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(Pocket-lint) - Sony Mobile announced the refresh of its flagship Xperia 1 smartphone, called the Xperia 1 III - pronounced Sony Xperia 1 mark three - at an event on 14 April 2021.

The third generation of the Xperia 1 launches alongside the Xperia 5 III - also covered here - and the mid-range Xperia 10 III, which we've covered off in a separate feature.

Here is everything you need to know about the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III, including when they are due to be released, what features they offer and what specs are under their hoods.

Release date and price

  • Announced 14 April
  • Xperia 1 III: Over £1000/$1000
  • Xperia 5 III: Around £799/€899

Sony announced the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III during an online event on 14 April 2021. As mentioned, the flagship smartphone and compact smartphone were revealed alongside the mid-range Xperia 10 III, though none of the devices will be available until "early summer 2021".

Sony hasn't detailed pricing or availability for the Xperia 1 III or Xperia 5 III as yet, but the Xperia 1 II costs £1099 in the UK and $1199 in the US so don't expect the Xperia 1 III to be cheap. The Xperia 5 II meanwhile, costs £799 in the UK and €899 in Europe. It's likely both devices will sit within the same price bracket as their predecessors but nothing is confirmed as yet.

Design

  • Xperia 1 III: 165 x 71 x 8.2mm, 186g
  • Xperia 5 III: 157 x 68 x 8.2mm, 168g
  • IP65/68

The Sony Xperia 1 III looks similar to its predecessors, albeit a little smaller and a tad thicker. There's a flat slab design with rounded corners, a physical fingerprint sensor on the right edge and the same long, narrow look we have come to expect from Sony devices over the last couple of years. 

The Xperia 5 III also looks similar to its predecessor, and similar to the Xperia 1 III, though a smaller and more compact version. It also has rounded edges, while the Xperia 1 III has squarer edges.

Corning Gorilla Glass Victus is on board for protection on the Xperia 1 III, and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 covers the Xperia 5 III. Both model's rear camera housings - which have an interesting camera proposition - are positioned in the top left corner, as they were on the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II. As Sony fans will expect, there's IP65/68 waterproofing on board both models.

There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack again - as there was on the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II - and there's dual stereo front speakers. The Xperia 1 III will be available in Frosted Black, Frosted Grey and Frosted Purple colour options, with Europe getting the Frosted Black and Frosted Purple. 

The Xperia 5 III will be available in Black, White, Blue and Pink.

Display

  • Xperia 1 III: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • Xperia 5 III: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • OLED, HDR, 21:9, 120Hz

The Sony Xperia 1 III has a 6.5-inch 4K display with HDR and a 21:9 aspect ratio, like the Xperia 1 II. The 3840 x 1644 pixel resolution offers a pixel density of 643ppi and a 120Hz refresh rate, with 240Hz touch sampling.

The OLED display will deliver the 120Hz refresh rate at the full 4K resolution. 

The Xperia 5 III meanwhile, has a slightly smaller 6.1-inch OLED display. It still offers HDR support and a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate, but it opts for a Full HD+ resolution instead, putting its pixel density at 449ppi.

Hardware and specs

  • Both: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 5G, 4500mAh, Wireless charging
  • Xperia 1 III: 12GB RAM, 256/512GB storage
  • Xperia 5 III: 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage

Sony and Qualcomm have a long-standing relationship so it is unsurprising that the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III come with the Snapdragon 888 under their hoods, which also means 5G capabilities for both devices.

There's 12GB of RAM on board the Xperia 1 III and a choice of 256GB or 512GB of storage. It is not currently clear if the Xperia 1 III has microSD support for storage expansion. 

The Xperia 5 III has 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage. Again, it isn't clear if there is microSD support, though we would expect there to be.

In terms of battery, Sony added wireless charging to the Xperia 1 II and the Xperia 1 III continues to support it. The Xperia 5 II didn't offer wireless charging, but the Xperia 5 III does add it.

There's a 4500mAh battery under the hoods of both the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III, with support for 30W fast charging, which is said to deliver 50 per cent battery in 30 minutes.

The Xperia 1 III also offers reverse wireless charging though - something the Xperia 5 III misses off its list. Both devices come with a 3.5mm headphone jack, a full-stage stereo speaker, Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio, DSEE Ultimate, 360 Reality Audio through speakers and 360 Spatial Sound.

Camera

  • Triple rear with ToF
    • 12MP, 16mm, 1/2.6-inch, f/2.2, Dual-PDAF
    • 12MP, 24mm, 1/1.7-inch, f/1.7, Dual-PDAF, OIS
    • 12MP, 70mm/105mm, 1/2.9-inch, f/2.3 and f/2.8, Dual-PDAF, OIS
    • 3D ToF sensor
  • 8MP front

The Sony Xperia 1 III comes with a triple rear camera, as well as a 3D time-of-flight depth sensor. The Xperia 5 III has the same triple camera as the Xperia 1 III but it doesn't have the ToF sensor.

One of the three main cameras is a telephoto/periscope zoom lens similar to that found on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, though Sony takes a slightly different approach. Rather than going for big zoom, the 12-megapixel lens offers two different telephoto lengths from a single lens. The sensor stays the same behind it, but it means it can switch between 70mm and 105mm for two different telephoto options.

It's designed to deliver better results, with an f/2.3 aperture at 70mm and f/2.8 at 105mm. Those focal lengths equate to approximately 3x and 4.4x - but these are both optical, with optical image stabilisation.

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There's also a 12-megapixel 1/1.7in main camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.

The time-of-flight sensor on the Xperia 1 III will feed data into the real-time tracking system, making it slightly more advanced than the Xperia 5 III.

On the front, there's an 8-megapixel snapper on both models.

Sony Xperia 1 III rumours: What happened?

Here is everything that happened before the Sony Xperia 1 III was officially revealed.

8 April 2021: Sony teases Xperia I III in two official YouTube videos

Sony released two YouTube videos teasing the Xperia 1 III launch. Not much was given away but there are a couple of small details.

6 April 2021: Sony Xperia 1 III design and specs leak thanks to case manufacturer

Case manufacturer Olixir appears to have leaked the Sony Xperia 1 III in all its glory thanks to some high quality renders showcasing the design sporting one of its cases. PocketNow, also detailed some missing specs, including a 120Hz refresh rate, 5000mAh battery and the camera specs.

2 April 2021: Sony announces date for Xperia product reveal

Sony posted the date for an Xperia event on its social channels.

5 Febraury 2021: Sony Xperia 1 III revealed in video

Steve Hemmerstoffer followed up the renders of the Xperia 1 III with a 360-degree video of the device.

29 January 2021: Gorgeous Sony Xperia 1 III renders leak alongside rumoured specs

Steve Hemmerstoffer revealed some renders of the Xperia 1 III, along with some of the specs reported to come to the flagship device.

29 September 2020: Sony Xperia 1 III could have display and front camera improvements

AndroidNext reported the Sony Xperia 1 III will have display improvements and front camera improvements. It's said the display will be 15 per cent brighter, while the front camera will have a wider aperture.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.