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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has confirmed its line-up of Xperia phones for 2021, including the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III.

Rather than delay the more compact model, both have been confirmed and will be available in early summer 2021, alongside the mid-range Xperia 10 III.

The unique thing about the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III is the periscope lens on the rear. We've seen a number of approaches to this over the past few years, from the Huawei P30 Pro up to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but Sony Mobile is taking an interesting approach.

Sony MobileSony Xperia 1 III photo 1

Instead of chasing maximum zoom, it's offering two different telephoto lengths from the single lens. This is a rarity, as most lenses offer a fixed focal length, with any changes beyond to the optical zoom being digital.

Here, the Sony Xperia phones have the ability to move the position of the lens elements within the periscope module, effectively changing the focal length of that lens. The sensor stays the same behind it, but it means it can switch between 70mm and 105mm for two different telephoto options.

The aim is to give better quality results, allowing an f/2.3 aperture at 70mm and f/2.8 at 105mm. Those focal lengths equate to approx. 3x and 4.4x - but these are both optical, with optical image stabilisation.

Sitting behind this variable telephoto lens is a 12-megapixel sensor, one of three 12-megapixel sensors on this phone. As with the previous Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 models, Sony is avoiding the temptation to jump to big resolutions.

Instead you have a 12-megapixel 1/1.7in main camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera to make up the trio on both the Xperia 1 III and the Xperia 5 III. The only difference between the cameras is that the Xperia 1III has a time-of-flight sensor to feed data into the real-time tracking system, so this is a slightly more advanced system on the larger phone. There's no 8K video capture, because of the limitation of the 12-megapixel sensors.

Moving on from the camera, both phones sit on Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G, with 12GB RAM and 256 or 512GB storage.

Both have a 3.5mm headphone socket, dual stereo front speakers supporting Dolby Atmos and 360 Spatial Audio, with the ability to upscale stereo audio.

Both also have a 4500mAh battery, with 30W charging support, so the smaller phone doesn't lose out.

Sony MobileSony Xperia 5 III photo 1

The phones are naturally different sizes, but both offer a similar design and build with IP65/68 protection and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for protection.

The difference, then, comes in the display. The Sony Xperia 1 III has a 6.5-inch 21:9 OLED display, with 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling. This is a 4K display, 3840 x 1644 pixels and yes, it will run this resolution at 120Hz.

The Sony Xperia 5 III has a 6.1-inch 21:9 OLED display, again with 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sample, but this time it is 2520 x 1080 pixels, or Full HD+. Both support HDR.

It looks like Sony is loading these phones up to make a big impression, but it's going to be some time before we can get our hands on them as they are not due until Summer 2021. We will, of course, bring you full reviews of both closer to that time.

Prices and exact availability are to be confirmed.

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Writing by Chris Hall.