is disconnected opens the camera app, letting you instrumentality snaps successful a hurry.

We can’t springiness arsenic glowing feedback connected the fingerprint scanner though, arsenic it’s incredibly temperamental. It would often neglect to find our fingerprint, sometimes giving 1 of a rotating carousel of mistake messages, and sometimes not saying thing astatine all. This was contempt the information that we registered our fingerprint respective times, expanding the accidental of it working.

We’d estimation that the scanner failed much often than it worked, and this is simply a occupation we’ve had successful these phones since the archetypal Xperia 1. Since truthful galore mid-range and adjacent fund phones person reliable side-mounted fingerprint scanners, we truly can’t fathom wherefore Sony is struggling truthful much.

  • Design score: 3/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV display

  • Long, bladed 6.5-inch display
  • 4K solution is large for movies
  • Brightness summation doesn't rather chopped it

For the astir part, the Sony Xperia 1 IV has the aforesaid show arsenic its Mark 3 predecessor. That means it’s a 6.5-inch OLED show with a 120Hz refresh rate, 4K solution and 21:9 facet ratio, and arsenic always, it looks beauteous good.

Most of the time, the Xperia surface doesn’t really deed 4K - that’s nary atrocious thing, due to the fact that you don’t request to spot your horribly-compressed Instagram pictures astatine that facet ratio, and that’d drain the artillery accelerated - but this precocious solution kicks successful erstwhile you play games oregon ticker videos that are higher-res, making for a large viewing experience.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV main menu. (Image credit: Future)

You mightiness inquire “6.5 inches? Isn’t that beauteous small?” and it’s existent that astir high-end Android smartphones apical that connected insubstantial - yet, due to the fact that of the phone’s bladed and agelong facet ratio, it doesn’t consciousness that overmuch smaller.

The main upgrade present implicit the last-gen Xperia is successful the show brightness - Sony says the IV goes 50% brighter than its predecessor. That’s true, and it was easier to spot the telephone surface successful agleam outdoor settings than successful erstwhile versions of the handset - but we’d reason it inactive really wasn’t agleam enough. 

On sunny days, we struggled to spot the display, compared to different phones we had with us. And we unrecorded successful the UK, truthful it’s not similar it’s ever blindingly agleam outdoors.

  • Display score: 4.5/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV cameras

  • Continuous 3.5x-5.2x camera zoom is incredible
  • 4K 120fps video signaling is ace useful
  • A fewer bundle bugs cropped up

The Sony Xperia 1 IV isn’t the champion camera telephone for mean users who privation an easy-to-use strategy to rapidly instrumentality good-looking snaps of loved ones, pets oregon food. But for photography aficionados who mightiness different beryllium considering an existent camera, it provides loads of utile features.

Of the phone’s 4 cameras, 2 are unchanged from the Xperia 1 III - these are the 12MP f/1.7 24mm main camera and 12MP f/2.2 16mm ultra-wide snappers. Oh, and the Time-of-Flight extent sensor from earlier is inactive present too.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV's camera bump (Image credit: Future)

The smaller of the 2 upgrades is the front-facing camera, which is present 12MP f/2.0 24mm, up from 8MP connected the predecessor. This betterment allows for 4K video recording, thing a 12MP solution is indispensable for.

The immense upgrade here, though, is thing nary institution has done earlier - continuous optical zoom. In short, it means the telephoto lens has moving components truthful it tin seamlessly determination betwixt 3.5x (85mm) and 5.2x (125mm) zoom levels. This is simply a fantastic diagnostic for radical who similar zoom photography, arsenic it lets you decently enactment up your taxable without having to trust connected integer zoom (or cropping) to adjacent the distance.

Long-range photography is fashionable for the extent effect that longer focal lengths offer, and this continuous optical lens gives each the benefits of a adaptable zoom lens connected a due camera, but from the comfortableness of your pouch device. We utilized this zoom lens loads successful our tests, some for closing the region with subjects that were acold distant and for getting successful adjacent with smaller subjects similar animals oregon plants. 

So we’re giving 2 thumbs up to this benignant of lens - successful fact, if we had a gripe, it’s that we’d emotion to spot more. Let’s spot zoom spell beyond 5.2x, let’s spot a sensor with a solution higher than 12MP (as that does regularisation retired zooming excessively acold beyond 5.2x).

We bash person 1 existent contented with this continuous zoom, but it’s much of a occupation with the Photography Pro app. When you bring up the zoom slider, which lets you resistance the zoom level from ultra-wide, 1x zoom, optical 3.5x to 5.2x, each the mode to the integer zoom bounds of 15.6, there’s nary peculiar sheet conscionable for the telephoto camera’s scope - this means you’re stuck seeing the figures connected a wider bar, truthful it’s rather fiddly to find nonstop levels.

The main and ultra-wide cameras enactment likewise to however we’ve seen them successful erstwhile Sony phones - determination isn’t oodles of AI optimization done present arsenic it’s a telephone designed for radical who are going to edit their pictures themselves. 

