The Best Sony phones - Updated September 2022 - PhoneArena

The Best Sony phones - Updated September 2022

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The Best Sony phones - Updated September 2022
Sony’s mobile business went through several transformations since its inception back in 2001. Sony was making phones even prior to that but the crucial partnership with Ericsson marked the start of Sony’s real journey into mobile phones.

Then in 2011, Sony decided to buy out Ericsson’s stakes and get the smartphone business in-house. The Xperia was born. History lessons aside, Sony did manage to bring some interesting concepts and ideas to the smartphone market and despite its market share shrinking beyond recognition, the Japanese company did manage to turn a profit for the first time in years at the beginning of 2021.

So, what are the best Sony phones in 2022? Obviously, the company is on the right track. Today we’re going to talk about modern Xperia phones and what are the choices before the average Sony fan. Here we go!

Best Sony phones at a glance:


Sony Xperia PRO-I

Sony Xperia PRO-I
8.0

Sony Xperia PRO-I


The Good

  • Sharp and accurate 4K 120Hz OLED display
  • Distinctive industrial design
  • Remarkable camera versatility
  • Superb video-recording capabilities
  • Natural, not overly processed photos and videos
  • Loud and clear stereo speakers
  • Plenty of storage plus microSD card support
  • Outstanding flagship-grade performance
  • User-friendly hardware features

The Bad

  • High price
  • Shutter button is too sensitive
  • Only 30W fast charging
  • Mushy haptic feedback
  • No biometric alternative to the fingerprint scanner
  • White balance discrepancies between the different cameras
  • Camera interface doesn't rotate
We're kicking off with a very special phone - not the best Xperia out there but probably the most professional one. The Xperia Pro-I is a phone that Sony internally calls "The Camera", and for a good reason. This device features the same 1-inch sensor that's present in the award-winning compact camera Sony RX100 Mark VII.

This 12MP main camera has also two aperture settings - F/2.0 and F/4.0, alongside huge 2.4µm pixels. Everything about this phone is tailored toward the photography enthusiasts. There's a new Videography Pro app, and also the familiar Photo Pro and Cinema Pro.

As a phone, the Xperia Pro-I has borrowed almost all the internals from the Xperia 1 III, and that's not a bad thing. You've got the Snapdragon 888, paired with 12GB of RAM. There's a microSD card on board (pretty rare nowadays), and also a 3.5mm audio jack. The phone is also IP65/68 water and dust resistant. The Xperia Pro-I is a bit pricey at $1,799 but for your hard-earned money you're getting the best camera phone out there, right?


Sony Xperia PRO

Sony Xperia PRO

Sony Xperia PRO


View full specs
Sony has this strange habit of designing amazing technological masterpieces, which no one would ever buy. That's a bit harsh but the Xperia Pro is a very, very niche device. It's meant for video creators, professional photographers, and videographers, streamers. The main idea is that you can connect the phone to your professional camera and use it as an external display with 5G capabilities.

This might not sound as much but let's say you work in the movie industry. You need to take hundreds of set pictures, costume pictures, actor casting photos, and all of those need to go to the casting director, costume director, etc. With the Xperia Pro attached to your camera, this can happen instantaneously.

You can record video and send it directly to the editing room, no need to physically go there, deal with flash drives, SSDs, lightning cables, and stuff. Needless to say, every streamer and YouTuber out there can benefit from this device, especially if they’re making content on the go, such as a traveling blog, tourist guide series, etc.

The only downside of this phone is its price. Its MSRP is $2,499.99, and for a dedicated external monitor that’s a bit too much. When you add the phone capabilities, the amazing 4K screen, powerful software onboard, and all the bells and whistles, the Sony Xperia Pro might not seem like such a bad idea after all.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV
8.0

Sony Xperia 1 IV


The Good

  • Light and comfortable
  • Camera records very good video
  • Headphone jack, notification LED
  • Stereo speakers sound great
  • Runs buttery smooth

The Bad

  • Exorbitant price
  • Camera photos are not as great
  • Three different camera apps, none of them feels fully fleshed out
  • No charger, no cable, no earbuds in box

Don't let the naysayers get to you, the Xperia 1 IV is the best Sony phone money can buy, and there are plenty of reasons to buy one. For starters, this phone has a 4K 120Hz OLED display (world's first with these specs) and it also sports Sony's cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio without any notches, cutouts and other eyesores. Sony phones of late kinda stand out from the rest of the smartphone crowd, thanks to this tall 21:9 formfactor and some other quirky features we're getting to in a minute.

