Sony Xperia 1 VI isn't coming to the U.S. — and that's terrible news

Sony Xperia 1 VI
(Image credit: Sony)

The Sony Xperia 1 VI was unveiled a week ago, it being the latest in Sony's line of flagship Android phones targeted at creative types. It was exciting to see the changes and upgrades that Sony has made since last year, but since then a less encouraging fact about the launch has come to light.

While previously Sony launched its flagship Xperias in the U.S., it's confirmed in a statement to The Verge that this year there will be no Xperia 1 for the American market.

There will be ways to buy it in the U.S., as there are with any phone. But it'll likely be even more expensive, and may not be compatible with your carrier since Sony won't have prepped the phone to work specifically with U.S. cellular frequencies.

It's extra disappointing that Sony made the decision this year because it looked as if the latest Xperia was more approachable than ever before. The new phone's become wider and shorter to match the proportions of its rivals, and Sony's trio of photo/video apps have now been distilled into one singular Camera app — while keeping unique functionality like a fully adjustable optical zoom between 3.5x and 7.1x magnification and a physical shutter button on the phone's side. Plus with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage by default and a 5,000 mAh battery, the Xperia ticks the key boxes for a 2024 flagship Android phone.

The Sony Xperia 1 V in hand from the back

The Sony Xperia 1 V (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If I could identify one element that has held last year's Xperia 1 V and its predecessors back though, it's the price. One thing the Xperia 1 VI hasn't altered is how expensive flagship Sony phones are, starting at £1,299 in the U.K. (the Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max start at £1,249 and £1,199 respectively). I'm sure Sony has considered its options carefully, but if it could afford to take a hit and shrink the price down a little, then it would be more likely to draw users who would otherwise pick a more regular phone.

What do we want? More choice!

Keep in mind that we've not tried the Xperia 1 VI yet — maybe the U.S. is avoiding a dud without us realizing. But going by previous years, Sony knows how to make a good smartphone, even if it's one with a niche appeal. And it skipping a U.S. launch shrinks down the available choices even further.

Competition among smartphones in the U.S. is pretty tight between Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel and OnePlus flagship Android phones, not to mention these company's respective foldable models or their Apple-made rivals. But that's a surprisingly small number of companies for such a large market of smartphone users. 

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Pixel 8 Pro.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro (Image credit: Future)

As any day-one business major would tell you, more companies involved in a market in theory makes all their products better through forging them in the fire of competition. But companies withdrawing, even if it's temporary and even it makes sense from a short-term financial perspective, leaves customers worse off in the long-run.

I hope Sony doesn't make this a precedent, and that we at least see future Xperias make it to the west side of the Atlantic (or east side of the Pacific from Sony's perspective). While I'm glad that I can still access the new Xperia here in the U.K., I'd hate for Sony's mobile division to go the way of LG's just because it can't break into the top three in the U.S.

We'll bring you a review of the Sony Xperia 1 VI as soon as we're able to, which will then tell us how sad or relieved American customers should actually be. But there's our current list of the best Android phones or the best camera phones to check out now if you're after a great handset that you will find gracing the shelves of your local phone store.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.