Sony Xperia 1 goes up for pre-order in the US at a shockingly high price

Sony Xperia 1 goes up for pre-order in the US at a shockingly high price
That's one tall phone with one tall price point

While it's rarely a good sign when a company announces a new high-end smartphone without detailing its price and availability info, LG pleasantly surprised us earlier this week by substantially undercutting Samsung's "regular" Galaxy S10 variant and essentially positioning the G8 ThinQ against the inexpensive Galaxy S10e. Unfortunately, we can't say we're very pleased about the price point of another flagship unveiled at the MWC 2019 trade show a couple of weeks back under a veil of secrecy.

Said veil has been lifted with the start of US pre-orders, and... the Sony Xperia 1 is even costlier than we expected. Namely, it fetches $999.99 on Amazon in an unlocked configuration backed by a standard US warranty, which is actually higher than the direct conversion of the handset's British price tag without VAT. That's pretty unusual, but then again, the Sony Xperia 1 is a pretty unusual device.

Wildly overpriced?


Although the shock factor of an ultra-premium phone commanding a price in the four-digit ballpark has greatly diminished this past year or so, a thousand bucks remains hard to swallow for a non-Apple and non-Samsung flagship. It goes without saying this is also an incredibly bold choice on Sony's part, given the microscopic sales numbers of the company's mobile devices lately.

Then again, if we look back at last year's Xperia XZ2 Premium and Xperia XZ3, this no longer feels like such a shocking move. The latter model, equipped with a 6-inch OLED screen sporting 2880 x 1440 resolution, debuted at $900 in October, recently scoring a fairly modest $170 discount. The former was even costlier off the bat, at $999.99, with a higher-resolution LCD panel in tow, but also ridiculously thick bezels and a chunky profile.

Hence, we could say it almost makes sense for the Sony Xperia 1 to set early adopters back a full one thousand bucks. After all, this looks like a major upgrade over both the XZ2 Premium and XZ3, at least at first glance. What's hard to explain is why there aren't even any deal sweeteners offered with Xperia 1 pre-orders. That's in stark contrast with Sony's two 2018 high-enders, both of which initially shipped alongside free wireless Xperia Ear Duo headphones.


Then there's the inevitable comparison with new rivals from Samsung, LG, and even Nokia, where Sony can't possibly come out on top. The Xperia 1 is priced significantly higher than the Nokia 9 PureView and LG G8 ThinQ, matching the entry-level Galaxy S10+ configuration. The latter has already earned great praise in our in-depth review, not to mention all those gifts its early buyers were or still are eligible for.

But what if the Sony Xperia 1 is worth it?


We know, it feels highly unlikely, but there is an outside chance Sony made a phone as good as or slightly better than the Galaxy S10+. If that's the case, the $999.99 price point would certainly be justified. Of course, it's hard to believe the 3,330 mAh battery will deliver better endurance than the 4,100 mAh monster powering the 6.4-inch screen of the S10 Plus. But the 6.5-inch "CinemaWide" OLED panel on the Xperia 1 is definitely... something else, with its 21:9 aspect ratio, 4K resolution (3840 x 1644 pixels), and HDR support.


Made for professional content creators and hardcore content consumers, this bad boy also comes with "cinematic" Dolby Atmos sound technology and a "pro-quality" triple lens camera system. While the Galaxy S10+ is undoubtedly a photographic powerhouse, its triple shooter arrangement arguably falls short of perfection. Sony could swoop in and steal that crown... from Google with the help of its Alpha division, although we obviously won't know if that's the case until we get to rigorously review the Xperia 1.

At the end of the day, you probably shouldn't disregard this as a 2019 heavyweight title contender just yet, but you absolutely shouldn't hurry and pre-order it already either. Especially given the December 31 release date currently listed on Amazon (which is naturally a pretty hilarious mistake).

Related phones

Xperia 1
  • Display 6.5" 1644 x 3840 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3330 mAh(24.8h 3G talk time)

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29 Comments

1. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

What a nice enthusiast device

2. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 455; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Sony sure know how to make people not want to buy their phones...

3. Feanor

Posts: 1389; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

...and as usual the skyrocket-high price of the Xperia 1 will translate to prices same or lower than the Samsung Galaxy S10+ elsewhere in the world but the damage is done, because the internet is dominated by US centered news. Something for Sony Mobile marketing department to think about.

4. Nionx

Posts: 207; Member since: Oct 30, 2017

DOA. I was actually considering one but at that price, no way.

5. inFla

Posts: 137; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

According to tests on this site, the S10+ 4100 "monster" battery isn't that great.

9. notfair

Posts: 755; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

according to this site the test batteries that they do are the worst from the entire internet if the test is not done on a fruit device.

31. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Ignore this site's battery tests.

