Sony Xperia 1 V Intro
Sony has recently released its latest-and-greatest — the Xperia 1 V (pronounced Xperia One Mark Five). It's a slim, rectangular, stylish smartphone that revolves around Sony's camera hardware and know-how.
It has the mandatory upgrade to Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the inside. The main camera sensor has also gotten a hefty upgrade — now a 48 MP resolution, up from 12 MP, all on top of a bigger physical size. Curiously enough, Sony also dropped the base storage to 256 GB (from last year's 512 GB), which also resulted in a $100 drop in starting price. It's still $1,400, though, so it's not an easy pill to swallow.
What's new about the device
- New 48 MP sensor, almost 1″ in size
- Upgrade to Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- Focus peaking in the camera apps!
- Mostly the same design as before, now with a textured back and ribbed frame
- Base storage dropped to 256 GB
- No ToF camera (no need for it with new sensor)
Table of Contents:
Sony Xperia 1 V Specs
Take a quick look at what's important
Hardware-wise, flagship smartphones have slowed down their evolution. We get a slightly faster processor and a camera upgrade. With the Xperia 1 V, that camera upgrade is meaningful, but we will get to that later. For now, here are some raw specs:
And there's the Xperia 1 V in a nutshell — a definite flagship on paper. Especially with the vario camera, which is still pretty much exclusive to Sony (and unbelievable that they managed to fit it in a smartphone)
Sony Xperia 1 V Design & Colors
Keep it classy!
Sony sticks to its design language and we can't fault the company for that — Xperias just look classy. This is further highlighted by their color options — Black, Platinum Silver, and Khaki Green. We have the black one here, and it's very stylish and clean-looking.
Thanks to the 21:9 aspect ratio, the Xperia 1 V is pretty narrow, making it easy to use with one hand — so long as whatever you are doing can be reached within the lower half of the screen.
We do have front-firing stereo speakers in the top and bottom bezels, which is impressive… because these bezels are not very thick at all. And there's no notch or cutout in the screen as well, making for a very uniform look. It's hard not to notice that the Xperia 1 V is just carefully thought-out and designed, even if it is a “plain ol' rectangle”.
As always, there's a dedicated 2-step shutter button on the side — it's used to insta-launch the default camera app and, of course, to initiate video recording or take photos. There's a volume rocker that feels clicky enough and a power button with an embedded fingerprint scanner that's incredibly quick and accurate. Seriously, we would sometimes unlock the phone when trying to put it back in a pocket — thankfully, there's an option to make the Xperia wait for a button press before it reads for a finger.
Sony Xperia 1 V Display
Set it to taste (Image credit – PhoneArena)
That 6.5-inch screen sounds big on paper, but don't forget — it's a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio. So, when held vertical, the Xperia 1 V is a tall and narrow phone, easy to grip with one hand. While you can look at widescreen content — like movies or certain YouTube videos that have been exported in that format — the screen doesn't look or feel big. It's just tall and the entire front of the phone looks like it's an endless screen.
It's a beautiful OLED panel that has a 120 Hz refresh rate. Its colors can go from punchy to realistic, its temperature from cold to neutral to warm — and you are presented with the options to control all of it, in typical Sony fashion.
And this is all in sharp, sharp 4K resolution — we have 643 pixels per inch here, so we can't make out one of them with the naked eye.
Sony Xperia 1 V Camera
For the ones that fiddle and twiddle
Sony's smartphone camera philosophy is communicated as such — we will do very little post-processing and computational work on your photos. You can fiddle with the manual controls and edit the final product for yourself. Well, here's an Auto mode just in case you need to take a quick snap.
That is a bit at odds with what smartphone photography is at its core — usually, people who shoot with their phone need quick and easy operation that takes the “best” photo automatically. It's kind of like mobile gaming — it's “fast food photography”, if you will. That is why Google and Apple and Samsung are working hard at those AI algorithms that try and enhance your photo in the way they calculate would be best.
But that's a tangent. The good news we have with the Sony Xperia 1 V is two-fold. One, the main camera sensor is now bigger and higher-res with a size of 1/1.35″, up from 1/1.7″, collecting more light and shooting sharper photos. And, secondly, the Basic mode of the camera app seems to have been improved a bit, or at least we like it more than we did last year's Xperia 1 IV camera output. Check it out:
Main Camera – Day
We have some pretty good colors and pretty good dynamics here — maybe the highlights are getting a bit washed out, but nothing too oppressive. The noise reduction does tend to go overboard and flat out remove fine details from distant objects but at least the sharpening is being kept under control.
