Sony launches the Xperia 1 series of flagship phones every year, offering a high-end, premium-priced experience. 2022 saw the Japanese giant deliver perhaps its most compelling Xperia 1 device yet in the Xperia 1 IV. But what should we expect from the 2023 device? Here’s everything we know and think we know about the Sony Xperia 1 V.
Will there be a Sony Xperia V?
Sony has offered an Xperia 1 series flagship Android phone every year since 2019, so we have no reason to believe that the company will stop in 2023. The brand’s mobile division also seemingly turned a corner in 2021, making a quarterly profit for the first time since 2017. You therefore have to assume that the company is committed to launching the Xperia 1 V in order to continue this relatively recent run of commercial success.
The Japanese giant hasn’t confirmed the Xperia V launch just yet, but it might be a little too early for that confirmation to be forthcoming. More on that below.
What is the Sony Xperia 1 V release date?
- Sony Xperia 1 — February 25, 2019
- Sony Xperia 1 II — February 24, 2020
- Sony Xperia 1 III — April 14, 2021
- Sony Xperia 1 IV — May 11, 2022
Sony tends to be all over the place when it comes to actually revealing Xperia 1 series handsets. The first two devices were revealed in late February, while the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 1 IV were revealed in Q2.
We’re guessing that Sony will skip a MWC 2023 reveal for the Xperia 1 V, as the event is just a few weeks away at the time of writing and we haven’t seen any teasers from the company just yet. So we’d expect a reveal between March and May.
But Sony has a reputation for making consumers wait a long time between the reveal and the on-sale date. For example, the Xperia 1 V arrived in some countries on June 16 (just under a month after the reveal) but only hit the US on September 1. The Xperia 1 III was unveiled on April 14 but only landed in the US on August 19. In other words, don’t be surprised if you have to wait a month or five after the reveal until the actual Xperia 1 V release date.
What features and specs will the Xperia 1 V have?
The Xperia 1 series is among the most feature-packed smartphones of the year, so we’re expecting an impressive spec sheet this time. Here’s what we think we know about the Xperia 1 V specs, based on leaks and previous releases.
An apparent Sony Xperia 1 V image was leaked earlier this month via a Weibo user, and it suggests that Sony is sticking with the same fundamental design as the previous handset. That means what appears to be a matte glass back and a plain, vertically stacked rear camera system. Check out the leaked picture below.
The image doesn’t give us a full idea of what to expect from a design perspective, but it definitely suggests more of the same. So those hoping for a drastic overhaul might be disappointed here.
Frequent leaker Steve ‘OnLeaks‘ Hemmerstoffer and GreenSmartphones would go on to post Xperia 1 V renders on February 11. You can view the renders below.
The renders give us a much better look at the handset, showing a similar design as last time, a triple rear camera system, a side fingerprint scanner, a dedicated shutter button, and a 3.5mm port.
Perhaps the most notable Xperia 1 feature is the 4K/120Hz OLED screen, and we’re expecting the Xperia 1 V to offer this display again. This means you can actually view 4K content in native 4K on your phone.
Our main complaint with the Xperia 1 IV and III was that the phone didn’t offer a dynamic refresh rate. You were either stuck with 60Hz all the time or 120Hz all the time, so hopefully a dynamic option is added that automatically switches between various refresh rates as needed.
Sony’s track record suggests a 4K 120Hz screen is a lock for the Xperia 1 V.
As is the case with many high-end Android phones in 2023, we’re expecting the Sony Xperia 1 V to be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. So you shouldn’t have any complaints about gaming performance or performance in general if this is the case.
Either way, we’re cautiously optimistic that the Xperia 1 IV’s disappointing sustained performance and performance in general will be a thing of the past. We also hope the phone doesn’t run as hot as last year’s handset. Other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones seem to do a decent job of heat dissipation, but a phone’s design, internal cooling systems, and software tuning all play a part here. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
One of the top reasons to buy a Sony smartphone is for the camera experience, with Sony’s last few Xperia flagships offering pro camera apps and more. We’re therefore expecting these pro apps to make a return.
Sony has also doggedly stuck to a triple 12MP camera system for a few generations now, so don’t be surprised if we see the same camera resolutions this year. But the company will need to offer a higher-resolution main camera if it decides to adopt 8K video recording on the new phone.
The Xperia 1 IV stood out from the pack thanks to its use of a 12MP variable telephoto camera, capable of switching from 3.5x all the way up to 5.2x. One particular rumor points to Sony offering a slim variable periscope camera module from LG capable of continuously zooming from 4x to 9x. The aforementioned image leak also shows a triple rear camera system with a periscope camera. So it looks like a periscope shooter is on board at the very least.
The 2022 Xperia also delivered thanks to a huge battery, great audio, wireless charging, and IP68 rating. It therefore seems logical that we’ll see these features return on the Xperia 1 V.
What will the Sony Xperia 1 V price be?
- Sony Xperia 1 II — $1,199.99
- Sony Xperia 1 III — $1,299
- Sony Xperia 1 IV — $1,599
You only need to look at the price trend above to realize that the Sony Xperia 1 V will likely cost an arm and a leg. The Japanese firm has embraced a premium strategy to its smartphones, prioritizing high prices and a premium experience over a volume-driven approach.
The trend of price increases from year to year suggests that the Xperia 1 V might even be more expensive than the $1,600 Xperia 1 IV. But we also wouldn’t be surprised if the company sticks with the current (still super-expensive) price point.
If one thing is certain with modern high-end Sony phones, it’s that they’ll be very expensive.
In other words, you shouldn’t hold your breath for the Xperia 1 V to dip below the $1,000 mark or even match the Galaxy S23 Ultra‘s $1,200 price tag.
Still, if Sony can fix where it went wrong with last year’s phone (performance, zoom quality, modern camera modes, software updates) while improving its strengths, then we could be in for a great experience.
Sony Xperia 1 V: What we want to see
A long-term update pledge
Sony has always disappointed when it comes to update commitments, with the Xperia 1 IV only offering a measly two major OS updates and three years of security patches. That’s absolutely mediocre in 2023 when Google, OnePlus, Samsung, and others are offering far longer Android update policies.
We’re therefore holding out for Sony to bring a long-term update pledge to the Xperia 1 V. This isn’t just because it’s a flagship Android phone, but also because the phone is expected to cost $1,200 or more. By comparison, even Samsung’s $300 phones outlast Sony’s flagship phones for software updates.
Upgraded variable telephoto camera
The Xperia 1 III really blazed a trail with its variable telephoto camera, capable of switching between 2.9x and 4.4x but not actually stopping at any interstitial zoom levels. Sony fixed this problem with the Xperia 1 IV, offering a variable telephoto shooter with continuous zoom capabilities.
The main issue with this current variable camera is that it offers a relatively narrow zoom range (3.5x to 5.2x). So we’d like to see the company offering a wider zoom range, potentially delivering 9x or 10x optical zoom. This way, the Galaxy Ultra range will have some competition on its hands when it comes to long-range zoom.
More launch markets
Sony retreated from a host of locales in 2018, choosing to stick with the likes of North America, Europe, and Asia. You were therefore out of luck if you wanted to buy a Sony phone in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and India.
The company’s current strategy seems to be paying dividends, so we can’t expect the company to return to a huge geographical footprint. But we’d definitely like to see a few more markets return to the table so more enthusiasts can easily buy the Xperia 1 V.