Sony Xperia Professional-I Assessment: The Werecamera

Sony Xperia Professional-I Assessment: The Werecamera

Sony debuted the primary Xperia Professional in early 2020; a tool that we dubbed one of many solely telephones actually worthy of the ‘Professional’ suffix; with its skillset tailor-made in direction of industry-grade broadcasting over shopper use. Now the corporate has introduced one other Professional to market – the Xperia Professional-I – which takes a completely totally different method, aimed toward a completely totally different demographic.

Equally to the earlier Professional, the Professional-I builds on the corporate’s present flagship – the Xperia 1 III – with near-identical underlying {hardware} and the same software program expertise, however it’s augmented by a daring new digital camera system that pushes previous virtually all the pieces else at the moment on the market; with the hopes of being perceived as a severe software for creators and lovers.

Design & construct

Sturdy metal-framed design w/ glorious grip
IP65/68-certified mud & ingress safety
Devoted two-stage shutter button
Further shortcut key arduous to make use of

It is no secret that the Xperia 1 III serves as the muse for the Professional-I’s construct however the tweaks and modifications Sony has made all serve to render the Professional-I each a extra practical and resilient gadget. Even the truth that it could solely be had in a single color (black, naturally), speaks to the extra utilitarian method Sony has taken with the Professional-I’s {hardware}.

When you get the identical Gorilla Glass Victus-protected show and frosted Gorilla Glass 6 again, they’re surrounded by a outstanding new ‘waved-edge’ ‘blast-treated’ metallic body. Not solely is it aesthetically daring, however it additionally presents glorious grip, due to rows of deep ridges.

The body performs host to a well-recognized set of {hardware} controls, lifted from the 1 III (together with a dual-detent knurled shutter button and a fingerprint sensor-laden energy key), however there’s now a further round shortcut key and even an eyelet for a lanyard; which you would possibly wish to use, contemplating simply how a lot the Professional-I prices.

In stark distinction to the textured shutter button protruding from the underside proper of the cellphone’s body, that new shortcut key sits flush towards it, making it tougher to really feel out than you’d anticipate; one thing of an issue when you think about that its default perform is that can assist you get to capturing video shortly (it may be reprogrammed, although).

Regardless of being a glass sandwich, like most premium handsets, the Professional-I’s strong metallic body helps the cellphone really feel extremely nicely put collectively and extra sturdy than rivals – even with out a case, whereas it additionally retains IP65/68 mud and water resistance, alongside Sony’s signature toolless SIM tray.

Show & audio

6.5in 120Hz 21:9 ‘CinemaWide’ show
10-bit color (8-bit w/ 2-bit smoothing)
4K HDR OLED panel
One-handed mode

Of all the weather that the Professional-I wanted to crib from the Mark III, its show was on the high of the wishlist and, fortunately, Sony delivered.

In addition to a definite 21:9 ‘CinemaWide’ side ratio – which Sony turns to greater than some other cellphone maker – the Professional-I is the one different cellphone to share within the 1 III’s spectacular concoction of show applied sciences, with a 6.5in 120Hz 4K HDR-capable OLED panel on provide that boasts professional-grade color calibration, white balancing and 10-bit color assist.

There are caveats to a panel like this, specifically find methods to make use of it to its fullest. It is tough to supply or stream native 4K HDR 120fps content material and Sony’s show settings do not enable full handbook management over what refresh price and determination the panel runs in (though it presents quite a lot of management over different points of the viewing expertise). Higher out of doors brightness would have been appreciated too, even when ‘Creator Mode’ pushes most output a bit of bit greater in choose apps.

That tall side ratio is great for split-screen multitasking, whereas the inclusion of a one-handed mode is much more necessary with the Professional-I’s wider 8.9mm physique, in comparison with the 1 III’s 8.2mm body.


Hello-Res Audio, Hello-Res Audio Wi-fi, 360 Actuality Audio & DSEE Final assist
“Full-stage” front-facing stereo audio system
3.5mm headphone jack

When a cellphone boasts ‘stereo audio system’ it is a toss-up as as to whether the producer has carried out superior front-firing output with a balanced sound, or an earpiece/down-firing mixture, the place the previous handles treble whereas the opposite locations a bias on bass tones.

Fortunately, within the case of the Professional-I, it is the latter, with respectable readability and clear stereo separation. Though the {hardware} and format at play are probably similar to that utilized by the Xperia 1 III, in side-by-side comparisons, the Professional-I would not provide fairly the identical degree of readability and tone as anticipated, presumably on account of the bodily variations discovered within the cellphone’s greater physique.