The Xperia 1 IV also took the innovative periscope zoom camera of its predecessor and made it better. While the Xperia 1 III featured the first zoom lens with a moving optical elements, capable of switching between 70 and 105mm, the Xperia IV upgraded the system so it could offer continuous zoom. That's right! Just like a professional DSLR camera, the Xperia 1 IV can zoom from 85 to 125mm with every focal length in between.

This phone is also super-fast with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and 12GB of RAM. And guess what? You can expand the internal storage (256GB) with our dear old friend - the microSD card slot. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack present, defying modern smartphone trends and the Xperia 1 IV also features a stereo speakers setup (front facing), and quite good at that - not your average unbalanced speakerphone/loudspeaker combo.

All in all, the Xperia 1 IV is the best Sony phone at the moment, and a worthy successor of the previous ultra-premium Sony flagship. There's one drawback, however - the price. Sony
went all-out and slapped a $1,599 price tag to this technology masterpiece. 


Sony Xperia 5 IV

Sony Xperia 5 IV
8.0

Sony Xperia 5 IV


The Good

  • Premium design
  • Compact size
  • Bright 6.1-inch OLED display with great color accuracy
  • MicroSD card (up to 1TB)
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Notification LED
  • Great battery life (5,000mAh battery)
  • Wireless charging (first in Xperia 5 series)
  • Sony’s creative suite (Photo Pro, Cinema Pro, Video Pro, Music Pro)

The Bad

  • Periscope lens is gone (60mm not impressive)
  • Gets hot quite often (which dumbs down performance)
  • Barebone retail box (just the phone and nothing else)
  • No variable refresh rate
  • Slow fingerprint scanner
  • Expensive
The Xperia 5 IV is a technology masterpiece. It’s pretty, fast, and comes packed full of features. The 6.1-inch 21:9 OLED display is as beautiful as they get and it also boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, there's the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset on board, a 3.5mm audio jack, an IP65/68 water and dust protection, a huge 5,000mAh battery with fast charging, wireless charging for the first time in a 5-series phone, the list just goes on and on.

You're probably looking at the rating now and thinking, how's it possible - it's the best Xperia phone, at least on paper. Well, Sony decided to ditch the state-of-the-art periscope camera system from the previous generation and not go for the even better continuous zoom system on the Xperia 1 IV. What we have instead is a fixed focus, non-periscope 60mm telephoto camera. And that's a downgrade in every book.

But even without all the corners cut in the camera department. The only real drawback here is the price - the Xperia 5 IV is a 1049 euro device, and for that kind of money there are plenty alternatives. Nevertheless, if you want the best Sony can offer in a compact form factor, the Xperia 5 IV can be a good choice.


Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 5 II
8.5

Sony Xperia 5 II


The Good

  • Beautiful and unique design
  • Snappy performance
  • Great battery life
  • Powerful photo and video software
  • 3.5mm audio jack and front-facing stereo speakers
  • IP68 rating

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Slow charging speeds
  • 21:9 ratio not for everyone
If the Xperia 5 IV is too expensive and gimmicky to you, the Xperia 5 II can be a great substitute. This phone takes everything good from its bigger sibling and shrinks it down a notch. The Xperia 5 II even adds new cool features that you won't find in the 1 II such as the 120Hz display refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate.

The Xperia 5 II is a gorgeous little phone with a gorgeous display - a 6.1-inch FHD+ HDR OLED that also features X1 Bravia mobile HDR technology and Creator mode powered by CineAlta. You get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage on this phone but you can expand it with up to 1TB via the microSD card slot. The beating heart of the Xperia 5 II comes from Qualcomm - the Snapdragon 865. It's a year-old chipset but still performing quite admirably even in 2022.

Even though the camera system doesn't sport variable zoom magic, the Xperia 5 II produces some great, true-to-life shots. And you get the amazing double-action physical shutter button as well. The battery inside this phone is a 4,000mAh cell, which might not sound much but consider the fact that the Xperia 5 battery size is just 3,140mAh, so we're talking a substantial upgrade here. We mentioned a friendlier price tag earlier on. Well, the phone's not cheap by any standard but you can get it for well under $1,000. 


Sony Xperia 10 IV

Sony Xperia 10 IV

Sony Xperia 10 IV


View full specs
Sony did a great job with the Xperia 10 III and the stakes were high for its successor. The budget line seems to be selling well, and there's a good reason for that - the package is just great for the money. 

