Sony Xperia Pro-I review

GSMArena Team, 02 December 2021.


What if the Sony Xperia 1 III went to school and got a degree in filmmaking? No need to wonder - it would become an imaging professional. It would become the Xperia Pro-I.

Sony has a habit of making phones no one expects, and no one has thought to ask for. That's how the Xperia Pro came to be. The Xperia 1 II's ultra-expensive alter ego was meant to be used as an external monitor for Sony Alpha cameras... and it also happened to be a phone with 5G connectivity.

The Xperia Pro-I, on the other hand, is not an accessory, it's the main act - the phone is the camera. Inside the Pro-I, Sony fitted a 20MP 1.0" Type sensor, and it's the first one this big with phase-detect autofocus on a phone, they point out to get that Sharp out of the conversation. What they don't explicitly mention is that the Pro-I isn't using all of it - just 12MP, but we'll elaborate on that later on. The point is - great main camera chops.

The other cameras aren't all that special but complete a capable tri-set. There's an autofocusing ultrawide that's at the reasonable end of the 'ultrawide' spectrum instead of the extreme. As for zoom, gone is the dual focal length periscope of the Xperia 1 III, replaced on the Pro-I with a more modest 2x-only unit.

Sony Xperia Pro-I review

The rest of the internals are almost entirely straight from the Xperia 1 III. The Pro-I reuses that one's 120Hz 4K display, the Snapdragon 888 is doing the calcs (not the plus, not that it matters), the battery is the same too.

The Pro-I does take its own unique path when it comes to design, but we'll talk more about that on the next page.

Sony Xperia Pro-I specs at a glance:

  • Body: 166.0x72.0x8.9mm, 211g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass 6), aluminum frame; IP65/IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
  • Display: 6.50" OLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR BT.2020, 1644x3840px resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, 643ppi; Runs at 1096 x 2560 pixels except for select use cases.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
  • Memory: 512GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.X; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 11.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/2.0-4.0, 24mm, 1.0"-type, 2.4µm, PDAF, OIS (315 PDAF points, 90% frame coverage); Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.4, 50mm, 1/2.9", PDAF, 2.1x optical zoom, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 124˚, 16mm, 1/2.55", Dual Pixel PDAF; Depth: 0.3 MP, TOF 3D.
  • Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/25/30/60/120fps HDR, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps; 5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS; Front camera: 1080p@30fps, 5-axis gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 30W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), USB Power Delivery.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; 3.5mm jack; Native Sony Alpha camera support.

Sony Xperia Pro-I unboxing

The Xperia Pro-I arrives in an unassuming white cardboard box - certainly nothing that hints at the $1800 worth of phone packed inside. There is a splash of gold that accents the Pro-I inscription on the lid, and that's as far as the flair goes. For what it's worth, there's zero plastic used for the packaging.

Sony Xperia Pro-I review

The contents aren't lavish either. Aside from the phone, you're getting a 30W charger and a USB-C cable, and that's it.

There are a couple of accessories that are optional and can be purchased at an extra cost that complement the Pro-I in its pursuit for camera greatness. Those include a grip - previously available and compatible with the company's current lineup of standalone cameras, and a newly-launched vlog monitor that you can use as a viewfinder to record yourself on that 1.0-inch main camera. Here's a glimpse of those, but they'll get their own page too later on.

Sony Xperia Pro-I review

First things first - let's talk about the Xperia Pro-I itself.

Reader comments

  • LOL

It's for the most hardcore Sony fanboys with too much money to burn. So hardcore they'll even put up with this shortcoming, quote: "Battery life is below average." Forget about the cameras and other specs, if your e...

X3 GT has excellent camera module for the price. The comparison tool shows how the xperia needs a lot of work. And by the way, computational photography is everywhere. Search for Sony's Alpha 1 mirrorless. It incorporates computationa...

The camera is worse than in $200 phones. It's not the level of nova 9, S21 Ultra or P50. Not even level of midrange.