But, of course, it's not an Xperia if it doesn't have an extensive manual camera with RAW export. Of course, we did that as well:
Exporting a RAW photo does expose the amount of noise that the camera sensor produces — we want to stress that this is inevitable… it's a tiny tiny sensor and, at this point in time, this is what the tech allows. Physics is what physics is.
Here's another stab at it:
Again, we can get a lot of this from competing high-end smartphones. Their pros are that they give you an edited photo as soon as you press their shutter button. Their cons are that they don't invite you into manual photography quite like how Sony does.
Main Camera – Low-light
The true test for a tiny camera starts when the sun goes down. Sony does say that it worked hard to improve the low-light performance of the Xperia 1 V.
Supposedly, it doesn't go for a “night-to-day” over-the-top effect like the competition does. Though, we do find the photos to be quite… brightened up. On the flip side, the dynamic range is quite wide — we can see big, bright areas, and deep dark areas, so the phone didn't “flatten” them. In fact, we quite like the look and colors of these samples.
The Sony Xperia 1 V continues to be the only flagship with actual variable zoom camera — that telephoto lens moves to go from 3.5x to 5.2x zoom (85 mm and 125 mm equivalent) and gives you true optical zoom along the range.
Very, very impressive tech, but the end result… isn't much better than a phone with a good zoom lens and some digital cropping on top. 3.5x is definitely usable and we love it for portraits. 5.2x starts to wash out a bit and definitely introduces a good amount of noise. And yes, Sony isn't very heavy-handed with the post-processing, but when we tried fixing said noise with our own programs, it just wasn't working out the best:
Edited 5.2x zoom photo, from RAW, manual mode
10x zoom still holds it together, but you can clearly see “Yeah, that's a phone zooming in”. And then, 15.6x is the maximum and you can tell you don't want to go further.
Sony doesn't have a “Portrait Mode” per se, just a “Bokeh” toggle inside the main camera. We don't find it very convincing and kind of prefer the photos without the bokeh applied. Though, we do applaud Sony for what appears to be an upgraded edge detection around the subject. The samples taken here had the Bokeh slider maxed out, so that's the maximum amount of fake blur you can expect.
Also, these portrait photos are, for some reason, 10 MB large, despite the fact that we resized them. The non-Bokeh picture is 10 times smaller in size. Weird.
The ultra-wide camera retains the great dynamics and colors of the main snapper, but we can see some oversharpening going on. It's not really extremely ultra-wide, it's 0.7x or 16 mm equivalent (under a 24 mm equivalent main camera), but it does help you get a bit more into the frame, and you can definitely set up some epic-ish shots with it.
It's a 12 MP sensor here and we appreciate that Sony didn't go crazy with the resolution (thus compressing together a bunch of small pixels) like some others do nowadays. Colors are great again, and it does handle dynamics pretty well. In perfect conditions, you can get some pretty sharp detail, too, but when the light drops by just a little, you start to get some hazyness due to slowed shutter speeds.
The camera retains a lot of the characteristics when shooting video — and you have plenty of ways to shoot video with this phone. Cinema Pro records in HDR and allows you to apply cinematic filters — like the popular Venice (pulled from Sony camera looks), a classy Monochrome, a contrast-less Soft/YE40, and others — for more of a “true camera” look.
Cinema Pro is where you go for super-slow mode shooting, going upwards of 120 FPS (in a cinematic 24 FPS recording, that's 20% speed), racked focus, 21:9 aspect ratio,
In any case, the end result is pretty workable footage. Neutral colors and sharp detail are there. The microphones are also well above average. You can actually choose whether you want to record with the one camera on the back (best for speech recording) or capture the ambience of the room with the stereo mics on either side.
Sony Xperia 1 V Performance & Benchmarks
A dragon that snaps sassily
The Xperia 1 V was upgraded to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and — as expected — performs beautifully. A powerful chipset paired with a nearly-clean Android software just results in snappiness through and through. It does help that the 120 Hz screen makes the animations feel more responsive.
Now, you are probably worried about overheating, as Sony phones have had a contentious, on-and-off kind of relationship with proper cooling. Well, we are happy to report that the Xperia 1 V gets it right. In our normal usage, we couldn't spot any moments when the screen throttled down to 60 Hz due to heat. We were also able to record 20 minutes of 4K footage in Video Pro with no dropped frames or hiccups.
The way the Xperia 1 V deals with high-octane performance loads is evidenced in the 3DMark test — 20 loops of hard-hitting graphics measure how much the phone would throttle (3DMark Extreme High means the best-performing loop, Low means the worst performance the phone got down to after throttling). We can see that it's not much different than Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra in this regard.
