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Sony Xperia 1 V Smartphone Review: The Most Camera-Like Smartphone Of 2023

The Sony Xperia 1 V offers an intuitive camera experience for intermediate to advanced photographers and videographers, albeit at the cost of its mainstream appeal.

Sony Xperia 1 V Review

The current state of the smartphone market is interesting to say the least. The “megapixel war” has returned, thanks in no part to manufacturers touting the imaging brilliance of their smartphones using big numbers for the past few years.

Yet, most of these smartphones rarely managed to capture the hearts of professional photographers and videographers, and this is what the Sony Xperia 1 series aims to do. Now in its 5th generation, the Sony Xperia 1 V brings significant upgrades to the main camera over its predecessor; and retails for a whopping RM6,399.

Sony Xperia 1 V – Specifications

ModelSony Xperia 1 V
Dimensions165 x 71 x 8.3 mm
Weight187g
ProcessorCPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
GPU: Adreno 740
RAM12GB
Storage256 / 512GB
Expandable via microSDXC
Display6.5″ OLED
1644 x 3840 pixels
120Hz
Camera (Front)12 MP, f/2.0
Camera (Rear)Main Camera: 48 MP, f/1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
Ultrawide Camera: 12 MP, f/2.2, Dual Pixel PDAF
Telephoto Camera: 12 MP, f/2.3, Dual Pixel PDAF, 3.5x-5.2x continuous optical zoom, OIS
Operating SystemAndroid 13
Battery and Charging5,000 mAh
30W wired charging
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, tri-band
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC
GPS
IR Blaster
BiometricsSide mounted fingerprint reader
Water/Dust ResistanceIP68 / IP65

What’s In The Box?

  • Sony Xperia 1 V
  • Guide

Design

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The camera trio is arranged at the top left of the phone.

The design of the Sony Xperia 1 V is unique to say the least. Unlike other smartphones trying to look like a fashion piece, the Xperia 1 V has a more functional design that professional photographers would love.

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The back features a dotted texture for extra grip.

The trio of cameras are arranged at the top left corner with a slight bump protruding out the back. Speaking of the back, it features a dotted texture that is super resistant to fingerprints and smudges, while the sides are made of metal and has a rigged pattern. This results in a grippy camera especially when working in tandem with the side mounted shutter button (more on this later).

All the buttons and controls are placed at the right side of the phone, while the left is left completely bare. You will find a headphone jack at the top (gasp), and the SIM tray and USB Type-C port is located the bottom.

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Instead of a notch, the Xperia 1 V went with bezels on the top and bottom.

At the front, the display has a noticeable top and bottom bezel, reminiscent of smartphones from the pre-notch selfie camera days. Even so, I think this is a nice touch, as the selfie camera won’t obstruct the display. The bezels house a pair of front facing speakers, which is a nice touch.

Sunlight legibility could be improved in my opinion, as I struggled to see the display under the bright Malaysian sun.

Display

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The Sony Xperia 1 V boasts a 4K 21:9 display

The Sony Xperia 1 V’s display is arguable the best I’ve seen. While it is not the largest display in the market, the 6.5-inch OLED panel has a whopping 4K resolution with a 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio.

However, the 4K resolution only kicks in when running certain applications, such as viewing camera recordings or video content, and will run at a more modest resolution during normal use in order to save on battery life.

That being said, the display is pin sharp when viewing said content, and the 21:9 aspect ratio without a camera notch offers an immersive viewing experience.

Audio

The Xperia 1 V is equipped with twin front-firing speakers and they actually sound quite decent. They can get quite loud, and even at max volume they managed to sound quite warm with minimal distortion.

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Camera

The camera on the Sony Xperia 1 V is among the best we’ve tested, period. The main camera boasts a 48MP 1/1.35″ sensor, and takes pictures binned to 12MP by default. While it lacks the 1-inch sensors offered by its camera phone rivals, it has spot on white balance and excellent dynamic range.

It also features a variable zoom telephoto that is great for portraits due as it compresses the background nicely. The ultrawide is also quite useable and has autofocus.

But what sets it apart is the dedicated camera modes, such as shutter priority, programmed auto, and manual mode. From the UI/UX perspective, it offers photographers tons of control akin to Sony’s Alpha lineup of mirrorless cameras. The dedicated shutter button can also be half pressed to lock focus, and fully pressed to take a shot. Continuous autofocus on moving subjects is also excellent, and it can even automatically lock on to the subject’s eyes.

Cinematographers and videographers can also find solace, as the Sony Xperia 1 V has dedicated camera apps to cater to that target audience.

However, the camera apps can be quite overwhelming for casual users who are not familiar with mirrorless camera controls. For example, even on auto mode, there’s a lot of icons on the menu, even though they are greyed out.

Performance

Geekbench 6CPU Single Core – 1,840
CPU Multi-Core – 4,876
GPU – 7,337
3DMark Wild LifeMaxed out
PCMark Work 3.015,540

Powering the Xperia 1 V is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, along with 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. As with other flagship smartphones equipped with this chip, the performance is excellent across the board. During my day to day use, it managed to handle even the most demanding applications without much hiccups.

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Gaming performance is also great. Aside from the capable hardware, the smartphone has a Game Enhancer app, that could adjust the gaming performance. It also has a few neat features such as recording and streaming in game.

Battery Life

The battery life can be described as slightly above average. It has a 5,000mAh battery which is par for the course these days. I could get it to last for more than a day with moderate use, but it will definitely need charging by the next morning.

And if you want to get it charged to 100% before leaving for work, tough luck. It only supports 30W wired charging, which takes more than an hour and 30 minutes to get to full charge.

Our Verdict

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3.75 / 5The Sony Xperia 1 V offers an intuitive camera experience for intermediate to advanced photographers and videographers, albeit at the cost of its mainstream appeal.

While we enjoyed our shooting experience with the Sony Xperia 1 V, we really can’t recommend it to everyone. Getting the best out of the camera requires at least a fundamental understanding of camera operations, consumers may find it to be too complex.

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However, if you want a smartphone that can also double as an enthusiast grade compact camera (think Sony’s RX100 cameras), you can’t go wrong with the Sony Xperia 1 V.

For more information, please visit the Sony Malaysia official website.

Written By

Part-time gamer, writer, & full time weird coffee person.

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