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Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Simply put, the Sony Xperia 1 III might be the best 2023 choice for Android enthusiasts. It makes very few compromises in almost all respects and even offers a few features that competitors don’t. Of course, its price, availability, and software might be its ultimate downfalls. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this premium flagship!

Do note that the Sony Xperia 1 III has been superseded by the Sony Xperia 1 IV. However, the 2023 Xperia 1 might still be the better buy for some users.

Sony Xperia 1 III

Sony Xperia 1 III

Excellent 21:9 HDR OLED display • Great performance • Solid battery life • Improved camera experience

MSRP: $1,198.00

The Sony Xperia 1 III is a multimedia powerhouse but it’ll need more than that to justify Sony.

The Sony Xperia 1 III is an incredibly well-built, feature-packed smartphone that’s undoubtedly Sony’s best handset to date. It doesn’t quite match the more well-rounded feature sets of its biggest rivals and the price will be far too high for many, but if you’re sold on the Xperia experience you’ll love it.

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Allison Johnson from The Verge: Johnson gave the phone a 7.5/10, which is a lower score than we offered. Like us, she loved the display and the camera quality. However, she didn’t care for Sony’s poor history of software support and also severely criticized the phone’s price tag.

Patrick Holland from CNET: Holland gave the phone a slightly higher score than The Verge at 7.6/10. Holland also loved the display and the camera quality but issued the same criticisms about its pricing. However, Holland criticized the phone’s battery life, which is interesting since we thought it was great.

James Peckham from Tech Radar: Peckham gave the phone 4/5 stars, which is pretty close to our score. Like us, he loved the display, the battery life, and the fact that it has a headphone jack. Like everyone else, he criticized the high price but also criticized the lack of an in-display fingerprint sensor, which not many other reviewers have painted as a negative thing.

The Sony Xperia 1 III features the predictable 2023 upgrades. However, it also boasts a stunning 4K-ish display and a unique telephoto lens setup. See our specs table below, and scroll down a bit for a comparison between the Xperia 1 III and 2023’s Xperia 1 II.

Check it out: Sony Xperia 1 III camera tested

How is the Xperia 1 III performance?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Inside the Sony Xperia 1 III, you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. This is 2023’s second-most-powerful Android chip, trumped only by the Snapdragon 888 Plus. It’s paired with a hefty 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. As one would expect, performance is terrific with this phone.

Granted, hardware only tells half the story. Sony’s Android skin — known as Xperia UI — is a lean system akin to Pixel UI. However, there’s a lot of bloatware on the phone, which might irritate power users. Still, this phone’s performance impressed us and will likely impress most buyers.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra ($1,199): While this phone won’t have the same display resolution, it will be more than good enough. It also will have a more versatile camera system with easier-to-use camera software and a full IP68 rating. It also has an in-display fingerprint sensor rather than a side-mounted one. Of course, there’s no headphone jack, no microSD card slot, and no charger in the box. Do note that the 2023 model — the Galaxy S21 Ultra — is also comparable, but is no longer in production.

Google Pixel 7 Pro ($899): This phone was one of the hottest of 2023 and also severely undercuts the exorbitant price of the Xperia 1 III. You’ll get a great camera system, a bigger battery, and very frequent and fast software updates. Once again, though, there’s no headphone jack, no microSD card slot, and no 4K display.

OnePlus 11 ($699): This is OnePlus’ best phone for 2023 so far. It has a display with similar quality to the Galaxy S23 Ultra and features wired charging that’s twice as fast as what we see on the Xperia 1 III. Of course, there’s no headphone jack, no microSD card slot, and no 4K display.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (€1,199 (~$1,415)): This phone features one of the largest camera sensors of any Android phone ever. It also features similar high-end specs as the Xperia 1 III while also offering a larger battery that charges faster. However, this phone will be harder to buy for some folks, especially those in the United States.

ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro ($1,299): This phone is a “gaming” phone, so it won’t have as good of a camera system. However, it is one of the very few flagship phones out there with a headphone jack, and it does feature a 144Hz display refresh rate, trumping the Xperia 1 III’s 120Hz. This is a very different phone for a very different consumer base, but still worth a look.

Where to buy the Sony Xperia 1 III

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony Xperia 1 III (12GB/256GB) — $1,299 / £1,199

The Sony Xperia 1 III is available in many parts of the world right now. Its starting price is a whopping $1,299. That is $100 more than the starting price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is currently Samsung’s top-of-the-line non-foldable phone. It’s also $100 more than 2023’s Xperia 1 II.


Yes, but it is not a full IP68 rating. Instead, it is IP65 rated against dust and IP68 rated against water. In other words, you’ll need to be a bit more careful in dusty/dirty situations with this phone.

Yes, but only certain kinds. The Xperia 1 III works with Sub-6GHz 5G, which is the most readily available variant. It does not support mmWave 5G, which is the faster-but-rarer version.

Yep! The charger is capable of charging the phone at its top speed, which is 30W.

No. Just like in 2023, the Xperia 1 III has a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor.

The Sony Xperia 1 III is physically larger than the Xperia 5 III. It also has a higher-resolution display, a ToF sensor on the back, louder speakers, a higher-grade variant of Gorilla Glass, and wireless/reverse wireless charging. Other than those features, the phones are very similar.

There are two choices: Frosted Black and Frosted Purple.

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