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Sony Xperia 1 III release date, price, news and leaks

The Sony Xperia 1 III launch is about to get started - it's set for April 14 at 12:30am PT / 3:30am ET / 8:30am BST / 5:30pm ACT. Inter...

The Sony Xperia 1 III launch is about to get started - it's set for April 14 at 12:30am PT / 3:30am ET / 8:30am BST / 5:30pm ACT. Interested in watching along? We've written a guide on how you can watch the new Sony launch.

You might not need to, though, as a last-minute launch laid the Sony Xperia 1 III bare.

This year has already proven busy for smartphones, and the Sony Xperia 1 III looks likely to be the next to join the new roster of Android phones we've seen unveiled recently.

With the Samsung Galaxy S21, Xiaomi Mi 11 and OnePlus 9 launches out the way, it's likely to be the next big smartphone launched in 2021.

The 'Sony Xperia 1 III' name might look confusing on paper, but that's almost definitely what the phone will be called. Sony uses a 'Mark' naming scheme for its phones, similar to its cameras, so the Xperia 1 'Mark 3' would represent the third of its line, preceded by the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1

We've heard a few leaks and rumors surrounding the Sony Xperia 1 III, so we've collected them all below for your perusal.

Below that, we've compiled a wish-list of features we'd like to see in the phone. There are plenty of ways the Sony Xperia 1 II could be improved upon – TechRadar gave it a 4-star review, so there’s certainly room for Sony’s next flagship phone to up its game.

Latest news

Just before the Sony Xperia 1 III launch event, a huge leak has provided renders (albeit low-quality ones) and a lengthy specs list for the new phone. Spoilers!

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony's next flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? Probably April 14
  • How much will it cost? Likely around $1,370 / £995 / AU$1,810

Sony Xperia 1 III release date and price 

Sony is hosting an event on April 14 (that's today) at 12:30am PT / 3:30am ET / 8:30am BST / 8:30pm ACT. Expect to see the Xperia 1 III announced at that event, as it matches previous leaks we've heard too.

It took Sony three months to bring the Xperia 1 II to shop shelves after its announcement, so we may have to wait a few months after announcement to be able to buy the Xperia 1 III.

When it comes to cost, leaks hint at a price of 8999 Chinese Yuan, which roughly converts to $1,370 / £995 / AU$1,810. That’s remarkably high, but is to be expected given the price of its predecessor ($1,199.99 / £1,099 / around AU$1,840).

Sony Xperia 1 III news and rumors 

Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1 (Image credit: TechRadar)

We've heard plenty of Sony Xperia 1 III design rumors, and it sounds pretty similar to its predecessor in terms of looks. Check out this video of the phone, which shows both sides of it, and we're sure you'll agree with us.

Those pictures do show something rumored to be a 'shortcut' button, which we've previously seen on the Sony Xperia Pro, giving you quick access to your favorite apps.

The same design and shortcut key can also be seen on case renders such as the one below, which also highlight a 3.5mm headphone port and the camera array.

Sony Xperia 1 III Olixar case

(Image credit: Olixar)

That camera setup might also have been glimpsed in a teaser video posted by Sony itself. You can see the camera candidate in the video thumbnail below, or at 1:20 in the footage - though it could also possibly just be the Xperia 1 II's cameras.

Talking of cameras, we've heard the Sony Xperia 1 III could have a periscope lens on one of its snappers. This type of lens allows for long-distance zooming, possibly 5x to 10x in the case of the Xperia phone.

This is a claim we've heard multiple times, with a more recent rumor adding that the Xperia 1 III might also have a 64MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, a Snapdragon 888 chipset, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 6.5-inch OLED screen with a 4K resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.

It also sounds like the selfie camera will get an upgrade for the next Xperia phone, with a wider aperture likely to bring big improvements. The same source for that also suggested the phone will have a similar display to its predecessor – that is, a 6.5-inch 4K display with 21:9 aspect ratio – but with a max brightness 15% higher.

Under the hood, we've heard multiple times that the Xperia 1 III could pack the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset – the benchmark for premium phones in 2021 – and feature 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage (rising to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in a premium variant).

This leads nicely on to a final rumor suggesting the Sony Xperia 1 III might not come alone – a Premium and Compact model could be on the way, too. We've since heard that the latter might be the Sony Xperia Compact, a small phone with mid-range specs which likely won't share the Xperia 1 III name. An Xperia 1 III Premium is expected to boast even higher-end specs than the 'standard' edition, not least the increased storage capacity mentioned above.

What we want to see 

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 1 II (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony’s next flagship is sure to be designed to improve on the last smartphone from the company. Here’s what we’re hoping Sony will bring to the table with the Xperia 1 III.

1.  A lower price

The Sony Xperia 1 II is particularly expensive, especially for those in the US. The variant you can buy in the US doesn't have 5G functionality – a major driving force in phone prices – yet it still costs $250 more than the Xperia 1's launch price.

There are a few additional upgrades here, but it's a remarkably high price for Sony's latest and we hope the company reconsiders that approach for the Xperia 1 III, despite the potentially even higher price we've heard rumors about (see the beginning of this article).

2.  5G across the world 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is a simple one, but the Xperia 1 II didn’t feature 5G connectivity when it was released in the US. Other markets around the world, including the UK, got 5G connectivity by default.

Exactly why this happened hasn’t been made clear by Sony, but it’s a feature that is soon becoming standard on a variety of other smartphones. We’d like to see Sony embrace 5G technology across the world for its next flagship.

3. Keep the 3.5mm headphone jack

Sony has a big selling point in that the Xperia 1 II has a headphone jack. If you want to be able to use a wired headset with your smartphone, the Xperia 1 II is one of the best flagship options on the market that offers you the option.

The company made an odd choice to drop the headphone jack on the Xperia 1, but then brought it back for the Xperia 1 II. We’d like to see Sony hold onto the headphone jack for its next release.

4. A faster release date 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is a minor one, but the wait for the Xperia 1 II to become available was long. It was announced in late February, and only began to be released in May with markets like the UK having to wait until June.

For true Sony fans, that wait was probably worth it, but for those who were just passingly interested in the handset, they had a lot of other choices during that period, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 Pro series.

5. Keep the 21:9

Again, this is a unique selling feature of Sony's phones and it's clearly something that fans are resonating with. We'd like to see Sony continue its 21:9 aspect ratio, but we hope to see more content to watch or play made available in the next year or so to make the technology worthwhile.

6. Include a high refresh rate screen 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is similar to 5G in the fact that it’s a feature we’re seeing become standard on a variety of competing smartphones but is missing here. That’s a big omission for a flagship phone.

We’d like to see Sony embrace a higher refresh rate, especially if it’s able to combine that with a phenomenal 4K display that would offer one of the best screen experiences on a smartphone.

7.  Make it easier to grip

The rear of the Sony Xperia 1 II is made of glass, and combined with its long shape, that can make it a difficult phone to grip. 

We'd like to see Sony look toward rounding the corners on the rear of the phone, or including another material that makes you more confident to hold it in one hand without dropping it.



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