Sony Xperia 1 VI: price, movie and sound features, specs and all the details

Sony Xperia 1 VI being held and showing a beach scene on screen
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony makes some of the best smartphones for movies and music, so its latest announcement came as a bit of a curveball. Its recent flagships have featured the 21:9 aspect ratio, but the new model does away with that in favour of a more traditional 19.5:9. Its screen resolution has also dropped quite dramatically.

Otherwise, the Xperia 1 VI is typically well specced, and looks very capable indeed. But can it challenge the likes of the iPhone 15 (and upcoming iPhone 16), Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel for the smartphone crown?

Here's everything you need to know about it.

Sony Xperia 1 VI price and release date

The Xperia 1 VI goes on sale on 6th June for £1299 – that's the same price as its predecessor, the five-star Xperia 1 V.

UK retailers are only showing the 256GB capacity, but presumably it will come with other storage options as well (the Xperia 1 V also came in a 512GB model). We've asked Sony for clarification. There's no word on a US or Australian release yet.

That prices it at the top end of the smartphone market, where Sony will face some stiff competition. For £100 less, you can get the iPhone 15 Pro Max with the same 256GB storage. And for just £100 more (£1399), you can get the iPhone 15 Pro Max with double the storage (512GB). The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a bigger screen than the Xperia 1 VI (6.7 inches to 6.5 inches), along with Apple's great iOS operating system, so Sony will have its work cut out to better it.

Sony Xperia 1 VI design

Sony Xperia 1 VI close-up of the camera shutter button

(Image credit: Sony)

The Sony Xperia 1 VI doesn't take the Xperia 1 V's design on a great deal further, but the V introduced plenty of new visual and tactile elements that remain this time around.

Like its predecessor, the Xperia 1 VI has a textured glass back to make it easier to grip – especially handy given how tall the phone is, which will make it unwieldy to use with one hand. There's the same metal frame and dedicated camera shutter button (though it's a bit bigger this time around), and it comes in the same three finishes: Khaki Green, Platinum Silver and Black.

It's slightly taller, narrower and slimmer than the Xperia 1 V, measuring 162 x 74 x 8.2mm, and at 192g it's 5g heavier too. The phone features Gorilla Glass on both the front and back: Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front, and the first generation of the same material on the back. It's both dust- and water-resistant, with a rating of IP68.

Sony remains one of the few smartphone makers to support the 3.5mm headphone jack – the Xperia 1 VI's is on its top surface. Good news for anyone with a pair of wired headphones.

Sony Xperia 1 VI screen

Sony Xperia 1 VI being held and showing a beach scene on screen

(Image credit: Sony)

The biggest changes concern the screen. The Xperia 1 VI downgrades the Xperia 1 V's resolution in a big way – the drop from 4K to Full HD+ (2220 x 1080 pixels) is pretty big, and we can't help but feel that Sony should have opted for a Quad HD, 2560 x 1440-pixel display as a compromise.

But on the flip side, not many mobile apps support 4K streaming, so it likely won't be missed. And the lower resolution does come with some benefits – better battery life and brighter performance. Sony claims this screen is 1.5 times brighter than its predecessor, with a new Sunlight Vision feature for clearer viewing in bright sun. It also has a variable refresh rate of 1-120Hz, which should make for less blur during fast-moving scenes while also helping to preserve battery life.

The other big change is that Sony has ditched the Xperia 1 V's unique 21:9 aspect ratio in favour of a more conventional 19.5:9 (the same as used in the Samsung Galaxy S24). The 21:9 aspect ratio cut off the black 'letterboxing' bars at the top and bottom of the screen, which made the Xperia 1 V ideal for watching movies. But very few apps were optimised for it, so this more standardised ratio should make the phone better for day-to-day use.

Sony refers to the 6.5-inch screen as a "new and smarter OLED display" that's "powered by Bravia", meaning Sony's TV division may well have had a hand in tweaking the performance. The built-in AI remastering feature promises to improve colour, contrast and clarity on both your own videos and on streaming services.

Sony Xperia 1 VI camera

Sony Xperia 1 VI taking a photo of a plant

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has gone big on the Xperia 1 VI's cameras. As well as an ultra-wide 16mm and wide-angle 24mm lenses, it has added a 48mm focal length and an extended 85-170mm optical telephoto lens. All of which should expand your photographic options, whether you're shooting portraits, landscapes, macro subjects or something else entirely.

The Exmor T for mobile sensor promises picture quality on a level with full-frame cameras with less noise and wider dynamic range in low light, plus videos with cinematic colours. Sony says the HDR is improved, giving your videos a wider dynamic range. 

There's also a Creative Look feature, which gives you six presets to use when shooting photos or videos. Handy if you want to share your creations on social media the minute you've captured them.

Sony Xperia 1 VI features

The Xperia 1 VI looks just as capable playing audio as video. A new full-stage stereo speaker system pairs a symmetrically placed loudspeaker and earpiece for a more balanced performance with less distortion at higher volumes. As we've already noted, the headphone jack survives another year (complete with a new 'Premium Audio Circuit' for wired headphones), but there's also Bluetooth with support for Sony's LDAC codec, if you'd rather go wireless. Immersive audio comes courtesy of Dolby Atmos – streaming services like TidalApple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited all serve up tracks in this format.

Sony has improved the bass, clarity and spread of sound from the built-in speakers, claiming they provide the best Xperia sound ever. 

Sony says the 5000mAh battery is good for two days of use, but of course it depends on how much you use the phone and what you're making it do. And there's a host of gaming features that let you adjust the white balance for greater clarity (and less eye strain) and tweak the touch sensitivity.

It's all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which is the same inside the Samsung Galaxy S24.

Sony Xperia 1 VI early verdict

Sony Xperia 1 VI in a range of finishes on a white background

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has a winning track record when it comes to making awesome smartphones for movies and music. But the Xperia 1 VI isn't just more of the same – it deviates from the brand's winning formula with a lower screen resolution and a different aspect ratio. Hence's it's with some trepidation that we'll unbox our review sample.

The Xperia 1 VI certainly looks impressive, with a consistent design, new processing and imaging skills and a boosted camera. But with the same chipset and resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S24, can Sony do enough to differentiate it from Samsung's flagship? We'll update this article once we've tested the phone in full.


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Joe Svetlik

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.