Release date, specs, rumors, price, and feature wishlist

Harley Maranan / Android Authority

The Sony Xperia 1 V may have only recently landed on store shelves, but we’re already thinking about Sony’s next flagship smartphone, tentatively known as the Xperia 1 VI. Here’s what we know about the next-gen model and what we want to see from the Xperia 1 VI to make it the best smartphone money can buy.

Sony Xperia 1 VI: At a glance

  • When is it coming out? The Xperia 1 VI is expected to launch in early summer 2024, with a US release date following later.
  • What’s new? There are no confirmed details on Sony’s next-gen flagship at this time, but we’ve got a good idea of a few features and specs we’re likely to see.
  • How much will it cost? Sony’s flagships are usually more expensive than Apple and Samsung’s. We expect the Xperia 1 VI to cost somewhere in the region of $1,399 to $1,599.

Will there be a Sony Xperia 1 VI?

Sony releases a new flagship handset every year, and unless the company pulls an LG and suddenly hops off the smartphone exit ramp, we fully expect there to be a Sony Xperia 1 VI flagship.

Of course, the phone is all very unofficial at this stage, and Sony could change its usual flagship roadmap next year. Sony has barely tweaked its line-up much in recent years, so things could continue on a very predictable path, or we could see a more significant shakeup to reinvigorate the series. We’ll have to wait and see.

What is the Sony Xperia 1 VI release date?

Sony Xperia 1 V homescreen in hand

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Sony Xperia 1 III launch: June 1, 2021
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV launch: June 1, 2022
  • Sony Xperia 1 V launch: May 11, 2023

Sony has been fairly consistent with its Xperia launch window, so we have a good idea about what to expect here. Based on Sony’s launch history, we’re likely in for a wait until late Spring or Summer 2024 before we see official details on the Xperia 1 VI’s release date.

That’s still a long way away, but it could be even longer before many consumers can get their hands on the phone. There’s often a month or more of delay between Sony’s flagship announcement and the model landing on store shelves in Europe, with an even longer wait for customers in the US. This generation’s Xperia 1 V hit UK shelves at the end of June, while it didn’t land until late July in the US.

What specs and features will the Sony Xperia 1 VI have?

We’re yet to see any Sony Xperia 1 VI rumors at such an early stage. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t hazard an educated guess at the hardware we’ll see inside Sony’s next flagship.

Series signatures that have come to underpin the brand are very likely to remain. Xperia’s long-running 4K 21:9 display aspect ratio lends the series a unique look. Likewise, the 3.5mm headphone jack, IP65/IP68 rating, microSD card slot, and suite of multimedia capabilities underpin the Xperia flagship ethos. We’d be surprised if these don’t return for the 1 VI unless Sony is planning a major overhaul.

Looking at broader industry trends, a high-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor is almost certain to power the phone, along with virtually all other Android flagship handsets throughout 2024. Sony is also likely to use some of its latest image sensors in its new phone and/or expand the use of its high-end IMX888 across its ultrawide and telephoto cameras. Expect another no-holds-barred powerhouse flagship.

What will the Sony Xperia 1 VI price be?

Sony Xperia 1 V black back standing

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Sony Xperia 1 III: $1,299 / £1,199 / €1,299
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV: $1,599 / £1,299 / €1,399
  • Sony Xperia 1 V: $1,399 / £1,299 / €1,399

Sony has embraced ultra-premium price tags for its flagship line, and we have no reason to expect any difference with the Xperia 1 VI price. Although hopefully, we won’t see a return to the sky-high cost of the Xperia 1 IV, it’s theoretically possible with global costs on the up.

Either way, we’re expecting the Xperia 1 VI to try to command a price that’ll be just as high, if not higher, than the top-end rivals from Apple and Samsung. Brace your bank accounts.

Should you wait for the Sony Xperia 1 VI?

With the Xperia 1 V ($1398 at Amazon) only just landing on store shelves and no real concrete information on what to expect from the 1 VI, Sony fans can’t go wrong picking up the current model. If budget is a concern, Sony’s more affordable Xperia 5 V (£849) is available for European customers, but we’re still waiting on a US release.

