Meet the Xperia PRO-I, a phone that Sony calls “The Camera”

Meet the Xperia PRO-I, a phone that Sony calls “The Camera”  Today Sony announced the Xperia PRO
Today Sony announced the Xperia PRO-I with a 1-inch camera sensor borrowed straight from the critically acclaimed Sony Alpha RX100 VII compact camera. The Japanese company is redefining the term “camera phone” with its new brainchild, and actually, the device is internally known as “The Camera.”

The Xperia PRO-I occupies a different spot in Sony’s smartphone portfolio, positioning itself vertically from the consumer-oriented Xperia 1, 5, and 10 devices. It’s not even a direct successor to the Xperia PRO, despite the similarities in the name.

Unlike the first Xperia PRO, which was geared toward live streamers, The Xperia PRO-I is offering a more complete package for photographers and videographers. The most important feature onboard is the aforementioned 1.0-type Exmor RS camera sensor with phase detection autofocus, sitting underneath a 24mm ZEISS Tessar Optics with dual F2.0/F4.0 aperture.

Sony has equipped the Xperia PRO-I with so many pro-level features and software tools that we’ll need to cover everything systematically. Let’s start with the still shots.

Xperia PRO-I photography specs and features

Some of you might be familiar with the Alpha RX100 VII and the capabilities of the 1-inch sensor inside. It features huge 2.4µm pixels, along with RAW 12-bit support and 315 phase-detection AF points that cover 90% of the frame.

To make the best of such a large sensor, Sony has opted for a dual aperture system on the main 24mm camera. The F2.0/F4.0 options further expand the capabilities of the main camera, allowing you to capture more light in difficult situations or change the depth of field and produce pro-level bokeh shots.

The phone comes equipped with three cameras on the back all of which feature 12MP sensors. The main 24mm lens is complemented with a 16mm ultra-wide lens, and a 50mm one, and there’s also a 3D iToF sensor to help with autofocus.

Speaking of autofocus, some of the features you’re already familiar with from the Xperia 1 III are present here - such as the Real-time Eye-AF in humans and animals and the 20fps AF/AE burst mode courtesy of the same BIONZ X mobile image processor.

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Photography Pro is present on the Xperia PRO-I allowing users to tweak nearly every aspect while shooting, while also providing a no-frills Basic mode for quick snaps. The dedicated camera shutter button that has been a trademark of Xperia phones of late is present of course but it has been upgraded.

The button now features the same shutter switch module as Sony’s RX100 series cameras and requires similar pressure to operate AF and shutter release, so RX100 users will feel at home with the system. Long pressing the shutter button will launch Photography Pro even with a turned-off display, so you won’t miss a frame.

Another small improvement is the strap hole, it’s been a while since we saw such a feature on a smartphone but here it serves as an added security feature to help you protect your Xperia PRO-I from accidental falls. The phone itself is only 8.9 mm thick so it’s a nice feature to have on such a slim device.

Xperia PRO-I Sample Gallery:

Xperia PRO-I video recording capabilities

The Xperia PRO-I can shoot videos in 4K at 120fps, and save the result in true 4K120 format. The same Eye AF technology and object tracking can be used in video recording, and there are also image stabilization tech such as Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye to help users produce smooth and shake-free videos.

There’s a new monaural microphone right next to the camera and it’s on speech-recording duties, while the background noise is filtered by Sony’s audio-separation technology. Another brand-new feature is the dedicated Videography Pro app, allowing users to adjust settings such as focus, exposure, and white balance even while shooting video.

The Cinematography Pro app is also on board with all the bells and whistles you’re already familiar with from the previous Xperia phones. There’s a factory-calibrated Level meter too, and a dedicated shortcut button, that you can assign to an application of your choice, or use with Videography Pro to start shooting video immediately like with a dedicated camera.

Xperia PRO-I as a phone

You can use the Xperia PRO-I also as a smartphone, believe it or not. The 8.9mm thick body is a Gorilla Glass Victus sandwich and underneath the tempered glass lies a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and the familiar 21:9 aspect ratio.

The phone uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. There’s a microSD card slot present, supporting up to 1TB expansion cards. On the audio front things are also looking good - the 3.5mm jack is still here, along with 360 Reality Audio and 360 spatial sound support, and also LDAC with DSEE for high-resolution audio.

You can still game on the Xperia PRO-I thanks to the same features we saw on the Xperia 1 III - with the Game Enhancer, the 240Hz touch sampling rate, and the Heat Suppression power control technology that allows you to bypass the battery and game while on the charger without heat issues or battery wear.

Speaking about the battery, it’s a 4,500 mAh cell and you can fast charge the device up to 50% in just 30 minutes with the included 30W charger. To top it all up, the Xperia PRO-I is IP65/68 rated for water and dust resistance.


Sony is also launching a couple of interesting new accessories to go with the Xperia PRO-I. The first one is a Vlog Monitor with an aspect ratio of 16:9 on a 3.5-inch LCD (1280x720) screen and a metal holder. This accessory allows vloggers to film themselves accurately using the new 1.0-inch sensor of the phone, and it is also compatible with Bluetooth shooting grips such as the GP-VPT2BT.

The second accessory is a new leather back cover that offers a luxury treatment for the Xperia PRO-I while keeping all the controls easy to reach.

Price and availability

The new Xperia PRO-I will be available in Early December for approximately €1,799 RRP. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Nordics.

Price and availability in the US will be added at a later date.

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