Sony Xperia Pro-I: A camera first, phone second

Sony will be launching the Xperia Pro-I, a 5G smartphone with a camera-first camera, in the fight for smartphone camera supremacy. Sony is ready to join the fray with the Xperia Pro-I, less than 12 hours after the Google Pixel 6 Pros and Pixel 6 Pros reviews began dropping online. All the smartphone camera enthusiasts trying determine which phone has the best smartphone camera are now looking for the Pixel 6 Pro Max or the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
The Xperia Pro-I's I stands for imaging. This is a nod to Sony's Alpha interchangeable lens cameras. The Sony representatives told journalists that this was what they meant to tell us. The main star of the show is clearly the devices' camera technology. It's fair to consider the Xperia Pro-I a camera that comes with a phone attached.

It is also notable for its Exmor RS-1.0 type image sensor with phase detection AF, (autofocus), that powers the RX100 VI, the most popular point-and-shooter among tourists and vloggers. Sony claims that this large camera sensor (1-inch) allows for outstanding low light performance, high dynamic ranging, and beautifulbokeh. DPReview points out that the 1-inch sensor has 20 megapixels, but the Xperia Pro-I uses only a portion of this sensor. This means the device can output a 12-megapixel image.

Although it is rare, Sony is not the first phone to have a 1-inch sensor. Sharps Aquos R6 and Panasonics CM1 had one, respectively, when they were announced earlier in the year.

The Sony Xperia Pro-I comes with three 12-megapixel cameras back (a main camera, an ultrawide and telephoto), and one 8-megapixel camera on its front. These cameras may seem low-resolution but the Sony representative was eager to explain that each pixel has more detail, greater dynamic range, and depth of field. The company is confident that it does not need to aim for higher megapixel counts than its competitors.

Three Zeiss glass lenses are used in the Xperia Pro-Is' rear cameras. The main 24mm lens is equipped with a dual aperture (f2.0/f4.4), which allows you to quickly change the depth-of-field to achieve authentic bokeh. This is in contrast to the digitally created bokeh effect on other phones.

The Xperia Pro-I has the same BIONZ X imaging processing as the Sony A9 professional mirrorless sports camera. This allows it to capture burst shots at up to 20fps, similar to Sonys new smartphones such the Xperia 1 III. This rare smartphone camera is capable of autofocus and real-time eye tracking (humans or animals) in stills as well as videos. Sony claims that the Xperia Pro-I can record 4K videos at 120fps, and preserve all 120 frames. Other smartphones can record 4K videos but compress them into smaller files, so you don't have as much control over post-production.

The Xperia Pro-I's phone side has a 6.5-inch 21/9 3840x1644 OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and a narrow 21:9 aspect ratio. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor powers it. Unlocked models will work on all 4G networks around the globe, including sub-6GHz 5G. It has 12GB RAM,512GB internal storage, a microSDXC slot and a 4,500mAh lithium battery that can be charged at 30W. Despite the premium specs, the Xperia Pro-I still features a 3.5mm audio jack that can be used to connect a microphone to creators. There is also a hole for a wrist strap to secure it.

The Xperia Pro-I will be available in December 2021 at a staggering $1,800 (1.599). It's $200 less than Samsungs flagship foldable, Z Fold 3, and $200 less than Apples 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max model, which is $1,599. It's also cheaper than the Sony RX 100 VII at $1,300 and is the same as the full-frame Sony A7C at $1,800. Sony's goal with the Xperia Pro-I was to create a device that does it all. It combines the best of a dedicated point-and-shoot cam with a slim (0.35-inch), 5G phone.

Preorders of the Sony Xperia Pro-I are now open. They will be available starting October 28th, 2021 at 10:00 AM ET.