Sony’s new Xperia 1 VI flagship zooms in on photography nerds

Sony has introduced the Xperia 1 VI, the sixth generation of the company’s flagship smartphone that could tempt photography enthusiasts away from rivaling iPhone and Pixel devices. Some of those perks include a true optical zoom, AI-assisted autofocus, and a unified app experience.

It has three cameras on the back: a 24mm main camera with a 48-megapixel Sony Exmor T sensor, a 16mm ultrawide, and an 85-170mm variable zoom telephoto camera that provides magnification around 3.5x to 7.1x that of the main camera. The Xperia 1 VI also utilizes this new telephoto camera for its macro mode.

The device comes with auto-focus “human pose estimation” AI technology that can recognize a subject’s body and head position and supports filming video in 4K HDR at 120fps that works alongside high-end color profiles like the S-Cinetone. Sony has also unified its various filming and photography features into a single camera app experience, preventing users from needing to jump between different software.

Inside the Xperia 1 VI, you’ll find the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and a choice between 256GB and 512GB of storage. Sony says its 5,000mAh battery should provide users with up to two days worth of juice on a single charge and that the device supports both 15W wireless charging and wireless battery sharing to other devices.

The optical zoom on the 12-megapixel telephoto camera seen here on the bottom ranges from 85 to 125mm.
Image: Sony

A few other changes have also been introduced besides the camera upgrades which might be a harder sell for some customers. The previously 4K display is now 2220 x 1080 and has been reduced from 7.1 inches down to 6.5 inches, taking the aspect ratio from 21:9 to a stouter 19.5:9. It does now have a variable refresh rate between 1Hz to 120Hz however, and Sony says the OLED display can achieve a 50 percent higher peak brightness than the Xperia 1 V.

The Xperia 1 VI’s more compact size may also appeal to folks who are looking to move away from larger smartphones.
Image: Sony

The actual design remains fairly unchanged. It’s visually almost identical to the previous model, down to being released in the same three colors: black, silver, and khaki green. It also still comes with a dedicated shutter button and a 3.5mm headphone jack (a rarity in flagship mobiles these days), though Sony says the new “full-stage” speakers also provide improvements to “bass, clarity, and the spread of sound” for those who choose not to plug in.

The model in the middle is supposed to be “khaki” in case you’re as confused as I am.
Image: Sony

Unlike previous releases in the Xperia 1 series, Sony isn’t planning to release the Xperia 1 VI in the US. The device can, however, be preordered now in the UK and across Europe for £1,299 (around $1,640) and €1,399, respectively, with deliveries starting from June 6th.