The only thing we are worried about is that opening and closing the card tray too often might degrade its rubber seal, thus worsening the water-resistance capabilities of the phone. But we will assume you don't plan to swim with it anyway.
Sony Xperia 1 V OS / Android version
The Xperia 1 V ships with Android 13, obviously, with a very light reskin on top. Mostly for the Sony apps, wallpapers, and the extended settings for screen colors. The rest feels super-stock, Sony got rid of a lot of its proprietary apps over the years.
You have a Side Sense bar, which is basically an app drawer with your favorite apps or favorite split-screen presets, tucked over to the side of the screen. And there's also an app where you can use the Xperia 1 V as an external monitor for your Sony Alpha camera. Both devices “speak” the same language, so all you need to do is connect them via a USB C cable.
The one thing that is disappointing about the Xperia 1 V is the update commitment — or the lack of one. Sony hasn't addressed this specifically, but the Xperia 1 IV had a commitment of 2 Android updates and 3 years of software patches. So, we will have to assume that this is also the case with the Xperia 1 V (at best).
- Android 14 in 2024
- Android 15 in 2025, last update
- Security patches up to mid-2026
That's not amazing, especially since the competition has moved to at least 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security patches. At the premium level, future-proofing is kind of important.
Additionally, we do have a weird “ghost touch” issue on ours. If the Ambient Display (Always-on screen) is set to on and tap-to-wake is enabled, we would often find that, upon waking the phone, it is constantly receiving rapid taps somewhere in the top area of the screen. As a result, actual input from us doesn't work, because it's being overlapped by the ghost taps. We do hope we just got a lemon bug, but keep an eye out (Build number: 67.0.A.1.122).
Sony Xperia 1 V Battery
Don't hold your breath. Actually do, it'll be quick
The Xperia 1 V comes with a 5,000 mAh cell, which is pretty impressive to think about while holding a phone that otherwise feels thin and light. Unfortunately, it doesn't result in a very impressive endurance. Here are the results we got in benchmark tests:
PhoneArena Battery Test Results:
And those do translate to real life. We definitely got a day's worth battery out of the Xperia 1 V — we didn't feel super-pressured or scared by low percentages. With your average smartphone usage, it can comfortably clock 6 hours of screen-on time and still have some percentages left in the tank (up to 20%, but depends on what you've been doing) to make it to a charger. But if we were to, say, forget to charge it overnight, then plopping it on a charger was our first order of business in the morning.
Oh, also, it doesn't seem to support fast charging on a wireless mat (though, it does charge wirelessly, just slowly), but it does at least work with 30 W wallplugs. None are included in the box with the phone, though.
Sony Xperia 1 V Audio Quality and Haptics
Can you see the bottom speaker? You might have to squint (Image credit – PhoneArena)
The Xperia 1 V packs two front-facing stereo speakers in its thin bezels, and they sound surprisingly meaty, especially when looking at the slim slits they project through. They do sound a bit boxy, with a good mid hump, but there is an EQ in the settings so you can kind of mitigate that.
As for haptics — the Xperia 1 V has the clicks and clacks of a premium phone, don't you worry about that. However, Sony did not feel the need to remind us of its great haptics with every tap and flick over the interface (*ahem*, Pixel), so that's nice.
Sony Xperia 1 V Competitors
At a hefty $1,399, Sony has set itself up to be challenged and undercut by most of the premium competition out there. In fact, the only flagship phone that you can buy for more than $1,400 is a foldable.
So, what does the Xperia 1 V offer that these phones don't? The common answer is “a true pro camera”. Though, what we see is a smartphone camera. It's very good, it has variable zoom that is incredibly impressive (and probably expensive) tech, and it can definitely get the job done… for a smartphone camera.
The competition offers similar performance, better battery life, and some have big ecosystems to take advantage of. It's cool that you can use the Xperia 1 V as a remote monitor for your Sony Alpha camera, but… does that sell a $1,400 phone?
Sony Xperia 1 V Summary and Final Verdict
Image credit – PhoneArena
So, the Sony Xperia 1 V is a good phone — it's a really, really good phone. It's very nice to look at and hold, it has a camera system that is well above average, supported by custom apps that give you that “real camera feel” with their many knobs, buttons, and tidbits. It performs great and, thankfully, doesn't seem to have overheating issues. Its speakers are great, its screen is lovely to stare at.
However, we have to take it into consideration, then look at how the phone's main selling point (the camera performance) stacks against the competition, and then look at small bugs like the back button not getting us out of some apps (could be an Android thing) plus the aforementioned Ambient Display issue. If someone asks us “Should I buy the Xperia 1 V?” our answer would probably be “Yes, if you really, really like Sony…”