Sony Xperia 1 III could arrive sooner than you think

The Sony Xperia 1 III
(Image credit: Sony)

It looks like the Sony Xperia 1 III is nearly ready for show time. As spotted by Droid Life, Sony has updated the banner on its Xperia YouTube channel to include reference to an upcoming event in just two weeks’ time.

“Xperia New Product Announcement,” the banner reads. “14 April 2021, 16:30 JST / 09:30 CEST.” That means you’re looking at 3:30am ET, or 12:30am PT.

While that’s obviously extremely vague, the Xperia brand is purely used for phones and tablets. Since Sony hasn’t released a tablet since 2015 with the Xperia Z4 Tablet, it’s almost certain to be a phone, and the Xperia 1 III seems the most likely candidate, thanks to recent leaked details.  

Weibo leaker ZACKBUKS published full specifications of Sony’s latest flagship yesterday and, if true, they’re certainly the kind of thing that should give the Samsung Galaxy S21 a run for its money. 

As is standard for a 2021 flagship smartphone, it seems the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC will be running the show, backed by a massive 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Apparently Sony will also be releasing a premium version with 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage, but that seems unnecessary for most people’s needs, unless there are other differences ZACKBUKS hasn’t flagged.

Like recent members of the Xperia family, the Xperia 1 III will stick with an unusual 21:9 aspect ratio – something Sony previously justified by noting that 69% of Netflix movies are shot in this format. This means you’re looking at a screen that’s tall and thin, but it should be a treat for the eyes, with OLED technology and a 120Hz refresh rate. Like previous Sony flagships, it’s also reportedly going to support resolutions of up to 4K, though whether anybody will be able to spot that on a screen so small remains to be seen.

The most exciting specs are in the camera department, however. According to ZACKBUKS, Sony will be introducing a periscope zoom camera built by the company’s Cyber-shot division, potentially allowing the phone to eclipse the 3x optical zoom achieved by the Xperia 1 II. There will also apparently be a main 64MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor.

It’s no secret that Sony has struggled for smartphone market share, and that’s not been helped by what you might call ‘optimistic’ pricing. Unfortunately, if the leak is correct, it doesn’t seem like the company is ready to enter a price war to take the battle to Samsung and Apple, with ZACKBUKS quoting a price of 8999 Yuan. That comes to around $1,370, which would make the Sony Xperia 1 III nearly $200 more than the Samsung Galaxy S21 UItra and $300 more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Hopefully this will prove to be a miscommunication, and Sony ends up revealing a more competitively priced device when it unveils the latest member of the Xperia family on April 14. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.