The Xperia Pro‑I is the long-awaited addition to Sony’s smartphone portfolio, offering mobile-friendly photo and video customization. In today’s review, we find out what the phone can offer for ordinary users, what its advantages and disadvantages are, what characteristics the Sony Xperia Pro‑I has, and we analyze who should buy a new product and who should avoid it.
The Sony Xperia Pro‑I comes in a white cardboard box. The packaging is simple — on the front side there is the name of the model and manufacturer.
Despite the high cost (from 134,990 rubles at the time of writing the review), the standard equipment is a 30 W power supply and a USB‑C cable. A tripod handle and an external monitor that can be used as a viewfinder when shooting with the main camera are sold separately.
The Xperia Pro‑I smartphone comes in a single color — black.
The rear panel makes the phone stand out from the competition. At the top, the cameras are centered — ultra-wide, main, 3D ToF for focusing in the dark, and a telephoto lens. There is a huge Zeiss Tessar T* logo ring around the main camera. Above the cameras are an LED flash and a color temperature sensor, on the right is the blue Zeiss logo, on the left is a microphone hole.
The cover of the phone is matte, covered with Gorilla Glass 6. Unlike glossy surfaces, it is not as slippery and collects fingerprints less.
A secure grip is provided by metal side frames with a ribbed surface. The left side houses a hybrid card slot and a lanyard hole. On the right is a serrated shutter button, a volume rocker, a power key with a built-in fingerprint scanner (double-tap also launches the camera), and a round multi-function button (it can be configured to launch any application). Unfortunately, the shutter button is poorly placed — you can accidentally press it when the smartphone is just in your hand.
At the bottom are a microphone and a USB‑C port with DisplayPort support for connecting an external microphone. Above is another microphone and a 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones or an external microphone.
There are no cutouts on the display, the selfie camera is located above the screen. There is also a status / notification indicator. Front stereo speakers are a classic feature of Sony smartphones, they are also installed in this model. One is under the display, the second is above it.
The front panel is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
At 166 x 72 x 8.9mm, the Pro‑I is 1mm taller and longer than the Sony Xperia 1 III with the same screen size (6.5 inches) but slightly narrower (165 x 71 x 8.2mm). The Pro‑I is lighter than other camera-focused smartphones at 211g. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra weigh 229g and 234g respectively.
The smartphone has protection against moisture and dust IP68 — can withstand immersion under water to a depth of 1.5 m for 30 minutes.
The new Sony smartphone received a 6.5‑inch OLED panel with a resolution of 4K (3840 x 1644 pixels), a refresh rate of 120 Hz, an aspect ratio of 21: 9 and a pixel density of 643 ppi. However, 4K mode only works when playing video with the appropriate resolution, otherwise the screen resolution is 1096 x 2560.
The screen refresh rate is set to 60Hz by default. Switching to a smoother mode is done in the settings. It works with shell and base applications. To increase the frequency in games, you need to turn on the “productive” mode in the special application “Game Booster”.
The Xperia Pro‑I display supports HDR so you can watch videos in full resolution on most streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.
Although the screen brightness is average, it is not lacking when used outdoors on a sunny day — in standard mode you get 406 nits, in adaptive mode — 578 nits. In addition, for some applications, a creator mode is available, which allows you to slightly increase the brightness of the display. For example, in Google Photos — up to 644 nits.
In the settings, you can enable a dark theme, sleep mode (after 10 minutes of inactivity), adjust brightness, white balance, color gamut and contrast. There are several presets — the aforementioned creator mode and standard. Standard mode is enabled by default with auto-creator mode enabled for supported content. In creator mode, in addition to increasing the brightness, the picture is processed taking into account 4K resolution and HDR. In addition, the option to visually improve the quality of the video is available.
The battery capacity is 4500 mAh. A full battery is enough:
almost 24 hours of talk;
9 hours 37 minutes of web surfing at the maximum screen refresh rate;
13 hours 42 minutes of video playback (60 Hz).
For comparison: Xiaomi Mi 11i with a 4520 mAh battery can work 24 hours 25 minutes / 13 hours / 16 hours 28 minutes, respectively.
The 30W adapter supports USB PowerDelivery. With it, the smartphone is fully charged in 1 hour 49 minutes. A 30-minute charge is enough to replenish energy from 0 to 53%.
Unlike the Xperia 1 III, the Pro‑I does not support wireless charging.
The Sony Xperia Pro‑I smartphone is equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset with Adreno 660 GPU (6th place in the mobile processor performance rating). There is one RAM / internal storage configuration available — 12 + 512 GB. If that’s not enough for you, microSDXC memory cards up to 1TB (hybrid slot) are supported.
Even demanding games run quickly, all applications launch instantly. The exception is Sony’s photo and video applications, which take about two seconds to turn on.
However, the performance of the Xperia Pro‑I is not stable. In the 3DMark stress test, the stability rating is only 60%. This means that, for example, during games, the frame rate may drop sharply, and the picture will become less smooth.
