The Xperia 1 is perhaps one of Sony’s strangest handsets yet. As if its still identifiable Sony design weren’t enough to set it apart from the crowd, its ultra wide, or ultra tall, CinemaWide 21:9 display makes it stand out literally. That, however, isn’t the screen’s only huge feature. It also boasts of a 4K resolution that, for the first time, is being used as the phone’s default resolution all the time.
The Xperia 1 isn’t Sony first 4K phone, of course. That fame or infamy belongs to the
Xperia XZ Premium back in 2017 EDIT: It was actually the 2015 Xperia Z5 Premium. Thanks to reader southafricanguy for pointing that out. This was followed by “Premium” models all the way to last year’s Xperia XZ2 Premium. To some extent, Sony already has the mobile 4K display down, but this time it’s doing something different.
For its previous two 4K phones, Sony’s settings defaulted to using a Full HD, not even Quad HD, resolution for everything. It only kicks the phone into 4K when the app supports it. With the Xperia 1, it flips the tables and the phone operates in 4K all the time except the app doesn’t support it.
This means that the entire Xperia 1 user interface and soon to be updated Sony native apps will be running in 4K. In theory, you will see crisp and clear images and text. In practice, you will most likely be rushing to charge the Xperia 1 long before the day is over.
While watching a 4K video on a 6.5-inch 4K screen may be an eye-opening experience, there is still some debate whether users are even able to fully appreciated QHD resolutions for day to day regular use. That is why many phone makers stick to FHD or FHD+ screens to keep costs low. Additionally, pushing that many pixels around drains the battery faster, and the Xperia 1’s meager 3,300 mAh might not be up to the task.