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Sony Xperia 1 IV: release date, price, specs, cameras and more

Sony Xperia 1 IV: release date, price, specs, cameras and more
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has officially revealed its latest flagship smartphone. The Sony Xperia 1 IV follows the Award-winning Xperia 1 III, which is our favourite phones, and offers a slew of upgrades across the audio-video spectrum. 

The Xperia 1 IV was announced on Wednesday 11th May 2022 and pre-orders opened almost immediately (more on that below). As expected, the device boasts a "world first" continuous optical zoom lens, a brighter OLED screen and a sprinkling of surprise features for streamers and gamers.

So, should you pre-order the new Xperia 1 IV? How much will it cost, and are its photography skills over-hyped? Read on as reveal everything about the new Sony superphone...

Sony Xperia 1 IV release date

Thanks to a video posted to the official Sony Xperia YouTube channel, we had a pretty good idea of when the Xperia 1 IV would launch.

As expected, Sony revealed the new handset at 9am CEST (8am BST, 12am PT, 7pm ACT) on Wednesday 15th May 2022. 

Sony Xperia 1 IV pre-orders went live within 24 hours of the launch, with the first handsets set to ship in June (in UK and US).

We did wonder if Sony would also unveil its upcoming Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones, but that proved not to be the case.

Sony Xperia 1 IV price

The Sony Xperia 1 IV price is set at £1330 / $1600 (around AU$2300). 

Last year's Xperia 1 III launched at £1200 / $1300 (around AU$1900) with 256GB of memory and 12GB RAM, so the new model around £130 / $300 pricier. Ouch.

For a limited time, US pre-orders include a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds (worth $280). 

It remains to be seen if the aforementioned price jump represents good value for money or not. We'll let you know when we publish our full review.

Sony Xperia 1 IV design

Sony Xperia 1 IV

(Image credit: Sony)

Thanks to some leaked images courtesy of GizNext, we had a pretty good idea of how the Xperia 1 IV would look. The good news? It isn't very different to the Xperia 1 III.

The new device boasts the same long, slender design. The main difference seems to be that the edges look slightly flatter, but that's about it. The dimensions are very slightly different. The Xperia 1 IV stands at 164.7 x 70.8 x 8.3mm (or 9.5mm with the camera bump included), which is slightly shorter and less wide than the Xperia 1 III.

From the back, the two phones look almost identical. What you can't see is the new front-facing stereo speakers, which are said to offer a 10% increase in max volume and 20-50% more bass.

Sony has once again retained the 3.5mm headphone jack (also seen on the Xperia 1, 1 II and 1 III). That makes the Xperia 1 IV one of the few high-end handsets to be compatible with standard wired headphones without using an adapter. (Though Bluetooth is still be an option, if you prefer the convenience of wireless headphones.)

The Xperia 1 IV is rated IP68/IPX5 for water/dust resistance and comes in three "super matte" colours: black, white and purple (purple is only available directly from Sony in certain countries).

Sony Xperia 1 IV display specs

Sony Xperia 1 IV

(Image credit: Sony)

The Xperia 1 IV has a 6.5-inch OLED screen – that's the same size as the Xperia 1 III. Sony says the new screen is "50% brighter". 

The 21:9 aspect ratio on the Xperia 1 III does away with the black bars above and below the action that can mar the screen, allowing for a viewing experience exactly as the creator intended. Happily, the Xperia 1 IV sticks with the 21:9 ratio.

Like the Xperia 1 III, the IV's screen is 4K with a 120Hz refresh rate (120Hz is quickly becoming standard among high-end smartphones). You also get Real-time HDR for improved visibility of both bright and dark areas, plus Bravia HDR, which is said to boost to contrast, colour and clarity.

Sony has also given the Xperia 1 IV access to Bravia Core. Sony's high-end video streaming service has been specially tuned for the range-topping handset, so you can watch IMAX Enhanced films on the 21:9 widescreen display. A nice idea, but we'll have to reserve judgement until we've published our full review.

Sony Xperia 1 IV cameras, specs and storage

Sony Xperia 1 IV

(Image credit: Sony)

The headline news is the addition of what's being called "world-first True Optical Zoom Lens". The much-hyped telephoto lens has a 85-125mm equivalent zoom range, which should help to close the distance when shooting wildlife and faraway landmarks. 

Three of the four cameras use 12MP sensors, which gives you the option to shoot cinematic 5x slow-motion 4K 120fps video. The front-facing camera is capable of recording 4K HDR footage. 

Real-Time Eye AF is another new feature. Sony says it tracks a subjects' eyes, keeping them in focus in real-time, no matter how fast they're moving (again, handy for sports and wildlife photography).

There are improvements under the hood, too. The zippy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with 512GB of storage (256GB in the UK) and 12GB of RAM. Sony's hope That the extra power will ensure its latest flagship becomes the go-to device for streamers, gamers and those who want to shoot high-end 4K video.

Not bad but with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra going up to 1TB, it's a bit of a shame that Sony hasn't followed suit.

The battery size is up from 4500mAh to 5000mAh but there's no change when it comes to fast-charging (50 per cent power in 30 minutes). You also get support for 30W wireless charging.

Other features include the latest version of Android (pretty stock, by the looks of things), 5G connectivity, Videography Pro, which lets you stream video directly to your social media channels, and Game Enhancer, which fine-tunes image and audio quality when live streaming in-game footage.

Sony Xperia 1 IV audio features

The new Xperia 1 IV is one of the first smartphones to support Bluetooth LE Audio, which reduces sound delay and power consumption, in addition to the usual LDAC.  

Sony has also expanded support for its own 360 Reality Audio format (previously it was mostly limited to Tidal) and added a "360 Reality Audio Upmix" feature that converts stereo sound sources into virtual 3D sound sources.

Just like its predecessor, the new Xperia handset supports Dolby Atmos.

Sony Xperia 1 IV early verdict

In many ways, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is a careful revision of last year's Xperia 1 III. But that's no bad thing – the Xperia 1 III scored five stars in our 2021 review, not to mention a What Hi-Fi Award.

It's too early to say whether the addition of the "world's first True Optical Zoom Lens", plus new AV features such as Bravia Core and Videography Pro, will prove to be game-changers But so far? We like what we see. 

Sony has carved out quite a niche by making some of the best smartphones for movies and music, and the Xperia 1 IV looks to be the best yet. 

Then again, looks can deceiving. Our upcoming review will reveal all.

MORE:

Read the full Sony Xperia 1 III review

See the other best smartphones for movies and music

Or go cheaper: Sony Xperia 5 II review

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.