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Sony Xperia 1 VI vs Google Pixel 8 Pro: What’s the difference?

Sony has revealed the top-end Xperia 1 VI, but how does it compare to one of the most popular smartphones around, the Google Pixel 8 Pro?

It’s easy to assume that, being the more expensive of the two, the Xperia 1 VI has the upper hand in the tech department – but that’s not always the case. In fact, the Pixel 8 Pro has tempting features like AI-infused photography and an exceptionally long OS promise that might sway your decision towards Team Google. 

That said, here are five key differences between the Sony Xperia 1 VI and Google Pixel 8 Pro. 

The Sony Xperia 1 VI has a more compact screen

Smartphones are pretty big in 2024, with most smartphones – including the Pixel 8 Pro – sporting a 6.7-inch screen. It’s a great size for watching movies, scrolling through TikTok and most other mobile-themed activities, hence why it’s such a popular size. However, the downside is that 6.7-inch smartphones can be a handful to hold.

That’s where alternatives like the Sony Xperia 1 VI come in with a slightly smaller 6.5-inch screen – though there are big changes from Team S with this release. Rather than using a screen with a tall-and-narrow 21:9 aspect ratio as with other Xperia releases, the 1 VI offers a 19.5:9 aspect ratio that makes it a little shorter and squatter, and thus, easier to hold.

The catch? The 4K resolution that was once the standout feature of Sony’s flagship smartphone range is nowhere to be seen, instead sporting an FHD+ screen that’s slightly lower-res than the Pixel alternative. 

Elsewhere, the two screens are fairly evenly matched; they’re both OLED screens with 120Hz LTPO support and protected by Corning’s high-end Gorilla Glass Victus 2. 

The Google Pixel 8 Pro has AI-powered camera tech

The Sony Xperia 1 VI is all about the camera setup, sporting a trio of rear lenses including the same 52MP Exmor-T main sensor as last year’s Xperia 1 V, along with a 12MP 123-degree ultrawide camera and an upgraded 12MP telephoto lens with an impressive zoom range of 3.5x to 7.1x. 

Mint Pixel 8 pro back in hand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Paired with DSLR-level manual controls and pro-level shooting modes, the Xperia 1 VI looks like a treat for anyone with any experience with DSLRs, and Sony DSLRs in particular.

That sounds like a capable camera setup for those who really understand mobile photography, but for the rest of us, Google’s AI-infused camera setup takes the challenge out of taking high-quality snaps. 

The AI-focused Tensor G3 chipset powers shooting modes like Super Res Zoom and Night Shot, further improved by editing tools like the GenAI-powered Magic Editor and Best Take – features that are rarely seen in non-Pixel smartphones. 

It also helps that the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera offering is on par with what the Xperia 1 VI offers, comprising of a main 50MP camera, a 48MP 5x telephoto lens and a 48MP 126-degree ultrawide. 

The Sony Xperia 1 VI features a headphone jack

One way that the Sony Xperia 1 VI differentiates itself, not only from the Pixel 8 Pro but most of the flagship competition, is by continuing to include a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired headphone support. 

It’s a feature rarely seen at the flagship level these days with the ever-rising popularity of Bluetooth headphones, with those with normal wired cans having to use dongles to listen to their favourite tunes. 

It’s not just any 3.5mm headphone jack either; the Xperia 1 VI sports a new premium circuit to offer truly high-end performance, complete with support for Hi-Res Audio.

You can use headphones with the Pixel 8 Pro if you have a 3.5mm to USB-C dongle, but it’s undoubtedly simpler with the Xperia 1 VI. 

Sony Xperia 1 VI colour options

The Google Pixel 8 Pro has a much longer software promise

Google is the company that develops the Android operating system, so it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the company offers exceptional long-term software support for its flagship Pixel range. 

The old promise of four OS upgrades and five years of security patches was impressive enough compared to the flagship competition, but Google boosted that to a whopping seven OS upgrades with the launch of the Pixel 8 range, taking the Pixel 8 Pro all the way to Android 21. 

Sony’s long-term software support for the Xperia 1 VI is lacking, especially compared to the Pixel 8 Pro, offering just three OS upgrades and four years of security updates that’ll take it through to Android 17. 

The Google Pixel 8 Pro is cheaper

Despite the various benefits that the Google Pixel 8 Pro offers compared to the Sony Xperia 1 VI, it’s actually the cheaper of the two flagship smartphones with a starting price of £999.

The Sony Xperia 1 VI, on the other hand, comes in at a cool £1,299 – a whole £300 more. 

The Google Pixel 8 Pro is available to buy now, while the Xperia 1 VI is set to be released in the UK on 6 June, with US release TBC.

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