Sony’s new Xperia 1 V phone is cinematic and still overpriced

sony smartphone There’s so much focus on the photo and video features that they lose much of their charm. Their cost is much higher than even the top-end iPhone. The new Xperia 1 V hasn’t changed: It costs $1,399, which is $200 less than its absurdly expensive predecessor, but still expensive. (There’s no price cut in the UK and Europe and you’ll have to shell out £1,299 and €1,399 respectively.)

There’s a lot to like about the Xperia 1 V, and it has some features that are rare in high-end phones nowadays, but it’s not for everyone.

To persevere

The Xperia 1 V is instantly recognizable as a Sony phone due to its tall and slim profile. The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was how non sticky and light it was. There’s Victus’ Gorilla Glass on the back, although it doesn’t feel or look like glass. Combine the ribbed pattern around the aluminum frame and you’ve got a durable, stylish look that’ll never slip out of your hands. The finish is also refreshingly immune to stains.

At the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a rarity in today’s flagships. All the buttons are on the right, including a power button that also serves as the fingerprint sensor and a shaded shutter button for the camera. On the bottom you can open a flap to access the SIM tray and – another rarity in today’s top phones – a microSD card slot. In this way, you can increase the 256 GB internal storage whenever you want. The Xperia 1 V also enjoys an IP65/IP68 rating, which means it can handle submersion in water and rain just fine.

A common problem with the side-mounted fingerprint sensor is that it gets activated too easily when sliding the phone in and out of a pocket, which is the case here. It’s a natural place to rest your thumb when held with one hand, but it doesn’t always recognize my print and unlock on the first try. The Xperia 1 V is also tall enough that pulling down the notification shade with one hand is a difficult process. Sony’s answer is Side Sense, a customizable overlay menu that lets you reach just about anything with your thumb.

Photo: Simon Hill

The star of the show is the 6.5-inch OLED screen, with 4K resolution, HDR10 support, and 120Hz refresh rate. Sony stuck to the 21:9 aspect ratio and has thin bezels on the top and bottom that house the front-facing stereo speakers and selfie camera. Put all this together with Sony’s Creator Mode picture setting, which delivers accurate colors “as the directors intended,” and you have arguably the best smartphone for watching movies.

By extraction 2 From a variety of 4K HDR wildlife videos to science fiction movies on YouTube, on Netflix 65 On the Bravia Core, everything I looked at looked great on this screen. The latter is Sony’s little-known streaming service, and you get one year of free access with your Xperia 1v. The front-facing speakers are impressively balanced and loud, with Dolby Atmos support, but you also have a headphone jack and support for 360 Reality Audio for immersive sound.

As great as the screen is for movies, there’s also a lot of content with black bars on the sides. When I streamed one of the free HD movies (mighty hit) in Sony’s Bravia Core app, it had a big black box wrapped around it. Most sports have black bars on both sides. You may want to turn off Creator Mode when you’re not watching a movie and use the brighter, more saturated default mode, otherwise it can look a bit washed out. It’s not the brightest screen, but it remains readable even in direct sunlight.

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