Sony Xperia 1 VI: What we want to see

Sony Xperia 1 V vs Xperia 1 IV back

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Based on our Xperia 1 V review, there’s one big thing we’d like to see from the Sony Xperia 1 VI, but it’s a bit of a moonshot. Ultimately, the series is in dire need of a revamp, aesthetically, feature-wise, and in terms of software.

The current Xperia 1 V flagship is not a bad phone, but it’s pretty stale. If you’ve seen the 1 IV or even the 1 III, you know what to expect. Bar a few small upgrades, there really isn’t a lot to tell the previous models apart from the latest. How Sony balances that against retaining series staples is the million-dollar question, but I have faith that it can be done.

It’s time for a new look

Sony’s monolithic black slab makes the range readily identifiable against the competition, but it’s pretty tricky to tell any of its phones from the past five years apart. That’s not good if you want your latest phone to appear fresh and exciting. Sony tweaked the formula with a new rugged back with the Xperia 1 V, but that hardly shakes things up meaningfully. If the Xperia 1 VI looks the same again, it’ll fall flat.

We’ve had similar criticisms about Apple and Samsung in the past and these brands at least occasionally spice things up with new colors and design tweaks. At the very least, new colorways would help catch consumer eyes. We loved the occasional purple model in the past and the latest Khaki Green is nice, but black and silver are the series go-to’s in most regions. Throw some red and blues in there to give customers a bit more choice, especially at this price.

But really, the Xperia 1 VI will need a bigger departure from the look of old. Perhaps embracing glass or metal is the key, a new-look camera housing, or maybe even leaving the 21:9 aspect ratio behind would give Sony more leeway to play with the form factor. Failing that, some much niftier feature shakeups will be required to stand out.

Software with a real identity

Sony Xperia 1 V preinstalled apps

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony knows how to build good hardware, but the Xperia software suite is far less to write home about. It’s heavily reliant on Google, for one, which leaves the phone missing a core identity to call its own.

That’s not strictly a problem; there’s no point in reinventing the app wheel every time. But a multimedia phone that relies on Google Photos for its gallery, sans all the brilliant Google One features that cost extra, leaves me scratching my head. Surely Sony can bring its desktop image editing capabilities to mobile?

There are glimpses of this broader ecosystem potential evident in its Bravia Core, Cinema Pro, Photo Pro, and Video Pro apps, each of which leverages another part of the greater Sony juggernaut. But they’re still decentralized and disjointed in their appearance, leaving them feeling tacked on rather than central to the core OS.

That might sound incorporeal, but once you delve into rival ecosystems from Apple, Samsung, and Google, there’s a consistency that lends weight to the greater experience. On that note, Sony must improve its update pledge at this price point. Sony declined even to provide a commitment with the 1 V, but its previous two OS upgrades doesn’t stand up to the competition.

Double down into the Alpha camera experience

Sony Xperia 1 V camera array

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Speaking of cameras, this is an area that Xperia prides itself on but has historically underperformed compared to the competition. The Xperia 1 V righted a few wrongs but still doesn’t stand out enough to command its price tag compared to the photography capabilities of the far cheaper Pixel 7 Pro.

Sony is still awkwardly caught between mirrorless and smartphone photography. It leans heavily into manual dials and options but doesn’t quite compete with the best when it comes to the Night, Portrait, Cinematic Blur, and other features you’ll find plastered across virtually every other flagship. They’re all improved of late but Sony could still use extra refinement.

But embracing the Alpha experience is probably the way to stand out, and Sony recently made some positive moves in that direction. For example, the six color profile options introduced in the Xperia 1 V give users that extra variety without added complication. Likewise, its SLR-like variable zoom tech is something you won’t find anywhere else, and the Alpha viewfinder idea is neat too. It’s these unique but simple to use extras that keep the Xperia’s cameras interesting to use, rather than the layers and layers of toggles. Build on those ideas, and Sony could be back in contention for the very best camera phone.

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