6. chris2k5

Posts: 283; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Lol preorder now and it ships Dec30 2019. Bye

12. Lois13

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 20, 2015

I highly doubt that's the actual date. Looks like a place holder to me. Still scary that they don't know when it's going to ship though.

18. dirky

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

You're right sir. It's a placeholder. Amazon said it.

17. dirky

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

This writer got the wrong date for sure. Who in the hell would pre-order something and release after 9 months? This site really has nothing good to say about Sony phones. What's wrong with a non-apple and non- samsung phone? If the phone is built premium, of course, it will cost high.

23. RockStar2005

Posts: 13; Member since: May 28, 2016

It's not the author. That date showing is what Amazon has posted, but we all know it's wrong and will come out May/June the latest.

7. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I do not understand this website ... If any phone running android is more than $880, then it is called overpriced. Iphone in USA almost $1500 and it is normal.

8. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Same price of an Iphone 2017. I am so shocked, I should go to hospital. Android devices bring much more stuff than Apple. Charge 10, 20, 30,40% less and still you guys complain.

10. ryq24

Posts: 875; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

It's a Sony so no surprise there. Sony is known to sell at high price but after only a few months when they realize people are not falling for it and are not buying their so-called premium phone price will fall. Sony disappoint again.

11. socrateos

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 13, 2019

iPhone XS Max is $1099 at Amazon. So Xperia 1 is $200 cheaper! It is hardly "shockingly high price." It's not even high price. It's actually a good price for 6.5 inch with OLED screen. It's a great alternative to iPhone users.

13. DeanMachine

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 26, 2017

You're not good at math

14. ikenvape

Posts: 309; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lol yeah, your math is off a little.

28. socrateos

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 13, 2019

My bad

15. ikenvape

Posts: 309; Member since: May 28, 2014

Is it really shocking? Hasn't Sony always been the only maker to charge a ridiculously high price for any phone they manufacture?

16. BadAssAbe

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Sony should advertise it's PS4 functionality more as a exclusive to it's phones. Sony has one of the only flagship phones this year that doesn't have a notch or hole in the display LED notification too

19. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

PS Remote is now available for iOS.

20. Aldrig

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 13, 2019

Assuming the Xperia can not be priced at this level because it is not a Samsung or iPhone, and that it will not be as good in any way. What is shocking is the small-mindedness of this article.

24. RockStar2005

Posts: 13; Member since: May 28, 2016

Man you said it!!!! "We know, it feels highly unlikely, but there is an outside chance Sony made a phone as good as or slightly better than the Galaxy S10+. If that's the case, the $999.99 price point would certainly be justified. Of course, it's hard to believe the 3,330 mAh battery will deliver better endurance than the 4,100 mAh monster powering the 6.4-inch screen of the S10 Plus." HIGHLY unlikely?? lol Samsung phones have gotten A LOT better over the last couple years, but dude please! Yeah there are some bezels, but they've been scaled back since 2-3 years ago, and also..........NO NOTCH OR STUPID SAMSUNG CUTOUTS!! I'd rather have a little bezel than a notch. Compare ANY two comparable TVs and if one has a notch or cutout and one doesn't, which one YOU gonna go for? lol I'm not worried about the battery. People make such a big deal about Sony's batteries without reviewing ALL the facts. Like that the XZ3's battery was 3300 mAh on GSM Arena, yet had a 90 HOUR BATTERY LIFE RATING vs. Huawei Mate 20 Pro's 4200 mAh that only had 85, or (my) OnePlus 6T's 3700 mAh battery that also had 90............so 400 mAh more with the SAME rating! Just sayin' people. The 1's battery is 3330 mAh, so slightly more than 3300. Not really any different, but every little bit helps. Same with RAM...........Sony's VERY efficient with their RAM as well. In my experience of owning both Sony and Samsung phones, 6 GBs of Sony's RAM is the same as 8 GBs of Samsung's.

27. rsiders

Posts: 1976; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

At the same time they have to understand that the US is clearly not their biggest market for smartphones. For one, they're not sold through carriers so would-be buyers have to dole out the cash or get a credit card to pay for one. Two, they're just not that popular and Sony needs to think strategically if they want to sell phones here or just don't bother. If the other two conditions were not true then yes, go for it.

26. rsiders

Posts: 1976; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

So $1000 for a phone we still have to wait another 2-3 months for? I'll buy a Sony mirrorless camera first. I was so excited about this one too.

29. monoke

Posts: 1172; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Pretty much expected given the tech and competition. Nothing shocking about it.

30. Sparkxster

Posts: 1240; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Everything about this phone is shaping up to be one of the best phones of the year mostly no compromises are made with the exception of no headphone jack. Plus using two apps at a time on the 21:9 ratio will be a pleasure.

32. AliBashir

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 18, 2017

Shockingly High?? I was expecting something like 1500-2000$ with that 6.5 inchs 4K oled cinema display and this title, WTF Guys.

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