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Best Sony phone 2022 | Tech Advisor

Sony knows a thing or two about smartphones and its Xperia brand has been around for years. Its devices have often at the top of our best smartphone lists but recently even we have been a tad disheartened at the company’s inability to attract consumers as people flock to other brands.

It’s a strange shortcoming, not least because Xperia phones can boast the latest processors and decent cameras, and yet, the company struggles to compete with its biggest rivals in the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Look past Sony’s unconventional naming systems; consisting of Zs, Xs and more recently, Roman numerals, and the chart below should help you better understand the current range, as well as which one will best suit your needs and budget.

We’ve looked at everything from the humble Xperia L4 to the cutting-edge Xperia 1 III flagship, with its 4K 120Hz HDR display and triple 12-megapixel camera setup (we’re also currently testing the Xperia Pro-I, so stay tuned). Here is our ranking of the best Sony Xperia phones you can buy in 2022.

Best Sony phones 2022

1. Sony Xperia 1 IV – Best overall

Pros

Amazing 4K OLED screen

Slim, tall shape

True optical zoom

Cons

Very expensive

Overheats easily

Camera apps confusing

Sony has stuck to its guns in recent years by producing premium (and expensive) smartphones bleeding edge camera hardware – and the Xperia 1 IV is no different.

It’s the best Sony phone you can buy thanks to its gorgeous 4K HDR OLED display, with a tall but manageable 21:9 aspect that allows full screen video playback for films and TV shows with no letterboxing. It’s also the perfect viewfinder for the several included camera and video apps. If you put in the time and effort to learn their professional-grade nuances, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding control over your photos.

That is this phone’s main caveat as well as its strength though, as this is not a camera for casual point-and-shooters – and let’s face it, that’s most of us. The phone also heats up a little too often, particularly when charging.

But it’s still the best Sony phone going if you want one of the best displays on a phone and the deepest level of options and control in photography and videography on a mobile device. It’s also the first phone ever to have a physically moving optical zoom lens, from 3.5x to 5.2x.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 1 IV review

2. Sony Xperia 1 III – Best for less

Pros

Superb performance

Best-in-class audio

Gorgeous display

Cons

Lacklustre battery life

Difficult to use camera

Expensive

The Xperia 1 III offers up more of what we’ve come to know and love from Sony’s flagship phone line – namely a killer camera setup and an eye-popping 4K display.

The big upgrade for 2021 was the move to 120Hz, which joins a smattering of other cutting-edge display technologies; including 4K resolution, an HDR OLED panel and an uncommon 21:9 aspect ratio, that’s brilliant for enjoying movies on the go.

The rear camera setup takes a little work to get the most out of it but offers unprecedented control, especially with regards to video capture; while the pairing of a Snapdragon 888 chip and 12GB of RAM delivers some of the best performance for an Android phone out there.

Battery life and price are the main things holding the 1 III back from true greatness but for some, it’s otherwise an obvious choice.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 1 III review

3. Sony Xperia 1 II – Best for entertainment

Pros

Astounding display

Superb audio abilities

Versatile camera capabilities

Cons

Difficult to use camera

Pricey

Sony’s 2020 flagship doubles down on the unique attributes of the original Xperia 1; with an enhanced 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, a wealth of audio technologies (including a 3.5mm headphone jack) and a Sony Alpha-influenced triple-camera module.

Its augmented but clean take on Android includes meaningful inclusions and despite not looking as competitive on paper as other Android flagships from the same time, its performance and battery longevity prove more than capable in real-world testing.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 1 II review

4. Sony Xperia 5 III – Best compact phone

Pros

Beautiful display

Excellent audio

Small size

Solid performance

Cons

Lacklustre battery life

Difficult to use camera

Heat issues

Expensive

As with Sony’s last two generations of flagship phone, 2021’s Xperia 5 III is essentially a more compact incarnation of the Xperia 1 III.

