Many high-end smartphones advertise themselves as pocket cameras. Sony has established itself as the real photophone for the pros, with the Sony Xperia Pro I. Does it manage to reconcile photo quality and general balance?
Our brief review of the Sony Xperia Pro I
In addition to a neat design, and a photo part that seems worked, this smartphone is very interesting. It also offers a high quality screen. This one is indeed, in 4K resolution at 120Hz, with a long 21/9 format. To be an external screen for a Sony camera, or a simple multimedia player, it will please you.
8 MPX (Selfie)
To find out more about the photo section, it’s here!
Sony Xperia Pro I design and hardware
Sony pays particular attention to the design of its smartphones. And this device is no exception to the rule, by placing itself upside down from current trends. Today, many manufacturers are looking for the screen with as few borders as possible. Here, they are clearly assumed, by offering a long smartphone in fact. In addition, these borders can accommodate several sensors. There is necessarily the selfie sensor, but also an LED. This allows you to display several information, such as the arrival of a notification, the state of the battery, etc.
On the side edge, there are logically the two volume buttons. But wanting a real camera, there is also a small button to quickly launch the photo application. And in landscape mode, you can use it to take pictures, just like on a classic camera. You can also notice it on the back edge, Zeiss is there to support Sony for this photo component.
Sony Xperia Pro I screen
This is one of the big strengths of this smartphone, its screen. This one, as we said before, offers some crazy features. Between 4K, 120Hz, and a 21/9 format, it’s the perfect companion for Netflix and the like. It is very pleasant to watch streaming for several hours. 4K resolution is not necessarily very useful for this use, you could even turn it off to save battery.
Indeed, this smartphone being intended for the pros, it can be a companion for other cameras of the brand.
Performance of the Sony Xperia Pro I
This smartphone was announced late last year. At that time, the lareview Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was not yet available. We therefore do not find the lareview Qualcomm processor in this smartphone. This is felt in comparison with the use of smartphones equipped with this chip. It’s a shame, when the rest of the technical sheet, such as the 12 GB of RAM, is there. However, the target sought by this smartphone is not necessarily interested in state-of-the-art performance.
In addition, by pushing the smartphone a little on video games, there are some problems. We sometimes have drops in FPS, which is disturbing in games like Fortnite and others. But also, the device heats up very quickly in the hands, to the point of almost becoming uncomfortable. You should not rely on this smartphone for gaming therefore.
Let’s go into the heart of the design of this smartphone. It really is the major strength of this smartphone, but will it justify the price? As you can see below, even in low light conditions the smartphone does very well. A certain colorimetry of the image is preserved through the different sensors, it is important to be able to vary the compositions. We also note the possibility of changing the opening of the main sensor. This is very practical for varying the quality of the photo.
Ultra Wide Angle
Main aperture sensor in F2.0
Main sensor opening in F4.0
Zoom in x2.1
Zoom in x6.3
For the zoom level, you can only go up to level 6.3. It’s quite low, especially since the quality remains correct, but without excelling. Otherwise, in terms of general quality, with the photos above, the different plans are well respected, offering a beautiful composition, without retouching. At sky level, it is well transcribed, the clouds are not burnt in particular.
By playing with the focal length of the main sensor, you can adjust the quality, and it’s really nice. This smartphone gives control back to the user, without saturating and processing the snapshot taken. This smartphone also offers a whole know-how from Sony. This passes through several “Pro” applications for photo and video. You can therefore adjust all the parameters of the photo or video.
Autonomy and Battery
This is a point that fishes for this smartphone. You will not want to last more than a day, a day and a half of use with this smartphone. However, this use is not intended to be abusive. These are simply a few photos and videos, social networks… So you won’t have to part with your 30W charger for long if you want to use it intensively.
Moreover, speaking of this recharge, it is not even very crazy. The charger provided is 30W, and the battery is 4500 mAh. However, we could expect a full recharge in 1 hour, 1h15 at most. However, it will take 1h45 to see the battery climb from 0 to 100%. It’s disappointing, when some manufacturers offer a recharge in half an hour.
Conclusion: What is the Sony Xperia Pro I worth?
In short, if you are looking for a symbiosis between smartphone and camera, this device may appeal to you. However, many of the advantages of a smartphone will have to be left out. Autonomy and charging are insufficient. The performance is unfortunately a bit outdated. All of those things could be left out, but at €1800 it’s disappointing. Before going on this product, weigh the pros and cons between buying a smartphone and a camera separately.