The Xperia 10 IV brings some upgrades to the table, and refines the 10 series further. You get the same 6-inch notchless OLED panel - a real treat in a phone that's so affordable. The build quality and materials are slightly better, the processor is a bit faster and there's more RAM compared to the previous generations. Small improvements here and there but overall the spirit of this budget offering remains the same.

There's one area where Sony has done an excellent job - battery life. Cramming a 5,000mAh battery in the same body is not a small feat (actually the Xperia 10 IV is a millimeter smaller than its predecessor), and coupled with the 60Hz OLED display, and the modest chipset, this results in a record-setting battery life. Seriously, this phone is our new battery life champion. 

There are some minor inconveniences, such as the aforementioned 60Hz refresh rate, and the lack of 4K recording (courtesy of the Snapdragon 695 chipset) but if you want a classy-looking phone that will last for days, the Xperia 10 IV is one of your best bets.


Sony Xperia 5

Sony Xperia 5
8.0

Sony Xperia 5


The Good

  • A compact-ish top-tier phone
  • Great cameras
  • Beautiful, distinct design
  • The display can look great if you tinker with it
  • Snappy performance, clean software

The Bad

  • The fingerprint scanner is abysmal
  • Camera app needs extra work
  • Stereo speakers are tinny and underwhelming
  • We suffered some crashes and software instabilities (v. 55.0.A.7.115)
The Xperia 5 was Sony's first take on the compact flagship, and a nod to its "Compact" branded phones of old. The five is almost the same phone as the crowned flagship - Xperia 1, only smaller. You get the same flagship chipset - the Snapdragon 855, although in 2022 its performance is shifted toward the midrange. 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage can be found onboard, and the 6.1-inch OLED display is still impressive even by 2022 standards, even though you don't get high refresh rate goodness.

The camera system is also decent, it's taken straight from Xperia 5's bigger brother. Photos come out with natural colors and realistic details, the dynamic range is generous, and the triple camera system (2x telephoto, wide-angle, ultra wide-angle) gives you a lot of flexibility. 

Sadly, there's no 3.5mm audio jack and the capacitive fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone is pretty first-gen. These are minor things though, and if you want a taste of Xperia but don't fancy a $1,300 flagship, or a $400 budget phone, the Xperia 5 can be your device of choice. It's considerably cheaper than its more modern siblings, and still packs some flagship features.

Read More:Sony Xperia 5 review

Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1
8.0

Sony Xperia 1


The Good

  • Beautiful display
  • Versatile triple camera setup
  • Fast, clean software
  • Solid, classic design
  • Stereo speakers sound very clear (but lack bass)

The Bad

  • Camera software feels unfinished
  • Unreliable fingerprint scanner
  • No wireless charging
With the Xperia 1, Sony decided to turn things around and step into the modern smartphone world. And it succeeded in doing so - at launch, this device was the first Sony phone with a triple camera and the only handset on the market with a 4K OLED HDR display.

The 21:9 aspect ratio was a bold move but now it's a Sony staple and kind of a trademark of all Xperia phones that came after the "One". Hardware-wise the Xperia 1 mirrored its smaller sibling, although it's the other way around, really. Anyhow, the phone packs a Snapdragon 855 chipset, coupled with 6GB of RAM. It's pretty fast and won't stutter even in 2022. The internal storage is "just" 128GB but you can expand it via the microSD card slot (kudos to Sony for keeping it throughout its lineup).

The triple camera system consists of three 12MP shooters - the main camera with F1.6 and approximate 26mm focal length, a super-wide F2.4 snapper, and a telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. That's a pretty versatile system that you can find in many 2021 flagship phones, so no deficit of any kind here. Images taken with the Xperia 1 look natural and detailed with a good dynamic range. The Xperia 1 may not be the best Sony phone in 2022 but it sure holds its ground. When you factor in the price of this phone in 2022, it can be a real bargain and a wise choice over more current midrange phones with the same price tag.

Read More: Sony Xperia 1 review

Conclusion


So there you have it - the best Sony phones you can get in 2022. This list is, of course, work-in-progress. Let's hope that Sony keeps the momentum and pulls itself out of the market share bottom, because Xperia phones are somewhat unique and the market can only benefit from having them around. Needless to say, for avid Sony fans, every new model is the best Sony phone out there, so the loyal fanbase could help Sony Mobile get back up where it belongs. 

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