The Sony Xperia 1 VI has landed, with a big zoom and a high price

Sony Xperia 1 VI camera
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony’s contender for the best phone of 2024 has landed, with the flagship Sony Xperia 1 VI having been unveiled alongside the mid-range Sony Xperia 10 VI.

It’s the first of those devices that’s the most interesting, with highlights including a telephoto camera that can move between focal lengths of 85mm and 170mm, which at the top end amounts to a 7.1x optical zoom.

That’s more zoom than you get with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro, both of which top out at 5x optical zoom. It also has the Sony Xperia 1 V beat, as that tops out at 5.2x. The same lens can also take macro shots, offering a maximum magnification of around 2x, and a minimum focus distance of 4cm.

There’s also an ultra-wide camera, and the main camera sounds impressive too, as Sony claims that the new phone's 24mm lens can deliver “picture quality equivalent to full-frame cameras”.

This is achieved, in part, by AI processing, but while the Sony Xperia 1 VI also uses AI to improve autofocus tracking – it can recognize the human skeleton and poses – and to improve the contrast, color, and clarity of the screen, it doesn’t sound like Sony has filled the Xperia 1 VI with flashy AI features. Rather, it uses AI mostly behind the scenes.

Speaking of the screen, this OLED display can get 1.5x brighter than the screen on the Sony Xperia 1 V, and a new ‘Sunlight Vision’ feature uses AI to prevent overexposed highlights, by analysing the frames and the environmental brightness in real-time.

The Sony Xperia 1 VI also has a 5,000mAh battery designed to last two days between charges, allowing for continuous video playback for over 36 hours. It charges quickly too, juicing up to 50% in just 30 minutes.

Other specs include the top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, and a 3.5mm headphone port, which – combined with support for numerous audio industry technologies and formats – makes this a promising choice for audiophiles.

A premium price

All of this sounds impressive, but it should at the price, with the Sony Xperia 1 VI costing £1,299. There’s no word on US or Australian availability, but that’s the same price as its predecessor, which cost $1,399 / AU$2,099.

So, at least it hasn’t seen a price increase, but that still makes the Sony Xperia 1 VI more expensive in most regions than the starting price of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

If that’s too much for you, then you might want to consider the Sony Xperia 10 VI, which costs just £349 (around $440 / AU$665). That phone has a 6.1-inch Full HD+ OLED display, a 3.5mm headphone port, and a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset. 

Pre-orders for both phones start today (May 15), and the Sony Xperia 1 VI ships from early June.

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James Rogerson

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, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.