One other rarity within the wider cellphone market these days – significantly within the flagship area – is the inclusion of an built-in 3.5mm headphone jack and Sony hasn’t let followers down right here, both. Pair that with the gamut of high-quality audio requirements and applied sciences that the corporate likes to ensure its greatest telephones assist (Excessive-Decision Audio, Excessive-Decision Audio Wi-fi, 360 Actuality Audio, DSEE Final) and you may anticipate nice high quality sound, whether or not you take pleasure in listening via wired or wi-fi headphones.

Software program & options

Launches on Android 11
Unconfirmed OS replace path
Nice split-screen multitasking
Clear person expertise w/ Aspect Sense & Recreation Enhancer

Apart from the brand new Video Professional app (developing within the Digicam part) and that new programmable shortcut key, there’s little to distinguish the Professional-I’s person expertise from the one discovered on the 1 III, however that is no dangerous factor.

Sony has taken a metred method to modifying Android, with a clear expertise that ought to be acquainted or a minimum of intuitive to customers of different mainstream gadgets from the likes of Google, Motorola, Nokia and so forth.

The aforementioned split-screen performance is especially nicely carried out, whereas Sony-specific options like Aspect Sense (a system-wide shortcut menu accessed by double-tapping towards the sting of the UI) and Recreation Enhancer (which helps you to handle notifications, tweak visuals and report gameplay) are good extras that really feel thought of and genuinely helpful.

Regardless of Android 12 already having launched by the point the Xperia Professional-I arrived available on the market, the cellphone sported Android 11 out of the field, with Sony solely confirming that the Xperia 1 III could be getting two OS updates in its lifetime; leaving the state of long-term software program assist for the Xperia Professional-I decidedly murkier (nevertheless, it is assumed that the identical two OS replace cycle applies).


Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC
microSD expandable as much as 1TB
512GB inside storage

Regardless of launching in direction of the tail finish of the Snapdragon 888+’s time within the limelight, as Qualcomm’s top-tier cell chipset (earlier than it was changed by the Eight Gen 1 in late December 2021), the Xperia Professional-I sticks with the identical customary 888 that additionally powers the Xperia 1 III. This comes paired to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of inside storage which might – reasonably impressively – be expanded by way of microSD by a further 1TB).

As such, whereas there’s extra room for media (ideally suited when capturing in high-fidelity codecs), efficiency is on-par with the Mark III, which itself was distinctive at launch, however could not stand the check of time in comparison with flagships working on the newer 888+ (or Eight Gen 1).

Word: The benchmark outcomes above replicate the telephones working at Full HD+ decision, with 120Hz refresh price mode enabled, nevertheless, not all checks are in a position to leverage body charges above 60fps.

In testing, the Xperia Professional-I handles simply in addition to the 1 III, with sturdy benchmarking scores and tangible real-world fluidity that spans common use, gaming, multitasking and digital camera utilization. As with so many Sony telephones, nevertheless, warmth build-up was by no means far-off from turning into a priority, with prolonged gaming classes leading to notable warming and warnings strewn all through the UI when accessing high-power options just like the digital camera app.


4500mAh battery
No wi-fi charging
Energy adapter in-box
30W wired quick charging

For a flagship cellphone with some demanding {hardware} (specifically its show and digital camera), the 4500mAh battery within the Professional-I feels a bit of on the small aspect, each on paper and in apply.

Because the benchmarks present, it solely outlasted the 1 III by a bit of, and a lot of its top-tier rivals have moved to extra capacious cells to maintain step with the upper calls for trendy flagships are subjected to; leading to noticeably higher longevity, by comparability.

The Xperia Professional-I ought to be capable to make it via a day on a cost, however at a mean 5.5 hours of screen-on time, do not anticipate far more with out some conservative dealing with.

One silver lining is the facility adapter that Sony contains in-box (not a assure from rivals like Samsung and Apple). Whereas 30W charging speeds aren’t probably the most aggressive, you possibly can nonetheless get the cellphone up above 50% cost in half an hour (and a lot of the approach to 100% in 90 minutes).

Of the quite a few modifications that Sony has made in successfully turning the Xperia 1 III into the Professional-I, the lack of wi-fi charging as a function is a disappointment that undermines the cellphone’s supposed premium standing.


