Xperia 1 III announced with variable telephoto lens and 120Hz 4K OLED display

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Sony has today unveiled its latest flagship, the Xperia 1 III (Mark 3). Sony has kept the design largely intact from the Xperia 1 II (Mark 2) but brings a number of improvements across the camera, display, audio and battery life.

One of the big new camera features in the Xperia 1 III is the introduction of a variable telephoto lens in its triple camera setup. The optical telephoto module (with Dual PDAF sensors) has two focal lengths (70mm and 105mm) using a folded periscope lens design which allows users to capture moving objects with fast AF (autofocus) at a distance. Sony also uses what it calls a new AI super resolution zoom, adding detail and definition to images without comprising the precision of photos.

The 12MP rear camera setup consists of a 16mm F2.2 lens; 24mm F1.7 lens and the telephoto module with 70mm (F2.3)/105mm (F2.8) lenses. Sony continues to use ZEISS optics, much like last year’s model. Front camera duties are looked after by the same 8MP 1/4-inch F2.0 lens from last year’s model.

The Xperia 1 III once again includes fast continuous AF across all lenses, however it now features real-time object tracking, which allows capture of challenging moving objects in sharp focus. The system uses AI algorithms and the 3D iToF (time-of-flight) sensor to accurately maintain a track on objects, even if they move out of sight temporarily. Video recording will now support 4K HDR 120fps slow-motion, capturing and playback up to 5x slow-motion when set at 24fps.

It’s nice to see Sony include a special embossed finish on its dedicated camera shutter – this will be exclusive to the Xperia 1 III. The Photography Pro app makes a return and this time includes a ‘Basic Mode’ to appeal to a broader user, providing access to easy modes for portrait orientation, artistic bokeh effect and panorama.

Following the introduction of a 120Hz display in last year’s Xperia 5 II (Mark 2) it was only a matter of time before Sony brought it to the 1 series. The Xperia 1 III has a 6.5-inch 21:9 CinemaWide 120HZ 4K (3840 x 1644) HDR OLED display – the first of its kind. The display is crafted from Gorilla Glass Victus on the front, with Sony using a frosted matte finish on the rear. The phones also feature 240Hz Motion blur reduction and a 240Hz Touch scanning rate.

Sony’s audio experience has also improved with the stereo speakers 40% louder than its predecessor, and the Xperia 1 III (Mark 3) can now also reproduce 360-degree Reality Audio from its speakers too.

Battery capacity has been improved from 4000mAh to 4500mAh. Sony will also include a 30W charger (XZQ-UC1) that will charge 50% of the phone in 30 minutes. Sony says its battery life should be good for three years.

The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, with 12GB RAM and options for 256GB/512GB storage. Sony continues to include external microSD card support, which is great to see. Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, IP65/68 dust and water resistance, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6 (ax), fingerprint sensor and Qi wireless charging.

The Xperia 1 III has dimensions of 165 x 71 x 8.2 mm and weighs 187 grams. It will launch in early Summer 2021 – expected at some point from mid-June onwards. The phone will be released with Android 11 in three colours: Purple, Black and Grey.

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