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Sony Xperia 1 VI launch introduces a new flagship with a familiar form

Sony’s latest flagship has a more traditional aspect ratio, but thankfully, the headphone jack and powerful cameras are still on the table.

Custom image for Sony Xperia VI 1 launch news with three variations of the phone on a yellow background

We’ve just tuned into the Sony Xperia 1 VI launch, with the tech giant revealing its 2024 flagship smartphone phone alongside a new budget offering in the form of the Xperia 10 VI. The flagship model takes on a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, straying from Sony’s usual 21:9 format, while the Xperia 10 VI keeps the slimmer, taller dimensions of its predecessor.

This means that the Xperia 1 VI looks and feels more like a traditional smartphone, and for some, that’s great news. Die-hard fans of Sony phones are less pleased, though. The 21:9 format is a popular choice for Hollywood films, and they look great on a Sony smartphone, especially since there’s no notch or hole-punch camera to get in the way. That’s no longer the case with the brand’s pricey flagship, and users can expect a more typical viewing experience, with the dreaded black bars on either side.

Oddly, the Xperia 1 VI also downgrades the resolution. The 1 V had a 4K panel, while the VI employs an FHD+ panel. Presumably, Sony made this decision in the name of efficiency, as the battery should last far longer with a lower-resolution panel. But again, this is sure to ruffle some feathers.

The good news is that the flagship sports a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, so it’ll be great for Android gaming. It’s the first Xperia to sport vapor chamber cooling, too. As is tradition, the display features no cutouts, but there are front-firing speakers in the bezels, a 3.5mm headphone socket, and microSD card support. All great things that are missing from almost every other flagship phone.

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The camera department also looks promising. There’s a triple camera configuration on the rear, comprised of a 16mm ultrawide, 14mm main, and 85-170mm telephoto. That’s right, the optical periscope zoom is back, and it has a significantly longer reach than last year, too.

Most exciting, though, is the macro-focusing capability. It can focus as close as 4cm from the lens at 120mm, making for microscope-like close-up shots. The cameras can still capture at up to 4K 120fps for slow motion, which is one of my favorite features. Strangely, though, the Pro Video app is missing, and Sony says it won’t be available until Fall.

Sony’s latest flagship phone sets you back a cool $1399 / £1299 and is available for pre-order from today. It begins shipping in early June.

The Sony Xperia 10 VI, meanwhile, sports a more modest Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has a solid 48MP main camera and a less impressive 8MP ultrawide. However, it comes at a mere fraction of the cost, retailing for just $440 / £349. If these phones don’t tickle your fancy, check out our guide to the best retro gaming consoles instead.