Move over Samsung, Sony's new flagship sounds like the best-ever phone camera

The Sony Xperia 1 VI features a major new optical zoom lens upgrade

Sony Xperia 1 VI
(Image credit: Sony)

In the battle of the best phones, it so often comes down to flagship device's cameras to define that next-level feature and stand apart from the competition. There are plenty of strong competitors from the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S24 and Google's Pixel 8 Pro – but now there's a new competitor on the block. 

Sony just revealed the Xperia 1 VI, the company's sixth-generation of its best Android phone, and the entirely redesigned handset not only appears significantly different from its Xperia 1 V predecessor, it also upgrades the rear camera unit with a significant new addition. 

While the Xperia 1 series has long had a decent set of cameras, the latest model adds a true optical zoom that delivers an 85mm to 170mm equivalent (around 3.5x to 7.1x that of the main sensor on board). Using this 12-megapixel sensor you can zoom to any given focal length you wish, optically, so no digital cropping to create the image. That's a big deal. 

Sony Xperia 1 VI

(Image credit: Sony)

Elsewhere the Xperia 1 VI's triple camera includes a 16mm equivalent wide-angle camera and a 24mm equivalent main camera – the latter built around Sony's Exmor T sensor for the utmost in quality. There's even a macro mode, which uses the zoom lens and not the wide-angle for better quality. 

While the new camera addition may define one of the Xperia 1 VI's selling points, it's certainly not the only one. Indeed, with a new 19.5:9 aspect ratio display, not the 'tall' 21:9 aspect of its predecessors, the latest Xperia is an altogether more obvious Android competitor. It's done away with the 4K resolution of its predecessors, too, opting for a brighter and true variable refresh rate FHD+ resolution panel instead. 

But it's the cameras that keep adding Brownie points. Sony has consolidated its mass of Camera apps into one single solution for this device, meaning you'll get everything from point-and-shoot to more advanced and manual shooting options all in the one place. And with Sony the king of dedicated cameras, thanks to its Alpha range, there's plenty that the Xperia handset garners from that side of the business too. 

The Xperia 1 VI includes AI-assisted eye-detection continuous autofocus, for both humans and animals, which can predict motion and ensure focus stays locked on. That, in combination with Zeiss-approved optics for clarity, and a variety of Alpha-favourite colour filters gives this phone-camera a variety of standout points compared to the masses. It sounds like an impressive all-rounder – more than any Xperia 1 handset before it.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.