Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: what’s the difference?

Big phone, little phone - find out which is the best Sony

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV
(Image credit: Future)

Sony smartphones are unique in that they combine the Japanese giant’s expertise in cameras with experience in screen technology and impressive handset hardware - that’s what makes them some of the best phones in the world. 

At the very top of their range, is the Sony Xperia 1 IV, an all-singing all-dancing flagship smartphone to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. But there’s one big problem with those phones that Sony has managed to tackle - the size. 

More often than not, flagship phones are huge and almost impossible to use one-handed, especially for those who have quite small hands. That’s where the Sony Xperia 5 IV comes in, it’s a shrunken version of the 1 IV but it still packs in the latest tech. 

So how do these two Sony phones compare, and is it worth downsizing your next smartphone? You’ve come to the right place to find out. 

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: price 

First things first, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is more expensive than the Sony Xperia 5 IV. It’ll set you back £1,299 in the UK, $1,598 in the US and AU$1,699 in Australia. The Sony Xperia 5 IV starts from $1,000 / £950 / AU$1,240.

Photo of the Sony Xperia 1 IV

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / T3)

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: design and screen 

The most obvious difference between the two is the screen size. The Sony Xperia 1 IV has a 6.5-inch display whereas the Sony Xperia 5 IV has a smaller 6.1-inch display. Some people will prefer to have a bigger screen but I personally found the smaller size to be perfectly fine for most tasks especially given the 21:9 aspect ratio which is very well suited to streaming video (it’s the same on the bigger handset). 

Both are OLED screens although the 1 IV has a higher 4K resolution at 1644 x 3840 pixels in comparison to the FHD+ 1080 x 2520 pixels on the 5 IV. 

Ultimately, that will mean a brighter, crisper, more detailed and more colourful experience from the 1 IV but I don’t think you’re sacrificing too much with fewer pixels because you soon get used to it, and it still looks very good.  

You’ll be able to make the most out of a 120Hz refresh rate on both devices which makes scrolling and swiping feels smooth and effortless, especially when it comes to mobile gaming. 

The design itself looks pretty similar across the two phones, with the long and thin rectangular shape, a camera strip along the left-hand side on the back and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. One handset is just bigger than the other. 

The Sony Xperia 1 IV measures 165 x 71 x 8.2 mm and weighs 185g compared to the more manageable size of the Sony Xperia 5 IV being 156 x 67 x 8.2 mm and 172g. I really do prefer a smaller phone because it means my thumb can reach across the whole width so I don’t need both hands to navigate through it. 

Whichever phone you buy you will be safe in the knowledge that it’s sturdy thanks to Gorilla Glass Victus and an IPX8 rating which means they’re both fully waterproof.

The colourways do vary slightly between the two, you can buy the Sony Xperia 1 IV in black, violet, and white; the Sony Xperia 5 IV comes in green, black and white. 

Sony Xperia 5 IV review:holding a phone up against a wall

(Image credit: Future)

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: cameras 

Both phones have three rear cameras, a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide angle camera and a 12MP telephoto lens, but they’re not quite the same because the Sony Xperia 1 IV has a continuous optical zoom lens with 85-125mm focal length whereas the Sony Xperia 5 IV’s equivalent is fixed at 60mm. You’ll also get a 3D ToF sensor on the 1 IV which you won’t on the 5 IV. 

A lot of the camera features are the same, though. There are detailed manual photography and videography controls, real-time Eye AF, HDR, up to 20fps AF/AE burst, 120fps 4K video recording and so on. 

For selfies, the two handsets use the same 12MP lens with the same size sensor and 4K video recording at 30fps. 

Take a look below at some of the sample shots taken on both phones. 

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: performance and battery 

Both phones are strong in the performance department thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset under the hood, it’s not the very latest on offer but it’s not far off. 

The Sony Xperia 1 IV will be ever so slightly more powerful than the Sony Xperia 5 IV purely because it’s loaded with 12GB of RAM instead of 8GB. You can get more in the way of storage on the 1 IV too with up to 512GB available, the 5 IV only offers up to 256GB, although both devices have a MicroSD card slot to expand it. In terms of connectivity, both phones have Wi-Fi 6E support and Bluetooth 5.2.

You get a 5,000mAh battery in each handset, both will easily last you the day. And charging them up again will take a similar amount of time using a 30W charger although neither come with that nor a USB-C cable in the box. You can also charge them wirelessly and they both support reverse wireless charging.

The brain of the operation is Android 12 across both handsets, with two major updates to come. You’ll also get a year of Sony Bravia Core for free, which is their library of popular movies including the likes of Venom, Ghostbusters and Jumanji. 

Sony Xperia 1 IV vs Sony Xperia 5 IV: verdict 

Which of the two Sony smartphones is best for you will depend on a few things. Both are powerful handsets with impressively detailed photography and a long-lasting battery. Neither comes cheap, though.

The Sony Xperia 1 IV is for those who want a big high-quality screen with all of the most up-to-date features particularly when it comes to the camera system, whereas the Sony Xperia 5 IV is a much smaller device fit for anyone who cares more about portability than anything else. 

Yasmine Crossland
Freelance Tech Expert

Yasmine is the former Reviews Writer for T3, so she's been knee-deep in the latest tech products for reviewing and curating into the best buying guides since she started in 2019. She keeps a finger on the pulse when it comes to the most exciting and innovative tech and is happy to tell you exactly what she thinks about it too. In her free time, you'll catch her travelling the globe – the perks of being a freelance tech expert – tending to her plants when at home and, but of course, planning her next big trip.