A scenery taken connected the ultra-wide camera (0.7x) (Image credit: Future)

In fact, radical who aren’t camera aficionados volition beryllium a spot mislaid here. There’s a camera-like shooting mode carousel, which lets you power betwixt antithetic vulnerability modes and volition beryllium borderline gibberish to radical who don’t already ain a DSLR. If you conscionable privation an casual point-and-shoot camera phone, this isn’t the instrumentality for you.

What’s going to beryllium really, truly utile for mobile filmmakers is the quality to sprout 4K 120fps footage connected immoderate of the 4 cameras - this means you don’t person to trust connected the main snapper if you privation dilatory question oregon high-resolution footage.

This chiefly worked well, but determination are immoderate issues that bounds its appeal. First, you can’t grounds audio erstwhile shooting astatine 120fps, truthful if you request dependable you’ll person to leap down to 30fps oregon lower. Second, we recovered the telephoto camera footage sometimes had occupation focusing erstwhile we filmed astatine 4K, adjacent with autofocus enabled - it’s not wide if this is an contented with hardware oregon software, but it was so an issue.

And present we’re connected our database of mobile video gripes - there’s 1 immense 1 that truly limits the phone’s entreaty for movie-making, and it relates to video playback. When we changeable a video successful Cinema Pro (which we’ll item aboriginal on), we couldn’t play it backmost successful the app, contempt determination being a mini-gallery designed to fto you presumption videos you’ve conscionable shot. 

Even erstwhile we went into Google Photos, the default photos app connected Android, we weren’t capable to play backmost footage we’d changeable - we aboriginal discovered this was the aforesaid for Video Pro, different video signaling app designed by Sony. In fact, we thought the footage was each corrupted, until we realized that erstwhile exported (or erstwhile viewed successful the phone’s files) the videos weren’t, successful fact, broken.

This could beryllium a large contented for filmmakers who privation to presumption backmost what they’ve conscionable shot, whether it’s to cheque retired the show oregon spot if imaginable issues were disposable connected film. It’s apt a bundle bug, but it persisted betwixt strategy updates and telephone resets.

  • Camera score: 4.5/5

Camera samples

This photograph of a parakeet uses the optical zoom to adjacent the spread and adhd immoderate depth. (Image credit: Future)

Sony Xperia 1 IV show and specs

  • Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
  • Overheating is simply a superior issue
  • Speakers dependable large for movies

The Sony Xperia 1 IV continues the series’ contented of utilizing the top-end chipset disposable - that’s Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 successful this case. We’ve seen this successful loads of smartphones astatine this point, including the OnePlus 10 Pro, Xiaomi 12 and Samsung Galaxy S22 (in the US, for the S22, though successful Europe it utilized a antithetic chip).

This spot provides loads of processing power, utile for signaling high-res videos oregon playing tons of games. At the clip of the Xperia’s release, determination isn’t a much almighty spot disposable successful Android phones.

Qualcomm’s top-end chipsets bash person 1 blistery contented - literally. They’re speedy to overheat erstwhile you’re doing thing intensive similar gaming oregon signaling video, oregon adjacent charging up. When we tried to usage the Cinema Pro app (which we’ll picture successful much item later) for 4K video recording, we’d often person to hold for the telephone to chill down to support utilizing it.

Overheating tin person an effect connected performance, and it’s a shame that Qualcomm hasn’t looked into it, arsenic there’s a noticeable powerfulness driblet erstwhile the telephone heats up. In fact, we had immoderate app crashes erstwhile the telephone got excessively hot, a occupation astir noticeable successful the camera app.

When it’s moving well, though, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is bully and almighty for gaming, particularly acknowledgment to the 21:9 show which gives you much abstraction to spot action.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV being held, with its backmost to the camera. (Image credit: Future)

The built-in speakers are bully too, and are astir apt the champion ones we’ve seen successful a smartphone that aren’t tuned by a third-party audio company. Movies dependable bully erstwhile played retired loud, though evidently utilizing headphones gives a amended experience.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV software

  • Runs Android 12 but volition apt beryllium upgradeable
  • Stock Android has a cleanable design
  • Most pre-installed apps are utile - but not all

Sony uses a akin bundle attack to Motorola: it takes banal Android, arsenic designed by Google, and adds a fewer other tools. In the Xperia 1 IV, that’s Android 12 you’re getting, though without the update’s signature Material You customization tool.

Stock Android works good here, arsenic its cleanable look complements the spacious screen. Well, it’s mostly clean, though determination are a just fewer pre-installed apps connected the phone. However, dissimilar connected your modular inexpensive Chinese phone, these aren’t third-party additions but mostly super-useful Sony tools.

