Sony Xperia 1 IV review

GSMArena Team, 11 May 2022.

The competition

The Sony Xperia 1 IV is priced at €1399, which is in line with the current flagship crop. It offers a lot of niceties, even some that you will not find elsewhere. The Xperia 1 IV offers a 4K OLED screen of premium quality, there is the most recent Snapdragon chip and commendable speakers, but most importantly, it was designed for photography on the go. With excellent camera kits on both sides, many shooting modes and apps, and a unique tele camera with continuous zoom, the Xperia 1 IV impresses right out of the bat.

Sony Xperia 1 IV review

We don't see many Xperia 1 III or Xperia Pro-I owners switching to Xperia 1 IV despite the new zoom camera as it didn't turn out the next big thing as the difference in the field of view is small, plus the quality is unimpressive as you zoom in.

So, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first alternative that comes to mind. The 256GB flagship Galaxy costs as much and impresses with one really bright and large Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel and an integrated S-Pen. The S22 Ultra offers excellent photo and video quality across the board, and it has two tele cameras - one for 3x and another one for 10x optical zoom. Its rendering is not as natural as Sony's, but the Night Mode, the 10x high-quality optical zoom, the better portraits, and the 8K videos, among many other tricks, may tip the scales for mainstream users. Not everyone needs to shoot like a Pro with Pro-oriented apps, which takes away some of the features like 4K60 mode that other phones offer in their basic apps.

The Pixel 6 Pro is about €300 cheaper than the Sony Xperia 1 IV, and it can be an excellent alternative with the same natural image processing as the Xperia's. Google has a similar way of handling photos and videos, with excellent-looking foliage, and it can do Night Mode. The Pixel photo quality isn't as consistent across the cameras, though, and the phone has rather limited availability. Still, if photo quality matters the most for you, this Pixel should be on your shortlist.

Xiaomi hasn't announced its 12 Ultra yet, but the €900 Xiaomi 12 Pro is for those who want an all-around experience across every front and are not bothered by the lack of ingress protection. It has a superb 6.73-inch AMOLED with Dolby Vision support and dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, the latest Snapdragon chip, and a triple 50MP camera on the back of excellent quality. Its charging speed is out of this world, but its battery life isn't that impressive. Still, it is about €500 cheaper, so if your budget doesn't cover the Xperia, this is a good high-profile alternative for sure.

Then, the Oppo Find X5 Pro costs about €1100 and is worth considering as a really good all-rounder - it is a beautiful, waterproofed smartphone with a great 120Hz AMOLED screen, powerful hardware and capable cameras. It is not as capable a shooter as the Sony, but we liked it for its great display, excellent main, ultrawide and selfie cameras, and the fast charging.

Finally, Apple's iPhone 13 Pro Max deserves mention for its great AMOLED, immensely powerful hardware, impressive speaker loudness and quality, and consistently good triple camera setup that can do wide dynamic range videos with both stabilization and 60fps. If only Apple knew how to process foliage, though.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G Google Pixel 6 Pro Xiaomi 12 Pro Oppo Find X5 Pro Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G • Google Pixel 6 Pro • Xiaomi 12 Pro • Oppo Find X5 Pro • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Our verdict

The Sony Xperia 1 IV has a lot of reasons to be liked - the 4K OLED display, the latest Snapdragon chipset, the front-facing stereo speakers, the large battery, and most importantly, its professional-oriented camera kit.

And the Xperia 1 IV excels in many aspects - it has a superb HDR10-capable display, the battery life is notably improved over the previous versions, and the speakers are more bassy, too. And the camera seems better - Sony offers excellent processing across all cameras, and the daylight photo and quality is one of the best you can have.

Let's not forget the Cinema Pro and the Video Pro apps, which are intended for prosumers who want to make high-quality films on the go. The hardware and the software are all there.

Sony Xperia 1 IV review

But the Xperia 1 IV is not without issues, unfortunately. First is the heavy throttling. The phone reaches its critical temperature quite fast, and two things happen immediately - the screen refresh rate immediately drops to 60fps and the processing power of CPU and GPU is halved. While both matter, the chipset is powerful enough that you may not notice the lack of full power, but you can see and feel the slower display.

Worse, this happens when shooting with any camera app for a while. The phone may get incredibly hot and will eventually kill the camera app if needed. The app suspension did not happen to us, but we got the special hot icon quite a few times. And it's only spring (18-22C).

Then there is the overcomplicated way of handling the video capturing by scattering various shooting modes across the three apps. And not having Night Mode for the sake of its unrealistic look is no excuse, sorry, Sony.

Sony Xperia 1 IV review

Despite all these flaws, we found the Sony Xperia 1 IV an appealing smartphone with great potential and skills, especially when in the hands of camera professionals. We believe Sony will work out some of the throttling issues as this is a pre-production phone, and every aspect of it is worth it.

We really liked this Xperia in spite of its issues, and we see no reason why not to get one. If you find it complicated or overengineered or cannot forgive some of its shortcomings, look elsewhere.


  • Lovely matte design, IP65/IP68 rating.
  • Excellent 4K OLED screen with 120Hz refresh, HDR10 without a notch or punch hole.
  • Dependable battery life.
  • Outstanding stereo speakers quality.
  • Great daylight photo and video quality (incl. sound).
  • Excellent low-light photos from the main camera.
  • Top-notch selfies.
  • No-nonsense launcher based on Android 12.
  • 3.5mm jack, microSD, NFC, 5G.


  • The screen auto switches to 4K only in certain limited cases; no dynamic refresh rate either.
  • No charger in the box, not even a cable.
  • No Night Mode - UW and Tele cameras stand to benefit a lot from it.
  • Easily overheats under load (even when using the camera), causing heavy performance throttling and even refresh rate throttling.
Current prices

Reader comments

The tall aspect ratio won't bother you longer. You would eventually find it cool. Specially for app usage it's very good. Only slight issue is typing which might take some time to be adjusted. Overall top phone. The best display in the bu...

This one second hand in my country is at like 355$ Very much worth the buy, i might consider it, a flagship is a flagship, no point in having the latest and greatest.

  • ab9xx
  • 19 Apr 2023
  • mDc

basically a great phone I would consider to buy: Flat screen and headphone jack is great. A full Dual SIM and SD Card slot would be nice - although not so important as Sony offers a 512gb option. The only things I do not like it the too tall aspect r...