Sony Xperia 1 III release date, price, news and leaks

We're expecting the Sony Xperia 1 III to be one of the next big phones of 2021 - it's the newest generation of Sony's top-end smartphone line, likely to come with top specs and a high price.

The 'Sony Xperia 1 III' name might look confusing on paper, but that's almost definitely what the phone will be called. Sony uses a 'Mark' naming scheme for its phones, similar to its cameras, so the Xperia 1 'Mark 3', which is what this is, is the third of its line preceded by the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 1 before that. 

Other phones coming soon:

We've heard a few leaks and rumors surrounding the Sony Xperia 1 III, so we've collected them all below so you can peruse, and perhaps draw your own conclusions about the upcoming phone.

Below that we've compiled a wish-list of features we'd like to see in the phone.There are plenty of ways the Sony Xperia 1 II could be improved upon - TechRadar gave the Xperia 1 II a 4-star review, so there’s room for improvement from Sony’s next flagship phone.

Sony's last phone was the Xperia 5 II, an improvement on its Xperia 5 from the year before, and that new device is currently the company's best smartphone. Only time will tell if the Xperia 1 III steals that crown or falls short.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony's next flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? Possibly between February and May
  • How much will it cost? Likely around $1,199 / £1,099 (around AU$1,840)

Sony Xperia 1 III release date and price 

We don’t know much about the Sony Xperia 1 III release date just yet, but we can comfortably assume that Sony’s next flagship will land at some stage in 2021.

The Xperia 1 II was unveiled a full year after the original Xperia 1. That latest phone was unveiled in February 2020, so we’d expect a similar announcement for the Xperia 1 III in 2021.

That said, it took Sony three months to bring the Xperia 1 II to shop shelves as it began to be released in May - and that was just for certain markets - so it may be we have to wait a few months after release to be able to buy one.

We don’t yet know what to expect when it comes to price, but the Xperia 1 II cost $1,199.99 / £1,099 (around AU$1,840). That’s remarkably high, but we wouldn’t expect Sony to drop the price any lower than this.

Sony Xperia 1 III news and rumors 

Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1 (Image credit: TechRadar)

We've heard plenty of Sony Xperia 1 III design rumors, and it sounds pretty similar to its predecessor in terms of looks. Check out this video of the phone which shows both sides of it, and we're sure you'll agree with us.

Those pictures do show something rumored to be a 'shortcut' button, but we don't know what this does right now. Sony phones have previously had shutter buttons, extras to replicate the feeling of using an actual camera when you're using the phone cameras, so this could be another similar extra.

Talking of cameras, we've heard the Sony Xperia 1 III could have a periscope lens on one of its snappers. This type of lens allows for long-distance zooming, possibly 5x to 10x in the case of the Xperia phone.

It also sounds like the selfie camera will get an upgrade for the next Xperia phone, with a wider aperture likely to bring big improvements. The same source for that also suggested the phone will have a similar display to its predecessor - that is, a 6.5-inch 4K display with 21:9 aspect ratio - but with a max brightness 15% higher.

Finally, we've heard the Sony Xperia 1 III might not come alone - a rumor suggests a Premium and Compact model could come too. We've since heard that latter might be the Sony Xperia Compact, a small phone with mid-range specs which likely won't share the Xperia 1 III name. An Xperia 1 III Premium could still come though, with even higher-end specs to the 'standard' edition.

What we want to see 

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 1 II (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony’s next flagship is sure to be designed to improve on the last smartphone from the company. Here’s what we’re hoping the company will be able to do. 

1.  A lower price

The Sony Xperia 1 II is particularly expensive, especially for those in the US. The variant you can buy in the US doesn't have 5G functionality - a major driving force in phone prices - yet it still costs $250 more than the Xperia 1's launch price.

There are a few additional upgrades here, but it's a remarkably high price for Sony's latest and we hope the company reconsiders that for the Xperia 1 III and may be able to drop it down a little.

2.  5G across the world 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is a simple one, but the Xperia 1 II didn’t feature 5G connectivity when it was released in the US. Other markets around the world, including the UK, got 5G connectivity by default.

Exactly why this happened hasn’t been made clear by Sony, but it’s a feature that is soon becoming standard on a variety of other smartphones. We’d like to see Sony embrace 5G technology across the world for its next flagship.

3. Keep the 3.5mm headphone jack

Sony has a big selling point in that the Xperia 1 II has a headphone jack. If you want to be able to use a wired headset with your smartphone, the Xperia 1 II is one of the best flagship options on the market that offers you the option.

The company made an odd choice to drop the headphone jack on the Xperia 1, but then brought it back for the Xperia 1 II. We’d like to see Sony hold onto the headphone jack for its next release.

4. A faster release date 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is a minor one, but the wait for the Xperia 1 II to be available was long. It was announced in late February, and it only begun to be released in May with markets like the UK having to wait until June.

For true Sony fans, that wait was probably worth it but for some who were just passingly interested in the handset they had a lot of other choices including the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 Pro series.

5. Keep the 21:9

Again, this is a unique selling feature of Sony's phones and it's clearly something that fans are resonating with. We'd like to see Sony continue its 21:9 aspect ratio, but we hope to see more content to watch or play available in the next year or so to make the technology worthwhile.

6. Include a high refresh rate screen 

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is similar to 5G in the fact that it’s a feature we’re seeing become standard on a variety of competing smartphones but is missing here. That’s a big omission for a flagship phone.

We’d like to see Sony embrace a higher refresh rate, especially if it’s able to combine that with a phenomenal 4K display that would offer one of the best screen experiences on a smartphone.

7.  Make it easier to grip

The rear of the Sony Xperia 1 II is made of glass, and combined with its long shape that can make is a difficult phone to grip. 

We'd like to see Sony look toward rounded the corners of the rear of the phone or including another material that makes you more confident of holding the phone in one hand without dropping it.

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