September 17, 2021

Sony’s Xperia 1 III is now available for pre-order, if you can spare $1,300

Sony’s new flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1 III, has been announced in April, but the company didn’t share exact pricing and availability.

Now, we know both. The Sony Xperia 1 III just went up for pre-order in the U.S., with a price tag of $1,299.99. It will be available for purchase in stores on August 19.

The price tag might make you gasp in amazement, given that Sony’s smartphones aren’t exactly as popular as the ones from Apple or Samsung, which offer their flagships at significantly lower prices (both the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Galaxy S21 Ultra cost $1,199). However, in recent years Sony phones have become niche products, aimed at users who want the absolute best camera they can get in a phone.

Sony Xperia 1 III is the first smartphone with a variable telephoto lens.

Sony Xperia 1 III is the first smartphone with a variable telephoto lens.
Credit: sony

And Sony Xperia 1 III does deliver something unique: a triple 12-megapixel rear camera with a main sensor, ultra-wide sensor, and a periscope camera with a variable telephoto lens, meaning the camera can switch between 3x and 5x optical zoom. The camera also boasts a 3D time-of-flight sensor, burst mode that allows it to take 20 stills per second, as well as real-time tracking, which uses AI to keep the focus on moving subjects.

Other specs of note include a 6.5-inch, 120Hz, 4K HDR OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 4,500mAh battery with wireless charging, front-facing stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Sony has also put up its other new phone, the Xperia 5 III, up for pre-order in some markets. Engadget says it costs £899 ($1,239) in the UK, where it will arrive in September, but U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced yet.

The Sony Xperia 5 III (pictured) is a smaller phone than the Xperia 1 III, but its camera system is pretty close to the one on its bigger brother.

The Sony Xperia 5 III (pictured) is a smaller phone than the Xperia 1 III, but its camera system is pretty close to the one on its bigger brother.
Credit: sony

It’s a smaller device than the Xperia 1 III, with a 6.1-inch, 120Hz HDR OLED display, and comes with less RAM (8GB), though it has the same battery capacity at 4,500mAh (no wireless charging, though). The rear camera system is nearly the same, though it lacks the 3D iToF sensor and real-time subject tracking.

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