We're now pretty sure that the Sony Xperia 1 III will launch next week — and a new leak has given us a good look at its standout features.
Renders designed by case maker Olixar (via GSMArena (opens in new tab)) have revealed the next Sony flagship ahead of its rumored April 14 debut. And while the phone isn't the only focus of these images, it appears that many of the Xperia 1 III's rumored features have made it to the final version of the phone.
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The renders provided by Olixar shows a familiar outline: Sony is seemingly sticking with a 6.5-inch display with a uniquely-tall 21:9 aspect ratio and a 4K resolution, as on the Sony Xperia 1 II. That's no bad thing, as the previous Xperia 1's display and shape were among its most interesting specs.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the top bezel (containing a selfie camera) is also returning. While plain bezels don't interfere with the screen in the same way as a notch or punch-hole, they make the phone significantly larger than it would otherwise need to be, as well as making it look old-fashioned. Sony would have ideally left this part of the display design behind on the last generation.
One old-fashioned feature we can appreciate is the headphone jack on the bottom edge, which joins the phone's more modern stereo-firing speakers. Though the headphone socket is not a feature you'll find on many flagship phones, its inclusion here will be good news for anyone who's yet to invest in a pair of the best wireless headphones or the best wireless earbuds.
The other main exterior details revealed by the case are the Xperia 1 III's rear cameras: there are three of them arranged in a long vertically-oriented oblong, all using Zeiss-tuned lenses as on previous Sony phones. One of them is said to be a periscope telephoto lens, a big boost from the standard telephoto on the Xperia 1 II. While it's only one factor to consider, the periscope lens does put this phone in line with other devices that appear on our best camera phones guide.
Looking at the sides of the phone, we see the reappearance of a fingerprint-sensing power button, as on the older model. What's new is a shortcut button above it, something Sony previously used on the Xperia Pro earlier this year; this gives you a quick way to instantly open an app of your choice.
We don't yet know what chipset the Xperia 1 III uses, beyond that it will be a 5G-compatible one. The Xperia 1 II used a Snapdragon 865 chip, the best flagship silicon available at the time, so perhaps we'll see the new Xperia use a Snapdragon 888 like that in the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, OnePlus 9 series and many other recent Android phones.
The Xperia's RAM and storage is also a mystery at the moment. The previous generation offered either 8GB or 12GB RAM with 256GB storage, as well as the option for expansion via a microSD card. The SD card slot has been rumored to be returning, however, which is great news for users who quickly fill up phones' internal storage.
The phone is expected to launch in just over a week, meaning that we'll soon know for sure what the Xperia 1 III offers to the world. All that will then be left is to judge whether it deserves to be one of our best Android phones or even simply one of the best phones. With no devices currently on either list, however, Sony has its work cut out.