12Mp variable f/2.0 / f/4.0 24mm 85° major 1in sensor w/ dual-PDAF & OIS
12Mp f/2.2 16mm 124° ultrawide w/ dual-PDAF
12Mp f/2.4 50mm 48° 2x telephoto w/ dual-PDAF & OIS
3D iToF sensor
Helps Photograph Professional, Cinema Professional & Video Professional apps

As to why wi-fi charging is not a part of the equation on the Professional-I, all you want do is look round again. The entire cause this cellphone exists is embodied within the daring new digital camera {hardware}; with a sizeable main lens positioned down the centre line of the cellphone’s rear.

The Professional-I is a part of a really choose group, not simply due to its spectacular show however as a result of the truth that its revised digital camera system leads with an enormous 1in Sony Exmor RS CMOS sensor. In reality, it is the identical sensor that is discovered on the corporate’s beloved RX100 VII compact digital camera; a technical achievement to function on a cellphone, to make sure.

On the Professional-I, it comes paired with a twin aperture setup (paying homage to the system seen on Samsung’s Galaxy S9 sequence) that may flip between f/2.Zero and f/4.0, whereas the sensor itself sports activities impressively massive 2.8μm pixels that are perfect for gathering in additional mild than the typical smartphone sensor (most of which resort to combining the information from a number of pixels on the expense of decision to realize the identical impact).

Whereas most telephones depend on plastic, this optically stabilised sensor additionally employs glass lens parts; promising higher picture readability and diminished reflectivity (supported by a Zeiss T*-branded optical coating). There is a flip-side to this daring new system, nevertheless.

The slim profile of the cellphone (in comparison with a compact digital camera, a minimum of) means there is not sufficient area for the Professional-I to correctly leverage the total would possibly of that 20Mp sensor, leading to a 12Mp efficient decision, cropping to an equal 1/1.3in sensor measurement.

By way of color, distinction and dynamic, vary, even in Auto mode, Sony’s high Xperias normally make you’re employed for excellent outcomes out of the gate and that is very true of the Professional-I’s imaging expertise. It is constructed round not two (as on the Xperia 1 III) however three imaging apps: Photograph Professional, Cinema Professional and the brand new Video Professional app.

Photograph Professional (high), Cinema Professional (center), Video Professional (backside)

There is a complicated quantity of cross-over between the latter two apps, with Video Professional (a brand new addition on the Professional-I) inserting a higher give attention to the varied points of handbook management that the cellphone’s digital camera system facilitates, whereas Cinema Professional higher serves these seeking to emulate skilled cameras (specifically Sony’s personal Venice cinema cameras); with a gamut of pre-loaded LUTs (lookup tables – predefined real-time digital camera profiles that govern color science and grading, when utilized).

What Sony’s software program does afford is unprecedented native management over the nonetheless and video seize course of, and paired with that sizeable sensor, content material has the potential to look improbable. The fact is a bit more difficult, nevertheless…

By now you will have probably realised that this is not the cellphone for individuals who simply wish to level and shoot however rewards those that take pleasure in labouring over the flat RAW stills and LOG video recordsdata. Supplied you are affected person, the outcomes could be actually sensible, however with a workflow that so carefully emulates the corporate’s Alpha cameras, those that just like the comfort of a conventional smartphone snapper will probably really feel alienated by the Professional-I’s person expertise.

Elements like dynamic vary aren’t as huge, primarily based on outcomes straight out of the digital camera, whereas even when set at its widest f/2.Zero aperture, the Professional-I would not function as nicely in low mild circumstances in comparison with typical rivals, with photographs permitting for extra grain than anticipated.

Regardless of some apparent limitations to the cellphone’s distinctive major sensor, nevertheless, it does provide excellent autofocus, with some 315 phase-detection factors protecting 90% of the sensor; making certain topics (be they object, individuals or pets) stay sharp when in-frame.

There’s additionally the truth that Sony has produced a devoted set of equipment purpose-made for vlogging to contemplate, revealing the place the corporate actually sees the Professional-I providing probably the most worth.

A Bluetooth grip not solely holds the cellphone however doubles as a tripod and contains built-in controls for zoom, video recording and snapping footage, whereas a small 3.5in magnetically removable vlogging show provides you a viewfinder for capturing utilizing the Professional-I’s major sensor (and an enter for attaching an exterior microphone). It is an ideal addition however solely pushes the price of proudly owning a Professional-I (and utilising it to its fullest) even greater (every prices round £170).

