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Sony Xperia 1 VI vs Sony Xperia 1 V: What’s the difference?

Sony has revealed the Xperia 1 VI, but how does it compare to last year’s flagship, the Sony Xperia 1 V?

While the two sport a largely similar look, there are a few key differences on offer from this year’s Xperia flagship, from screen tech to camera technology and even performance. These are important elements that could sway your buying decision one way or the other. 

While we’ve not yet reviewed the Xperia 1 VI, we’ve spent a lot of time with the Xperia 1 V. With that in mind, here’s how the two compare on paper ahead of the Xperia 1 VI going on sale later this month. 

The Sony Xperia 1 V has a higher-res display

You might assume that, being the newer phone of the two, the Xperia 1 VI has a higher-res screen than its predecessor – but that’s not the case.

You see, while the Xperia 1 V had a 6.5-inch 4K display, this year’s Xperia 1 VI has a 6.5-inch FHD+ panel in its place. It’s easy to see why Sony ditched the 4K screen, as it came at a cost to gameplay performance and overall battery life, but it is a surprise to see a drop all the way to FHD+ rather than the QHD+ seen by similarly premium alternatives. 

That’s not the only difference either; the Xperia 1 VI also ditches the traditional 21:9 aspect ratio employed by Xperia phones, instead offering a similar 19.5:9 aspect ratio as many competing smartphones. While this means that widescreen Hollywood blockbusters will no longer fill the screen completely, it does mean that the 1 VI is better suited to 16:9 content on apps like TikTok and Instagram. 

The 1 VI’s screen also boasts LTPO tech for the first time, allowing the screen to drop down to as little as 1Hz dynamically to boost battery life, and it’s 50% brighter too, so it’s not an all-round downgrade by any means – but the fact remains that the Xperia 1 V has a higher-res screen better suited to true 4K content. 

Sony Xperia 5 V front
Sony Xperia 5 V

The Sony Xperia 1 VI has a better telephoto camera

While the Sony Xperia 1 VI and Xperia 1 V share the same excellent main camera sensor – a 52MP Exmor T sensor that outputs at 48MP used only by Sony – it has upgraded the phone’s telephoto camera this time around. 

More specifically, the Xperia 1 VI has a new 12MP optical telephoto lens with an extended zoom range between 3.5x and 7.1x. As well as being the ideal sensor for portrait photography, complete with improved edge detection capabilities, the telephoto sensor can double up as a high-quality macro camera with subjects around 4cm away. 

Compared to the Xperia 1 V’s 12MP telephoto that offered a shorter 3.5x – 5.2x range, it’s a decent boost. Elsewhere, however, both share the same 12MP ultrawide lens, so the only real difference between the two systems is the telephoto camera.

The Sony Xperia 1 VI has a simpler approach to camera software

Sony’s top-end Xperia 1 devices are aimed at pro-level photographers and videographers not only because they play exceptionally well with Sony Alpha cameras, doubling up as both a remote control and a viewfinder, but because of the granular control they provide users with when it comes to smartphone photography and videography.

The issue with previous Xperia 1 entries, including the V, is that the functionality was split over several apps, and it was a rather confusing experience with a slightly different UI in each depending on what the focus was. There was Photo Pro, Video Pro and even Cinema Pro, along with dedicated audio recording apps, just to name a few.

Thankfully, Sony has simplified its offering with the Xperia 1 VI. It still boasts the same granular control over its camera system as its predecessors, but they’ve all been rolled into the main Camera app for easier access. As with most other smartphone camera apps, you now only need to swipe between the various modes for quick access.

We asked Sony if the updated Camera app will also come to the Xperia 1 V via a software update in future, but the company refused to comment, so it’s an Xperia 1 VI exclusive for now.  

Sony Xperia 1 VI colour options
Sony Xperia 1 VI

The Sony Xperia 1 VI is better for gaming

The newer Xperia 1 VI doesn’t only have an advantage over its predecessor with the use of the newer, faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in place of the Gen 2 – it’s also the first Xperia device to boast vapour chamber cooling inside.

This is a feature often found in gaming phones, as it allows the phone to more effectively dissipate heat generated by the chipset in particularly demanding situations. It should translate to not only a cooler phone to the touch when gaming, but one that’s more stable than the Xperia 1 V over longer sessions. 

Combined with a healthy dose of 12GB of RAM, 256GB or 512GB of storage and the possibility of expanding by as much as 1.5TB via microSD, it’s undoubtedly the better of the two smartphones for mobile gamers.

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