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Sony's Xperia I V phone is a photo and video powerhouse

It borrows vlogging features like 'Product Showcase' from its Alpha camera series.

Sony

Yes, Sony is still making smartphones, and its latest is the flagship Xperia 1 V designed for both photographers and vloggers. It features a new stacked, backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor along with features aimed at content creators found in its Alpha-series cameras.

The Xperia 1 V has a new image sensor called "Exmor T for Mobile" designed to be faster and work better with computational (AI) photography, while offering "approximately double" the low-light performance of the Xperia 1 IV, Sony said. As you'd expect in a flagship, it offers other high-end features like a Snapdragon 8 Gen2 Mobile Platform, a 6.5-inch 4K 120Hz OLED HDR display, a 5,000 mAh battery that allows for up to 20 hours of continuous 4K playback, up to 12GB of RAM and more.

With that, Sony is promising "best in class" gaming performance, thanks to a Game Enhancer function that provides visual and auditory support. It also lets players livestream their gaming directly to YouTube.

The key feature is clearly the camera system, though. The main 24mm f/1.9 equivalent 52-megapixel camera features a Type 1/1.35-inch (about 12mm diagonally) Exmor T sensor that's 1.7 times larger than the Xperia 1 IV's sensor, Sony said. It also comes with an ultrawide 12-megapixel camera and an 85-125mm 12-megapixel optical telephoto zoom, like the one on the Xperia 1 IV. The front 12-megapixel camera has a Type 1/2.9-inch sensor.

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Purists will be able to shoot video and photos using the professional modes that allow for full manual control. Chief among those is the Photography Pro mode designed for creative control. It also allows live streaming while letting creators see viewer comments in real time.

Sony's Xperia I V smartphone debuts vlogging features like 'Product Showcase'
Sony's Xperia I V smartphone debuts vlogging features like 'Product Showcase' (Sony)

If you set it to Basic mode, though, you'll get a good dose of computational imaging seen in other Android phones. Those include a Night mode and color settings for subjects like flowers and a blue sky. It also delivers real-time eye autofocus and tracking, along with high-speed continuous shooting of up to 30 fps with auto-exposure and AF enabled.

For vloggers and content creators, it now features the same Product Showcase setting found on Sony's vlogging cameras like the ZV-E1. The new sensor also promises improved skin tones, thanks to extra saturation available on the sensor. It also has a new voice priority mic placed near the rear camera that can pick up voices even in busy outdoor locations.

Sony's Xperia I V smartphone debuts vlogging features like 'Product Showcase'
Sony's Xperia I V smartphone debuts vlogging features like 'Product Showcase' (Sony)

One cool feature that might justify the price alone for many video shooters is the ability to use the phone as a monitor for select Sony Alpha cameras. The Xperia 1 IV could do that as well, but the new model offers multiple display options with waveforms, gridlines, and zebra lines normally only found on professional field monitors. You can also control settings and record content to phones, features that weren't available before. Meanwhile, the phone's microphones can capture sound while monitoring audio via the Xperia 1 V's headphone jack.

As with past Xperia models, the catch here is the price. The Xperia 1 V starts at $1,400 (in khaki green or black) with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (upgradeable via an microSD slot). That's a lot of money for most smartphone users (even flagship buyers) but might make sense for content creators, avid photographers and others.

Along with the Xperia 1 V, Sony also unveiled a far more mainstream smartphone, the Xperia 10 V. It's powered by a Snapdragon 695 chipset and offers a 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display that's 50 percent brighter than before, but only refreshes at 60Hz. The camera system features a main 48-megapixel Type-1/2.0-inch sensor with a wide lens, along with a 2x telephoto and an ultrawide. Other features include a 5,000 mAh battery and up to 6GB of RAM. It's priced at €449 in Europe, with sales set to start in June. US pricing/availability is not yet available.