As for the remainder of the cameras on provide, there’s respectable consistency between the opposite two sensors on the rear; with the ultrawide probably the identical because the one discovered on the Xperia 1 III, set alongside a 2x zoom lens that, regardless of being completely serviceable, does add a lot to the cellphone’s in any other case distinctive photographic setup.

For a photography-driven cellphone, as with quite a few different current gadgets from the corporate, the Professional-I opts for a bezel-based front-facing digital camera, reasonably than having to resort to a notch or hole-punch that encroaches on the show floor space. On the one hand, it improves the viewing expertise, whereas on the opposite the tiny 8Mp is wholly underwhelming and feels misplaced on a cellphone that in any other case takes pictures so severely.

Value & availability

Sony unveiled the Xperia Professional-I in late October 2021, happening pre-order in varied markets, together with the US, a few days later (28 October). The cellphone was then made in the stores beginning 10 December 2021.

The corporate’s authentic Xperia Professional – with its built-in HDMI connectivity {and professional} audience – sported a decidedly steep price ticket (when considered via the lens of the buyer smartphone market) at £2,299/US$2,499.99. Fortunately, the extra inventive intentions that led to the Professional-I’s creation imply it is comparatively extra reasonably priced.

Nevertheless, pricing nonetheless seems to replicate this Professional-I’s nature as a software for creatives, reasonably than merely an fascinating cellphone with distinctive digital camera {hardware}. As such, most would probably baulk on the £1,599/€1,799/US$1,799 asking value that the cellphone arrived with, and plenty of will nonetheless wrestle with the diminished pricing that Sony is formally promoting the cellphone (a minimum of in some markets) for, just a few months on. Within the UK, for instance, it at the moment rests at round £1,299, when purchased instantly from Sony’s web site (choose up the cellphone within the US, France and Spain from different choose retailers, together with Amazon).

Pricing locations the Xperia Professional-I above even the top-spec Samsung Galaxy Z Fold Three and iPhone 13 Professional Max, and as such, stands out of attain of most mainstream smartphone patrons, even these with bigger pockets.


Arriving with a dated chipset, restricted software program assist and a sizeable price ticket, the Xperia Professional-I is not for the faint-hearted.

There is not any denying that implementing the identical 1in sensor normally discovered on the corporate’s compact cameras right into a smartphone kind issue is a powerful technical feat, to not point out the extent of management over the nonetheless and video expertise on provide is virtually unrivalled.

Nevertheless, until you discover the Professional-I’s distinctive attraction as a cellphone optimised for vlogging (which can price much more, assuming you are taking Sony up on the Professional-I’s devoted equipment) inconceivable to withstand or the size of the corporate’s equal RX100 compact cameras merely will not work on your wants, there are a wealth of options that ship a extra worthwhile expertise for lots much less.

Think about our greatest digital camera cellphone roundup for a rundown of the highest telephones at the moment available on the market, or if it is an Xperia you are after, we have a shortlist of these too. Both manner, even with some key strengths, the Xperia Professional-I’s distinctive make-up makes it too area of interest to be thought of a wise purchase.

Sony Xperia PRO-I: Specs

6.5in 120Hz 21:9 ‘CinemaWide’ 4K HDR OLED show

240Hz contact sampling price

Gorilla Glass Victus entrance, Gorilla Glass 6 again

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor


512GB storage

microSD expandable as much as 1TB

12Mp variable f2.0/f4.0 24mm 85° major 1in sensor w/ dual-PDAF & OIS

12Mp f2.2. 16mm 124° ultrawide w/ dual-PDAF

12Mp f2.4 50mm 48° 2x telephoto w/ dual-PDAF & OIS

3D iToF sensor

8Mp f2.0 78° front-facing digital camera (1/4in sensor)

Android 11

“Full stage” stereo audio system

3.5mm headphone jack

Dolby Atmos

Excessive-Res Audio assist (wired & wi-fi)

DSEE Final

360 Actuality Audio (headphones & audio system)

Knurled devoted shutter button

Devoted Google Assistant key

IP65/68 mud/water resistance


WiFi 6


Bluetooth 5.2

4500mAh battery w/ 3-years lengthy life promise from Sony

30W quick wired charging

Wi-fi charging & reverse wi-fi charging

211 grams

166mm x 72mm x 8.9mm

Colors: Frosted Black

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