These see Photo Pro (a top-end equivalent of the ‘standard’ Photo app), Video Pro (the same, but for video recording), Cinema Pro (for signaling video akin to connected a Sony Alpha camera), Music Pro (for recording, mixing and layering dependable and euphony connected the phone, though it lone works with the in-built microphone), Bravia Core (a streaming work for Sony devices, which includes 5 streams of caller movies and unlimited streaming for prime older ones) and Headphones (Sony’s app which controls its Bluetooth headphones).

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV's Video Pro app (Image credit: Future)

Some of these are incredibly utile for originative types. Photo Pro feels similar a Sony camera with its extent of features, adjacent down to the mode carousel that lets you take betwixt modes similar Programme auto, Manual vulnerability and the modular Basic mode. Cinema Pro gives you a immense magnitude of power implicit cinematic video to fto you sprout movies connected your phone.

There are tons of built-in tools for capturing content, but Music Pro is 1 of the uncommon ones that really fto you edit what you capture. We’re hoping aboriginal Sony phones present ways to premix oregon edit photograph and video.

We liked Bravia Core - it fto america drawback up connected each the Sony movies we’d missed successful the past fewer months (finally giving america a accidental to spot Uncharted!). But with nary download function, and the telephone having to watercourse 4K video to play, we recovered it kept buffering done each film.

There are prime third-party apps built in, and they mostly acceptable wrong the phone’s remit of an amusement instrumentality - there’s Tidal, Prime Video and Netflix, for example, with, Amazon Shopping and LinkedIn being the 3 disappointing outliers that shouldn’t beryllium connected the device.

Thanks to its gangly display, the Sony is truly utile for multitasking, arsenic there’s capable abstraction to enactment 2 apps side-by-side, and the refresh complaint besides makes navigating the phone’s menus consciousness smooth.

  • Software score: 4/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV's Music Pro app (Image credit: Future)

Sony Xperia 1 IV artillery life

  • Big 5,000mAh battery
  • Admirable longevity adjacent with intensive tasks
  • Slow to complaint astatine lone 30W

A invited upgrade the Mark 4 Xperia gets from its Mark 3 predecessor is successful the artillery capacity, with a 500mAh bump taking the powerfulness battalion to 5,000mAh. We really complimented the Xperia 1 III’s artillery beingness successful our review, but bigger is ever better.

Despite having a reasonably ample 4K screen, changeless 5G connectivity and tons of inheritance apps moving each the time, we were consistently impressed by the Xperia’s artillery life. It reliably saw america done a full time of modular use, whether that meant a speedy cheque of societal media present and then, regular texting, Google Maps usage and euphony streaming.

That wasn’t the lawsuit erstwhile we utilized the Xperia for immoderate of its Pro features, arsenic you’d expect - we couldn’t walk hours signaling 4K video and expect it to past done the day. But adjacent done intensive periods it continuously impressed us.

Charging velocity is simply a small little awesome though. Sony decided to instrumentality with the aforesaid 30W wired charging that it utilized successful erstwhile flagships, and fixed that immoderate phones successful 2022 spell each the mode up to 150W, that’s conscionable acold excessively slow. Sony states this velocity is to halt the artillery wellness deteriorating arsenic quickly, and that’s a just reason, until you see that immoderate fast-charging phones person methods to halt the ace speeds from ruining the battery.

There’s besides wireless charging here, though it’s adjacent slower than wired, arsenic good arsenic reverse wireless powering truthful you tin foodstuff up different wireless-powering gadgets utilizing the telephone arsenic a powerfulness mat.

  • Battery score: 4/5

Sony Xperia 1 IV reappraisal scorecard

DesignWith its angular and arguably outdated design, the Sony Xperia 1 IV won't precisely crook heads.3/5
Display Sony's the lone institution putting retired 4K show phones close now, and it gives it the borderline for streaming movies.4.5/5
Performance While the Xperia does person a top-end chipset, overheating issues origin it to suffer points.4/5
Camera Sony makes immoderate of the champion camera phones, and the continuous optical zoom is simply a large illustration of why.4.5/5
Battery The Sony volition outlast astir of its adjacent rivals with its lasting power, though it loses points for dilatory charging.4/5
Software Sony's cleanable Android operating strategy and utile other apps summation it tons of points here.4/5
Value Even with each its merits, it's hard to urge the Xperia for everybody erstwhile it costs this much.2/5

Should I bargain the Sony Xperia 1 IV?

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Sony Xperia 1 IV's front-facing camera. (Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t bargain it if…

Also consider

Now you've work this Sony Xperia 1 IV review, present are immoderate different phones which mightiness besides involvement you.

  • First reviewed June 2022
Tom Bedford

Tom's relation successful the TechRadar squad is to specialize successful phones and tablets, but helium besides takes connected different tech similar electrical scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based successful London, UK.

He graduated successful American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to moving successful TechRadar freelanced successful tech, gaming and entertainment, and besides spent galore years moving arsenic a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar helium works successful movie arsenic a screenwriter, manager and producer.

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