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The Sony Xperia 1 VI is official, and it’s lost its signature feature

Sony has officially announced its new flagship phone, the Xperia 1 VI, and it’s lost arguably the most unique thing about the series.

The company’s flagship smartphone range has never been a huge seller, but it has always gone above and beyond on the spec front. Most notably, at least from a back-of-the-box vantage point, the Xperia 1 range has always had a 4K display, including with last year’s Sony Xperia 1 V.

That’s finally changed with the Sony Xperia 1 VI, which has switched to a 6.5-inch FHD+ OLED display, skipping the QHD+ and even so-called 1.5K resolutions altogether.

Admittedly, 4K has always felt like overkill in a smartphone form factor, but it made sense with Sony’s media heavyweight branding. The Xperia 1 VI was the niche phone for cinema buffs, and we kind of always liked that.

There’s been another step away from Sony’s cinema-first focus with the Xperia 1 VI ditching the signature tall and thin 21:9 aspect in favour of a more ‘normal’ 19.5:9. It means that the latest film releases will no longer fill the screen, though it will likely be better at handling day to day tasks like web browsing.

Sony is still pushing this display as a film buff’s dream, highlighting its ‘Powered by Bravia’ AI image adjustment technology, which apparently reproduces the image quality of Sony’s TV sets. It’s also the brand’s first LTPO screen, which means it’ll be far more energy efficient, while Sony has cranked the maximum brightness up 50%.

Sony Xperia 1 VI in khaki green

The stereo speakers, too, have apparently received a buff, while adding a Premium Audio Circuit to the 3.5mm wired headphone jack is a reassuringly Sony touch.

Elsewhere, the Sony Xperia 1 VI is all upgrades. The other signature element of this range has been its steady drip of camera innovations, and the Xperia 1 VI brings a new and improved telephoto camera to the table. We’re talking a 12MP optical telephoto lens with a superior zoom range of between 3.5x and 7.1x – or a focal length of between 85mm and 170mm.

The main 52MP Exmor T sensor is the same as before, though it remains unique to Sony. The company has applied its own AI magic this time, this time to improve its already class-leading autofocus and subject tracking.

Sony’s camera hardware has never been an issue, of course. While its camera UI has always been extremely powerful, it’s hardly been intuitive, spread across several separate apps. The company is supplying a “significant update” to the app with the Xperia 1 VI, with a more user-friendly interface, and all functionality rounded up into the main app.

There’s a 5,000 mAh battery, which Sony claims can support double the video playback (probably down to that new display), as well as support for Wi-Fi 7. It’s all powered by the latest flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor too, as you might expect, this time backed by vapour chamber cooling. Previous Xperia 1 phones could run a little hot.

The design looks very similar to previous Xperia 1 phones, with the same ridged industrial look, lozenge-shaped camera module, and textured rear that we’ve seen before.

The Sony Xperia 1 VI launches in Black, Platinum Silver, and Khaki Green this June, with preorders starting on Sony’s website today. If you were expecting that climb down from 4K to produce a cheaper phone, you’d be mistaken – it’ll still cost £1299 / €1399.

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