The Sony Xperia 1 II isn’t the cheapest flagship phone on the market, coming in at a considerable $1,200. Nevertheless, it’s tough to argue that you aren’t getting a well-rounded premium experience for the most part.
Between the powerful chipset, ultra high-resolution screen, water resistance, wireless charging, and pro-focused camera software, there’s certainly a lot to like about the early 2020 flagship.
There’s definitely room for improvement though, so here’s what we’d like to see from the Sony Xperia 1 III or whatever the new Sony phone for 2021 is called.
A streamlined camera experience
The Sony Xperia 1 II delivered three camera-related apps, with your standard camera app, a Photo Pro app, and a Cinema Pro app. Right from the get-go, we’d like to see the brand combine the Photo and Cinema Pro apps into one Pro app for the sake of simplicity.
It’s understandable that Sony would want to go for two separate camera apps, with one being for casual use and the other being for a pro-level experience. What isn’t understandable however are a few other bizarre decisions, such as restricting HDR to the Pro app. The main camera app also doesn’t automatically switch between lenses as you zoom in and out, forcing you to manually switch instead. You’d expect the main camera app to offer both of these options.
This isn’t the first time we see oddball camera app decisions from the firm, as it previously opted to make 4K a separate mode in years gone by instead of a video quality option. Hopefully, the Xperia 1 III marks the beginning of more sensible camera app design.
More photography smarts
Sony does offer multi-frame processing features on the Xperia 1 II, such as HDR and a night mode. But there’s definitely room for more smart photography features that reduce the need to hop into an editing suite.
For one, we’d love to see the brand deliver something similar to the Pixel’s Dual Exposure Controls. This way, you can adjust shadow levels before taking that shot. We’d also like to see functionality to help newcomers get to grips with advanced camera settings (e.g. ISO, exposure, etc). For example, LG offered the Graphy app on its last few high-end phones, which showed off a variety of great photos and associated camera settings. Best of all, this app lets you quickly apply those settings to your camera app so you can try to get similar results.
We’d also add improved selfie quality to our Xperia 1 III wishlist, as selfie snaps were rather disappointing on the Xperia 1 II.
Please keep the headphone port
The Xperia 1 II marks one of the few occasions where a smartphone manufacturer has revived the 3.5mm headphone port for its flagship phones after previously killing it. We definitely applaud the company for this, even if its reasoning was a bit weird.
More reading: The best smartphones with a headphone jack
So we’re definitely adding the 3.5mm port to our Xperia 1 III wishlist, and the presence of the port on the Xperia 5 II gives us some hope that Sony will keep it this time. Our own Rob Triggs also wants to see Sony do away with extra headphone apps and build support directly into the platform.
A high refresh rate
The early 2020 Xperia flagship follows in the footsteps of the Xperia 1 and Premium line by offering a 4K display. We don’t blame you if you think it’s a pointless move given that many consumers can’t tell the difference between QHD+ and 4K resolution with this screen size. Still, they’re the only major brand offering this option nowadays, so we’re expecting it on the Xperia 1 III.
We’re holding thumbs that a 4K display is accompanied by a high refresh rate as well. The high refresh rate doesn’t need to take effect at 4K either, as that would likely cause extreme battery drain. We’d be perfectly happy if it kicked in at a lower resolution such as FHD+ or QHD+. High refresh rate support would definitely be handy with Remote Play via the PS5. Speaking of…
Step up the PlayStation connectivity
Microsoft is bringing Xbox Game Pass and associated cloud gaming functionality to Android, allowing subscribers to stream a wide library of games on their mobile devices. Sony has Remote Play for Android as well, but unfortunately it’s not compatible with the PlayStation Now streaming service.
So we’re definitely putting PlayStation Now Remote Play on our Xperia 1 III wishlist, allowing subscribers to play PlayStation titles without needing to actually own a Sony console. We’d also like to see Sony integrate its PlayStation controller/accessory and messaging apps into the platform itself as opposed to making it a separate download.
Faster charging speed
Sony improved its charging situation in 2020, with the Xperia 1 II delivering 21W wired charging and 15W wired charging. The latter is pretty solid nowadays, but we’d definitely like to see improved wired charging in 2021.
Faster charging does generally present a higher risk of degrading the battery at an even faster rate, but we don’t need to see 65W or 100W charging here. Even 30W or 40W charging would be a welcome improvement over the current 21W charging solution. Faster charging is also integral today as battery capacity increases in the 5G era.
That’s it for our Sony Xperia 1 III wishlist! What would you like to see from Sony’s 2021 flagship? Take our poll below!