Sony has just unveiled a brand new flagship smartphone, but is it really all that different from its predecessor?
For example, the two have a triple sensor, 12-megapixel camera system, they share most screen specifications in common (from size to resolution to refresh rate), and the dimensions are almost exactly the same as well. One of the handsets’ endearing qualities is its firm grip on increasingly unusual features for a flagship, including the retention of a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card slot, and even a notification light – and long may this continue.
So given all those similarities, where do they actually differ – and are the changes enough to influence your purchasing decision?
The camera is the feature that has seen the most change, by far – which might sound surprising given that it still has a triple 12-megapixel sensor array.
Now, however, you’ll find that each and every one has Sony’s autofocus and object tracking, along with the ability to shoot 4K footage at 120fps.
The zoom camera has especially been improved, now featuring an 85mm-125mm genuine optical zoom, and considering we singled this out as a weakness in the Xperia 1 III, we’re hoping to see real improvements here.
Perhaps the least surprising change of all is the update to the processor, which gets its incremental upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 over the Snapdragon 888. We’ve seen improved performance scores from this new silicon on the phones that we’ve tried out, including the Xiaomi 12 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, and Oppo Find X5 Pro, and therefore we expect an improvement over the Xperia 1 III as well.
We’ve not yet run benchmark tests on the Xperia 1 IV, but take a look a how those phones featuring the new silicon tend to perform compared to the Sony Xperia 1 III – where the Geekbench scores represent CPU performance, and the 3D Mark scores show how the GPU performs.
Benchmark comparison tests
Along with the other minor improvements, there’s also been a boost to the battery capacity on the Xperia 1 IV. Whereas its predecessor just had a 4500mAh capacity, the new iteration has 5000mAh, which should hopefully have a salutary effect on the endurance.
However, the 30W charging rate remains the same between the two, and both are capable of wireless charging too. One irritating difference is that Xperia 1 IV has neither a charging brick nor a charging cable included in the box, so you’ll have to re-use an existing cable or else buy a new one.
Most screen specs have remained the same, including the 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, not to mention the unusual 21:9 aspect ratio that’s well-suited to widescreen content, but there have been a couple of tweaks made, most especially to the brightness.
Sony claims that the Xperia 1 IV has a 50% brighter screen than its predecessor, and it’s also got a real-time HDR drive which “reproduces the gradation of overexposed and underexposed areas and displays them smoothly.”
The price of a handset is often the most crucial factor for determining whether or not you take the leap and buy a phone. There’s actually quite a considerable difference between the two phones when it comes to cost; the Sony Xperia 1 III cost $1,299 (£1,199) at launch, whereas its successor has seen a huge price rise to $1,599 (£1,299).
If you’re looking to save some money, then clearly the Xperia 1 IV should not be on the shortlist for your next phone.
As you can see, there’s not much separating these two devices from what we know so far, but we’ll still need to try out the Xperia 1 IV and put it through our full review process before we can be sure – and the camera performance, in particular, will certainly need some close consideration.
However, given the striking similarities outlined above, it currently seems hard to justify such an exorbitant leap in price to the Xperia 1 IV. We’d be very surprised if it manages to be worth all that extra outlay.