Sony Xperia 1, 10 Plus, 10, L3 hands-on review

GSMArena team, 25 February 2019.

Introduction

On one hand, it's kind of hard to be too surprised about Sony's new device announcements, purely on the grounds of the avalanche of leaks that preceded the MWC keynote. Then again, many of said rumors turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Whether intentional or not on Sony's part, all that matters is that the devices the Japanese giant did unveil at the Barcelona event still managed to turn quite a few heads.

Sony MWC 2019 hands-on review

Sony's fresh new lineup can probably be described best as different. Alternative and pretty bold also spring to mind. Let's start with the elephant in the room - the new aspect ratio. Sony is banking hard on the 21:9 ratio and for the most part has pretty sound reasoning to back that decision up. First and foremost, of course, there is the constant strive to stay different, interesting and hence relevant in a vast and mostly similar smartphone market. A skinny and extremely tall phone, with memorable bezel design and proportions that can show cinematic content in all its glory, is definitely an attention-grabber.

Multimedia consumption is one of the key marketing points Sony has put forward for its new devices. Backed up by a set of other advanced audio and video features, we can definitely see the angle.

Then there is also the productivity argument. Split-screen multi-tasking really comes into its own with the extra screen real estate. Plus, if nothing else, it's a fact that most of what we tend to do on our phones nowadays is scroll through various vertical content. This is another area the 21:9 aspect ratio in portrait orientation really shines.

Sony MWC 2019 hands-on review

So color us impressed and intrigued by the new aspect ratio. But there are more interesting aspects to Sony's MWC 2019 announcements to consider as well. Mainly dealing with a new product naming convention and potentially strategy. Without further ado, let's quickly go through the total of four handsets Sony took the wrappings off.

First off, we have the Xperia 1. Pretty simple and straight-forward as far as naming is concerned. Yet slightly confusing once you realize it is intended as a continuation of Sony's "Premium" line, rather than the flagship "XZ" one.

Sony Xperia 1 specs

  • Body: Aluminum frame; Gorilla Glass 6 on back and front; 167 x 72 x 8.2 mm; 180 grams; IP65/68 ingress protection rating; Color options: Black, Grey, Purple, White
  • Screen: 6.5" OLED; 21:9 aspect ratio; 4K (1644 x 3840 px); 643ppi; HDR BT.2020; DCI-P3 color space
  • Rear cameras: Primary: Motion Eye 12MP (1/2.6" Exmor RS), f/1.6 aperture (ISO 3200), 26mm lens, Dual Photo Diode; 12MP (1/3.4") telephoto, f/2.4, 52mm lens; 12MP (1/3.4") wide, f/2.4, 16mm
  • Additional camera features: Predictive Capture (Motion/Smile), Autofocus burst with up to 10 fps AE/AE tracking; Eye Autofocus; Predictive Hybrid Autofocus; Anti-distortion shutter; Optical SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis EIS + OIS); RAW noise reduction
  • Video capture: 4K (16:9 or 21:9), Super slow motion 960fps at FullHD
  • Front camera: 8MP (1/4" sensor), f/2.0 fixed-focus
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 855 chipset, octa-core processor (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 485), Adreno 640 GPU.
  • Memory: 6GB of RAM + 64/128GB storage; Up to 512GB microSD card support
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Battery: 3,330mAh Li-Ion; USB Power Delivery fast charging; Smart STAMINA, Battery Care, Xperia Adaptive Charging
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM/ Single-SIM options available (market dependant); 5CA LTE 4x4 MIMO, Cat.19 LTE (Up to 1.6Gbps download speed); USB 3.1 Type-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS + GLONASS; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC.
  • Audio: Hybrid stereos speaker setup, Dolby Atmos, DSEE HX, LDAC, Qualcomm aptX HD
  • Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint reader, X1 For mobile engine, TRILUMINOS display, BIONZ X for mobile (Eye autofocus); Cinema Pro app for cinematic video recording

Digging a bit into the specs sheet clearly reveals more than a few signs of the Xperia 1's "Premium" pedigree. Most-notably that's the 4K resolution. A pretty unique Sony offering, as it is, now made even better and holding the claim of the world first 4K OLED smartphone panel. Skip on to the next page for a more in-depth look into some of its other awesome qualities.

Following the Xperia 1 in the current announcement roster are the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus. As per Sony's own placement of the pair within its current lineup these shape up as successors to the popular "XA" lineup. Although that being said, Sony has coined a pretty apt "super mid-range" title for them.

