Sony has one of the oddest approaches to phone launches in the industry, almost making OnePlus’ habit of revealing everything ahead of the full unveiling seem sensible, as while the Sony Xperia 5 III was announced back in April, it’s only now – nine months later – available to buy in the US.
The phone costs $999.99 and is available in green or black. If you grab it direct from Sony before the end of February then you’ll also get a pair of Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds thrown in free, along with 43,200 Call of Duty: Mobile points. Purchases also include four free months of Amazon Music.
That could all help cushion the blow a bit, but this phone is essentially nine months old, as it’s packing tech that was impressive at announcement (like a Snapdragon 888 chipset, a 6.1-inch 1080 x 2520 120Hz screen, and a capable triple-lens camera), but which isn’t quite so notable in 2022.
In our 4-star review we praised the battery life, the performance, and the “balanced, nuanced” camera (the highlight of which is a dual-lens telephoto system that allows you to use two different zoom levels).
However, we also noted that there’s no wireless charging, the design is a little tired, and the phone is quite expensive – and that was nine months ago, so the price hasn’t become any more palatable since.
In fairness, it’s not just the US that’s been kept waiting – the rest of the world didn’t get the Sony Xperia 5 III until October, so it was a long wait everywhere, further emphasizing the weirdness of Sony’s release strategy, but it’s been an extra long wait in the US.
Analysis: the Sony Xperia 5 IV might be just months away
This extraordinarily long wait leaves the Sony Xperia 5 III in an awkward position, as there’s every chance that the Sony Xperia 5 IV will be unveiled soon – perhaps in April, as that would be a year after the Xperia 5 III. It probably won’t have a much higher price tag either.
That could make the Sony Xperia 5 III a tough sell, though given Sony’s general patterns you probably won’t actually be able to buy the next model for a long time – just look longingly at it and perhaps settle for the inferior Xperia 5 III.
It’s not just other Sony phones this is competing with either though, as it also has competition from other early 2022 flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 ranges. These phones are expected to have (or known to have in the case of the OnePlus 10 Pro) newer, better chipsets, and are likely to have more modern specs in other areas too.
Still, Sony’s dual-lens telephoto camera is something we haven’t yet seen elsewhere, and the fairly small form factor of the Sony Xperia 5 III could appeal to some buyers too.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.