iPhone 14's camera would be so much better with this one Sony Xperia 1 IV feature

Sony Xperia 1 IV
(Image credit: Future)

After finishing my first week with the Sony Xperia 1 IV, I've noticed that there's one camera feature that I've started using all the time - seriously, this thing will likely find its way onto our list of the best camera phones when our full review is live, and it's got me wondering what the iPhone 14 would be like if it had it.

I'm talking about the physical camera shutter button, housed on the frame of the phone, which is similar to the button you have on actual cameras. My photography game has really been shaken up by this addition, which is why I've become a little bit obsessed with it.

I've yet to be convinced by the camera prowess on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, finding it inferior to the photography experience on other phones I've tested like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - but I've started to think that if the new iPhones got a physical trigger button, it could put them above Samsung. Here's why.

Why the physical trigger button is great

The Sony Xperia 1 IV's physical trigger button is on its right edge, sitting near the fingerprint sensor - when you're holding the device landscape to take a picture, this button is basically exactly where the shutter is on a proper camera.

As you'd expect, you can press this button to take a picture, and using this feature instead of the on-screen button has a range of benefits.

On other smartphones, I frequently take rubbish photos when the act of pressing the on-screen shutter button causes the phone to wobble or move a little bit, which ruins framing. Plus, if you're not reliant on tapping the screen, you can hold the Xperia at a bigger range of angles, and I've taken some experimental and interesting shots this way.

But the Sony Xperia 1 IV's shutter button has another feature that cameras have - if you partly press it in, it finds focus, giving you a really convenient way of making sure that your subject is totally in focus. Photographers will know that this tool is vital for making sure your pictures look okay.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max in silver facing down on a table

(Image credit: Future)

There's another function of this trigger that I also use a lot. If you press it while the phone's screen is off, it automatically opens up the camera app - this lets you conveniently and quickly take a picture without having to unlock your phone and boot up the app.

Using this, I've sometimes captured pictures of quick events that I'd otherwise miss - I'm mainly talking about meeting cats and other pets in all honesty.

The Mark 4 isn't the first Sony phone to have this button, but on the original Xperia 1 it had limited usefulness - that's definitely not the case four phones in.

Why the iPhone 14 could use this feature

As I've said before, I've yet to be particularly impressed by iPhone photography in the past - I don't think they have either the versatility and easy-to-use modes of Samsung or Xiaomi phones or the top-end photography smarts and features of Google or Sony devices.

If the iPhone 14 had a physical camera shutter button, this wouldn't completely change - while the functions I discussed in the previous section are super useful, it'd take more than that to impress me.

However, if Apple did decide to use this kind of useful camera tech, it'd show me that Apple actually was serious about upping its photography game (something that rumored camera changes also suggests).

It'd instill in me a sense of confidence that Apple was thinking of serious photographers, and wanted to give them tools to take the best pictures possible - instead of the company simply saying that it was at each of its events, but not bringing many actually-useful tools.

Do I think Apple actually is gearing up to use a shutter button similar to the Sony Xperia 1 IV? No, not in a million years - iPhones are designed with mass appeal, and having a camera feature slapped on the side wouldn't fit with this. Plus, since they also have an alert slider, the edge of your iPhone would feel super cluttered with a shutter button thrown into the mix too.

But I can dream, can't I? And maybe there's a compromise here: perhaps a MagSafe accessory could bring this functionality for people who want it. I certainly would - every picture I snap with the Sony Xperia 1 IV now is taken with the shutter button.

We're hearing loads about how the iPhone 14 Pro Max could be a huge upgrade for the iPhone line and it'd be great if Apple could throw in this little camera feature, especially since the phone is for... well, Pros. But as I wrote earlier it is terrible timing for a big iPhone update... so maybe not.

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.