As such, it features most of the 1 III’s strengths, as well as the same set of weaknesses. There’s no 4K display to speak of here, instead having access to a (still-excellent) Full HD+ 6.1in 120Hz HDR OLED panel.

Performance is still strong (although the phone is prone to heat-up), while a consistent and capable set of cameras is primarily held back by a convoluted still/video app setup.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 5 III review

5. Sony Xperia 5 II – Great for gaming

Pros

Nice 120Hz display

Great performance

Compact

Cons

No wireless charging

Difficult to use camera

Pricey

In a world where so many smartphones look similar, you have to admire Sony’s desire to be different. Having a notch-less display and 3.5mm headphone jack is practically unheard of in the current smartphone market, but phones like the Xperia 5 II, remind us that we wish they were on more phones.

Not only does the 5 II feel like a notable upgrade over 2019’s model, it beat its sibling – the Xperia 1 II – to the punch with regards to adopting a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

Performance is superb across the board, while the all-too-rare front-facing stereo speakers are a delight.

On the flip side, the cameras flatter to deceive – unless you’re willing to play around in the Photo Pro app – while a surprising amount of bloatware taints an otherwise excellent software experience. There’s also no wireless charging – a major omission at this price point, but battery life is considerably stronger than that of its Mk III successor.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 5 II review

6. Sony Xperia 10 III – Unique mid-ranger

Pros

Great battery life

Decent performance

Good software experience

Cons

Patchy cameras

Slow wired charging

Display still only 60Hz

While 2019’s Xperia 1 and 5 flagships are more impressive entries in general, Sony’s inconsistencies with long-term software support mean – as of early 2022 – the more modest but newer Xperia 10 III makes for a more sensible buy within the Xperia family.

Performance is good enough for some competitive mobile gaming, battery life is great and Sony’s Android tweaks are both as meaningful and unobtrusive as ever.

Despite its unique attributes for a mid-ranger, however – namely the pairing of an OLED display and IP65/68 dust and water resistance – there are a few too many shortcomings versus competitors outside of the Sony camp to make this an easy recommendation beyond the most die-hard fans of the brand on a budget.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 10 III review

7. Sony Xperia 1 – Great for media

Pros

Industry-first display

Clean software

Decent performance

Cons

Ageing hardware

Lacklustre battery life

Pricey

The Xperia 1 goes for broke on being really, really Sony – and it pays off. By catering to a niche audience, this phone can still please, if you want an amazing display with a cinematic aspect ratio, very capable cameras and excellent build quality.

The tall design still feels different but makes the phone slimmer and so easier to hold in one hand, while a dedicated shutter button and the Cinema Pro manual video recording app are tailor-made for film enthusiasts.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 1 review

8. Sony Xperia 5 – Good performance

Pros

Nice display

Great stereo speakers

Decent battery life

Cons

Ageing hardware

Inconsistent fingerprint sensor

Poor value

The Xperia 5 is a scaled-down version of the larger flagship Xperia 1 from 2019 but retains much of what makes the 1 so capable.

A then-flagship Snapdragon chip, the same considerately-customised take on Android and the same trio of rear cameras all marry up with the Xperia 1’s feature set. The 5’s smaller footprint does mean a smaller battery, smaller, lower-resolution display and a lower asking price, though.

Besides the 21:9 aspect ratio, however, this is a tough recommendation, considering what else is out there at the same price and entries that have launched since.

Read our full
Sony Xperia 5 review

9. Sony Xperia L4 – Most affordable

Pros

Decent upgrade

Premium design touches

Great software experience

Cons

Stilted software support

Slow charging

Inconsistent cameras

With no budget entry in Sony’s lineup since 2020, your only option at the lower end of the price spectrum is the Xperia L4.

There still aren’t many phones around this phone’s low price point that boast an expansive 21:9 display, making this a unique budget mobile media player.

Look past the mediocre cameras and Sony’s excellent user experience, plus its somewhat premium design, will help the L4 stand out from the crowd for some.

Read our full
Sony Xperia L4 review

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