In the CPU Throttling Test, a 32% drop in frequencies is recorded at an average performance level of 178 GIPS (the result is weak for a flagship platform).
Snapdragon 888 is characterized by increased heat dissipation. Sony has not been able to completely solve this problem, although the overheating of the Pro‑I is not as severe as that of Xiaomi smartphones. The phone may overheat when shooting for a long time in 4K resolution (a warning appears before recording starts).
Sony is one of the best manufacturers of mobile camera sensors (along with Samsung). The rear camera of the Xperia Pro‑I really has some impressive specs:
the main one is 12 MP with a large 1‑inch sensor (13.2 × 8.8 mm), an equivalent focal length of 24 mm and a variable aperture of f / 2.0–4.0, there is PDAF autofocus with 315 phase sensors that cover 90% of the frame area, and optical image stabilization (OIS), Zeiss optics brand, T* anti-reflective coating installed;
zoom — 12 MP, supports 2.1x optical zoom, there is phase detection autofocus and OIS;
ultra-wide-angle — 12 MP, viewing angle 124˚, there is a Dual Pixel PDAF phase detection autofocus, there is no image stabilizer;
depth sensor — 0.3 MP, TOF 3D.
The resolution of the front camera is 8 megapixels, there is no autofocus, flash and background blur mode.
Three applications for shooting are installed — Photo Pro, Cinema Pro and Video Pro. Internal menu PhotoPro similar to the interface of Sony Alpha cameras. It offers many settings — shooting in RAW, choosing a focus mode (tracking, single-frame, manual) with the ability to detect eyes or faces, exposure mode, activating a wide dynamic range, and others. For those who don’t want to play with the settings, there is a basic mode.
Cinema Pro Sony’s most advanced app with granular control over every aspect of the shooting process. 4K video shooting up to 120 frames per second with an aspect ratio of 21:9 is available. You can shoot with professional profiles, HDR, cinematic filters, adjust ISO, shutter speed, white balance, set focus between preset focus distances (AB) with transition duration control, and more.
VideoPro — largely repeats Cinema Pro, but with simplified settings. It allows you to shoot 4K video with a ratio of 16:9, when shooting, you can enlarge the image. It is possible to adjust the white balance and ISO. There are up to three custom presets for white balance, unlike Cinema Pro’s only one.
Basic mode is enabled by default. The quality of daytime photos is decent — a lot of detail, excellent dynamic range, colors are not oversaturated or dull.
You can change the aperture — however, its effect on the sharpness of photos in the case of a smartphone camera is negligible. This option can be useful when shooting close-ups to control the amount of background blur.
There is a semblance of a night mode, it turns on automatically, you cannot force it to be activated. In low-light conditions, the shots are sharp with a fair amount of detail in the shadows.
There is a “bokeh” mode for taking photos with an optically blurred background (not only portraits, but also objects), you can set the degree of blur.
The quality of selfies taken with the front camera is average. The dynamic range is quite wide, in good lighting the detail is normal, but noise is noticeable. The colors are not bad, but the skin has a yellowish tinge. For a blog, it is better to take selfies on the main camera using an external monitor.
The Sony Xperia Pro‑I is a powerful niche smartphone for photographers, videographers, mobile photography enthusiasts and bloggers. However, its mainstream appeal is limited given its high cost and lack of some flagship features (such as wireless charging and a periscope camera for lossless optical zoom).
Pros of Sony Xperia Pro‑i:
moisture protection, grooved frame, lanyard eyelet, additional controls (multi-function button, shutter key);
headphone jack and microSD card slot (+ lots of built-in memory);
ample opportunities for shooting settings, excellent image quality;
great 4K screen.
Cons of the Sony Xperia Pro‑i:
average screen brightness;
tendency to overheat under prolonged loads;
average autonomy, no support for wireless charging;
mediocre selfie camera, average quality of night shots;
Buy Sony Xperia Pro‑I if:
you are fond of photography and videography — Xperia Pro‑I is comparable to premium mirrorless cameras in terms of settings and degree of control of the picture;
you need a 3.5 mm headphone jack — especially true for those who have wired headphones;
you want the best camera phone from Sony — the main camera has impressive performance and can capture photos in any lighting conditions.
Do not buy Sony Xperia Pro‑I if:
you need the best smartphone in terms of price and quality — Xperia Pro‑I is expensive even for a flagship, while it lacks some features;
high-quality automatic shooting is needed — Xperia Pro‑I does not enhance shadows, does not increase brightness, and image sharpening is too aggressive. To get the best image quality, you need to play with the settings.
you need a great zoom or ultra wide-angle camera — the Sony Xperia Pro‑I ultra-wide camera loses out to Oppo Find X3 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, which are equipped with high-resolution sensors (12 MP vs. 50 and 48 MP, respectively) and autofocus lenses. The 2.1x telephoto lens is outperformed by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (3x optical zoom) and the Google Pixel 6 Pro (4x optical zoom).