Sony Xperia 10 Plus specs

  • Body: Plastic unibody with "metalic finish"; Gorilla Glass 5 on front; 167 x 73 x 8.3 mm; 180 grams; Color options: Navy, Black, Silver, Gold
  • Screen: 6.5" IPS; 21:9 aspect ratio; FullHD+ (1080 x 2520 px)
  • Rear cameras: Primary: 12MP (1/2.8"); 8MP (1/4") 2x telephoto camera (only available for stills)
  • Additional camera features: Hybrid AF, SteadyShot, ISO 12800 for photos and 3200 for videos
  • Video capture: 4K (16:9 or 21:9); SteadyShot
  • Front camera: 8MP (1/4.0"), ISO 3200 for photos and 1600 for video
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 636 chipset, octa-core processor (2x1.8 GHz Kryo 260), Adreno 509 GPU.
  • Memory: 4GB/6GB (in China) of RAM + 64GB storage (some markets could get less); Up to 512GB microSD card support
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Battery: 3,000mAh Li-Ion; Smart STAMINA, Battery Care
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM/ Single-SIM options available (market dependant); Cat.12 LTE; USB 2.0 Type-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS + GLONASS; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; 3.5mm audio jack
  • Audio: Single bottom-firing speaker, DSEE HX, LDAC, Smart Amplifier
  • Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint reader

We definitely understand the reasoning. Both phones borrow heavily from the premium Xperia 1, especially in terms of design. This also includes the experimental new 21:9 cinematic aspect ratio. Of course, on slightly less visually impressive display and with more mid-range appropriate internals, but the overall product strategy is clearly there.

Sony Xperia 10 specs

  • Body: Plastic unibody with "metalic finish"; Gorilla Glass 5 on front; 155 x 68 x 8.4 mm; 162 grams; Color options: Navy, Black, Silver, Pink
  • Screen: 6.0" IPS; 21:9 aspect ratio; FullHD+ (1080 x 2520 px)
  • Rear cameras: Primary: 13MP (1/3.0"); 5MP (1/4") depth sensor
  • Additional camera features: Hybrid AF, 5x digital zoom (photo and video), SteadyShot, ISO 12800 for photos and 3200 for videos
  • Video capture: 4K (16:9 or 21:9); SteadyShot
  • Front camera: 8MP (1/4.0"), ISO 3200 for photos and 1600 for video
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 630 chipset, octa-core processor (8x2.2 GHz Cortex-A53), Adreno 508 GPU.
  • Memory: 3/4GB (in China) of RAM + 64GB storage (some markets could get less); Up to 512GB microSD card support
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Battery: 2,870mAh Li-Ion; Smart STAMINA, Battery Care
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM/ Single-SIM options available (market dependant); Cat.12 LTE; USB 2.0 Type-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS + GLONASS; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; 3.5mm audio jack
  • Audio: Single bottom-firing speaker, DSEE TX, LDAC, Smart Amplifier
  • Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint reader

Last and probably least, there is the new Xperia L3 entry-level model. It might be the runt of the litter in this case, but compared to previous Xperia L devices, it clearly shows more ambitions to strive towards its bigger sibling.

Sony Xperia L3 specs

  • Body: Plastic unibody with "metalic finish"; Gorilla Glass 5 on front; 154 x 72 x 8.9 mm; 156 grams; Color options: Black, Silver, Gold
  • Screen: 5.7" IPS; 18:9 aspect ratio; HD+
  • Rear cameras: Primary: 13MP; 2MP depth sensor
  • Additional camera features: Contrast AF, ISO 3200 for photos and videos, Bokeh, 4x Clear Image Zoom (digital)
  • Front camera: 8MP, 83-degree super wide-angle, ISO 1600
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22 (12 nm) chipset, octa-core processor (8x2.0 GHz Cortex-A53), PowerVR GE8320 GPU.
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM + 32GB storage (some markets could get less); Up to 512GB microSD card support
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Battery: 3,300mAh Li-Ion; Smart STAMINA, Battery Care; USB Power Delivery compatibility
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM/ Single-SIM options available (market dependant); Cat.6 LTE; USB 2.0 Type-C; Wi-Fi; GPS + GLONASS; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; 3.5mm audio jack
  • Audio: Single bottom-firing speaker, Smart Amplifier
  • Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint reader

The new revamped design is there, complete with a trendy tall panel. A much more common 18:9 aspect, but a clear indication of Sony's focus on entertainment and multimedia consumption.

Speaking of design, Sony is clearly taking a step away from the familiar "Ambient Flow" concept and all of its predecessors and derivatives. Like we said, it's a bold new look, meant to house a bold new experimental display form factor. We can see it trickle down all the way to the budget Xperia L3 offer.

Follow along on the next page as we take a closer look, of course, starting from the new ultra-premium Xperia 1, it's looks and what it has to offer.