Test of the Sony Xperia 1 V: Only for experts

The Sony Xperia 1 V is a more expensive phone than high-end cameras like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 Pro, but those who desire complete control over their photography may find the preset shots to be too bland.


  • Extremely strong control over taking pictures and videos
  • A distinct variable zoom lens
  • Cozy design with a tall, narrow screen
  • Continues to support headphone jack and microSD cards


  • The default photos are not very good.
  • More costly than flagship phones from competitors
  • The fingerprint sensor is still untrustworthy.


The images taken with the Xperia 1 V are, to put it simply, flat. It made no difference which lens I tried or if I contrasted the images from the Xperia with those from the Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 14 Pro Max—two of the top smartphones with cameras—or any other comparison. The Sony photos consistently lacked the vibrancy that the majority of other smartphones’ photos offer.

When I arrived at the ancient power plant at Battersea, the sky was already overcast, but this ultrawide photo of the north gate makes it appear far more ominous than it was. Although the iPhone image is still maybe a bit too bright to be an entirely accurate representation of the environment, it does a better job of capturing how I saw things.

Similarly, using Sony’s lens, this scale model of Battersea Power Station within the power plant itself appears dull. Things appear more brighter (and more yellow due to the surrounding illumination) when using the iPhone.

The Sony phone underplays things in more ways than just color. The old bus reactor’s metal components, which are on show in the power station, have a far more vibrant patina in the iPhone photo than it does in the Sony one.

This primary camera photo of a London Underground roundel makes the flatness of the Xperia’s images very apparent. Even though I prefer being able to concentrate on the roundel itself, it’s odd that the Sony picture’s bottom section has almost no reflection at all, in contrast to the S23 Ultra.


Now you should be well aware of the types of images that the Xperia is capable of taking. It’s now appropriate to raise the curtain.

The Xperia 1 V was only used to capture pictures in the Basic mode of the camera app, which is essentially the same as the point-and-shoot mode seen on most smartphones (including those with “pro” options like the ExpertRAW stand-alone software on the Galaxy S23 series or the ProRAW toggle on the iPhone 14 Pro).

If you remove the stabilizers from your photographs, Sony’s Photography Pro software gives you much more control over your images than other camera applications. If you choose to use manual mode instead, you may easily adjust the ISO, white balance, focus type, metering, and drive modes of the camera.

The Xperia 1 V can still perform more feats. The zoom camera, for example, features a changeable lens that allows you to snap full optical resolution zoom shots at 3.5x and 5.2x magnification. The clever piece of technology is one that the big smartphone manufacturers have not embraced.

Now that you know this, go back and review the pictures up there. The Xperia 1 V is not the phone for you if such pictures make you think of plain, boring pictures that you would never want to share with friends or publish on social media. However, if you view these imperfect photos as a chance to adjust settings or make post-production fixes, then you are precisely the kind of person Sony is trying to sell this phone to.


However, should you get the Xperia 1 V just for its camera capabilities? That needs more information, so let’s look at the specifications of the Sony flagship.

Aside from its camera systems, the Xperia 1 V’s design is another distinctive feature. Despite being thinner than most other smartphones, the tall and thin 21:9 display makes it much easier to use one-handedly. With its 4K resolution, the 6.5-inch OLED display looks great while playing video with a cinematic aspect ratio.

Unfortunately, even though the Xperia has a 120Hz refresh rate, it isn’t enabled by default and becomes static when you do. That means that if you try to use it, it will negatively impact your battery life.

Positively, the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the strongest glass available for smartphones at the moment. Furthermore, the Xperia 1 V has undergone testing to meet IP65 and IP68 standards from Sony, meaning it should have even more comprehensive waterproofing than other IP68-rated phones.

Sony decided against using a standard under-display fingerprint sensor and instead affixed its security system on the power button. Generally, this is still an excellent location for a fingerprint scanner, but as I discovered with the Xperia 1 IV last year, Sony’s is still remarkably inaccurate.


The Sony Xperia 1 V is a well-made phone with ample specs, but it’s difficult to recommend to most consumers. I don’t think many phone purchasers will want what it has to offer, thus it won’t rank among the finest Android phones. However, I also think that some very specific users might benefit much more from this phone than from the top-tier versions of the iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel because of the improved control over recording that the Xperia’s camera and video apps offer, as well as the flat images that provide a great deal of flexibility for editing afterwards.

The Xperia 1 V is difficult to market due to its high beginning price. Furthermore, rival phones do not have the same issues the phone does with effectively running its display at 120Hz. Therefore, for creative photographers and videographers, there might not be a better phone to carry around in their pocket—despite the fact that it’s pricey and somewhat impractical.

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