The Sony Xperia 1R could launch as the world's first 5K phone

Sony Xperia 1R
Sony announced the Xperia Z5 Premium in September 2015 as the world’s first 4K smartphone. It followed the achievement up with the Xperia 1 this February which debuted with the world’s first 4K HDR OLED display. Now, reports suggest Sony could be preparing the world’s first phone with a 5K panel.

An incredibly high pixel density of 899ppi

As indicated by a new user agent profile (via91Mobiles), an upcoming Sony smartphone with the model number J8220 sports a 21:9 display with a massive 5K (5040 x 2160p) resolution. The current-gen Xperia 1, for comparison, boasts a 4K (3080 x 1664) front panel that ultimately offers 70% less total pixels.

The device in question appears to be the Xperia 2 which was rendered months ago. But according to leaked information, it won’t be sold under that name. Sony plans to market the phone as an upgraded, more compact version of the Xperia 1 dubbed the Xperia 1R. The latter will reportedly use a slightly smaller 6.1-inch display rather than the 6.5-inch panel featured on the current model. This, combined with the higher resolution, means Sony’s Xperia 1R should offer an incredible pixel density of 899 pixels-per-inch. For reference, the Xperia 1 offers a density of 643ppi and even HTC’s Vive Pro VR headset only offers 615ppi.

The Sony Xperia 1R’s display could very easily be considered overkill if the company’s simply aiming to achieve a more impressive spec sheet. But with VR continuing to grow and Sony itself being very invested in the market through its PlayStation brand, it’s certainly possible the company has some VR-focused gaming implementations up its sleeves to help justify the higher resolution.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 Plus could make the cut

Despite having potentially one of the best smartphone display around, Sony needs to fit its Xperia 1R with a high-end processor to make it truly worthy of the ‘flagship’ title. The standard Xperia 1 features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 which makes it the most logical choice for its follow up. However, if Sony’s next smartphone does include some VR-focused features, perhaps the Snapdragon 855 Plus will be chosen instead.

Qualcomm’s latest chip was announced earlier this week and will be first used inside the Asus ROG Phone 2. It promises to “raise gaming to the next level” with the help of a 15% increase in Adreno 640 GPU performance and a slight clock speed bump from 2.84GHz to 2.96GHz. As standard, the chip is coupled with a 4G LTE modem, but if manufacturers wish to do so, a separate 5G modem can be added.

Paired with the processor should be a minimum of 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although an upgrade to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage certainly wouldn’t be surprising. Curiously, previous leaks have pointed towards the presence of a tiny 3,200mAh battery inside the Xperia 1R. This is far from confirmed yet but it would certainly be disappointing considering the poor battery life results it’ll likely create as a result of the high-resolution display.

Sony Xperia 1R announcement and release date 

The Sony Xperia 1R is expected to go official in early September at IFA 2019 in Berlin. If the company’s previous releases are anything to go by, Xperia 1R pre-orders are unlikely to kick off until the end of the month before a release in early October.

Sony could surprise everybody by shortening the time between announcement and release in a bid to beat Apple’s iPhone 11 series to market and attempt to steal some of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 sales. But considering the Japanese brand appears to have been carving out its niche in the market, this is unlikely to happen.
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