I wrote yesterday that Sony Xperia phones are quietly kicking ass in 2022, and I've had a few Xperia owners get in touch in agreement: they're brilliant if pricey phones, they tell me, and the only real niggle is the often slow software updates.
As such, I thought it would be helpful if I went into more detail about why I think Sony makes some of the very best Android phones for the benefit of Android users who might be considering an upgrade.
I'm really into music and photography so those are the main selling points for me, but there are plenty of other good reasons why, for many people, an Xperia could be the best phone for pretty much everything.
The biggest problem with Sony Xperia phones over the past 5 years or more is simply their brand recognition, which has not been anywhere near as mainstream as, say, Samsung Galaxy phones. But Sony is still producing incredible Android phones, and here's 5 killer features they deliver.
1. They sound better than almost every other phone
The Xperia X1 delivers much better audio quality than the majority of the best Android phones and iPhones, because it and other Xperia models supports hi-res audio via the 3.5mm audio jack. Remember those? And if you prefer to use the best wireless headphones, its high bitrate LDAC codec means you'll get the best possible sound out of Sony headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM5. Sonic excellence is hardly surprising – Sony was the firm behind everything from the Walkman to Super Audio CD and its hi-res audio players are fantastic – but it's still unusual in phones. If you're serious about sound an Xperia is a seriously impressive audio upgrade.
2. The camera tech is fantastic
Sony makes the sensors for many other smartphones' cameras, so good image quality is a given. But devices such as the Xperia X1, which is due to be updated shortly, still stand out: it has excellent hybrid image stabilisation for both photography and video, can record in 4K HDR, has eye-tracking autofocus and includes Sony's BIONZ X mobile image processor, which you'll also find in high spec cameras. Few cameraphones prioritise the camera bit as much as Xperias do.
3. The screens are bigger, and that's better
Devices such as the Xperia 1, Xperia 5 and Xperia 10 use a 21:9 aspect ratio for their displays, making them taller or wider than most of the best Android phones. That's particularly useful for gaming, for photo/video and for watching movies, but it's also useful for multitasking because you can get more on screen without everything feeling cramped, and Sony has some good multitasking features such as Side Sense and an app launcher that can get you into split screen mode in three taps.
4. They're amazing for movies
Sony's a regular visitor to our best TVs guide, and the Triluminous OLED in phones such as the Xperia 10 IV is as impressive as the display tech in the best Sony TVs. Sony's used its decades of movie experience to optimise the display for truly spectacular performance in movies, and because it's an OLED display you don't get the uncertain blacks and bloom issues that plague back- or edge-lit displays.
5. They're beautifully designed
I don't think you'd mistake a Sony product for anything else, and that's true of the Xperias too. They're exceptionally well made, very well engineered and while they aim for seriousness rather than spectacle I think they're very good looking phones. Sony's making good efforts with sustainability too, and the most recent Xperias ship in plastic-free packaging without potentially unnecessary chargers and cables.