Sony Xperia 1 IV price is somehow even higher than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's

Sony Xperia 1 IV event
(Image credit: Sony)

Given that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra currently sits as the number 1 entry on our list of the best smartphones, you'd expect it to be the priciest handset too, but the new Sony Xperia 1 IV makes it look relatively affordable.

This is the fourth-gen member of Sony's flagship line, and the Xperia 1 family is always expensive, but this is the most pricey member yet. It costs $1,599 / £1,299 (roughly AU$2,300), which is an increase of $300 / £100 over the Xperia 1 III.

But then remember that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at just $1,199.99 / £1,149 / $1,849 - so for the most basic version of both, the Samsung is far cheaper.

Things get a little muddy when you consider the annoying fact that the Xperia in the US comes with 512GB of storage, while it only has 256GB in the UK - neither region has options to change that. They do come with expandable memory if you buy microSD cards though.

You can buy the Samsung with 512GB for $1,399 though, and in the UK for 256GB it's £1,249, so the Xperia is still more expensive in each country, but it means comparisons have to be a little more nuanced.

What are you getting for the money?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen

(Image credit: Future)

Well, the Sony Xperia 1 IV has some interesting hardware features, including the first continuous optical zoom in a smartphone, so for zoom photographers it likely justifies its price tag. It also supports 4K 120fps HDR video recording on all of its rear cameras, has pro-level video and audio recording apps, offers a burst photography mode for action footage, and has Sony's eye autofocus mode.

This all makes it really useful for professional photographers... but for average phone users, that might all be too much. If that's you, the Galaxy is preferable.

The Ultra's useful modes are fantastic for people who want to utilize AI and software tricks to take the best snap. The best example of this is Single Take, a mode that lets you record a video of a subject, and lets an algorithm pick the best stills from it and edit them to create dramatic shots.

There's also Food mode which lets you choose an area of the picture to be in focus, then adds a healthy serving of artificial bokeh to the rest, and finishes it off with a garnish of heavily saturated editing.

In a way, the Samsung and Sony phones are two sides of the same coin, aimed at prolific picture takers at different skill levels. But they both have premium smarts in other ways.

The Samsung has a more premium design, with a curved-edge screen, solid build and an S Pen stylus that you can use to sketch, draw or take notes. While the Sony has a high-res 4K screen, a long, thin body and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

They both have the same chipset, the same battery size, similar charging speeds and software that isn't too far apart either - they both run Android, after all.

So your choice between these phones mainly comes down to your photography skill level - but the fact that the Xperia is a little pricier may make the Galaxy more tempting for some.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.