Sony Xperia 1: The World's First 4K OLED Smartphone Debuts at MWC 2019

That's a *lot* of screen.

Sony used its time at the Mobile World Congress to announce that it would be bringing a display feature once limited to television, gaming monitors, and laptops to the humble smartphone. The company announced the world’s first 4K-resolution handsets, named the Xperia 1, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Monday. This would let users view high-resolution images and videos in their full quality right from the palm of their hands.

The Japanese tech giant hopes 4K can help revitalize interest in its flagship smartphone selection with an option geared to heavy streamers. But will it be enough to slow down sliding unit sales?

The company reported that it sold only 1.8 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2018 during its most recent earnings call. Its mobile sales have been called “beyond disastrous” by analysts, and it’s easy to see why when companies like of Apple have sold more than 200 million phones in a single year.

With sales barely topping 1 million, it’s do or die for Sony’s smartphone business. But how compelling of a hail Mary is a 4K smartphone screen, really?

Sony Xperia 1: Display

The main selling point for the Xperia 1 is, of course, its 6.5” 4K HDR OLED screen that crams in more pixels than traditional displays but with on big drawback: The phone is really long.

The Xperia 1 has a 21:9 aspect ratio compared to the iPhone XS Max’s 19.5:9, which is great if you want to watch 4K movies, but not if you want your phone to fit comfortably in your pocket. Sony’s new phone is 6.4-inches tall, which is 0.2-inches longer that the XS Max. So if you’re having trouble tucking Apple’s phablet into your jeans, the Xperia 1 definitely won’t fit.

If size isn’t an issue, the Xperia 1 will offer the best-in-class display you can get on a smartphone. YouTube will give you the 4K option when you toggle a video’s quality, for example, and games that support the resolution will be stunningly displayed. But these perks likely won’t come cheap.

That's a lanky boy.


Sony Xperia 1: Expected Price and Release Date

Sony has yet to announce an official price tag or release date for the Xperia 1, but previous leaks have predicted it’ll be arrive around the halfway mark of 2019 and might cost four-figures.

Anonymous sources told tech blog 91Mobiles that it could start at $1,100, which is the same price as an XS Max.

Sony Xperia 1: Cameras

Its camera array is pretty impressive for American phone standards, but may still underwhelm. The Xperia 1 comes with three vertically arranged, 12 megapixel rear cameras and a single 8 MP front-facing camera. That’s an extra camera compared to the XS Max, but there’s reason to think that Sony didn’t necessarily bring their A-Game.

The company has already announced it has made a sensor capable of capturing 48 MP images, enough to make 12 MP look like child’s play. It’s possible that including a its top-of-line camera, though, would have made the Xperia 1 prohibitively expensive.

It's three rear cameras are 12 MP each.


Sony Xperia 1: Other Tech Specs

As for the rest of its specs, the Xperia 1 is on par with this year’s flagship releases. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor makes sure its Android apps run smoothly, 128GB of baseline memory will make sure you can save as many pictures as you want, and 6GB of RAM should make for snappy response time.

Its 3,300 mAh battery might be the main cause for concern. A higher quality screen means it’ll sap more battery, and with many phablets inching towards a 3,500 to 4,000 mAh standard, Xperia 1 might leave you on zero when you need it most.

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