The Xperia 1 III costs way too much at MSRP, but its price has since come down. It’s just about the only phone around with a 4K OLED 120-Hz screen, which makes it fantastic for watching movies (as fantastic as a tiny phone screen can be). It has great-sounding front-facing stereo speakers and a headphone jack when you want to plug it in. Its camera system isn’t quite the best, but it encourages you to tweak photo and video settings so you can have more control over the results. If you’re a photo tinkerer, this is for you. You can find pretty much any feature that’s available in a high-end phone here, including wireless charging.
However, 5G is limited to sub-6 5G (the slower kind), and it’s only available on Verizon and T-Mobile—sorry, AT&T subscribers, you’re stuck on 4G LTE. The 4,500-mAh battery isn’t a standout either. It lasts just a day, sometimes less if you use it a lot. It also will only get one more year of updates.
What about the Xperia 1 IV? Yes, Sony has a new version. Unfortunately, the Xperia 1 IV (6/10, WIRED Review) costs an absurd $1,598though it frequently dips to $1,398. The 4K OLED screen gets plenty bright, fixing one of the qualms I had with the Xperia 1 III, and the battery now easily lasts a full day too. The cameras are better and share many of the same features, so they’re consistent, but the imaging quality still isn’t up to par with competitors. It doesn’t help that Sony still isn’t committing to more than two years of software support.