The Sony Xperia 1 Review: A 21:9 Take of the World

Sony is a company that we don’t talk nearly as much about as one would expect when it comes to their smartphones. In fact, here at AnandTech we had the odd circumstances of never actually been able to review a Sony phone. Be it unfocused marketing on Sony’s part or just bad luck on our part, it was a coverage area we’ve been looking to address for some while now.

This year, after numerous quarters of financial losses of the division, Sony’s mobile group was in particular turmoil as the company division has been going through some major restructuring. The most major change is that the Xperia Mobile division has been now grouped into Sony’s TV, audio and camera product lines, ending its time where the group would operate completely independently from Sony’s other divisions. In a way, this is a good change; we’ve in particular seen statements from the company’s spokespersons that past Sony smartphones suffered from the disconnect to other company divisions, for example having to figure out camera processing on their own as the Alpha camera team would not be allowed to help the smartphone team.

We’ve met with Sony back at MWC earlier this year and had a preview of the new Xperia 1 in its earlier stages. The one thing that I took away from that meeting is that the mobile division is now a lot more hopeful and motivated under the new management, and the new Xperia 1 is the first phone that’s really been affected by the new reorganisation. In general, Sony is hoping to turn the page on several years of lacklustre success, and bring back the mobile division into form.

With the new Xperia 1 thus representing the first flagship device under the new organisation, it’s an incredibly important device for Sony, and a phone we didn’t want to miss out on reviewing. The phone is characterised by its unusual 21:9 screen aspect ratio on 4K OLED screen and a new triple-camera setup. Today, we’ll be putting the Xperia through our usual test suite and look if Sony has been able to deliver on its promises.