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Sony Xperia 1 IV promises telephoto zoom, class-leading audio and 4K video

Sony Xperia 1 IV
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has officially announced its next flagship smartphone. The Sony Xperia 1 IV boasts the world's first "True Optical Zoom Lens", a 120Hz display and some pretty impressive AV features... but it won't come cheap.

Brace yourself: the Sony Xperia 1 IV will cost £1330 / $1600 (around AU$2300). What do you get for your money? Well, quite a lot...

One of the highlights of last year's Sony Xperia 1 III was its display. The new Xperia 1 IV rocks a 6.5-inch AMOLED that's 50% brighter than its predecessor's. You also get Bravia HDR remaster tech, which promises a further boost to contrast, colour and clarity.  

Sony has also included Sony Bravia Core. The 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 (Bravia Core was previously only available on selected Bravia TVs). Whether you'll see the benefit is another question...

The much-hyped quad camera features a telephoto zoom with 85-125mm equivalent zoom range, which should close the distance when shooting  faraway landmarks. And three of the cameras use 12MP sensors, which means you can shoot 5x slow-motion 4K 120 fps video.

The new Xperia 1 IV is also one of the first smartphones to support Bluetooth LE Audio, which reduces sound delay and power consumption, in addition to the usual LDAC. New front-facing stereo speakers are said to offer a 10% increase in max volume and 20-50% more bass. Something for our best bass test tracks playlist.

Sony has 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 as we'd hoped, the Xperia IV keeps the 3.5mm headphone jack. That makes the IV one of the few high-end handsets compatible with standard wired headphones without needing an adapter.  

As for power, the Xperia 1 IV runs a zippy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with 512GB of storage (256GB in the UK) and 12GB of RAM. Sony's hope? The extra power will ensure that its latest flagship becomes the go-to smartphone for streamers, gamers and those who want to shoot high-end 4K video.

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), IP68/IPX5 water/dust resistance and the latest version of 5G. The "super matte" design comes in three colour options: black, white and purple.

How will it compare to the 2021 What Hi-Fi Award-winning Xperia 1 III? We'll find out soon enough. Sony Xperia 1 IV pre-orders (opens in new tab) will go live in the next 24 hours, with the first handsets due to ship in June. For a limited time, US pre-orders include a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds (worth $280). 

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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.